Can Workplace Violence Be Prevented By Psychological Testing

Having worked investigations involving workplace violence in corporate American and also sexual harassment / assault in both adult & juvenile corrections… I often hear people blame the company and or agency. They say things like shouldn’t the company/agency have psychologically tested the bad guy before hiring them? Or… if they did test them, people think the company/agency goofed up.

In my experience, it’s impossible to detect every psycho… harasser… violent person… criminal, etc. via testing. It’s impossible to prevent ALL incidents even with the very best testing strategies.

So why have a testing program? To REDUCE the # of incidents by filtering out as many potential bad guys as possible.

Remember, the purpose isn’t to REJECT every applicant who may have had a history of misconduct… but rather to calculate / predict the effect this person would have on the company if they are hired.

The three basic types of tests I’ve been exposed to are (1) Integrity tests (2) Skill and aptitude tests and (3) Personality inventories.

I recommend all employers use psychological test during the hiring process for two reasons. First, it reduces the probability of misconduct affecting the employees and/or company reputation. Second, if an incident does occur… the company legal team can show that they did everything within the scope of the law & within reason to prevent the hiring of the bad guy. Hopefully reducing or eliminating vicarious liability.

Until next time… stay safe! – Brian

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