There are a lot of ways to validate pre-employment tests, but many validation procedures can be cost prohibitive or may require large data samples. For instance, to demonstrate a test’s predictive validity for a particular position (or the likelihood that the test will predict future job performance), an organization needs to perform a local validity study on its own employees and applicants. However, the data gathered from this type of study would only be meaningful if the data sample was quite large. Small or medium-sized companies that don’t already have a large number of employees occupying a certain position would be unable to perform these types of studies on their own populations.
Instead, companies can rely on validity generalization. For certain types of tests, particularly cognitive aptitude assessments, industrial-organizational psychologists have concluded that validity evidence can be generalized across a wide range of positions. By generalizing the validity of tests across many position types, companies of all sizes can be more confident that the pre-employment tests they are using are valid for the positions they are testing for within their organizations.