What You Should Know About Integrity Tests

by Angela Griffiths

Integrity tests are crucial during the hiring process. Dishonesty can do a lot of damage, and it can range from small things such as arriving late or stealing small amounts of money to significant fraud. Some organizations have suffered substantial damage or even gone bankrupt due to a lack of integrity in their employees.

Integrity tests have been shown to improve the predictive value of potential employees’ integrity. This explains why they are are quite beneficial to organizations.

What is an Integrity Test?

An integrity test is an interview or survey in which the candidate is asked to self-report their proclivity for particular activities. Employers can better understand a candidate’s potential to take honest, honorable, and reliable activities in the future based on their responses to integrity tests. Integrity tests might reveal potential issues with a candidate before they are employed.

An integrity test is one of the personality tests that employers use to understand their employees better.

What Are Personality Tests?

integrity test

Personality tests are a set of questions designed to assist employers in figuring out what kind of person the applicants are before giving them the job. Your response to the test will tell them what kind of worker you will be. These tests mostly come with choices.

The options you choose provide a profile of how you might react to various circumstances you will face at work. The idea is to provide a data-driven evaluation of how you solve problems, communicate and perceive others and the world around you. Integrity tests are just one of the many available types of personality tests.

What Are Integrity Tests For?

Integrity tests indicate a candidate’s trustworthiness, thus contributing to a safer workplace. Most integrity tests are used in conjunction with other hiring techniques, such as drug tests, background checks, or requests for employee references.

Integrity tests are also a reliable indicator of an employee’s overall work performance. This is not surprising given the significant link between integrity and conscientiousness, a strong predictor of overall job performance.

When conducted in conjunction with a cognitive ability test, integrity tests also measure personality traits. They can contribute a significant degree of validity to a selection process.

There are minimal disparities in integrity test results between men and women or between applicants of different ethnicities or races.

While integrity tests will not eliminate workplace dishonesty, data strongly suggests that employees who score low on integrity tests are less desirable and productive.

What Does an Integrity Test Measure?

Here are some of the factors measured by this test:

  • Recognition of others’ achievements.
  • Gratitude for other people’s work
  • Respectfulness towards the work and others
  • Honesty in all work relationships
  • Responsibility
  • Trustworthiness when following
  • Accountability
  • Keeping high work standards no matter the task;
  • Helpfulness
  • Abiding by company rules and policies
  • Patience

Types of Integrity Tests

Integrity tests are mainly in two forms; overt and covert.

Overt integrity tests

This is a straightforward procedure in which applicants are questioned about their integrity, honesty, and behavior.

Overt tests have two sections. The first section of the questionnaire asks candidates about their opinions on stealing in general. It also asks about sanctions they believe should be considered for offenses committed. The answers a candidate offers help in determining their honesty.

The second series of questions focuses on unproductive activities a candidate has previously engaged in. This will assist companies in determining the risk they would pose at work.

Candidates are asked about their previous behavior in overt tests. This is used to predict their future behavior. Dishonest activities such as compensation fraud, theft, cyberloafing, or absenteeism are detected in these exams.

Examples of overt test questions:

  • To what extent do you believe that taking office stationery home is stealing? (This is an example of a question on a rating scale.)
  • If an employee takes a pen home from work by accident, that doesn’t really count as stealing. Do you agree with this statement? (This is an example of a question that has been reverse-coded.)
  • It’s critical to obey a manager’s orders without questioning them. To what extent do you agree?
  • When management forgets to ask for an assignment that an employee hasn’t finished on time, the employee should remind them and apologize for missing the deadline. Do you agree?
  • Unless I were sick or otherwise unable to go, I would never skip a day of work. Do you agree?

Covert integrity tests

The covert type of integrity testing is also known as veiled-purpose assessment. It uses a combination of personality tests to assist recruiters in determining a person’s likelihood of integrity. Recruiters deem a person unsuitable for a job if the findings of the test correlate with undesirable behavior in the workplace.

Here are some of the questions that you are likely to encounter in covert integrity tests:

  • True or False: I dislike it when others tell me what to do.
  • True or false: Making connections with the people around me is difficult for me.
  • True or False: I think of myself as a risk-taker.
  • True or False: I believe that everything and everyone has a place
  • True or false: At least once a week, I enjoy attending social activities.

Candidates may also be asked to choose from a list of statements they most identify with. Consider the following scenario:

  • I’ll do my best to speak the truth
  • When it won’t harm anyone else, I tell the truth.
  • I always tell it as it is
  • Telling the truth is not essential to me
  • I’m not always telling it like it is.

Top considerations when administering integrity tests:

  • Legality. Some tests, whether integrity tests or not, can reveal hidden conditions. If you question candidates if they have extreme mood swings, you can tell whether or not they have bipolar disorder.
  • Face validity. Some integrity test questions may be considered intrusive or irrelevant to the work. You must carefully select your tests and the questions you will ask. It is essential to know the topics you will avoid covering.
  • Cheating and faking. Nobody wants to hire sociopaths, but they’re also some of the world’s best liars. You should learn to tell whether a candidate lied. You determine this by using traditional personality inventories and combining overt and covert testing.
  • Common use. Employers use integrity tests to screen out candidates or employees for sensitive positions such as social workers, teachers, health care professionals, police enforcement, classified information personnel, money handlers, and personnel that enter people’s homes.
  • Validity. Integrity tests add weight to the recruiting process when used with other personality tests, cognitive ability testing, situational questions, and other methods.

Jobs Where Integrity Tests are Essential

Integrity tests are used in the workplace to choose people for various jobs. However, they’re critical when it comes to positions involving security, money, sensitive data, personal safety, and trade secrets. The job titles where integrity tests are beneficial include the following:

  • Tellers and cashiers at banks
  • Providers of child care and/or daycare
  • Armed security personnel
  • Workers in the field of home health care

Integrity test provides an honesty evaluation to alert hiring managers of potentially dangerous behaviors. They must identify individuals whose future practices might jeopardize a company’s interests, money, or corporate information.

How to Pass an Integrity Test and Get the Job?

While integrity tests help the employer get a perspective of what to expect from you if they decide to hire you, you want to pass this test. You don’t want to have all the qualifications and then miss the job opportunity because you couldn’t pass an integrity test. You must take the time to prepare for the test in advance.


It is essential to know what to expect in an integrity test. For example, integrity tests could include questions like:

  • Do you believe people should display their principles in the workplace the same way they do at home?
  • Have you ever described an event so that it sounded better in your head than it actually was?
  • What would you do if your supervisor asked you to perform something that violated company policy?
  • Is it acceptable to take company samples intended for the company’s use and use them for your own personal use?

These may appear simple, but without experience, you may find yourself giving an erroneous picture of yourself. You may evaluate how your scores compare to the desired range. Take the time to learn how to improve your test-taking techniques by practicing. Practice makes perfect.

Think of a few integrity stories

When you’re taking an integrity test verbally, the interviewer may ask you to describe circumstances from your past. He will then use your explanations to see if you acted with integrity in your personal or professional life.

Think of several situations you can bring up before the test. Make sure the stories demonstrate how you made the right decision when faced with a moral dilemma.

Review your personal behavior

Organizations examine your behavior to gain insight into your moral compass. They will ask questions such as:

  • What would you do if a retail worker undercharged you for an item?
  • What would you do if your supervisor asked you to perform something that violated company policy?
  • Are you ever dishonest when your spouse asks you a question?

Don’t be too good to be true

Candidates are expected to acknowledge doing things that aren’t quite right. You should not be shy from admitting mistakes like exceeding the speed limit or uttering a white lie to prevent harming someone. If you declare that you’ve never done such things, the employer will suspect that you’re lying on the test. This will cast doubt on your integrity.

The Pros and Cons of Integrity Tests

Here are the pros of this type of test:

  • When compared to unstructured interviews, integrity tests have a higher level of accuracy in predicting work performance.
  • It is a valid predictor of unproductive behavior patterns and absenteeism, which can negatively affect the company.
  • Integrity tests show little gender and race bias
  • It is more cost-effective than most testing because it can be automated to be performed by many people together.
  • Allows for precise measurement
  • Expediting the interview process by weeding out candidates who aren’t qualified.

Meanwhile, here are its cons:

  • While integrity tests are great, they are not always easy to get done. Employers face some hurdles when it comes to administering integrity tests.
  • While integrity tests have evolved, and the majority of the tests are set to meet the rules set by the Equal Employment Commission, discrimination still manages to creep into the process
  • It is quite strict. For example, inquiries on family status, religion, or even age are prohibited on tests. Even simple queries regarding mood or how they respond to difficulties could indicate that you favor individuals who do not have mental health or physical problems. The dangers of violating integrity test rules are real, and you should think about them before you test.
  • Some tests are designed to predict whether or not a person will commit a crime. However, asking if a person has a criminal record is forbidden in many areas.
  • Some tests are designed to predict whether or not a person will commit a crime. However, asking if a person has ever been arrested or convicted of a felony is unlawful in many areas. This is especially true if it’s unrelated to the type of work that one will be doing.
  • They are bureaucratic. Before you give any integrity exams, have your legal department review them for legality. Some governments have made it illegal to require integrity test results as a pre-employment requirement.

The Bottom Line

Companies utilize honesty tests, also known as integrity tests, to see if a prospective candidate is likely to engage in illegal activities such as sick leave abuse, theft, unauthorized discounts, altercations with coworkers, or policy violations.

The integrity test can be overt—where the questions designed to test your integrity appear in general interview questions. The interview could also be covert—where questions designed to test your integrity appear as a preference test. You should prepare ahead of time to know where you stand on questions of integrity so you can respond without hesitation.

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