Reactions to Employment Testing: Internal Versus External Employees

Employment testing is gaining in popularity at all levels within organizations, leading internal candidates to complete assessment tests to be considered for promotion or lateral moves. When you test employees you already hired, you might expect some pushback!


When competing for the same job, do internal and external candidates react differently to employment tests? Gary Giumetti and Evan Sinar explored this question with over 2300 candidates across 12 organizations and found several key differences. As compared to external candidates, internal candidates reported lower perceptions regarding information they received about what to expect in the tests, but held more positive views on both the job-relatedness of the tests and their overall recommendation of the organization to others.


When it comes to any hiring process, consistency in both process and communication is paramount, no matter who comprises the applicant pool. An organization can choose to be transparent, opaque, or somewhere in the middle in what they share about a hiring process to candidates. But they need to be consistent to ensure that all applicant pools are treated justly.


Giumetti, G. W. & Sinar, E. F. (2012). Don’t you know me well enough yet? Comparing reactions of internal and external candidates to employment testing. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 20(2), 139-148.

Image credit: istockphoto/BongkarnThanyakij