Thursday, February 27, 2014

Employers now requiring SATs scores from job hunters!

I found this Wall Street Journal story through the Washington Monthly.  From Wall Street Journal:
Proving the adage that all of life is like high school, plenty of employers still care about a job candidate's SAT score. Consulting firms such as Bain & Co. and McKinsey & Co. and banks like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ask new college recruits for their scores, while other companies request them even for senior sales and management hires, eliciting scores from job candidates in their 40s and 50s.
The SAT, originally known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test and taken during junior or senior year of high school, is a common element of college applications. The exam is scored on a scale of 2400, with up to 800 points each for critical reading, math and writing sections. The average SAT score last year was a combined 1498. (Before March 2005, the test had just two sections and was scored on a 1600-point scale.)
A low score doesn't necessarily kill a person's chances, hiring managers say; instead, they say they believe SATs and other college entrance exams like the ACT help when comparing candidates with differing backgrounds or figuring out whether someone has the raw brainpower required for the job.

But some companies do set targets, particularly on the math section. Mark Rich, managing director of consulting-industry recruiting firm Whitehouse Pimms, says clients often tell him to screen for candidates whose SAT scores placed them in or above the 95th percentile. Investment firm D.E. Shaw Group asks candidates to break out their math and verbal results.
Boston Consulting Group Inc. has long used SAT scores as a factor in its hiring process. The firm doesn't set a minimum score for applicants, said Jennifer Comparoni, head of Americas recruiting. But candidates with weak math results would need to demonstrate other strengths, such as subject-matter expertise or leadership ability, she added.
BCG managers won't say that SAT results predict job performance, but Ms. Comparoni said the company uses the test as a standard measure of "the basic building blocks of success," such as critical thinking, problem-solving skills and quantitative abilities.
What???  The SAT score does not predict job performance, but is a 'standard measure of "the basic building blocks of success," such as critical thinking, problem-solving skills and quantitative abilities?' 

So what does a bachelors degree in college measure?  Obviously a bachelors degree in college doesn't measure any sort of critical thinking skills, or problem-solving skills, or even any life experience lessons one learns in college that an employer will need in making hiring decisions, more than a single test score taken by a high school junior or senior?

Then, there is this final ironic quote from the Journal:
One former McKinsey analyst who conducted recruiting for the firm was content to share his own scores. "For me, it was great," he said. "I test much better than I am intelligent."
For the record, I did not take the SAT test in high school, but went through West Valley Community College and San Jose State for my bachelors degree in political science.  

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