If you didn’t wow your guidance counselor with your SAT scores, but still got into and graduated from college, you might have thought that the tyranny of the College Board had receded from your life. But not so fast: some big employers like Goldman Sachs or Amazon still ask candidates for their SAT scores, decades after the test. Why would companies put so much weight on tests you took before you could legally vote?
(Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver/Flickr)
“SATs and other academic artifacts remain relevant in part because they are easy — if imperfect –metrics for hiring managers to understand,” writes Melissa Korn at The Wall Street Journal. “This despite the fact that increased use of personality tests, data analytics and behavioral interviews have given employers more information about a candidate than ever before. Academic research has proved that cognitive ability can predict job performance, but there is scant evidence linking high SAT scores with employee success.”
In fact, employers who do use SATs (or GPAs, or other traditional score-based metrics) are going against a trend toward looking at learning ability instead of pedigrees. This is best exemplified by Google, whose senior vice president of people operations Lazlo Bock famously told The New York Times that “G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. … We found that they don’t predict anything.”
Of course, as Alison Griswold points out at Business Insider, that’s going to be a tough sell with execs like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who got a high score on the SAT when he was only 8.
But if you aren’t someone who tests well, don’t despair. If the employer you’re interviewing with places that much emphasis on standardized testing, what they’re really telling you is that your priorities are different from theirs. And that’s a very good thing to find out before you sign on with a new company.
Tell Us What You Think
Do you think SAT scores should matter later in life? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.