Why Applicants Don't Volunteer Their Test Scores: Abigail's Insight
By Bryan Caplan
EconLog reader Abigail Haddad sent me an interesting email. I’m reprinting it in full with her permission:
I commented on “Why don’t applicants volunteer their test scores?”
last year and suggested that there was a verification problem, since
employers can’t get official score reports. According to a Chronicle
of Higher Ed article on how job applicants are submitting GRE scores,
that’s no longer the case for that test: ETS is making official score
reports available to businesses on a trial basis.
It’s interesting that, even though ETS says that a significant
percentage of large employers consider test scores, none of the
employers interviewed say that they would use test scores in a
significant way (except for the one who says that he would not hire
anyone who submitted GRE scores). Even Goldman Sachs, which requests
scores, only says that “recruiters may consider any test scores
provided,” but that it’s not a major factor.
If requesting scores survives legal scrutiny for a few years, I expect the practice to spread. Volunteering your test scores signals low conformity and/or low social intelligence. But if an employer requests scores, this bad signal goes away.
You could reply that only non-conformists would submit to such a request, but that seems plainly wrong. Conformist job seekers already submit to a wide range of odd and even degrading employer requests. One more won’t make any difference.