Content validity is the credibility of a survey or assessment questionnaire. This is particularly useful to HR professionals to measure the effectiveness of an employee shortlisting / selection process test. It emphasises that a selection test should be relevant to the skills and knowledge required for performing the job. Thus a test with proper content validity ensures that the selected candidate will be judged on all aspects that are essential for performing the job properly and in turn helps in identifying the most suitable one.
A school is looking for a new science teacher. After screening through various candidates, the authorities select what they believe to be the best candidate. However, the student’s feedback of the teacher comes out to be very poor.
On examining the whole recruitment process, they soon understand where they went wrong. In the selection test, majority of the questions were chemistry based. As a result, the selected candidate came out to be the one who was most proficient in chemistry. However, the same teacher was made to take classes of physics and biology along with chemistry.
Thus it was the content validity of the test that was at fault. The test was poorly constructed. It was made to select a good chemistry teacher and did not take into account all the knowledge and skill required for the job in question.
The questions are given to a panel of experts. They rate each of them and suggests changes as required. These ratings are analysed with the help of statistical tools and content validity is scored.
Importance of Content validity to employers:
• Knowledge evaluation: Helps in selecting candidates with relevant domain knowledge.
• Appropriate candidate selection: Helps in selecting the best candidate with relevant knowledge
• Cost reduction: Proper candidate selection implies minimization of iterative recruitment process, thus reduction of cost