Honesty Tests - Meaning & Definition

Published by MBA Skool Team, Last Updated: December 10, 2015

What is Honesty Tests?

A honesty test or an integrity test is a personality test which assesses a job applicant's personality traits like honesty, trustworthiness, and dependability. Lack of honesty or integrity can act against the companies in case of productivity. Hence, companies focus on honesty tests to get the best employees on board who are not only knowledgeable but also hones =t towards the work they do for the company.

In the United States, some firms still use the polygraph (lie detector) for honesty testing, although the law severely restricts its use. In India, such testing is used only by the law enforcement authorities under strict guidelines from Human Rights Commission. Hence they aren’t used for selection by any organization.


Types of Honesty Tests:

• Polygraph Test: It measures psychological changes like increased perspiration. These changes reflect changes in emotional state that accompany lying. In the USA, there were complaints about offensiveness of the tests which also created accuracy doubts about it. This law prohibits employers from conducting polygraph examinations of job applicants and most employees.

• Paper and pencil honesty tests: The polygraph protection act triggered the paper and pencil or online honesty tests. These are psychological tests to find out the applicant’s proneness to dishonesty. It is also used to measure other attitudes, like, tolerance of others who steal and acceptance of rationalizations for theft, of an applicant. The validity of this test has been proven by different studies and is considered reliable.

How to check honesty

• Ask blunt questions: It might be offensive but it helps to know a little more and personal about the applicant.

• Listen rather than talk: This helps the employer know more about the applicant, hence better judgement

• Do a credits and motor vehicle reports check

• Check all employment and personal references

• Use psychological and paper and pencil tests (mentioned above)

• Test for drugs and other medical reports

• Establish a search and seize policy and conduct searches

Testing the honesty of an applicant still requires some caution, as asking blunt questions might offend the applicant and he/she might leave the premises thinking that the treatment was less than proper. This creates a negative image of the organization in the head of the applicant. Some questions also prove to be invading the privacy of the applicant.


Hence, this concludes the definition of Honesty Tests along with its overview.

This article has been researched & authored by the Business Concepts Team. It has been reviewed & published by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.

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