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SAT一考定终身?

更新时间:2014-3-13 16:20:15 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

Job Hunting? Dig Up Those Old SAT Scores
SAT一考定终身?

Stephen Robert Morse was a candidate for a communications job when the recruiter told him to be ready to discuss his SAT score in a coming interview.

Mr. Morse, 28 years old, said he was 'shocked' that a potential boss would be interested in the results of a test he took more than a decade earlier. He passed on the opportunity.

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.

Cvent Inc., a McLean, Va., event management software company, asks all job applicants to provide SAT or ACT scores, results from graduate-school entrance tests and grade-point averages along with their work history. Scores count most heavily for candidates in their first years out of college, though the company has received scores from applicants well into middle age, said Eric Eden, Cvent's vice president of marketing.

'When you're hiring people and they don't have a lot of work experience, you have to start with some set of data points,' he said, adding that he likes to hear about recent graduates' extracurricular activities, too.

Cvent, which employs more than 1,400 people, hasn't tested whether its best employees are also its top SAT scorers. 'Knowing it's a standardized test is really enough for us,' Mr. Eden said.

SATs and other academic artifacts remain relevant in part because they are easy--if imperfect--metrics for hiring managers to understand. 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.

The College Board, which administers the SAT, maintains that the exam is designed mainly to predict first-year college success. The group hasn't studied employers' use of scores, a College Board spokeswoman said.

'It is a little confounding how a test somebody took when they were 17 predicts success in a competitive workplace when they're 22,' said Kevin Monahan, a career-services dean at Carnegie Mellon University.

Few companies request official score reports from the College Board in the same way they demand formal college transcripts, though they often require candidates to attest that they are providing truthful information. Employers also spot-check candidates' credentials after making offers. (The College Board keeps SAT scores indefinitely, though requests for scores older than one year take up to five weeks to fulfill and cost $30.50 to retrieve.)

Putting too much stock in standardized tests can put minority candidates at a disadvantage. In 2013, SAT test-takers in the 'Black or African-American' category scored an average 431 on the exam's critical reading section, 429 on math and 418 on writing. White test-takers, meanwhile, scored nearly 100 points higher on average in every section. There is a racial divide for ACT score reports as well.

Still, many college students and recent graduates now list their scores voluntarily on résumés and LinkedIn.

Patricia Rose, director of career services at University of Pennsylvania, advises students to put forth any information on their profiles that might impress an employer, even test scores. She also recommends recent graduates who want to change industries to list their results as proof that they are up to new intellectual challenges.

But what impresses one hiring manager may annoy another, said In-Sue Oh, a professor of human resources and management at Temple University's Fox School of Business. Listing SAT scores on a résumé could make an applicant come across as narcissistic, overqualified or hung up on high-school successes, he added.

Asking for SAT scores may turn off candidates, too. Mr. Morse, now head of marketing and communications at freelance marketplace SkillBridge, said a firm's request for test scores 'made me a little bit skeptical of wanting to work with them,' despite scoring 'in the 1450 range' on the 1600-point test. 'I don't see why it's relevant,' he said.

Google Inc. famously fixated on job candidates' grade-point averages, test scores and alma mater, but the company changed tactics about two years ago, when data showed that traditionally pedigreed candidates didn't always make better hires.

Internal studies found 'very little correlation between SAT scores and job performance,' said Kyle Ewing, head of global staffing programs at Google. The company now relies on interview questions that probe how a potential hire has solved complex problems in the past.

Not everyone is glad when companies shift ever so slightly away from SATs.

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.'

斯蒂芬·罗伯特·莫尔斯(Stephen Robert Morse)曾应聘过一个公关职位,在求职过程中,招聘方让他做好准备,在即将进行的面试中讨论他的SAT测试成绩。

28岁的莫尔斯说,潜在雇主居然对他十多年前一项考试的成绩感兴趣,让他颇为“震惊”。他放弃了这次机会。

常言道,人生恰似高中时代,许多雇主仍然关心求职者的SAT分数便印证了这个说法。贝恩公司(Bain & Co.)和麦肯锡(McKinsey & Co.)等咨询公司以及高盛集团(Goldman Sachs Group Inc.)等银行会要求应聘的大学应届生提供SAT分数,还有一些公司甚至在招聘高级销售和管理人才时要求四五十岁的应聘者提供SAT分数。

SAT测试原称学术能力测试(Scholastic Aptitude Test),在11或12年级进行,学生申请大学时一般都会提交SAT测试成绩。这项考试总分为2400分,由批判性阅读、数学和写作三部分组成,每部分分值均为800分。去年的SAT得分平均为1498分。(2005年3月份之前,这项考试只包括两部分,总分为1600分。)

招聘经理们表示,SAT分数低不一定会葬送求职者的机会;他们认为,SAT和ACT等其他大学入学考试成绩有助于他们对背景各异的求职者进行比较,或者判断求职者是否拥有胜任工作所需的思维能力。

但有些公司确实会设定门槛,尤其是针对数学部分。咨询业招聘公司Whitehouse Pimms董事总经理马克·里奇(Mark Rich)称,客户常常要求他筛选出SAT分数达到第95百分位以上的求职者。投资公司D.E. Shaw Group则要求应聘者具体提供数学和语言部分的成绩。

波士顿咨询公司(Boston Consulting Group Inc.)长期将SAT分数作为招聘过程中的一项考察因素。该公司美洲区招聘负责人珍妮弗·孔帕罗尼(Jennifer Comparoni)称,该公司不针对申请者设定最低分。但她补充称,数学成绩低的求职者必须证明自己在其他方面有优势,比如拥有某项专长或者领导能力。

波士顿咨询的管理人士不会轻言SAT成绩能预测工作绩效,但孔帕罗尼称,该公司将SAT测试作为批判性思维、问题解决能力和定量分析能力等“成功基本要素”的衡量标准。

弗吉尼亚州麦克莱恩(McLean)的事件管理软件公司Cvent Inc.要求所有求职者在提供工作履历的同时提交SAT或ACT分数、研究生院入学测试成绩和平均学分绩点。Cvent的营销副总裁埃里克·埃登(Eric Eden)称,分数对大学刚毕业的求职者来说最为重要,不过向该公司提交分数的应聘者中也有中年人。

他说:“当你招聘的人没有很多工作经验时,你只能从某些数字入手。”他补充称,他也喜欢让刚毕业的求职者讲讲他们的课外活动。

有超过1,400名雇员的Cvent尚未考察过该公司表现最佳的员工是否也是SAT得分最高的人。埃登说:“我们只要知道这是一种标准化测试就足够了。”

SAT和其他学术测验成绩仍然具有重要意义,在一定程度上是因为,这些指标对招聘经理来说简单易懂(虽然并不完美)。尽管性格测试、数据分析和行为面试等手段使用得越来越多,让雇主获得了比以往更多的应聘者信息,但SAT成绩仍在招聘中占有一席之地。学术研究已经证明,认知能力能够预测工作表现,但鲜有证据显示SAT高分与员工成就有关联。

SAT考试主办机构美国大学理事会(College Board)称,这项考试的设计主要是为了预测大学一年级的学业成绩。美国大学理事会发言人表示,该机构尚未研究过雇主对SAT成绩的使用情况。

卡内基梅隆大学(Carnegie Mellon University)负责就业指导的凯文·莫纳汉(Kevin Monahan)表示:“怎么能用一个人17岁时的测试成绩预测他22岁时能否在竞争激烈的职场上取得成功呢?”

虽然很多公司要求提供正式的大学成绩单,但很少有公司让求职者提供由美国大学理事会开具的正式成绩报告,不过公司常常要求求职者承诺他们提供的是真实信息。雇主还会在发出工作邀约之后抽查求职者的证明材料(美国大学理事会永久保存SAT成绩,不过查询一年以前的成绩需要多达五周的时间,并须支付30.50美元检索费)。

过分重视标准化测试会让少数族裔求职者面临劣势。2013年,参加SAT考试的“黑人或非裔美国人”(Black or African-American)考生批判性阅读、数学和写作部分平均分分别为431分、429分和418分。而白人考生每部分的平均成绩均高出近100分。ACT成绩也存在种族差别。

不过,目前许多在校大学生和应届毕业生会主动在简历和LinkedIn上列出自己的分数。

宾夕法尼亚大学(University of Pennsylvania)就业指导负责人帕特里夏·罗斯(Patricia Rose)建议学生在自我介绍中列出任何有可能打动雇主的信息甚至是考试成绩。她还建议想转行的应届毕业生列出他们的成绩,证明他们有能力接受新的才智挑战。

但天普大学(Temple University)福克斯商学院(Fox School of Business)人力资源和管理学教授In-Sue Oh表示,打动一位招聘官的东西有可能会惹恼另一位招聘官。他补充说,在简历上列出SAT成绩会让求职者给人留下自我欣赏、大材小用或者陶醉在高中时代辉煌之中的印象。

雇主要求提供SAT成绩也有可能会让应聘者放弃求职。现任自由职业者就业平台SkillBridge营销和公关主管的莫尔斯说,尽管他在总分1600的测试中得了“1450多分”,但一家公司提出提交测试成绩的要求“让我有点怀疑自己还想不想去那里工作”。他说:“我不懂为什么SAT成绩那么重要。”

谷歌(Google Inc.)因高度重视求职者的平均学分绩点、考试分数和母校而著称,但该公司在大约两年前改变了策略,因数据显示传统意义上“血统纯正”的求职者工作不一定更出色。

谷歌全球招聘项目主管凯尔·尤因(Kyle Ewing)说,内部研究发现“SAT得分与工作表现之间的关联极小”。该公司目前依靠面试问题来考察应聘者过去是如何解决复杂问题的。

并不是所有人都乐意看到公司对SAT的重视程度略有下降。

一位麦肯锡前分析师(曾为该公司招聘过员工)乐于同别人分享他的分数。他说:“对我来说,这样做是很好的。我远没有那么聪明,但我考试时能超水平发挥。”

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