do they do IQ testing in hiring in India?

given evidence of lots of lemons in the labor market (which even ends up in Wall Street Journal and must be well known to the local management) one could expect some effort to improve hiring results. Plus, AFAIK their labor labors don’t care about this issue, unlike in the West.

So are there any widespread attempts at IQ testing of potential hires over there? Or have there been attempts that failed let’s say for lack of good tests?

The article in your link seems to be focused on a shortage of employees with training in English and IT. I don’t really see how an IQ test would solve that problem.

You need to read the WSJ comments in that article. A lot of Indian readers commented to make the points that -

1: There ARE world class Indian educational institutions and graduates

2: They are NOT the ones being recruited to (or attracted to) work for the relatively low wages the IT call in and data centers are offering.

3: Judging Indian technical education graduates by how well the graduates speak and write English and work with english speakers, which is the core focus of the jobs profiled in the article, is kind of an odd and somewhat demeaning metric to use for the technical quality of an education.

The problem is not that workers are not smart enough, it is that they are not trained enough. IQ tests don’t measure reading comprehension or English language skills. You can be a perfectly intelligent illiterate farmer who is plenty smart but has nothing to offer to a customer service firm.

Apropos of nothing in particular, I don’t think that doing IQ testing is useful for determining job qualifications at all - a decent interview should weed out the obviously ignorant, which is much more important than weeding out the stupid, if only because there are a lot more ignoramuses than stupid people (and also, because ignorance can be directly tested against requirements).

I consider this article, and others like it, to be more of a symptoms description than a valid declaration of the underlying cause (which may, hypothetically, be lack of English, lack of IQ, “insufficient education”, a malicious Zionist conspiracy or anything else). The key point is, there is a well recognized problem in place, and we can expect people to attempt all sorts of solutions.

The theory that many of these potential hires are too dumb for their work does exist, at least in the West. This means that it may or may not also exist in India. This means that some managers may or may not decide to act upon it.

This is a GQ, and it is no more “demeaning” then asking “are astrological signs used in hiring?” Well, they do use astrological signs in planning weddings, so the practice conceivably could spread wider :slight_smile:

Sure, but your clear assumption is that doing IQ tests - provided they’re not done now - would improve performance. I don’t think so.

Why would you bother with testing to discover the “underlying cause” (IQ) when the “symptoms” (English language ability, basic reading skills, basic critical thinking) are perfectly apparent and are of primary importance to the job? Why would you test for something less relevant, when there are plenty of perfectly applicable tests that are more relevant?

If I am hiring for a job that requires heavy lifting, I am going to screen people based on what they can lift heavy objects, not whether or not they have specific health problems that may prevent them from lifting heavy objects.

Anyway, in this particular case, the cause is well known, and it is not a general low IQ. Number one is that many of these jobs simply do not pay enough to attract top-flight talent. The other is generally low standards at lower-level universities and training programs. This is a pretty interesting subject on its own. In China, I saw for myself how the system churns out millions of graduates with shiny new degrees for basically taking lots of naps punctuated by the occasional bit of mindless busywork or rote memorization, generously aided by plagiarism and cheating.

If the problem in the article was that Indian employers were having trouble seperating good employees from bad, then the IQ test might make sense. But they don’t seem to be having any such trouble, if they want to see if someone speaks English well enough, they just bring him in for an interview and ask him some questions in English. The problem is that too many potential employees end up on the “bad” pile, and so the Indian firms can’t find enough hirees. For all we know, some of these “bad” employees have genius level IQs, but are native Hindi speakers that aren’t good at English. Certainly giving them an IQ test isn’t going to magically make them better English speakers.

Simplicio, I agree with you for this particular case. So for the specific area of customer support the problem of lack of English is so salient that it overshadows whatever hypothetical influences of IQ.

Nevertheless, my OP can still stand even disregarding the particular link I adduced. Reputedly they have plenty of lemons even amongst people with good English skills, pretty resumes and best references money can buy.

Needless to say, such lemons exist elsewhere, including in the States, but over here the management (except for the armed forces) are generally not allowed to use IQ to try screen them out. Whereas in India there are no such restrictions and there is also a long history of upper castes discriminating against people for all sorts of reasons - might as well add IQ to the mix.

Really? Do you have a cite? A couple years back I applied for a job as an assembler at a BIC pen factory (in the US) and part of the application process was an intelligence test. I dunno if it was a literal IQ test, but it seemed like it.

don’t rat them out, man… Big NAACP is watching you :slight_smile:

On a more serious note, I don’t feel like turning this into a discussion of American legal environment. IQ tests nowadays are certainly not that common in American hiring, for various reasons not all of which have to do with the law and the fear of lawsuits. But the OP is about India.

But it’s not. It’s about your opinion that an IQ test would would valuable and some other odd opinions about Indian culture.

Why don’t you first give us some facts about the use of IQ tests in any country and any culture for any defined set of businesses. If you can’t give evidence of their use elsewhere then your question about India would be answered. If you can, then we could see whether any existing use of them would in any way apply to this particular use.

I really did not see anywhere in the article where anyone is concerned about Indians at any level being innately sub-intelligent. Whatever else you’re going to pick on Indians for I as a group, I really don’t think anybody questions their intellectual acumen and dedication to education.

The article’s emphasis was all about how the Indian education system kind of sucks at the mid tier and lower levels, and how a degree from these lower quality institutions is largely useless in letting employers assess employee quality relative to technical competence and being usefully conversant in spoken and written English.

Indian education may indeed suck at the mid tier to lower levels, but if I was an Indian I can see where I might bristle at an article beating on the Indian education system based mainly on the metric of how useful they are to American firms looking to outsource cheap service labor.

I’m sure India has a number of different types of educational institutions some of which are accredited, and some of which are diploma mills. Even in the U.S. I have trouble differentiating these, since even diploma mills do a good job of making themselves seem real. I imagine this may be even more complex in India where there may be different governing bodies for universities in different provinces, etc.

I can understand the frustration of the OP and the question about an IQ test, because a basic intelligence test might indicate a person’s ability to do basic reasoning. I fully understand that the customer service rep may not understand what I am saying because English is not their first language, but if they clearly are not getting the point across, does it ever make sense (in any language) to keep re-reading me the same section of the call script until I hang up? I have an MBA and in my program, they admitted a number of Indian students. I worked with two such students quite a bit, both of whom already had master’s degrees in computer science, yet had trouble with even basic math and seemed unfamiliar with MS-Office and other common programs. We always worked through these difficulties, but I thought it strange that a Master’s level CS degree didn’t involve some of this training.

I would like to reiterate the points I made my posts 6 and 10 upthread. The article I linked to in the OP is not really relevant to this thread (sorry about this guys, but what’s done is done now) but the question can stand regardless of that.

It can also be expanded towards the less verifiable and more sociological impressions territory, e.g. “while many Westerners (including certain programmers here on SD who certainly are not known for being “rightist” or “racist”) consider Indian employees dumb, are there similar beliefs endemic amongst Indian management?” But that would be venturing more into IMHO territory since presumably nobody runs polls of this sort in India.

Which, inter alia, illustrates the fact that if a particular area of inquiry is either deliberately suppressed or else is of no interest to anybody whatsoever, all of a sudden there is no “peer reviewed published research” in that field to either support or disprove hypotheses that the public opinion finds distasteful. I don’t suppose you would find much peer reviewed research on Jewish verbal abilities or Gypsy salesmanship skills in Nazi Germany either, leaving people to base their worldviews only on personal experience, rumors and media slogans.

Do Indian managers consider their employees “dumb?” Well, one supposes that the impression varies from yes, the employees are dumb (or, more likely uneducated or poorly educated, especially for the unskilled employees) to no, the employees are very, very smart, particularly those who are graduates of the Indian Institutes of Technology, for which 300,000 applicants take the entrance exam, although fewer than 5,000 are admitted.

Does that answer the question?

Well sure, and I imagine those schools are the Harvard, MIT, etc. of India. I have no doubt that there are smart people in India. Just like in the U.S. though, no Harvard graduates are working in customer service. I think the question the OP is asking though is why so many seemingly unqualified people are in customer service jobs in India versus in the U.S.

I think the reason people keep bringing up the article is that it isn’t irreleveant. It provides an answer to the question you pose:

And the answer the article provides is that the problem Indian companys perceive with Indian Employees is that the educational system doesn’t produce enough of them at an adequate level of training to meet the demand for employees. There isn’t really any reason to think IQ tests would do anything to solve this problem. After all, you don’t really need to be a genius to work in a call center, you just need to speak English.

From what little I know, approximately the following happened in India: In the late 1980’s they got rid of a lot of restrictions on how businesses were run. It became much easier to start a business and make a profit on them. Many businesses were started that did engineering and programming for non-Indian firms. There were considerably more qualified graduates than jobs at that point, so it was easy to start the businesses, hire good employees, and run the businesses cheaply. This made it worthwhile for non-Indian firms to outsource parts of their engineering/programming-type jobs to these firms.

By the early 1990’s there were also many businesses which offered to be the service departments for non-Indian English-speaking companies. This was also cheaper for these non-Indian firms than running their own service departments, and there were enough good English speakers for these service departments to be able to do their job well. At this point the Indian government decided that it would be a good idea to open up more universities (or to increase the size of the existing ones) so that the new businesses would have more employees.

The new businesses continued to grow and look for new employees. There were more university graduates, but the new universities weren’t well run. There weren’t enough good graduates for the jobs opening up. This isn’t a matter of stupid students but of badly run universities. The businesses often find that they can train the students to be good enough to do their jobs, but that takes a while and costs money.