behavior and performance and manage the workplace to reduce the risk of an insider either carrying out thefts or sabotage or acting to assist others.



Personnel screening seeks to identify individuals who may pose a potential security risk as early as possible, ideally prior to hiring. Identifying security risks can be considered part of the broader challenge of hiring competent, trustworthy, and reliable employees, and most organizations have a selection procedure to identify education and training, competencies, aptitude, and experience among potential employees.1 Many private- and public-sector organizations also conduct background checks to identify (in)appropriate actions or to assess personal qualities that are considered desirable or necessary for effective job performance. As discussed in this section, screening for security risks poses special issues.

The current screening process for individuals to work in facilities conducting BSAT research is based on identifying any of a set of disqualifying behaviors/activities that would automatically and permanently deny a person access (see Chapter 2 for additional details). Most of the policy discussions about the current Security Risk Assessment (SRA) screening process focus on four issues:

  1. the adequacy of the information used to assess individual applicants;

  2. the necessity to make changes in the types of information collected as part of the background checks;

  3. the need to make changes in the way the current SRA process makes decisions about granting access; and


“Selection procedures refer to any procedure used singly or in combination to make a personnel decision including, but not limited to, paper-and-pencil tests, computer-administered tests, performance tests, work samples, inventories (e.g., personality, interest), projective techniques, polygraph examinations, individual assessments, assessment center evaluations, biographical data forms or scored application blanks, interviews, educational requirements, experience requirements, reference checks, background investigations, physical requirements (e.g., height or weight), physical ability tests, appraisals of job performance, computer-based test interpretations, and estimates of advancement potential. These selection procedures include methods of measurement that can be used to assess a variety of individual characteristics that underlie personnel decision making” (SIOP 2003:3). “The essential principle in the evaluation of any selection procedure is that evidence be accumulated to support an inference of job relatedness. Selection procedures are demonstrated to be job related when evidence supports the accuracy of inferences made from scores on, or evaluations derived from, those procedures with regard to some important aspect of work behavior (e.g., quality or quantity of job performance, performance in training, advancement, tenure, termination, or other organizationally pertinent behavior)” (SIOP 2003:4).

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