Using GRE® Scores for Employment Purposes

The following factors should be considered when using an applicant's GRE® scores for employment purposes:

Validity of GRE Scores

The use of scores on the GRE® General Test or GRE® Subject Tests for employment decisions, including hiring, salary, promotion, tenure or retention, has not been validated. However, research in the area of Industrial and Organizational (I-O) Psychology provides support for the use of cognitive measures for use in employment decisions.

Use Multiple Criteria

Regardless of the decision to be made, multiple sources of information should be used to ensure fairness and to balance the limitations of any single measure of knowledge, skills or abilities. Use of multiple criteria is particularly important when using GRE scores to assess the abilities of educationally disadvantaged applicants, applicants whose primary language is not English and applicants who are returning to school after an extended absence. Score users are urged to become familiar with factors affecting score interpretation for these groups as discussed in the GRE® Guide to the Use of Scores.

Consider Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing Scores as Three Separate and Independent Measures

Since the level of skills in verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing abilities required for success varies by field or department, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing scores should not be combined into a single score. (To understand factors related to combining scores, view the GRE DataViews article, "A Balanced Approach to GRE® Score Use.") The results reported show that adhering to a particular cut score policy can lead to systematically disregarding large numbers of candidates in various subgroups (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender). Many of the candidates may have acceptable, even commendable, scores in an area considered important for success (such as verbal reasoning), but their scores in the other area (such as quantitative reasoning), which may be less related to success in that job field, may be keeping them out of consideration.

Collect Validity Evidence

When feasible, employers using GRE scores are encouraged to collect validity information by conducting their own studies. Job analyses should be conducted for different job titles for which GRE scores are used in decision making, as recommended by:

  • Uniform Guidelines (Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures jointly adopted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, The Civil Service Commission, the Department of Labor, the Department of Justice, and the Office of Personnel Management)
  • Joint Standards (Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing adopted by the American Psychological Association, the American Educational Research Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education)
  • SIOP Principles (Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures adopted by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology)

The GRE Program staff will provide advice on the design of appropriate job analysis/validation studies without charge.

Additional Information

For a more complete discussion of the appropriate use of GRE scores, please review Information for Consideration in the Use of GRE Scores by Employers. These guidelines provide information about the appropriate use of GRE test scores for those who intend to use GRE scores, particularly for employment purposes. These guidelines are also intended to protect applicants from unfair decisions that may result from inappropriate uses of scores. As you begin to use GRE scores, this website is a valuable resource to help you learn everything you need to know about GRE score scales, test content, test design and more.


GRE Guide to the Use of Scores

Learn about the appropriate uses of GRE scores

Using GRE Scores for Employment Purposes

Review important information for consideration in the use of GRE scores by employers