How Questions on the PHR/SPHR Exams Are Formed - dummies

How Questions on the PHR/SPHR Exams Are Formed

By Sandra M. Reed

Both the PHR and SPHR exams are multiple choice with four possible options. The stems, or premise of the question, are phrased in a few different ways.

Direct questions

These types of items ask a specific question, usually offering background information or a summary. Here is an example of a direct question.

  1. What type of interview bias is the result of the interviewer applying a widely held but not necessarily true characteristic to an applicant, often based on a protected class characteristic?

    (A) Similar to me

    (B) Stereotype

    (C) Discrimination

    (D) Horn effect

    The correct answer is (B).

Incomplete statements

Traditionally recognized as a fill-in-the-blank style, these types of questions ask you to finish a thought or statement. The following example illustrates this type of question.

  1. A stereotype is an example of interview__________?

    (A) Bias

    (B) Discrimination

    (C) Judgment

    (D) Error

    The correct answer is (A).

Scenario questions

Scenario questions are phrased to mirror typical HR situations. They’re designed to measure how well you’re able to apply your knowledge to a work simulation. Especially on the SPHR exam, you may be given one scenario in which two or three questions follow. You should be able to apply facts from multiple functional areas. When you encounter these questions, be prepared to first take a broad view and then strip it down to what the question is really asking.

  1. Kendall is a recruiter interviewing several candidates for an accounting clerk position. He rates Iris, an Asian female candidate very highly qualified, mainly because he has heard that Asian people are highly intelligent and good at math. This is an example of what kind of interviewer bias?

    (A) Unlawful discrimination

    (B) Bias

    (C) Stereotype

    (D) The halo effect

    The correct answer is (C).