The best Integrity Test is the Profiles Step One Survey II.

It has proven results, is fast, and cost-effective.

Integrity tests are an essential component of all good hiring practices.  Obviously, some industries suffer more than others from theft and fraud; industries such as security, retail, construction, hospitality, or any industry that uses seasonal workers or has a high turnover.

FAQ:  Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why Do You Need a Pre-Employment Integrity Test? (4 Reasons)

Honest firms sell more and – despite higher costs – achieve higher profits. [1] Employee theft and fraud cost employers in excess of  $400 billion a year.  So, you can see that there is a big upside and a very big downside.

One of the measurements on the assessment is what dishonesty and lack of integrity will employees tolerate from other employees.  Unfortunately, choosing to “not see” the dishonest behavior has two important consequences for your culture:

     (1). Dishonesty Fosters a Toxic Culture.

     (2). Dishonesty is Contagious and Will Spread.

  • For instance, Cialdini’s team tracked the theft of petrified wood from a national park. When a sign mentioned that “many past visitors” had taken wood, theft rates spiked from below 3% to nearly 8%. [3]
  • Additionally, research has found if a senior team tolerates opportunistic behavior, employees are more likely to commit accounting fraud and insider trading [4] (which is why hiring for top positions needs to include both the Fit Test (PXT Select) and the Integrity Test (Step One Survey II®).

     (3). Fortunately, Honest Behavior is also Contagious and Will Spread.

Spending time, money, and effort to get honest employees pays handsomely in the long run.

On a positive note, If a company’s CEO has served in the military, for example, it is 70% less likely to engage in corporate fraud compared with similar organizations. [4]

     (4). And, Finally the Fourth Reason is Because People are Poor Judges of Others’ Integrity

    • Top Executives Were Not Always Accurate in Their Self-Evaluation of Dealing with Dishonesty:In a survey of 16,000 managers across nearly 500 companies, top executives were 24% more likely to say that they addressed unethical behavior quickly and consistently….
      compared with how well middle managers thought the C-suite dealt with unethical actions.[4]
    • Skeptical managers are poor judges of character [2]

2. What Does the Integrity Test (Step One Survey II®) Measure?

Chart Scale

It has 4 subscales and measures the following:

  1. Honesty

  2. Substance abuse

  3. Reliability

  4. Work ethic

But, on a broader level, the Integrity Test (Step One Survey II®) will give you two overviews:

  • What am I willing to admit I’ve done?

  • What am I willing to tolerate?

These are two entirely different measures from each other, but both will impact your organizational culture.  Perhaps a person is honest himself but will ignore dishonest behavior when he/she sees someone else engaging in it.

3. What Does the Integrity Test Report Include?

All reports present the results in graphic and narrative form and describes the individual in a positive manner.

  • Section One of the report summarizes admissions of acts with which the employer might be concerned.

    These might include theft, drug use, absenteeism, tardiness, etc.

This section also has a Verbal Interviewing Guide consisting of suggested interview questions. The interview questions should be asked in order to clarify your understanding of the applicant.

When an applicant openly admits to a particular behavior, discussing that behavior may prove valuable to the hiring process.

  • Section Two of the Step One Survey II® report describes the applicant’s significant attitudes

    and compares them to the attitudes of people with histories of success as employees and with the attitudes of people who have been convicted of fraud, theft, and drug abuse.

In the process of constructing the SOS, the sample group made up of trusted, long-term employees tended to post high scores in Section Two.

4. Is the Integrity Test Reliable and Valid? (Convicts vs. Model Employees)

Yes, on both.  It is interesting how the study was conducted to get solid results.

They used two groups to validate the tool: Incarcerated individuals and model employees.

For the incarcerated group, their offenses grouped generally as 50% theft, 35% substance abuse, 5% other (kidnapping, murder, weapons offenses, etc.), and 10% unknown. At the same time, the same instrument was given to current employees of a major retailer.
This population comprised over 400 employees, with the “model employees” setting the standard.

For those incarcerated, none of the group scored higher than a 4 on any of the scales.  For the model employees, none of them scored less than a 5 on any of the scales.

Obviously, people fall on a continuum with honesty and integrity (and the assessment will pick that up).

For instance, in one study where the researchers were testing people’s willingness to lie to a partner in a game,

  • 14% of people always chose to be truthful (even if lying would have benefited them)
  • 14% chose to lie whenever they stood to gain
  • The rest reacted in variable ways to incentives, sometimes lying and sometimes not,
  • except for one participant who always lied, regardless of circumstances. [5]

5. The Fascinating Psychology of Integrity Tests: Why Would Someone Answer Honestly?

Integrity tests ask very direct questions about honesty and integrity.  For instance, one question might be:  Have you ever stolen? You might say to yourself, “Wouldn’t the interviewer just lie about having stolen?”  No and here’s why.  Dishonest people assume everyone is dishonest (just like honest people assume everyone is honest).  The psychological term is called Projection. Everyone projects onto other people what is inside of us.

Here’s their reasoning:

Question:  Have you ever stolen?

Reasoning:  If I answer “No,” they will know I’m lying because everyone steals.  So, I will answer it honestly.  By contrast, a honest person will simply answer “No.”

Though I find the psychology fascinating, the test has high validity and reliability, so its results can be trusted.

6. Are You Using Drug Screening & Background Tests?  This is an Inexpensive Alternative.

Any company that has a drug screening test and criminal background check.  These can be very expensive tests (often costing in the hundreds) and are used often just as a point of elimination.

A much less expensive option is to use the SOS II at only 32.00.

Use this assessment to eliminate the most egregious cases and then opt to use the more expensive options afterward (if they are still warranted).

7. Do you recommend using BOTH the Integrity Test (Step One Survey II®)

and the Hire for Fit Test for managers?

Yes.  Most companies use both because they measure entirely different things and most importantly, by using both together, you get closer to a healthy culture.  “More than 90% of North American CEOs and CFOs believe that improving their corporate culture would boost financial performance.

Most of these executives ranked a healthy culture as one of the top three among all factors — including strategy, innovation, brand, patents, and others — in terms of its impact on results.”

8. How Much Does the Integrity Test (Step One Survey II®) Cost?


Contact me if you wish to buy in bulk.

9. Integrity Test: Step One Survey II® Parameters

  1. Step One Survey II® is a pre-employment tool. It must never be used with your present employees.
  2. Never violate the privacy rights of job applicants. Federal, and many State laws, require the SOS reports and results be retained and protected in a confidential and proprietary manner. Survey booklets and reports for all applicants must be kept confidential.Only those directly involved in the hiring decisions may see them. Step One Survey II® does not detect or measure mental disorders, mental impairment, sexual deviance, or tendencies to commit violent acts. It will not identify or predict these types of behavior or conditions.
  3. SOS, or other integrity-type instruments, cannot be used in Massachusetts or Hawaii. Although Rhode Island allows integrity testing, the results of these tests cannot be used as the sole reason for rejecting an applicant

Integrity Tests are very inexpensive options compared to the costs of hiring dishonest, unreliable employees.

By pre-selecting persons with integrity, you set yourself (and your company) up to succeed.  You will create a healthy, honest culture that will attract more honest, hard-working employees.  Win-win.


  1. Pigors, M. and R. Bettina, The competitive advantage of honesty. European Economic Review, 2016. 89: p. 407-424, .
  2. Grant, D.A., Instead of Monitoring Employees, Try Motivating Them, in Psychology Today. 2013, .
  3. Cialdini, R.B., et al., Managing social norms for persuasive impact Social Influence, 2005. 1(1): p. 3-15, .
  4. Sull, D. and C. Sull, How to Fix a Toxic Culture. MIT Sloan Management Review, 2022, .
  5. Gneezy, U., Rockenbach, B., & Serra-Garcia, M. (2012). Measuring Lying Aversion. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Retrieved from


(Using Knowledge You Already Have)

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