Archives for August 2012

5 Answers To FAQs About Pre-Employment Testing.

How Safe Are Personality Tests?1. I have heard that testing is not legal. Is that true?

That is clearly not true. In fact, proper use of good assessments can provide the most effective documentation of objective and nondiscriminatory hiring practices. Most legal issues occur when those instruments are used inconsistently or improperly. It is important to consult with individuals who are knowledgeable in such applications. Too often companies have failed to gain the benefits of new assessment technology because of conservative but uninformed advice. In today’s competitive world, businesses can no longer afford not to explore every possible competitive advantage.

2. Won’t some people be offended by being asked to complete a test?

Certainly, but if some people are offended by a company’s sincere and professional efforts to ensure the success of their employees through effective job matching, it is a small price to pay for the overall benefits to all employees in the company. Think of this way… if an applicant refused to complete your resume, provide references, or answer interview questions, how would you proceed? An assessment is no different. If an applicant refuses to complete any part of the application process, it’s a good indication about how he might challenge his job responsibilities.

3. Aren’t there some people who just don’t do well on tests?

The inherent concept in the newest assessment technology is that all people are good at something, but no one is good at everything. That includes testing. In general, most people are anxious about taking any kind of assessment. This reaction has been conditioned by years in school, where passing or failing a test determined an individual’s class standing. Other tests such as driving tests or medical tests also contributed to this attitude. This is why it is important to explain the purpose of any test or assessment to all candidates before it is given. Right and wrong answers do not exist for many pre-employment assessment tests. They merely assess personality traits and personal values and then match them to job benchmarks. Outliers are not wrong but indicate that individual might need to adjust extra hard to be successful if hire. Skill tests, like Excel, typing, and math tests, on the other hand, do have right and wrong answers. People who don’t do well taking tests will certainly be affected by technical and administrative type tests. Many of the latest instruments provide preliminary messages that do exactly that and put the candidate at ease.

It is important to recognize that people with poor skills will seldom be enthusiastic when asked to take a test to measure those skills. People with performance problems will not be enthusiastic about completing an assessment to see how their abilities match a particular job. That is exactly why assessments are a vital part of today’s business world. Effective assessment instruments can identify the critical areas that people do not want to reveal, but that the business must know in order to make the best decision.

4. Our selection process is rather long now. How can we find time to fit in any tests?

The use of good assessments tends to collapse the time needed for selection decisions, not make it longer. Using a 10 -15 minute instrument such as PeopleClues Personality fit enables an employer to effectively screen out unsuitable candidates before spending substantial amounts of interviewing time with them. By focusing the selection efforts on those candidates that are most likely to succeed, employers can not only make faster decisions but more accurate decisions. By accelerating the hiring decision, employers also become more competitive at capturing talent in their job market.

5. We use a customized interview system that seems to be effective. Do we also need testing?

Customized interview systems, behavioral event-based interviewing, targeted interviewing, and competency-based interviewing are all sound methods for identifying potentially successful job candidates. Several systems use bio-data surveys to profile successful employees and then attempt to match interviewees to that profile. These programs can be an effective part of an employer’s hiring process. They, however, lack the objective measurement of current assessments. As more people become involved with the interviewing, the system becomes more vulnerable to the subjective differences of each individual interviewer. The process also requires a substantial amount of interviewing time to accomplish the screening that newer instruments such as PeopleClues can do in a matter of minutes. These instruments even provide behavioral interview questions based on the individual characteristics of the candidates. By screening candidates before in-depth interviews, the process is made much more efficient. PeopleClues and other pre-employment tests provide recommended interview questions in each employee assessment report, and then you can have the best of both worlds.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly
online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention
strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe,
president of Success Performance Solutions
and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation.
Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in
the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.


Good Data Missing When It Comes to Prediciting Hiring Succes

The truth be told, many companies that create sophisticated and rigorous employee screening and selection processes are based on gut, not facts, and the result is often a lot of theoretical and academic bull____. Bottom line: most managers have no clue what it really takes for an employee to be successful on the job and within a company.

Considering that payroll and associated employee costs make up the highest expense in almost all companies, it behooves every employer to track and analyze the data.

According to a recent article in Human Resources Executive Online, improved data analytics by human resources in the area of recruiting could have a tremendous impact on the bottom line.

United States employers collectively spend about $124 billion a year on recruiting, according to Bersin & Associates, and almost $6 trillion on payroll, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With that level of spending, small improvements in outcomes can easily be worth billions or tens of billions of dollars.

The processes used by companies to screen and select employees are highly questionable. Research shows again and again the fallibility of the interview and yet many organizations still rely in it as the sole screening method.

Research has consistently shown, however, that most interviewers aren’t skilled enough to really assess a candidate’s capabilities. One study found that interviews are substantially less predictive of candidate quality than simply looking at their resume or checking their references. Another study found that the even untrained observers can predict the outcome of most job interviews after watching the first 15 seconds.

The HRE article highlights several additional screening techniques that defy logic when you attempt to quantify results:

Job hoppers and the unemployed: Researchers at Evolv looked at the data and found no predictive value in looking at how many jobs a person recently held. “Candidates with five jobs in five years were no more of an attrition risk than candidates with only one. Candidates who had been unemployed were no more or less likely to quit or be terminated. Screening out job hoppers and the unemployed serves no purpose.”

Criminal background checks: 92 percent of SHRM member companies use criminal background checks as part of their standard hiring process. Despite the widespread usage,

Numerous studies have found that criminal convictions, especially old ones, aren’t predictive of any future bad behavior. One study, titled Predicting the Counterproductive Employee in a Child-to-Adult

Prospective Study, found that crimes committed before a person entered the workforce had no predictive value for any “counterproductive workplace behaviors.” Another study found that people with records who stay arrest-free for four to five years are only as likely as the average person to be arrested again. A third study found that, for people arrested when they’re 18, their risk of re-arrest drops to that of the normal population by around age 25.

Here’s another example. What about requirements to have a high school diploma vs. a 2- or 4-year college degree? How are these requirements determined? I have yet to find a single client who can validate that a 4 year degree is better than a 2 year degree compared to 10 years of experience is more predictive of success on the job. And yet, nearly every job description includes some minimum education or experience requirement. Who sets these limits? Often times, it is set at a notch below the minimum level of the manager. Others just claim rest their hiring decisions on the false sense of security that a 4 year degree is better than a 2 year degree….or none at all.

The quality of the workforce is becoming increasingly important as a differentiator and competitive advantage. The right approach to measuring quality of hire and using good data to guide decisions has a tremendous impact on hiring outcomes. A key objective of all human resource professionals must be to deliver to their employers the best workforce for the money. This is one of the key areas where HR can deliver true strategic value. Yet, for most recruiting organizations, “quality of hire” isn’t measured or tracked against a target.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.

What DISC Can Tell You About Employees Who Bend the Rules vs. Live Life By The Book.

Hiring ManagerWhat makes some people slow down on yellow while others speed up? So why is it that so many people wait until the last minute when they know the deadline won’t pass and the penalties are stiff for ignoring it? And why do some people try to beat the red light while others cautiously slow down?

One answer lies in DISC behavioral styles. A very popular profile test uses the letters D-I-S-C to describe four different styles, or individual preferences. The “C” represents one style and it describes the behavior of people who are energized with “complying” by rules set by other people vs those who prefer to write their own rules.

As individuals energized by Compliance tend to file taxes early and slow down on yellow, low C individuals tend to demonstrate their independence by challenging the deadline (and the light) and testing the rules. The low “C” may file a tax extension even if they are owed money while the high “C” may file early when they owe the government money. Regardless if an individual is high “C” or low “C,” the job may get done – each individual will just do it differently according to their preferred DISC style.

How does the high C/low C scenario play out at work?

Let’s say an office meeting is scheduled for 8:00 AM. High C people set their alarm a few minutes early on the day of the meeting – just in case the traffic is bad. In fact, they may set two alarms. You never know when you might sleep through the first one. They arrive in the office fifteen minutes early. They are usually the first to arrive. They make the coffee and clean up the counter, fill their coffee cups and are in their seats waiting for the others to arrive at least five minutes before the top of the hour.

Middle or situational Cs also may set their alarms early. But hitting the snooze button one time won’t hurt. In fact, they might have even set the clock a few minutes fast just to fake themselves out. They leave their home fifteen minutes before 8:00 AM. Of course it takes twelve minutes on a good day to get to work on time. On this day, they arrive just a minute or two early but stop off in the break room to re-fill their coffee cups before joining the meeting. They enter the meeting room “around 8” to the chagrin of the high Cs who were ready to begin promptly at eight.

The meeting begins. Noticeably missing are a few key employees. These empty seats of course belong to low Cs. These individuals had all intentions of leaving home early and being on time. Unfortunately, they woke up just a few minutes late after hitting the snooze one too many times. Then they forgot it was garbage day. The dog needed to be walked – and of course, Fido decided to take a long walk this day. And where oh where did those car keys go? Finally they arrive at the meeting at 8:23. Hey, what’s twenty minutes or so when the real discussion doesn’t ever start right away. “Sorry I’m late”, they say and then go on to describe why they are late this time. You can just picture the glares and disgust directed at them from the high Cs.

Each style can write its own workplace scenario. By understanding the DISC model employers and employees alike can understand how different approaches to solving problems, interacting with people, responding to the pace of the environment, and complying with procedures impact individual and team performance. CriteriaOne DISC is a simple tool that gets big results.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.