Testing to Avoid Hiring Mistakes

Personality Testing May Forecast Doomed Employee Relationships Excerpt From Article By: Scott Cytron from Pro2NET

Let’s face it. In today’s era of low unemployment, the market isn’t exactly flush with eager applicants who will say “yes” to the first job offer that comes their way.


At the same time, companies can’t be too lax on their hiring either. The average hiring mistake costs a company an average of $17,000 to $20,000 – and today’s businesses just can’t afford to take a risk without ensuring that the risk is, well, insured.

Too often, a company presents a serious offer to a person that seemed to interview well and has the appearance — on the surface, at least – of possessing the skills required for the job. Once on site, however, the relationship is doomed both for the company and the individual. The manager does not relate to the employee because of a personality conflict, and the employee’s skills just aren’t a good match for the job.

Pre-planning is somewhat necessary, and for years, companies have used various tests to ascertain whether an applicant is right for the job. But do these tests still make sense in today’s hiring scenarios?

Tests Work in Many Cases Although there are a variety of tests or evaluation tools available in today’s human resources environment, which ones should a company give and how does it determine which are most effective?

Bert Zinkand is president of Employee Selection and Development Inc. (www.employeeselect.com) in Bradenton, Fla., and has made a living by encouraging companies to test applicants prior to hiring. In business for 10 years, he has several measurement tools and options for companies to consider, but advises that his clients should follow a definitive, three-step approach. The results: Zinkand’s tools have reduced company turnover by 50 percent if a company follows his formula.

“Our tests are used to find out if a person is naturally compatible with what a company is going to ask them to do,” he said. “The goal is to find out not only if the person is going to fit the job responsibilities, but fit into the company’s corporate environment as well.”

For starters, an applicant can be tested and benchmarked on a “Baseline.” The applicant’s results are compared to a larger, industrial database and matched against collected scores. The second test measures skills, and is generally administered after the person’s scores are totaled.

“If you find someone compatible to the company based on the baseline, that isn’t nearly enough to make sure the person is the right ‘fit’ for the job,” Zinkand said. “You also have to see if he or she has the right skill set to do the job. If not, the company needs to determine if it must train the applicant and what the incurring costs would be.

The third and final piece of the puzzle is to determine if the applicant is naturally compatible to the manager. This also is the step that Zinkand says most companies fail to do. With his tools, the manager and applicant both take personality tests that measure whether the applicant is goal-oriented, persuasive, confident, aggressive, detail-oriented and organized. If there is more than a four-point spread in results, the relationship has the potential for conflict.”

One of Zinkand’s success stories is Builders First Choice, a company that hires people to sell houses in developments for developers. There is quite a bit of front-end marketing and sales required, and Builders Choice hired Employee Selection and Development to ensure new hires will be a good match for the skills and personality required. As a result, over the last two years, turnover reduced by 36 percent.

“If a person is too aggressive, then he or she could be a bull in a china shop and roll over the customers,” he says. “While we want the aggressive trait in salespeople, we also want to ensure they don’t have so much of it that they are not in tune with the customer and do not close the sale.”

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