Getting It Right the First Time

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Getting It Right the First Time

How assessment tests can help you hire a good fit.

In today’s ever-tightening labor market, few would argue about the importance of optimizing your hiring process so every dollar is getting used effectively, whether you’re looking for a truss designer, an office manager, or a sawyer. What you hear in an interview or read in a resumé isn’t always what you get. Hiring someone because they looked good on paper or interviewed well doesn’t guarantee that person will jive with the team or even show up consistently.

Mike Ruede, executive vice president of A-1 Roof Trusses in Fort Pierce, Florida, states the problem with past hiring practices concisely. “You get hired for what you know,” he says, “and fired for who you are.”

Determining who people really are is the key to successful hiring. According to a 2014 trends report from business advisory company CEB, 62 percent of human resources professionals are using personality tests to vet candidates in the hiring process, up more than 12 percent since 2010. Many component manufacturers are now using a variety of tools to better assess potential employees to make sure they are a good fit for both the position and the company culture.

Assessment tests are valuable in the process of “learning to identify the people you can mold,” says Luis Arrarte, A-1’s HR director. “Companies need to assess candidates not to build components, but to build careers,” he explains. “A prospect needs to be assessed for skill for the job, but [we also need to determine if he or she] will feel fulfilled in this line of work.”

Of the dozens of personality tests available online these days, two assessment tools have risen to the top for use by CMs. The Predictive Index® Behavioral Assessment (PI) is “a must for anyone in employment,” claims Scott Ward, principal at Southern Components, Inc. in Shreveport, Louisiana. “We believe in it,” he says of this assessment, after a year and three months of using it. “It was a big investment, but worth it. I have yet to have it fail me.”

The PI uses a series of words to determine an individual’s perception of what others expect from them as well as one’s perception of how those same words reflect who they really are. The assessment measures four areas: A) Dominance, B) Extraversion, C) Patience and D) Formality. Scott explains that they look at these results simply as “how aggressive you are, how chatty you are, how patient you are and how precise you are.” Based on the position that is being filled, they have an idea of what they want to see on the applicant’s PI results. For example, a management position may be best for someone with higher dominance and extraversion scores, while truss designers usually require more patience and formality and less extroversion. “We use it to make sure someone is the right fit for the position,” says Scott.

The Wonderlic “is more about baseline aptitude,” he says. Best known for its use in the NFL’s Scouting Combine, the Wonderlic is used to gauge an applicant’s job, educational, and training potential. According to Wikipedia, this timed test includes “analogies, analysis of geometric figures, arithmetic, direction following, disarranged sentences, judgment, logic, proverb matching, similarities, and word definitions.” While a certain score is usually required for specific positions, Scott says they review each individual’s score “case-by-case, taking the other assessments into account.”

The Bottom Line on Assessment Tests

While not necessarily a silver bullet for today’s labor woes, knowledge is still power, and these tools allow CMs to have a clearer picture of a potential hire before making the investment. Most would agree with the words of Amazon founder, chairman and CEO, Jeff Bezos: “I’d rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person.” 

About the Author: Mindy Caldwell explores how component manufacturers find success growing market share and building their employment base. Visit sbcindustry.com/wfd for more information about assessing prospective employees.