Hiring Assessments Make a Difference

Why use hiring assessments? When I ask prospects about why they don’t, they say that I can tell a good one from a poor one just by talking with them, you know, I use my gut. I will often try a bit more logic with them but I usually end up walking away because they are dead-set on using their gut while their turnover rate increases and their productivity rate continues its downward trend. By the way, the difference in productivity between an average hire and an excellent hire is about 30%!

An analogy I’ve borrowed from a good friend of mine in the assessment business is asking the client if they’ve ever purchased a used car and if they did, did they have a third party mechanic look over the car and provide an objective account of its condition. The mechanic will tell you whether the car is in good shape, poor shape or someplace in between. The mechanic could come back with something like this: “the brakes will need to be replaced in 5,000 miles and the transmission fluid is dirty. Otherwise, the car looks in fine shape.” With the information, the buyer can return to the seller and make an informed decision. The buyer could say, no deal; or how about replacing the brakes and the transmission fluid and then I’ll have my mechanic look it over again. Or, perhaps the buyer could try to get a reduce price since the brakes and transmission fluid needs replacing. Again, the buyer has objective data with which to make an informed buying decision.

That’s what valid and reliable hiring assessments can do for you when you are looking to hire someone. It provides the selecting official with an objective view of the candidates cognitive, behaviors and interests which have bearing on the position that is to be filled. The results are compared against a performance model which is created by assessing the best of the best in a job category who have 18-24 months in the job. Why this time frame? Because you want to compare against those who are excelling and not those who are taking their time to get the job right.

The reports helps the selecting official to focus their interview if they want to interview at all. If you want objective data that is reliable about the person you are interviewing, then you know where the interview needs to go if you are going to consider hiring the candidate.

In the last year, I have been working with a nation-wide client whose retention rate in a customer service position went from 30% to 95% retention in about six months. The use of assessments reduced the turnover rate by two-thirds? That’s a lot.

So what do you think?

Talent Doesn’t Guarantee Success

At July’s Wimbledon’s Tennis Championship, Roger Federer won his 15th Grand Slam tournament title surpassing Pete Sampras’s total of 14. He is regarded by many as the greatest tennis player in modern times. You can parallel his successes with Tiger Woods’ major tournament wins. Tiger has won 14 majors and is on track to pass Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18. I think everyone knowledgeable of the game of golf would say that Tiger’s game is complete from tee to green.
No one can argue that both of these athletes have great talent but talent alone doesn’t guarantee success. As I continue to follow Tiger’s career, I am always impressed with his unrelenting quest to continue to improve. Here is one of the greatest golfers in the world and he uses a coach to help him to get his game to as near perfection as possible. Now if Tiger knows he needs a coach, why is it that we are reluctant to be open to coaching to improve ourselves?
I think the problem is that we view coaching or seeking help or admitting that we are wrong or that we don’t know, as a sign of weakness. I don’t think Tiger views it that way. What both Woods and Federer possess besides a natural talent in their sport is an unrelenting discipline and desire to continue to improve.
So how does that translate to the business world? First of all, ask yourself if you really like what you do every day for a living. I bet many of you do not which is a big part of the problem. When we go to a job we hate, where we can’t use our talents, it becomes a barrier to get better at something we don’t like to do in the first place.
If you are in a job where you don’t think you are using your talents, then establish a goal for yourself to get into a job you love. I know this isn’t the best time to walk away from a job but that isn’t what I’m suggesting. Now is the time to get the training, experience, schooling that you need to make that move when the economy improves if your company won’t recognize and take advantage of your talents. Remember, if you aren’t constantly trying to improve your talents, then you aren’t a professional. Professionals are always trying to get move to the next level. Think of Tiger and Roger.
From a manager’s or owner’s standpoint, you must be aware of the talents your employees possess. One of your responsibilities is to help your employees to stretch and grow. If you recall from an earlier article I wrote, we often have rabbits in swimming jobs and fish trying to do the running. It is called job-fit. That’s why you need to use total person assessments for both hiring and for developing and coaching your employees. DiSC™ and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™ are great for improving teamwork and communications but they do not have the intensity to measure a person’s cognitive abilities, behavioral traits and interests.
If people are the company and not just “assets”, then owners and managers must continue to invest in their people. First, it means hiring the right person into a job; second, help that employee use his or her talents to the fullest by providing training, developmental opportunities and coaching if necessary; third, use assessments to get some objective data about the people who work for you. After all, they are the company!

©Greg Maciolek – Integrated Management Resources, Inc. August 2009

Greg Maciolek is President and Founder of Integrated Management Resources, Inc., Knoxville,TN. Greg is a keynote speaker, workshop facilitator and author. He focuses on assessments for hiring, promoting and developing staff, leadership development, executive coaching and is a workforce expert. He can be contacted by email at greg.maciolek@imrtn.com or by phone at 865.675.5901. Website is www.imrtn.com

This article may be used in professional newsletters provided the author information is included and the article isn’t edited. Please provide a courtesy copy or link to Greg if it is used. Thanks.