Why Use a Test?
Research into employee hiring has made some interesting finds. The more confident hiring specialists seem to be about their ability to pick the right candidate, the less successful they appear to be at doing it. This holds true regardless of the size of the business. Small businesses owners may be particularly prone to error. They are highly skilled and worked hard to build a successful company—this gives them confidence in picking employees but overall business success does not always automatically translate to being adept at choosing who will work for you. Lacking in-house HR staff may also put a damper on successfully navigating the hiring process.With the internet making it easier for boatloads of qualified applicants to apply for jobs, you need tools that will help you narrow down the best choices. Testing provides a nice counter to going with gut instinct alone. Applying validated, consistent approaches to hiring (whether it be assessment testing or any other method), will lead to more successful hires over the long-term.
Choosing a Test
There is no shortage of tests out there to help you in the hiring process, and it is important to go over options carefully to find the one that will best meet your needs, and give you the information most important to your hiring process. First and foremost, examine what the test aims to measure and accomplish. How do the findings benefit your business in particular? What sort of job analysis tool is available? Is the test free of bias in regards to ethnicity, gender and age? Is the test reliable, meaning scores are consistent and replicable over time? Does the test successfully predict important professional behaviors that affect things like sales, customer service or employee turnover? Is there ongoing research about various aspects of the assessment to fine tune the test? Then there are issues of implementing the test. You have to consider cost, time to take the test, scalability, vendor support and how much you will be able to do on your own once you go through initial training in the test.
What about Cheating?
One of the biggest concerns about using personality tests is that people will cheat on the test, and simply provide the answers they believe the company is looking for. This is a valid concern, and there is no way to bulletproof yourself against this 100 percent. But, there are ways to identify possible cheaters and prevent the likelihood that people will answer the questions dishonestly. Many vendors have analysis tools that can help you identify if people may have been answering dishonestly. For example, lots of answers on the extreme end of the scale, such as ‘’strongly agree’’ or ‘’strongly disagree’’, depending on the nature of the questions, may suggest they are trying to manipulate results.
You will be trained in how to interpret the results and identify subtleties in answer patterns that can indicate someone was not answering honestly, either because he was lying outright, was hoping to tell you what you wanted to hear in the hopes of making it to the next phase of the interview process or simply overestimating his skills and abilities. Monitor the test takers rather than providing an online test that can be done anywhere. Use two tests instead of one—many companies offer companion tests that each focus on a different aspect of evaluation. Tell test takers that they will be talking about their answers should they be chosen for an interview. Interviews should be based at least partially on the test results—many vendors provide guidance for using the test results as part of the interview process.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about all things business. If you are looking for a tool to help assess sales candidates, she recommends Sales Test.