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By Bill

By

 Bill Schult CBA, CBMA

                                                         

There are plenty of assessments that are validated for other purposes. Many of these can be categorized as Style or Type assessments. This group of assessments are most often used for team building, identifying a person’s leadership style, behavioral style or type, communication style and perhaps his/her sales style. It is important to understand that while these are very good things to measure, a person’s style or type may not be a factor in determining job performance.

 We have all witnessed the consultant who has attempted to convince his/her client that his/her assessment has credibility. They will say the assessment has been given to a similar group of workers, the scores have been calculated and a benchmark created. Be careful of this approach! That average or benchmark means nothing. It is the average of the best, the average and the below average. It does not mean it predicts job success.

 Since becoming certified in identifying, understanding and appreciating behavior in the mid 70’s it has become agonizingly apparent to me that attempting to hire a job candidate on behavior alone is courting disaster.

 A person’s behavioral type or style, by itself, is not a valid indicator of his/her potential for success in a specific job. There are many tools in use that predict behavior in a general or overall sense, but they do not predict job performance or are they job related. In order for an assessment to predict the potential for job success they must be validated against job performance.

 So does this mean you can’t use personality assessments to predict the potential for job success? Not at all! But, you will need to use personality assessments that were designed for the selection process. The assessment must be job related and validated against a given job and the performance required to be successful in that job.

 This will almost always eliminate the use of Ipsative assessments for selection purposes. This type of assessment uses the Most – Least word descriptor approach to identify a person’s personal preferences. It can provide insight into the person him/herself, but not validated information to be used to make a selection decision. This type of assessment does not provide the necessary or right type of information to do a true validation study.

 Good assessments consist of measuring the factors that contribute to job success. These factors are obtained by psychologists conducting well-constructed job studies to determine the personality traits that actually contribute to job success. They gather data of on the job performance for top and bottom performing job incumbents, along with collecting performance ratings of supervisors and managers and production in the case of salespeople.

 Why collect data for a validation study on top and bottom performers? Good question! A well-validated assessment should have the ability to predict potential success, as well as the potential for job failure.

 This is why a “one test fits all” mentality comes into question. Different jobs have different success patterns. One test cannot come close to measuring the varied and numerous traits and abilities necessary to perform a given job successfully.

 Don’t be fooled or talked into “benchmarking” your top performers. They are good compared to what? What if your top producers looked exactly like your bottom producers? Was the benchmark valid, did it predict success? Maybe and maybe not! Benchmarking only your top performers is a formula for EEOC disaster.

 Yet, a client will say, “I want to test my top performers and create an average, so I can hire more people that look like the average of my top performers.” That’s not a good idea. Averages can mask the differences between co-workers. In a recent article, benchmarking was described by saying, “If you averaged the athletic ability of all the members of the top professional team and compared that to the average of the bottom professional team in the league, you would see very few differences.

Both numbers may be fun, intellectual exercises, but tell you nothing about test scores and performance.” A good validity study will demonstrate that high scores match high performance and low scores match low performance. That’s validity, developing averages is not validity.

 So what counts in using personality assessments in the selection process? What contributes to success on the job must be identified, defined and measured.

 Once those steps have been completed a true study of the top and under performers in the job in question can begin. Typically, psychologists collect data on a minimum of 150 individuals and as high as 300 or more. Assessment scores are collected, along with performance ratings for each group and the results are statistically analyzed.

 For the assessment to predict success on the job there must be a mean difference between the test scores and performance ratings. Without being able to correlate assessment scores with performance an assessment is not useful in the selection process. It is wise to use an assessment developed specifically for selection to use in your hiring process.

 How do I have a validation study conducted for a job in my 0rganization?

 First, you can use assessments that have already been validated for jobs that are similar to jobs in your organization. This allows you to begin using validated assessments without having to make a large investment of money.

 The second method is for you contract with a reputable psychological firm to conduct your in house validation study mentioned earlier in this article.

 I often hear the question, “Are assessments legal?” The short answer is, yes! When you compare your present process of mostly subjective interview techniques and the lack of a structured interview process to avoid what is called a “soft interview.” This is where candidates for the same job are asked different questions by the interviewers. Interview questions that are not criterion and face validated, coupled with hiring to jobs that do not have defined job requirements are a formula for hiring poor performers.

 Compare those legal issues to an assessment where the job has been well researched and defined. Assessments where validation studies conducted by licensed psychologists have identified the personality traits that actually contributes to success in the job. Assessments that have been constructed to identify those personality traits contributing to job success and predict the candidate’s probability of success on the job improve your potential to make a more informed hiring decision.

By Bill Schult Sr

Hiring the wrong people can be disastrous for the new employee, the boss, and the organization.

He's late for work every day. He ignores your directives. Other employees have to make up for his poor quality work. Your staff is wondering how he got hired and, frankly, you're asking yourself the same question.

Hiring is likely to be a manager's most important responsibility. While making the right hiring decisions can make your job a dream, choosing the wrong people can lead to a workplace nightmare.

The most common reasons why the wrong people get hired are some of the easiest to avoid. Take time to inventory your own hiring practices, checking to see if any of the following problems are contributing to costly hiring mistakes in your organization:

1. You don't have time to do the job right. The pressures of time and expense can easily get in the way of putting together a quality, systematic approach to staffing. Yet hire a $35,000-per-year employee and the five-year investment is nearly $210,000. If you were choosing a $200,000 copier you'd probably assemble a task force and spend a week or more investigating options before making a recommendation. Taking the time to hire right will prevent hasty decisions that may result in costly bad hires.

2. You don't know what you're looking for. If you don't have a clear idea of what you're looking for, you probably aren't going to find it. Too often, employers jump right into interviewing people before defining the duties of the job and qualifications candidates need to fill it.

3. You're looking for the wrong things. Make sure the characteristics you're looking for are the ones that make the biggest difference in effective job performance. "Enjoys being with people" is not the same as "provides exceptional customer service."

4. The best candidate doesn't know about the position. Who are you looking for? How do you reach them? More importantly—how do you appeal to them? If you're not effectively marketing your jobs to the right candidates, you'll find your competition hiring the best people while you sift through applications that just don't provide what you need.

5. You base hiring decisions on "gut" feeling. Many hiring decisions are based on gut feeling, often within the first 30 seconds of an interview. While handshakes, posture and grooming are all important, they are not in themselves reliable predictors of success. Research has consistently shown that managers who are not trained in interviewing do no better than random choice in selecting the best candidates. Well designed tests and assessments enhance your opportunity of making a good hiring decision.

6. The wrong candidate didn't get enough information to say no. When you're sold on a candidate, it's natural to touch lightly on the tough challenges of the job. But no matter how qualified, some candidates are simply a bad match for your culture. It's better to have the wrong candidates decide they don't want the position after the first interview than after the second week on the job.

7. You mistake credentials for accomplishment. The resume looks golden, the titles and experiences are impressive, and the history is all there— in fact, it looks like the candidate is doing you a favor by accepting a senior position. But if you don't conduct a rigorous evaluation of the candidate's skills and abilities, you may end up stuck with a poorly performing senior employee and the unenviable task of removing him or her and finding a replacement.

To learn how your organization can benefit from using validated assessments please call us at: 800.416.9570 or email to: joyce@maximumpotential.com

By Bill

Top 5 Online Assessment Myths Exposed

By Bill Schult CBA,CBMA

 

Here are the top 5 myths about online employee selection and development assessments. These are most certainly unfounded myths! Should an organization consider not using assessments based on them, they will hire more underperforming employees than organizations who are using assessments in their hiring process.

1. Take too much time complete

 Some people fear that validated, online assessments will add additional time to their existing HR processes and delay making the final hiring decision. Actually the opposite is true.

 Validated assessments introduce a no-nonsense step into the process that allows more effective decisions to be made more quickly and a better outcome achieved with more confidence. Similarly, when validated assessments are administered online, technology enables the assessment to be administered earlier in the process on more people. This means that HR professionals are provided with objective, non-emotional insight into more candidates that allows them to make valid comparisons and decisions more quickly.

For example, in a recruiting process that does not use validated online assessments, selection decisions must be made manually reviewing non-objective application information such as a resume or the interview . Anyone who has had to do this will tell you just how long this takes and how much fun the process is! By having candidates complete online assessments HR professionals can produce quality final candidates in less than a quarter of the time.

 

2. Expensive

 There is a common misconception that assessment testing is an expensive practice. 

 The investment for using validated assessments is minimal when compared to the cost of turning over 10% of a sales force for example.

 The impact of a bad decision in recruiting, employee development or reorganizing can be enormous in financial terms not to mention the indirect costs of frustration, time delays and unhappy customers.

 

3. Negative candidate experience

 The argument often is that testing is not popular with job candidates and that it leaves a bad taste in their mouth in relation to the recruiting process and their organization.

 Research into candidate feedback has found that a variety of factors can be influenced to ensure positive perceptions of the recruiting process. Good practices include providing appropriate instructions and information regarding the assessment prior to beginning the assessment, appropriate opportunity for communication throughout the process and feedback on completion. This degree of courtesy is seen as being professional and serious about making the right selection decision. 

 Consequently, in this technology driven day and age its actually more likely that candidates will have a negative perception of organizations who are not using online assessments. Why would a recent graduate want to work for an organization still stuck in the dark ages using unwieldy manual processes?

 An organization’s recruitment process is one of the largest marketing campaigns it will run and it is important that all candidates are seen as either prospective new employees or clients.  For this reason it is important that valid assessments be applied to all recruiting processes. Doing so will add to the candidate experience and positive perceptions of the organization.

 

4. Bias

 When used appropriately, online assessments offer a consistent and objective way of comparing candidates free of personal bias. All candidates are compared on the same criteria that have been proven to predict success in a particular job.

 There are some important considerations to apply to ensure industry standards are met.

It is important when selecting a online assessment for any purpose that what you are measuring relates to the outcome you are trying to achieve. In recruiting it is important that the type of assessments used predict outcomes that are related specifically to the job in question

But not only is the selection of assessment type important, but the impact of the comparison group or normative data within the assessment is essential. That is, when someone completes an assessment, their individual responses are compared to a group of individuals to be able to apply meaning to their score. This determines where this individual ‘fits’ in relation to others in the group. In this way, the group that the person is being compared to needs to be relevant to the job. It is important that normative data is regularly reviewed to ensure the data remains up to date and relevant.

 Reputable assessment providers will also offer the ability to create your own competency models. This process enables you to compare a candidate to compare their level of suitability.  

 5. Only appropriate for roles with large volumes of candidates

 The benefits of using assessments for jobs expecting large candidate numbers are obvious. However, it is still worthwhile to use assessments for roles with a limited number of candidates as well. 

 Regardless of the number of candidates your overall goal is the same; to recruit the best possible candidate for the role and the organization.

 In recruiting smaller numbers of candidates  it can be even more important to use assessments as you don’t have the luxury of choice but still need to be confident in your hiring decisions.

 For example, if you were recruiting for a job with only four candidates, how can you be sure (without the use of assessments) whether you’ve recruited the best possible candidate or just the best available candidate at that time to fill the position? Recruiting the right person and recruiting the best available person are two very different things.

 Ongoing business performance and productivity is dependent on the talent and ability of the people that are in an organization and through your recruiting process you are deciding who joins your team. So it is important that there are minimum standards that apply to maintain, if not enhance the levels of productivity and performance of the business over time.

 To learn how your organization can benefit from using validated assessments please call us at: 800.416.9570 or email to: joyce@maximumpotential.com

By Bill Schult Sr

Most people would not choose to build a house on a weak foundation. Why then do leaders risk the company’s future on an untested, inexperienced employee?

To keep them motivated?

To ensure they stay with the company?

But at what cost—to the employee, the employees who work for them and the company.

Yes, if you want to retain your top employees, you must…

  • Give them a reason to stay
  • Find a way to motivate them
  • Reward them.

But, if you reward too much, too fast—it can be dangerous for your entire organization.

In order for companies to retain top talent and stay competitive in today’s market they are engaging in moving selected employees quickly to or through managerial levels in an organization.

5 Reasons Why This is a Dangerous Strategy for Increasing Employee Retention

1. Skills can often be learned; but experience takes time. In order to be an effective leader, your managers need to gain experience in:

  • Correctly identifying and solving problems
  • Framing and making good decisions
  • Dealing with the myriad of people-related issues that confront every manager in every organization
  • Organization course correction
  • Role-based leadership

2. Many times, when your organization engages in Rapid promotions, a new manager will set a new initiative in motion and then leave the position before the impact of the initiative is realized. They are missing the day-to-day experience of interpersonal behaviors and interactions that come with any transition—the intangible. It’s these subtleties that are often missed. And it’s these subtleties and the way you handle them that hones a good leader.

3. Each managerial level brings new challenges and requires different skills and behaviors. Moving too quickly through an organization runs the risk of missing critical experiential learning. Experience is accretive and it is difficult to learn vicariously. What you learn today you use as a framework for how you behave and react tomorrow. Short changing this learning cycle can result in a leader derailing later.

4. When leaders derail because a company engaged in Rapid promotions in order to retain top talent, it creates a disastrous domino effect for the organization as a whole. We all know that the number one reason people leave a company is because of their immediate supervisor. We also know that poor decisions and poor problem solving skills can result in service and profitability deterioration for a company.

5. Rapid promotions create a winner / loser environment within the company. Unless you want to build a highly-competitive, stressful environment and internal culture that makes your employees hate Mondays because it is the start of a work week, creating winners and losers is not a good long term strategy.

Why Companies Engage in Rapid Promotions Even Though it’s Dangerous to the Health of their Organization

Companies need to grow talent internally and ensure smooth management transitions. And the reality is that some industries are disproportionally affected by talent shortages (such as healthcare) and may have no other choice than to promote an employee who is truly not ready to handle the position.

(This is a common practice for technical and clinical staff promoted to management).

So what should you do?

7 Tips for Retaining Top Talent without Hurting Your New Manager, Employees and the Company

1. Develop a succession plan for your company.
This means get committed to a process or structure of internal management and talent development.

2. Identify individuals within the organization who have the potential to move into leadership positions. You should be identifying multiple candidates for each position. Don’t be afraid to take some risks in candidate identification. Not all high potential candidates initially present an outgoing and aggressive demeanor (and remember these qualities do not necessarily ensure a good manager.)

3. Provide the identified individuals with opportunities to take on additional projects to demonstrate their skills as well as their ability to learn and grow. The projects should create the opportunity for the candidates to “live” with the consequences and take responsibility for their actions and decisions.

4. Provide new managers with an internal mentor and an external coach to insure support during the transition process. This support should be for at least six months to one year. This process is referred to as: transition integration.”

5. Give all new managers a personality and job performance assessment. This is a valuable tool in identifying emerging leader attributes and potential risk areas. Now you will be able to enable early intervention and prevention and give the most effective support to the new manager. This is better than the “sink or swim” approach to learning that new managers are often thrown into.

6. Provide all candidates with self-assessment tools and learning opportunities. Do this both within the organization in the form of added responsibilities and through outside learning opportunities such as conferences and executive education programs, professional memberships.

7. Monitor your new manager’s progress (through the supervisor and mentoring and coaching support) and review your succession plan each year. Evaluate the success of the current program and the individuals in the program. Improve where necessary and identify and support new leadership candidates.

Be aware that some candidates simply may not be interested in this more protracted and performance based approach. They may feel threatened or choose to leave. That’s OK too. The risk of promoting too quickly and the derailment that could occur is not worth the harm an unprepared manager can bring to the organization.

Talent is to be developed, not anointed.

By Bill Schult Sr

 

Hiring top sales people is tough. It is not easy to find top performing salespeople. The odds of hiring “A” salespeople are less than 25%. Many organizations have many more marginal, “C” salespeople.  “C” salespeople do not have the right stuff and cannot win the customers your organization really wants. If your organization keeps its poor performing “C” salespeople, they are most certainly going to cost you millions in lost sales, profits and lots of frustration.

Failure to consistently hire top sales people that are a fit for your organization results in another problem, high turnover in your salespeople. In an article in the Wall Street Journal said that turnover costs are $150,000 per sales person on average.

Good news for your organization: you can remedy these problems when you establish a proven process for hiring top salespeople. 

Here is a proven 7-step process for hiring top salespeople:

  1. Determine Your Ideal Salesperson Criteria. What skills, habits, strengths, and motivations do you need? What do top salespeople who sell to your ideal customers actually do?
  2. Attract Top Salespeople. The major online job sites are a good place to start. Write an ad that describes the top salesperson, their experiences and their accomplishments; you want top salespeople to say “that’s me”. For example, “You must have successfully sold services like ____… to people like____. You have earned at least _____. You are good at ___, ____, and _____. You’re looking for a company that ___, ___, and ___.”
  3. Assess All Candidates. Consider letting a well validated and predictive assessment perform your first screen. Don’t look at the resumes of candidates. Many potential top performing salespeople are screened out in this manner. A good assessment not only saves time, but also delivers more qualified candidates!  A validated and predictive assessment is critical to getting more of your sales hires to be in your “A” category.

 

  1. Qualify and Challenge.  First, by phone if possible, conduct a tough, brief interview to further qualify your sales rep candidates.
  2. Interview.  This longer, if possible and recommended, in-person interview needs to challenge each candidate to confirm that they are truly qualified and a fit for your company. Have at least two people participate in this step to minimize your personal bias, and make sure they have the necessary skills to interview effectively.
  3. Persuade. Here is where you go from being purposely tough on the candidate to being a top salesperson. This is now your opportunity to sell your candidate on their very important role, their potential rewards, on the organization, and on the organizations’ leadership.

Onboarding. Prepare a comprehensive plan for your new salesperson’s first 90 days. Reach beyond product training and organizational orientation and develop a Quick Start plan that includes goal setting, sales training, coaching, accountability and other actions. A well prepared and executed 90-day training plan can improve your success rate with your new “top” salespeople from over 90% to near 100%.

 

Assess Before the Interview
If you look at the proven seven-step process closely, you will note that the assessment takes place before the interview. You may be thinking this process can be too expensive or not result in your getting enough candidates. The truth is assessing before interviewing is actually less expensive. You will most times get up to 50% more qualified candidates, and you are EEOC compliant.

Criteria for Selecting Your Assessment

This proven process of hiring “A” salespeople solves the problems of the typical hiring process, and it relies on a well validated and predictive assessment to screen your candidates. Here are some criteria for selecting an assessment:

  

  • Accurate: The assessment’s validity needs to be verifiable or you will lose good candidates, waste time and possibly hire a bad candidate.
  • Pursue / Do Not Pursue: The assessment must provide this, so that you only interview those high potential sales candidates.
  • Prepares an interview: The assessment prepares an interview based on how the candidate scored. This gives you the ability to get beyond the “pat” interview answers the candidate has taken from how to interview books and multimedia to discover potential issues.
  • Identifies the candidate’s strengths/weaknesses: So you will know the candidate’s specific training needs and the likely issues to expect if you hire them.

If you do not have a consistent sales hiring process your “C” salespeople will consistently lose to better salespeople. You and they will have to discount your products or services to win. You will consistently have trouble getting the bigger, better, and more profitable customers. Your business will not be growing like you know it should.

How do I know? I’ve been there. I’ve hired “C” salespeople and been through the frustration that making the wrong hire can cause. My organization lost business I know we should have won.

The good news is this: you do not have to wonder whether a sales candidate will sell for us. You can know if a sales candidate WILL SELL! You can attract, hire and retain more “A” salespeople and you can help them be successful quickly. You can survive a tough economy; in fact, with top salespeople, you can gain market share and thrive.

Imagine your organization with top sales people: You now win the bigger, better, more profitable customers. You are not only surviving, you are prospering. If you like this picture for your business, find out how you can implement a proven sales hiring process in your business.