If, like most employers, you have hired job candidates based on impressive resumes and great interview performances only to find out later they were not all you thought they’d be, then you are well aware that making that decision means digging a little deeper than just resumes and references.
What qualities should you be looking for in a candidate? Here are 4 things to consider before you make the offer.
- Cognitive Ability – Whether you are looking for manual laborers or management staff, cognitive ability is key since solid, reliable employees have good reasoning, comprehension, memory, and problem-solving skills. These attributes are essential to safe and efficient performance in the workplace, and no amount of training and guidance can replace them. Making cognitive ability testing a part of your pre-employment screening process can help you assess these skills in potential new hires. These pre-employment tests measure factors important to good job performance that may, depending upon your organization's needs and the specific tests administered, include learning ability, logic, memory, reading comprehension, verbal and mathematical skills, perceptual skills, and problem-solving ability.
- Motivation – Skill, training, and experience don’t mean much if an employee is not willing to work hard and put those traits to use. So, how can you assess this rather intangible attribute during the pre-employment screening process? Many companies have turned to personality tests to assess motivation, as well as other factors that can be difficult to read in job candidates, such as interpersonal skills or emotional stability, for instance.
- Adequate Understanding of Tasks and Training – Even motivated candidates with good cognitive skills can have trouble taking direction or understanding complex tasks and training. Weeding out candidates who fall short in these areas can have a lasting impact on workplace safety, productivity, and morale. These areas of performance can be assessed via pre-employment tests that include job knowledge tests, which test basic, job-specific competencies, and work sample or simulation tests, which measure the ability to perform tasks similar to those that will be expected of them on the job.
- Functional Ability – Given the prevalence of sedentary lifestyles, poor physical fitness, and chronic health problems in society today, employment pools are not what they were 20 years ago. This makes ensuring that new hires have the physical capability to handle the essential functions of the job safely and efficiently a vital piece of the pre-employment screening puzzle. This is especially true if your company operates in a physically demanding field like construction, manufacturing, heath care, or warehousing. Pre-hire physical abilities testing can offer an accurate, objective evaluation of a candidate's functional abilities as related to the specific position for which they have applied, reducing your risk of hiring an employee that may be an injury just waiting to happen.
If your company is still hiring purely on the basis of resumes, references, and a smooth interview or two, it is time to update your hiring process. Using that very limited information means that you're operating essentially by trial and error. While there is no perfect formula for a pre-employment screening process that will totally eliminate your risk of bad hires, taking steps to evaluate attributes during the hiring process that are essential to good performance in your workplace can greatly reduce that risk.