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Applicant Personality and Character Assessment Now a Standard Proven Strategy

May 1, 2013

As the demand for talent increases, the need for significantly greater hiring success and laser-focused development of talent will move from an annual board meeting bullet point to reality. We no longer have the luxury of being close enough to others’ daily work to fairly evaluate and coach them to success. Understanding and evaluating talent in a virtual world requires connecting the performance dots to the individual’s talent so your employees can understand the gaps. If they understand the performance gap and the skill gap associated (root cause) they are much more likely to be open to doing something about it.

When daily business was conducted face-to-face, judging character and work performance was a fairly straightforward, albeit subjective, process. Now, in a digitally connected world, assessing character and performance can be a stubbornly elusive task.

Measuring and quantifying personal character has been considered an impossibility, yet we find it consistently playing a role in individual performance, terminations for cause and promotability at work.

Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the worlPerhaps one of the first companies to recognize and address this need to identify personal character was Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. They underwrote the development of an applicant assessment that accurately measures work-related attitudes toward work, supervision, drug use, theft, safety, risk avoidance and customer service. Their validation studies used the largest known population samples for measuring the instrument’s ability to accurately measure attitudes (directly correlates to character) on a consistent basis without adverse impact to any protected class. The assessment is in use today, and by simple observation and customer experience, seems to be extremely effective. In fact, the assessment is so effective and so low-cost, The Nielson Group has the same assessment in about 90% of its clients with 100% satisfaction. It was originally developed for the hourly rank and file. We’ve found it is very effective for any level, including manager-level positions, as an initial assessment tool when you are at the beginning of candidate filtering. But it doesn’t address “job fit”. That’s why we consider it a “step one” assessment.

With the exponential growth of social media, employers now have the ability to measure to some degree an applicant’s personal character based on that person’s online activity. Things like LinkedIn’s recommendations and endorsements features provide feedback that qualifies individuals’ skills and achievements beyond what the self-completed resume-style profile has to offer. However, the endorsements can be made (and are being made) by people who not only can’t properly measure the person’s skills or accomplishments, they very likely don’t even know the person at all. Any company using such information as a screening and qualifying metric is likely to be audited by the OFCCP or EEOC and certainly won’t see desired results from such an applicant screening strategy.

Measuring character in 2018 and beyond

Some day there may be a full-scale approach to measure character through a host of inputs via multiple channels including social media.

According to Eddie Earnest, CEO and Founder of seedRef, a web platform for simplifying references and measuring character, some variables that could contribute to a global character assessment include:

  • Social: Comment board submissions and etiquette, email performance and etiquette, percentage of unfollows or unfriends
  • Financial: Craigslist dealings, apartments rentals (both sides of the market), friend-to-friend loans
  • Professional: Job references, performance reviews, partnership dealings, employment transitions
  • Personal: Yelp-like review sites for people, weighted social connections, overlap of a business’ reviews and a business’ employees

That seems pretty scary.

If character is going to be measured by some Internet-based super-formula, we need a market definition of character that is both measurable and that can stand up to inevitable criticism. By 2018, Earnest believes a number of companies will have successfully cleared this final hurdle.

In the meantime, for $15 you can assess a person’s character reliably, fairly and without fear of adverse impact. If you are a company wanting to improve the quality of your hiring, gives us a call or e-mail and ask about the “Opinion Survey” that Wal-Mart uses.

Talent measurement must be more effective and specific to the needs of the role and the individual

When it comes to hiring we want to measure personal character before we go any further with an applicant. If an applicant passes that hurdle, we also want to measure “job fit”. Measures like education, technical skills and knowledge and relevant work history are a start (done prior to assessing for character). But as any experienced hiring manager will admit, that screening only go so far. Having strong personal character and relevant skills and experience do not predict success and certainly don’t predict high performance but does increase your odds of having an effective employee.

Measuring talent for hiring purposes or for developing a person has advanced significantly over the past ten years. For evaluating a person’s talent, we now use the TriMetrix HD Talent assessment to measure accurately the behavioral traits, motivators, acumen and soft skill competencies of an individual. This is a multi-science approach similar to a 3-D movie. The accuracy of the TriMetrix assessments is very rewarding for both an employer and for the individual. While applicants may be initially anxious, an explanation of what it is and isn’t usually resolves the anxiety. Employees taking the same assessment for development purposes report extremely high satisfaction with the results.

An enabler to job matching using assessments has come from advancements in profiling the talent requirements of the job. We employ a patented process for profiling a position. Accurately defining the talent requirements of the position is the first step to knowing which candidate has the greatest potential for success and high performance (job matching).

The value and effectiveness of assessments is proven. What was once a questionable science is now an undeniable strategy for talent management. If you aren’t using the TriMetrix Talent assessment for hiring and development, you might want to check with your competitors. If they are, you are at a clear disadvantage.

Bill Gates, founder of MicrosoftWhat Bill Gates didn’t enjoy as CEO of Microsoft

Bill Gates recently spoke to students and leaders at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. about philanthropy, his early career, education reform, and the one thing he didn’t like about being CEO of Microsoft.

He opened the speech touching on his early career, when he was dedicated to the “magic of software” at a time when many tech innovators were emphasizing hardware development.

Gates said he was “fanatical” about both software and his job, noting that he didn’t believe in vacations or weekends.

“I knew everybody’s license plate, when they came in and when they left,” he said. “I knew every line of code. I enjoyed being fanatic.”

Gates also described the only piece of his job that he didn’t like: deciding whether or not an employee should be let go.

He found such decisions particularly difficult when an employee was working under a poor manager and may have performed better under other circumstances, he said. Gates admitted to handing off the decision to other executives to avoid the dilemma.

Are you tired of terminating poor performing employees? Could your time be better spent working with high performers? Need guidance when it comes to hiring and developing high performance within your organization? Give us a call at 972.346.2892 or email today. Below are just a few of the many clients of The Nielson Group.

Client of The Nielson Group
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is a client of The Nielson Group

Belimed is a client of The Nielson GroupJeitosa is a client of The Nielson GroupTexas Health Resources

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