Pre-employment Test News: ASSESSING & EVALUATING SALES REP APPLICANTS: Pre-Employment Test Research + More Methods Help You Hire Productive Sales Reps by Michael Mercer, Ph.D.
Hiring productive Sales Reps is super-important for every company’s financial success. As Henry Ford said, “No one has a job until someone sells something.”
Unfortunately, sales rep applicants often use their sales skills to connive their way into jobs on which they end up failing or doing poorly.
Fortunately, pre-employment tests plus other four other applicant assessment methods increase your odds you hire highly productive sales reps.
PRE-EMPLOYMENT TEST SCORES OF HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE SALES REPS
Research I did on pre-employment tests scores of superb sales reps clearly indicate qualities of terrific sales reps you want to hire. Specifically, my research show terrific sales reps typically get these pre-employment test scores:
> High test scores on Money Motivation, Power Motivation, Teamwork, Poised Reaction to Pressure, and Optimism
> Moderate test scores on Friendliness, Assertiveness, and Feeling-Focused vs. Fact-Focused
Intelligence pre-employment test scores depend on what level of intelligence is required for the sales rep job in each company. For instance, some companies’ best sales reps require high-level intelligence. In those companies, their successful sales reps get high scores on intelligence tests, e.g., Problem-Solving, Vocabulary, Arithmetic, Grammar, and Handling Small Details. For example, the best sales reps in one particular famous high-tech company get such high intelligence test scores. They need high-level intelligence to sell their products and services.
However, pre-employment intelligence test scores in other companies can be more average. In fact, my research continually finds that in most companies, the best sales reps typically get average intelligence test scores. That is the level of brainpower required to succeed in sales in most companies.
4 OTHER ASSESSMENTS OF SALES REP APPLICANTS
In addition to pre-employment tests, you should use four other sales rep evaluation methods.
First, does applicant’s work history indicate applicant will feel enthused about selling your company’s products. Did the applicant’s work history show examples of interest in selling your company’s products or services?
Second, do in-depth job interview that resembles a polite interrogation. Each interview should last approximately two hours. Do not get charmed by applicants who use their “Sales Training 101” skills on you! Instead, ask hard-hitting interview questions to assess sales talents, such as persistence, work ethic, desire for high earnings, diplomacy, honesty, and handling resistance and work difficulties.
Third, do a sales role-play. You play a prospective buyer, while the applicant plays a sales rep. Tell the applicant try to sell you something. Use this role-play to assess or evaluate the job applicant on crucial sales skills, such as developing rapport, uncovering prospect’s needs, presenting solutions, handling objections, asking for the order, and following-up.
Fourth, do a realistic job observation. Have the sales rep applicant tag along with one of your sales reps for one-half day. Then, the sales applicant can see how much they may like or dislike your company’s sales job. Also, the sales rep the applicant accompanies will give you insights into the applicant’s possible strengths and weaknesses in your company’s sales environment.
USE 5 APPLICANT ASSESSMENT METHODS TO HIRE THE BEST SALES REPS
Use pre-employment tests, work history evaluation, in-depth job interviews, sales role-play, and realistic job observation to assess and evaluate sales rep applicants. If an applicant does well in all five assessment methods, then offer the person a job. However, if the applicant rates poorly in any of these five evaluation methods, then (a) take a match, (b) burn that applicant’s resume, and (c) find better sales rep applicants.
COPYRIGHT 2014 MICHAEL MERCER, PH.D.
Pre-employment Test News: END DRAMA IN YOUR WORKPLACE
Drama in your company creates havoc and expensive employee problems. Workplace drama
- destroys productivity
- harms teamwork
- distracts coworkers
- damages work atmosphere
Managers who allow workplace drama send a message to employees that they will get paid to
- whine and complain
- not work
3 TYPES OF WORKPLACE DRAMA
Employees spewing drama love doing three behaviors:
Sometimes they exhibit drama in your workplace by whining and complaining about their personal, non-work lives.
Those same people often exhibit addiction to whining, complaining and moaning about their jobs, coworkers, and your company.
Notice, workplace drama has zero to do with helping your company improve productivity and profits. If you allow drama, you also diminish your success and reputation as a manager.
FACT: YOU ARE MANAGING A BUSINESS, NOT A PSYCHOLOGICAL COUNSELING CENTER
While your heart may ache for employees emitting workplace drama, remember: You are paid to grow your business. You are not paid to provide psychological counseling or consoling of employees. They are on your payroll, and must perform job duties you pay them to do.
TECHNIQUES TO END WORKPLACE DRAMA
You can use three methods to stop workplace drama. And you can put these techniques into action immediately.
1. PRE-EMPLOYMENT TESTS TO SPOT APPLICANTS WHO LOVE WORKPLACE DRAMA
Fortunately, pre-employment personality tests speedily tell you if a job applicant is prone to commit workplace drama.
My research on this revealed workplace drama enthusiasts get certain scores on pre-hire personality tests:
> Low score on Following Rules, Policies, & Procedures
> Low score on Reaction to Pressure
> High score on Pessimism
> High score on Being Emotions- or Feelings-Focused
> High score on Impulsiveness
When you see pre-employment personality test scores listed above, I recommend you (A) take a match and burn applicant’s
resume or application, (B) escort applicant out of your office, and (C) keep applicant’s application on file in your garbage can!
(Okay, I’m joking!)
But, beware of pre-hire personality test scores of applicants who are likely to display workplace drama.
2. FUNNY WAY TO IMMEDIATELY END WORKPLACE DRAMA
Problem: A friend of mine described an employee whining and complaining about hurtful people in her personal life.
The employee complained and whined nonstop to other employees.
Solution: A coworker could not stand the drama anymore. So, the coworker stood, and colorfully swayed back-&-forth while
chanting the following words in a sing-song voice: “Drama . . . drama . . . drama! Drama . . . drama . . . drama!”
The workplace drama employee and coworkers all laughed. Instantly, the drama stopped.
Now, anytime anyone in that department starts drama of complaining and whining, a coworker stands and joyfully chants:
“Drama . . . drama . . . drama! Drama . . . drama . . . drama!”
This works. In the last couple weeks, I recommended this to managers at three companies. All started using this technique immediately. And all three managers told me this funny method instantly
+ stops workplace drama
+ gives coworkers specific words that end employee drama
+ sets tone that employees are paid to work and not waste time
3. PUBLIC EXECUTION OF WORKPLACE DRAMA EMPLOYEE
If an employee refuses to stop workplace drama, then record the abuses, specifically how the drama reduced productivity. Warn the employee of drama abuses. Many companies use a policy in which three warnings could result in termination.
If you terminate a workplace drama addict, make it a “public execution” in which all employees see workplace drama resulted in getting fired. Then, all remaining employees vividly see workplace drama (A) can result in getting fired, plus (B) harms productivity and company profits which, in turn, could harm their jobs security.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO END WORKPLACE DRAMA: PRE-EMPLOYMENT TESTS + FUNNY WARNING + FIRING DRAMA EMPLOYEE
Workplace drama wreaks havoc on productivity, profits, teamwork, and work atmosphere. Now, you know three techniques to stop drama in your workplace.
First, use pre-employment personality tests. Avoid hiring job applicants who get (A) low pre-hire test scores on Following Rules, Policies and Procedures and (B) high test scores on Pessimism, Being Emotion-Focused, and Impulsive.
Second, when an employee spouts drama, stand in front of that employee, and sway back-&-forth while chanting this in sing-song voice: “Drama . . . drama . . . drama! Drama . . . drama . . . drama!” You simultaneously stop drama in a humorous way, while you role-model how employees instantly can stop workplace drama.
Third, hold a “public execution” of an employee who refuses to stop workplace drama, despite your multiple warnings. This shows employees you are managing a department or company, and not operating a psychological counseling center for whining and complaining employees on your payroll.
Pre-employment personality tests plus comical “Drama . . . drama . . . drama . . . !” plus public executions result in you quickly ending workplace drama.
COPYRIGHT 2014 MICHAEL MERCER, PH.D.
Pre-employment Test News: ASSESSING LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED JOB APPLICANTS
Lately, a lot of job hunters are unemployed and out-of-work. They were laid-off or fired for many reasons. So, many long-term unemployed people apply for jobs.
But, how do you determine if the long-term unemployed person will be (a) hard-working and productive or (b) a lazy slacker? You can use these three methods to assess or evaluate long-term unemployed applicants.
1. ASSESS ACTIVITIES JOB APPLICANTS DID WHILE UNEMPLOYED
An unemployed job applicant who might become a productive employee probably kept very busy while out-of-work. Possibly productive unemployed job seekers should tell you – and prove – they
A. Job hunted 40 hours/week or more
B. Volunteered to keep busy and productive
C. Learned and practiced job-related skills
So, in interviews, ask long-term unemployed job applicants what they did and for how many hours per week.
Insist on proof to verify if they actually (A) job hunted a lot, (B) volunteered, and (C) learned job or work skills.
2. EVALUATE LENGTH OF TIME OUT-OF-WORK
Some people may tell you it is not nice or allowed to take long-term unemployment into account in assessing job candidates.
But, think about it: If a person with an excellent work ethic is unemployed, they vigorously search for employment. Sooner or later, they should find full-time or part-time employment. And they spent their time out-of-work on productive activities like job hunting, volunteering, and learning skills.
But, job applicants with questionable work ethic will not find work nor do productive activities.
Then, they apply to your company with, for example, one year or more unemployment while not doing productive activities.
Use your management judgment. And do not let long-term unemployed job applicants sway you with sad sack or heart-touching stories of their unemployment woes.
Remember: Job candidates with strong work ethic occupy their time with productive activities. But job applicants with weak work ethic occupy their time with unproductive activities, e.g., complaining, watching TV, and exerting energy to get other people to support them.
3. PRE-EMPLOYMENT TESTS
Use pre-employment tests that measure work ethic and conscientiousness. Such pre-hire assessment tests evaluate if a job hunter will be a hard-worker or a slacker who feels entitled to a paycheck.
Also, use personality and intelligence pre-employment tests for skilled jobs. Such assessment tests help you compare each job applicant’s scores versus benchmark test scores of your company’s most productive employees. Such pre-employment tests quickly evaluates whether a job candidate possesses work qualities similar to your most terrific and productive employees.
DO NOT LET LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED JOB APPLICANTS TUG AT YOUR HEARTSTRINGS
Warning: Long-term unemployed people may give you a sob story. Of course, you feel badly for them. But, do not allow your well-meaning heart to overrule your logical assessment and evaluation of job hunters.
Instead, use pre-employment tests for work ethic, personality, and intelligence. Also, dig into how they spent their unemployed time job hunting, volunteering, and learning job skills. Plus, use your management judgment to assess if their length of time in unemployment appears reasonable or questionable.
After all, your job is to assess and evaluate job applicants correctly so you hire employees who are productive and help grow your business.
Dr. Mercer's Podcast on Pre-Employment Tests:
Click the link below to begin listening to Dr. Mercer's podcast interview on his scientific approach to hiring superstars that fit in your organization.
Pre-Employment Test News: Job Interview Problems & Solutions
Managers conducting job interviews need to assess job applicants in two arenas: (1) Technical Skills & Knowledge and (2) Job-Related Personality Traits. A recent article in “eFinancialCareer News” by Beecher Tuttle lists 12 questions financial asset managers asked business school students applying for finance jobs. Of the 12 questions, nine delved into Technical Skills (e.g., “How do you currently keep up with the markets?”). Only three questions focused on Personality Traits (e.g., “What is your biggest professional failure?”).
The huge problem with asking mostly Technical Skills job interview questions is they are incredibly easy for any applicant who studied finance (or any specialty) to give you a "good" answer. For example, the applicants discussed in the article were business school students studying finance. Unless they slept during their finance classes and did not read textbooks (which is doubtful), don’t you think they would know the “correct” answer to Technical Skills & Knowledge questions?
In my book, “HIRE THE BEST & AVOID THE REST(tm),” I suggest hiring managers how to make a list of 6-9 most important job-related talents they need in a successful employees. Then, they should ask "open-ended" questions to observe how well the applicant has each of the 6-9 job-related talents. Some of those 6-9 talents should be Technical skills -- e.g., questions in “eFinancialCareer News” article cited earlier.
But, since most people applying for finance-type jobs will possess the Technical Skills & Knowledge, it is important to ask Personality Trait questions. Personality Trait questions may help the hiring manager determine crucial factors, such as the applicant’s (1) work ethic (many people are lazy!), (2) honesty, (3) teamwork and collaboration preferences, and (4) ability to "fit in" your corporate culture.
Also, use pre-employment tests: In fact, these personality tests and intelligence-related tests can have custom-tailored benchmark scores. Research shows pre-employment tests with custom-tailored benchmarks are vastly more scientific and accurate at predicting job success or failure than even the best job interview!
So, conduct an in-depth job interview. And also administer personality and intelligence pre-employment tests to help you work on your goal to hire the best.
Michael Mercer, Ph.D., helps managers assess job applicants so they hire productive people and avoid expensive hiring mistakes. He devised three pre-employment tests, the FORECASTER(TM) TESTS, used by many companies to evaluate job applicants. Dr. Mercer also authored the book HIRE THE BEST & AVOID THE REST(TM). He conducts seminars and custom-tailors pre-employment tests for companies. You can learn more at www.Pre-EmploymentTests.com or by calling Dr. Mercer at 847-382-0690.
Pre-employment Test News: CORE COMPETENCIES OFTEN HAVE NO CONNECTION TO REALITY:
Research Using Pre-Employment Tests to Discover Companies’ Actual Core Competencies
Many companies proudly show their list of core competencies to anyone who will look. However, the core or key competencies listed often have no connection to reality.
Using pre-employment test research in many companies, I discovered the actual core competencies of companies often differ from their stated key competencies.
RESEARCH ON CORE COMPETENCIES USING PRE-EMPLOYMENT TESTS
When a company wants to use pre-employment tests, especially personality tests and intelligence or cognitive tests, the best first step is benchmarking. Specifically, the company can test superstar employees in each job. Pre-employment test scores of the superstars become the benchmark test scores for that job in that company.
For example, let’s say a company wants to use pre-employment tests to test applicants for Sales Rep job. To benchmark, the company’s best Sales Reps take the test. Then, their typical test scores become the benchmark scores for the company’s Sales Reps. Job applicants who get the same pre-employment test scores as the company’s best Sales Reps deserve further consideration and, perhaps, hiring. But job applicants who get test scores different than the superstars probably may be dropped from consideration.
EXAMPLES OF PRE-EMPLOYMENT TEST SCORES PROVING COMPANY’S CORE COMPETENCIES HAVE NO BASIS IN REALITY
I often notice companies list the following as some core competencies for their employees:
* Learning or Quest for Knowledge
However, in conducting pre-employment test benchmarking studies for companies, I often find the company’s best, superstar employees score:
1. Low on Creativity Motivation
2. High on Rigidly Following Rules, Policies, & Procedures
3. Low on Knowledge or Learning Motivation
You notice such pre-employment test scores are very different than the stated core competencies of Creativity, Flexibility, and Learning or Quest for Knowledge.
That means some core competencies are nothing more than wishful thinking done by managers who want to create lofty key competencies lists. Given a choice, would you choose a list (A) nice-sounding, lofty competencies that have no basis in reality or (B) research-based reality of skills the company’s best, superstar employees actually possess and use to succeed on-the-job?
You certainly would choose option B.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT YOUR COMPANY’S CORE COMPETENCIES LIST?
Put it to the test, literally and figuratively. Take pre-employment tests and test your superstar employees in each job. Use personality tests and intelligence tests or cognitive ability tests. Statistically see benchmark pre-employment tests scores of your best-of-the-best employees.
Then, use the pre-employment test benchmark scores as a basis to list true, research-based core competencies needed to help your company grow and prosper.
Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is nationally recognized as a pre-employment test expert. He is creator and researcher of all 3 “Forecaster(tm) Tests” – pre-employment tests: (1) “Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test,” (2) “Behavior Forecaster(tm) Test,” and (3) “Abilities Forecaster(tm) Test.” Dr. Mercer also wrote 6 books, including “Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest.” You can contact Dr. Mercer at (847) 382-0690 or go to www.MercerSystems.com for more information.
PRE-EMPLOYMENT TESTS NEWS: EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT MADE EASY: 5 TIPS TO INCREASE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
Employee engagement is a big topic in management periodicals. Strongly engaged employees are said to prove more productive and loyal than low engagement employees. Plus, surveys claim a bigger percentage of employees feel low engagement with their jobs and employers.
It is hard to tell if employee engagement is something new, or simply a phenomenon previously called something with a less captivating phrase.
Regardless, here are five actions you can do to increase employee engagement.
ACTION #1 = HIRE ENGAGED EMPLOYEES
Problem: Some job applicants care little for being productive or even showing up for work. They feel disengaged.
Solution: Hire people who exhibit strong employee engagement. And avoid hiring low engaged people.
To do this , pre-employment tests give you the fastest, most scientifically-based method to assess job applicants. For “white-collar” jobs, start by doing benchmarking study of your best employees. Have your superstar “white-collar” employees take two tests, a personality test plus intelligence-type tests. Your superstars’ scores for each job become that job’s benchmark scores. Then, have job applicants take the same personality test and intelligence tests. Applicants who get same scores as your superstars are worth considering and possibly hiring. But, applicants who get test scores different than your superstar employees may not be worth your time to interview, reference check, etc.
For “blue-collar” jobs, i.e., lower-level or unskilled jobs, use an honesty, integrity, or dependability test. Use a test that reveals the applicant’s honesty on test, work ethic, impulsiveness, theft/stealing concerns, and substance abuse concerns. Then, you can prefer applicants who get good scores on the pre-employment test.
After pre-employment tests help you quickly determine which applicants are worth considering, you must interview finalists.
Here is one job interview question that I find amazingly insightful. Near end of job interview, ask the applicant, “When you finish your work, what do you like to do?” Hint: Job candidate with a good work ethic will read into the question that they need to find additional tasks to do in their job. However, job applicants with lousy work ethic, who have low employee engagement, will read into the question that you are asking them about after-work, personal, non-work activities.
ACTION #2 = SET CLEAR PRODUCTIVITY & BEHAVIOR STANDARDS
Tell employees know exactly how productive they must be to keep their jobs. Use quantitative productivity measures whenever possible.
Also, tell employees how they must behave. This includes showing up on time, low absences, working while at work (not goofing off), and helping co-workers and customers.
ACTION #3 = GET RID OF EMPLOYEES WHO DO NOT MEET PRODUCTIVITY STANDARDS & BEHAVIOR
Fire or terminate employees who do not meet your productivity or behavior standards.
ACTION #4 = PUBLIC EXECUTION OF UNDERACHIEVERS WHO SHOW LOW EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
When you fire an employee for being an underachiever, make sure all your employees know the reason. Make sure they know they may be terminated if they fail to meet or exceed your standards for productivity and work-related actions.
Why? Because turning one or more firings into publicly discussed events will make every employee aware of what might happen to them if they show low employee engagement.
ACTION #5 = CELEBRATE WHEN MINIMALLY ENGAGED EMPLOYEES LEAVE
Go into the department where that low employee engagement person worked. Their department colleagues realize that underachiever was a goof-off or lousy employee. Hold a celebratory snack or meal with everyone. At the celebration, a company executive should give a brief speech congratulating and thanking the engaged employees for their productivity and contribution to the bottom line. Also, the executive briefly should list reasons it is wonderful when a co-worker with low employee engagement leaves your company.
Note: Such events will become company folklore. Future employees will hear about this. That is terrific, because the employees will carry on your company’s culture which includes strong employee engagement.
SUMMARY OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT MADE EASY
First, use pre-employment tests to hire people who are likely to enjoy being highly engaged, productive employees. Second, set clear productivity and work behavior standards you expect from employees. Third, fire or terminate employees who underachieve. Fourth, make sure all employees know reason you terminated underachievers who showed low employee engagement. Finally, celebrate when you get rid of employees who exhibit weak employee engagement.
The pre-employment tests in hiring plus the other four actions will result in your company profiting from your corporate culture that insists on terrific employee engagement.
Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is the researcher and creator of all 3 “Forecaster(tm) Tests” – pre-employment tests: (1) “Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test,” (2) “Behavior Forecaster(tm) Test,” and (3) “Abilities Forecaster(tm) Test.” Dr. Mercer also is author of 6 books, including “Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest.” You can call Dr. Mercer’s office at (847) 382-0690, or you can read about the 3 pre-employment tests and 6 books at www.Pre-EmploymentTests.com
EMPLOYMENT TESTS NEWS: Pre-Employment Test Research Helps You Stop Employee Theft & StealingBeware of other tests that claim to “catch” thieves, but base that claim on research using college students or other people who are not actual thieves. For example, I saw a pre-employment test that claimed it spotted potential thieves. But, their research was unrealistic and ludicrous. Specifically, they wrote possible test questions, and then had college students ‘pretend they were thieves’ while answering the questions. That is ridiculous, lousy pseudo-research! College students ‘pretending’ to be thieves are not actual thieves.
The best way to stop employee theft and stealing is to not hire thieves. And the most scientific way to accomplish this: Use a well-researched pre-employment test that helps you avoid hiring people who might steal.
Unfortunately, most business owners cannot determine a job applicant is a thief while conducting job interviews. After all, applicants will not tell interviewers they steal! And background checks only uncover people who have been convicted, but not people who stole but never were caught and convicted.
Fortunately, there is a scientific way to avoid hiring thieves. It is to use a pre-employment test that has been researched to discover if a job applicant might steal.
For example, my research to create “Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test,” included me doing these research steps. First, I wrote 50 questions I thought thieves might answer differently than non-thieves. Second, I got 2 groups of research subjects answer my 50 research questions: (A) Thieves = 300+ people convicted of “property crimes,” i.e., stealing and (B) Non-Thieves = 300+ people never convicted of stealing crimes. Third, I statistically compared Thieves’ versus Non-Thieves’ answers. Fourth, I found 24 questions that Thieves answered “statistically significantly differently” than Non-Thieves. Finally, I put those 24 questions in my “Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test.”
This pre-employment test assesses job applicants on five ‘dependability’ factors: Honesty on DF, Work Ethic, Impulsiveness, Theft/Stealing concerns, and Substance Abuse concerns.
Managers have job applicants take “Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test.” If a job applicant gets scores like convicted Thieves, the manager definitely may feel concerned that person might steal from (a) the company, (b) co-workers, and/or (c) customers. However, if a job applicant gets scores similar to my Non-Thieves research group, the owner or manager could have less concern about that person stealing.
Dangerous pre-employment test research details: My hundreds of Thieves research subjects were prisoners in five county jails. I spent dozens of days locked-up in jail cells while the convicted thieves answer my research questionnaires. I was locked in jail so the prisoners could not escape. But, I could not get out until the jail guards came to get me. I would arrive in the morning and leave late-afternoon. While locked-up in the five jails, I saw and heard things I never saw nor heard before! I also learned how to handle dangerous and “sticky” situations I encountered in the five jails.
Important: Beware of other tests that claim to “catch” thieves, but base that claim on research using college students or other people who are not actual thieves. For example, I saw a pre-employment test that claimed it spotted potential thieves. But, their research was unrealistic and ludicrous. Specifically, they wrote possible test questions, and then had college students ‘pretend they were thieves’ while answering the questions. That is ridiculous, lousy pseudo-research! College students ‘pretending’ to be thieves are not actual thieves.
So, if you hear of a pre-employment test that says it can help you tell which applicants are thieves, make sure you ask them how they did their research. If their research used college students or others who ‘pretended’ to be thieves – but not real thieves – you should not use that pre-employment test. And you are justified to laugh at their ludicrous research.
Only use a pre-employment test that used real, verifiable thieves in its research to create the test’s theft and stealing section. Do not use any test that created its stealing-related questions based on college students or others who ‘pretended’ to be thieves.
Recommendation to stop employee stealing or thievery: Use a pre-employment test based on scientific research that “catches” job applicants who have similarities to people who definitely are thieves. Such a pre-employment test is quick, easy-to-use, and vastly cheaper than you putting on your pay role employees who steal.
Employment Test News: PRE-EMPLOYMENT TESTS FOR SALES REP APPLICANTS
The two pre-employment tests you should have Sales Rep applicants take are (1) personality test or behavior test
& (2) mental abilities tests or intelligence tests.
It is optimal to have some of your best-of-the-best Sales Reps take the personality test and also intelligence or cognitive abilities tests. The test scores of your best Salespersons can be the "benchmark" pre-employment test scores for Salesperson job in your company.
Then, when applicants take the personality and intelligence pre-employment tests, you can do the logical action: You could prefer applicants who get the same pre-hire test scores as your best Salespersons.
Before hiring them, also make sure you feel suitably impressed with other applicant evaluation methods you use to assess Sales Rep applicants, e.g., interviews, reference checks, background checks, role-plays, etc.
You can learn about pre-employment personality tests and cognitive intelligence tests by reading an article I wrote entitled, "3 PRE-EMPLOYMENT TESTS HELP YOU HIRE THE BEST."
Pre-Employment Testing News: PRE-EMPLOYMENT TESTS PRODUCE EXCELLENT EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT RECOMMENDATIONS
Use pre-employment tests for two purposes: (1) hiring good employees and (2) developing/improving employees you hire. When properly done, certain pre-employment tests help you develop and train employees to exhibit the terrific qualities of your best “superstar” employees.
1st STEP = BENCHMARK SCORES OF YOUR COMPANY’S BEST EMPLOYEES
Start by having your best employees in each job take pre-employment tests, especially tests of
* Behavior or Personality Tests
* Mental Abilities Tests
Behavior tests assess interpersonal skills, personality traits, and motivations.
Mental Abilities Tests assess brainpower in problem-solving, vocabulary, math, grammar, and handling small details.
Your best employees’ pre-employment test scores are your custom-tailored “benchmark scores” for the job. When you hire job applicants, you could prefer applicants who get same scores as your best employees. That helps you hire applicants who exhibit same work behavior and mental abilities as your best employees.
2ND STEP = USE PRE-EMPLOYMENT TEST SCORES FOR EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT
Sometimes, you might hire an applicant who gets some pre-hire test scores different than your best employees’ benchmark scores. When you do this, you use their pre-employment test scores to identify behaviors and mental abilities on which they need to improve or “develop.”
You sit down with the new employee, and say something like this: “You want to succeed in your job. Also, we want you to succeed in your job. You took pre-employment tests. On each pre-hire test scale on which you scored the same as our best “benchmark” employees, keep doing what you are doing. But on each scale where you scored different than our best employees, I will help you improve or develop – so you will have the qualities our best employees have.”
Example: Let’s say the new employee got same test scores as your best employees on Teamwork. You say, “You scored like our best employees on Teamwork. Keep doing what you do for Teamwork on-the-job.”
But, if the employees’ Friendliness scores are lower than your company’s best employees’ Friendliness benchmark score, then you say, “Our best employees’ pre-employment test scores are higher on Friendliness than your scores. To help you succeed, I’ll help you become friendlier.”
Then, you can use what I did to create ready-to-use Employee Development Recommendations for my Behavior/Personality and Mental Abilities pre-employment tests. Specifically, you tell the employee specific behaviors to use to improve Friendliness. For instance, behaviors you recommend to increase the employee’ Friendliness include (1) Smile, (2) Say “Hello” to a lot of people, and (3) Use person’s name two or more times in each conversation.
3RD STEP = 3 FOLLOW-UP MEETINGS WITH EMPLOYEE
The employee’s manager MUST hold three follow-up meetings with the employee. One meeting is not enough to make sure the employee improves. Reason: Employee development efforts fail when the employee’s manager fails to make sure the employee actually uses the agreed upon employee development actions.
Employee development efforts succeed when the manager
* insists the employee improve on specific behaviors or abilities
* follows-up multiple times in three pre-scheduled meetings
I recommend holding three follow-up meetings. At each meeting, the employee tells the manager specific examples of putting the development recommendations into action. For Friendliness improvement explained above, at all three follow-up meetings the employee must tell the manager specific examples of (1) smiling a lot, (2) saying “Hello” a lot, and (3) twice using name of people they talk with.
USE PRE-EMPLOYMENT TESTS TO CUSTOMIZE EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT
Pre-employment tests can serve as objective basis for excellent, customized employee development recommendations. Start by establishing pre-hire tests “benchmarks” based on your best employees’ test scores. Benchmark both behavior or personality tests and mental abilities tests.
If you hire a job applicant whose pre-employment test scores differ from your best employees’ benchmark scores, you should help your new employee improve to become more similar to your best employees. Focus on specific techniques your employee must develop or improve.
Importantly, hold three follow-up meetings with the employee. At each follow-up meeting, insist the employee tell you examples of using the behaviors the pre-employment test indicated the employee need to improve.
COPYRIGHT MICHAEL MERCER, PH.D., www.MercerSystems.com
Pre-Employment Test News: 4 METHODS HELP YOU HIRE THE BEST SALES REPS
Pre-employment tests plus other applicant evaluation methods help you select salesperson job applicants who will turn into highly productive, super-profitable sales reps. These applicant evaluation methods include pre-employment tests, intriguing bio-data, vague job interview questions, plus colorful role-plays.
Hiring fantastic sales reps is crucial. As Henry Ford wisely observed, “Until someone sells something, no one else has a job.” A company with monstrously effective sales reps can grow and prosper. However, a company with wonderful products but lousy sales reps will wither away.
So, how can managers hire highly productive sales reps?
Here are four great methods you can start using immediately.
1st METHOD = PRE-EMPLOYMENT TESTS – CUSTOM-TAILORED FOR SALES REP HIRING
Use two pre-employment tests to evaluate sales rep applicants:
1. Behavior or personality test
2. Mental abilities or intelligence-related test
The behavior or personality test needs to forecast the applicant’s behavior in three key areas:
a. Interpersonal Skills – e.g., friendliness, assertiveness, and teamwork
b. Personality Traits – e.g., poise under pressure, optimism, and action-orientation
c. Motivations – e.g., if the sales applicant feels driven to earn incentive pay
The mental abilities or intelligence tests forecast if the applicant has enough “brainpower” to
+ learn – how to do your company’s sales job
+ think correctly – to solve problems encountered while selling your company’s products
Importantly, before using personality and intelligence tests, you must conduct a benchmarking study. This custom-tailoring tells you specific test scores of your company’s best salespeople.
Then, when you test applicants, you quickly, easily and objectively can
> favor job applicants who got same test scores as your company’s best sales reps
> weed-out applicants whose test scores differed from your best sales reps’ scores
Hundreds of pre-employment test benchmarking studies I have done – for many companies – often result
in this “benchmark” pattern of test scores gotten by the best, super-productive sales reps:
> high scores on Friendliness
> average scores on Assertiveness
> average scores on Following Rules & Procedures
> high scores on Poised Under Pressure
> high scores on Optimism
> Calm for inside sales reps – but Excitable for outside sales reps
> high scores on Money Motivation
> average scores on Intelligence or mental abilities
As such, pre-employment tests enable you to objectively – not subjectively – know if a sales rep applicant has crucial personality and intelligence qualities similar to your company’s best sales reps. That is the reason pre-employment tests tremendously help companies hire the best sales rep applicants.
Importantly, using pre-employment tests removes the tendency of managers to like applicants who con them through (a) charm in interviews or (b) semi-pseudo-relevant work histories. Pre-employment tests helps you avoid getting fooled again by a smooth talking sales applicant.
2ND METHOD = INTRIGUING BIO-DATA
Bio-data means biographical data, and yields loads of super-useful insights into which applicants you should seriously consider.
Suggestion: When you conduct your pre-employment test benchmarking study of your best sales reps, also have them fill-out a questionnaire on their bio-data from before they started working for your company. The bio-data questionnaire helps you gather specific details of your company’s best sales reps’ work experiences, education, training, compensation, and more.
For example, in bio-data questionnaires I created for many companies, I continually find successful sales reps worked during high school. That is only one example of useful bio-data.
Armed with exact bio-data of your best sales reps, you then can include relevant bio-data questions in your interviews. For instance, if all your best sales reps worked during high school in service-type jobs, then you definitely want to see if each applicant you interview had similar experiences.
Translation: See if each job applicant you might consider has bio-data similar to your best sales reps’
3RD METHOD = VAGUELY WORDED IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
If the pre-employment test scores of an applicant are similar to scores of your best sales reps, then you probably want to make time to conduct an in-depth job interview.
Unfortunately, too many sales applicants come across exceedingly wonderful in typical job interviews. After all, salespeople know how to make a good impression and “knock your socks off.”
Secret Revealed = Here is a trick sales applicants use to make you “fall in love” with them: Immediately upon meeting you, the applicant gives you a nice handshake with good eye-contact and a smile. The applicant compliments something about you, your company, or your office. Then – and here is the cincher – the applicant makes you laugh within 120 seconds after meeting you. After that laugh, the applicant’s charm offensive has melted the heart of most interviewers – and the interviewer then incorrectly slobbers positive ratings on almost everything the sales applicant says.
Fortunately, you can avoid doing a typical interview, and getting conned by a salesperson.
First, only interview job applicants who got pre-employment test scores similar to scores of your company’s best salespeople. Second, make a list of the most important 6 – 9 job talents you must have in anyone you hire. These might include persuasiveness, friendliness, teamwork, handling obstacles, action-orientation, and desire to earn incentive pay.
Third, avoid telling the applicant you are looking for those job talents. Instead, ask vague questions. Then, listen to whether the applicant might have talents you need. For example, if teamwork is important, do not ask a question like “Do you like teamwork?” Any applicant with some brains would know to say, “Yes” to such an obvious question.
Instead, ask a vague question, such as, “What are examples of the work situations you enjoy most?” Then, notice if the applicant tells you examples of work situations involving (a) teamwork or (b) working alone. If teamwork is a key job talent, then you prefer an applicant who gives examples of enjoying teamwork – and not examples of enjoying working alone.
Warning: Never ask any interview question that gives clues to job talents you want the applicant to have.
Whenever I create custom-tailored “Interview Guide Forms” for a company to use, I always make sure none of the questions I create tell the applicant either (a) the specific talent is being evaluated nor (b) the desired “right” answer is. Unfortunately, most managers give hints to the answers they want to hear. Do not be one of those naïve managers.
4TH METHOD = ROLE-PLAY CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE SALES KIND
If an applicant’s pre-employment test scores are similar to your best sales reps’ test scores, plus the applicant’s bio-data is similar to your best reps, plus the applicant did well in your in-depth interview, then you really ought to use an ultra-useful but seldom used additional prediction method. It is a carefully crafted role-play.
To do the role-play, tell the applicant to try to sell something to you. It can be any product or service both you and the applicant are familiar with. The applicant plays the sales rep and you play the prospective customer.
During the role-play, you must evaluate the applicant’s skill on using six key selling steps: (a) Quickly developing comfort and rapport with prospective customer, (b) uncovering prospect’s needs, (c) probing important details, (d) presenting solutions, (e) overcoming objections and resistance, and (f) asking for the order.
If the job applicant excels on these key sales steps, that is a good sign. If not, then you must decide if the applicant is worth training in your company’s sales procedures.
FORMULA TO HELP YOU HIRE THE BEST SALES REPS
Only hire applicants who get all wonderful ratings in the following surefire hiring formula.
Pre-employment tests + bio-data + in-depth interview + role-play = fantastic odds you will hire a highly productive sales rep.
Copyright Michael Mercer, Ph.D., www.MercerSystems.com
Pre-Employment Test News:
PRE-EMPLOYMENT TEST & 3 OTHER METHODS HELP YOU PREDICT IF JOB APPLICANT
IS SUBSTANCE ABUSER
One kind of pre-employment personality test gives hiring managers a quick, easy-to-use way to avoid hiring substance abusers – e.g., alcoholics and drug abusers – and other bad characters. Plus, you also have few more methods you can use in your quest to avoid hiring substance abusers.
FACTS: SUBSTANCE ABUSING EMPLOYEES WASTE YOUR COMPANY’S MONEY
Fact #1 = No manager I ever spoke with wants to hire a drug abuser or alcoholic.
Fact #2 = Substance abusing employees waste huge amounts of a company’s money.
According to U.S. Department of Labor estimates, drug abusing employees waste $75 - $100 billion/year in (a) lost time, (b) accidents, (c) healthcare, and (d) workers’ compensation. In fact, substance abusers force horribly expensive problems onto their employers:
- 65% of on-the-job accidents are by substance abusers
- 3 times more absences than non-substance abusers
- 16 times more healthcare benefits than non-abusers
- 16 times more likely than non-substance abusers to file worker’s compensation claim
Fact #3 = If you send drug abusing employee for treatment, it costs you big bucks.
Your company pays money for alcoholism or drug abuse problem you did not cause. Translation: You pay to treat a substance abusing employee you never should have hired in the first place!
Fact #4 = Dealing with substance abuser wastes expensive management time.
Conclusion = Managers need to use pre-employment tests and other steps to avoid hiring alcoholics, drug addicts, and substance abusers.
Here are four methods to help you avoid putting drug addicts or alcoholics on your payroll.
1st METHOD = PRE-EMPLOYMENT TEST PREDICTING SUBSTANCE ABUSER PERSONALITY
One type of personality test helps you quickly predict – or forecast – if a job applicant may be a substance abuser. You do, after all, want dependable employees – including employees who are not possibly alcoholics or drug abusers.
I call such a pre-employment test a “Bad Apple Test.” Why? This test helps you avoid hiring an applicant who is a “bad apple” – someone with flaws that harm productivity and waste your company’s money.
A good pre-employment test that helps you avoid substance abusers predicts up to five crucial factors that impact applicants’ job performance:
a. Substance Abuse concerns
b. Theft / Stealing concerns
d. Impulsiveness [e.g., safety, accidents, etc.]
e. Work Ethic
Hiring managers, of course, crave to hire applicants whose pre-employment test scores indicate low concern for possible Substance Abuse. You also want applicants who are (1) unlikely to steal, (2) honest, (3) not Impulsive, plus (4) have good work ethic.
In sum, a pre-employment test predicting substance abuse personalities helps hiring managers achieve their goals to
+ screen-in “good apples”
- screen-out “bad apples”
2ND METHOD – AVOID HIRING SMOKERS
You reduce your odds of hiring alcohol or drug abusers, if you can avoid hiring smokers. After all, most substance abusers are smokers.
Question: How often have you met an alcoholic or drug addict who did not smoke?
Answer: Probably never.
So, if you avoid hiring smokers, then it will be harder to hire a substance abuser.
Note: Not all smokers are substance abusers, but most substance abusers are smokers.
More than 67% of drug abusers are tobacco smokers, according to research published in the scientific journal “Experimental & Clinical Psychopharmacology.”
Amount of drug consumption correlates to the amount of smoking, according to research conducted at Integrated Substance Abuse Program of UCLA:
- More smoking = more drug-taking
- Less smoking = less drug-taking
Point: The more a substance abuser smokes, the more drugs the person is likely to take.
Check to see if your state has laws about not hiring people who smoke. Some states allow it, and others do not.
With this substance abuse and smoking information, you need to decide what to do if you
A. smell smoke on a job applicant
B. see cigarette pack on applicant
C. notice applicant’s car ashtray has cigarette butts
D. discover other signs applicant is a smoker
3RD METHOD – WARN APPLICANTS YOU MAY GIVE DRUG TESTS
Many companies tell applicants they must take a drug test – if the company might hire them.
Receiving this warning scares away some applicants who are substance abusers.
4TH METHOD = ACTUALLY GIVE DRUG TESTS BEFORE HIRING
Unfortunately, problems with drug tests are very big problems: Drug tests are
- cheated or faked – very easily
- inaccurate in their results – many times
Caution: An “underground” industry exists that helps job applicants avoid having alcohol or drug use uncovered in a drug test! So, many applicants know they can “fake-out” a drug test.
STOP HIRING SUBSTANCE ABUSERS – DRUG ABUSERS & ALCOHOLICS
Certain pre-employment personality tests plus other methods help you avoid hiring substance abusers who rob your company of productivity and profits – plus waste your valuable management time.
Stop hiring substance abusers using four methods:
1. Have applicants take pre-employment personality test that predicts substance abuse
2. Don’t hire smokers
3. ‘Threaten’ to give applicants drug test
4. Give costly drug tests just before putting applicant on your payroll
It is best for you to use all four methods. Doing all four saves you time and money.
Make sure you hire the best – and don’t hire a substance abusing alcoholic or drug addict!
Tags: Pre-Employment Tests, Pre-Employment Testing, assessing job applicants
© COPYRIGHT Mercer Systems Inc., www.MercerSystems.com
Pre-Employment Test News:
Pre-Employment Tests & Other Ways To Stop Stealing by Your Employees
Pre-employment tests plus two other techniques help reduce stealing and theft by your employees.
“Wall Street Journal” and Fox News reported (a) increases in employees stealing plus (b) employee theft’s financial drain on companies.
How financially draining is employee stealing and theft? (A) The value of stolen items rose one-third in just two years, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers’s survey of 5,400 companies. (B) 20% of employers consider employee theft a moderate to very big problem, found Institute for Corporate Productivity research.
And how does employee theft impact your non-stealing employees? First, your honest employees feel dismayed when co-workers steal. It proves you hired lousy humans. Second, employees know anything reducing profits impacts job security. If a company loses too much to theft or stealing, eventually employees may get “de-employed” to decrease losses.
Fortunately, managers can use pre-employment tests and other methods to (a) avoid hiring job applicants who are thieves and (b) discover which employees steal.
1st WEAPON = PRE-EMPLOYMENT TESTS to HELP HIRE NON-THIEVES
Pre-employment tests that specifically predict or forecast dependability can help you hire Non-Thieves. After all, the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to avoid stealing by employees is obvious: Avoid hiring job applicants who will steal.
For example, in my pre-employment test research to create the Theft/Stealing prediction on the “Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test,” I used a two-step method to find out which test questions predict if someone may steal. First, two groups of people answered my extensive list of research questions: (1) One group was Thieves – hundreds of prisoners locked-up in jails for stealing and theft crimes. (2) The second group was hundreds of Non-Thieves. Then, I did statistics to find out which specific questions the Thieves answered significantly differently than the Non-Thieves.
Those questions became the pre-employment test’s section that helps predict if a job applicant may steal.
When applicants take the pre-employment test, companies immediately see if a job applicant scored like the Thieves or the Non-Thieves. Of course, managers prefer hiring applicants who get the test scores of the Non-Thieves.
2ND WEAPON = BACKGROUND CHECKS
In addition to pre-employment tests that help predict Theft/Stealing, a company also might conduct a criminal background check to see if the applicant was convicted of stealing crimes.
Problem: Unfortunately, a background check only will tell you if the applicant was convicted in the locale where you do the check, for example, your county. Warning: If an applicant was convicted in another locale, then you will not find out.
Solution: First, administer a pre-employment test to help predict Theft/Stealing – before you spend your time and budget on background checks. Then, if employment test scores show an applicant scored like Thieves, then you probably will not bother to waste budget doing a theft or criminal background check.
3RD WEAPON = ACT LIKE JAMES BOND
After you use pre-employment tests to hire the best, you still need to watch your employees to make sure they do not steal. It may not sound nice, but you need to “spy” on employees. You can install video cameras, tracking devices and other spying instruments that are allowed.
For example, an executive at one company called me for help to stop employee theft and stealing that harmed the company’s finances.
First, I helped the executive start using the pre-employment test that predicts possible Theft/Stealing concerns – so the company could avoid hiring thieves. Second, I recommended the company “spy” on current employees by installing location-tracking devices on its delivery trucks.
Results = The pre-employment test helped the company hire Non-Thieves. Among employees, the company discovered delivery drivers were (a) driving away from their most direct routes and then (b) selling company goods during their off-route driving. The company’s stealing by employees came to a screeching halt. And new employees were Non-Thieves.
Suggestion: Make 100% certain employees realize you watch them. Some may complain about “Big Brother” for awhile, but they will know your rules. Your rules include no stealing is tolerated. Plus, employees realize you use multiple tools to catch employees who steal. Also, point out that stealing by employees creates less job security for everyone. That will make them thank you for “spying.”
PRE-EMPLOYMENT TESTS, CRIMINAL CHECKS, & SPYING HELP YOU STOP
Employee stealing drains a company’s financial resources. It also creates a lousy workplace for employees. Research and news reports indicate employee stealing is a big, growing and expensive problem. So, managers need to take three steps to stop theft by employees.
First, give pre-employment tests to job applicants to help you avoid hiring possible Thieves or people who may steal. Second, conduct criminal background checks on job applicants who did well on the pre-employment test. Third, monitoring devices catch employees who try to steal your company’s possessions.
Pre-employment tests, criminal theft background checks and “spying” give you a fantastic 1-2-3 punch to knock-out employee stealing in your company.
COPYRIGHT 2009 MICHAEL MERCER, http://www.MercerSystems.com
Tags: Pre-Employment Tests, Pre-Employment Testing, assessing job applicants
Please click on the link belw to view The Wall Street Journal quoting Dr. Mercer
on pre-employment tests and intervewing job candidates.
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