Employee Screening: Business 21 Publishing Study Shows Just 42 Percent of Companies Screen for Intelligence and Personality Traits

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Screening job candidates using personality tests and intelligence tests is an important part of the recruiting process. But this Business 21 Publishing (http://www.b21pubs.com) study shows that a clear majority of companies don't use these essentail job candidate screening tools. Intelligence tests identify high-intellect candidates who process information better and learn faster. Personality tests screen out people who's personalities don't fit a particular job role, or who wouldn't integrate well into the company culture.

A new study by Business 21 Publishing(http://www.b21pubs.com) on employee screening shows that the majority of companies do not conduct any type of job candidate intelligence testing or personality testing during the recruiting process.

What's more, less than a quarter conduct both types of employee screening tests to evaluate candidates' intellectual abilities and the likelihood that their personality is suited to the job.

This is surprising given the huge costs of hiring the wrong person. Studies have shown that even for low-level positions, a failed hire costs a company double the person's salary. At higher levels, the cost can be six times salary.

Why do Intelligence testing? With all the talk about "emotional intelligence" over the past decade, it might be tempting to conclude that raw brainpower matters less than it used to. Many experts say that's not true. Smart people process information better, so they learn faster. They solve problems better. And they handle stress better.

Companies like Microsoft recognize this, which is why they conduct rigorous intelligence tests on all their employees. It's not that they don't value emotional intelligence. They do, but they figure that if they're going to invest time and capital in developing employees, and helping them acquire emotional intelligence through experience and exposure to their company culture, they might as well start with very smart people?

Why do personality testing? Primarily to ensure a good "fit," both with the job itself and the team environment. Many of the personality tests on the market evaluate four qualities -- Directive, Social, Detail-oriented, Compliant. Everyone has all the qualities to a degree, but one or two will dominate. Reading test scores is as much art as science. Being dominant in one quality or another is neither good nor bad. It depends on the job. But "off the chart" scores in a given quality should give you pause. An overly directive person might not be able to function well in a team environment. Someone who scores very low on "social" might not be a great candidate for sales.

Bottom line: Hiring people is arguably the most important thing any company does. The cost of failure is huge. And so is the cost of the mediocre performers and the less-than-optimal "fits" that we're unhappy with but hang on to.

To read an article that contains:

1. The full survey results

2. Some great ideas for going beyond personality and intelligence tests during the job candidate screening process, and

3. A link to an article about the potential legal pitfalls of using personality tests when screening employees, go to http://www.b21pubs.com/hrintellcenter/Recruiting/recruitingarticles/employee-screening-tests-poll.asp

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Stephen Meyer
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