Program analyzes positions, candidates to establish expectations

by Tracey McGraw

Ira Wolfe has created what he calls a blueprint for matching the right people to the right jobs.

He calls his creation CriteriaOne™. It is a job-analysis process, said the president of Poised for the Future Co. and founder of Success Performance Solutions. Wolfe says it is designed to identify the most essential activities of a job, along with the skills, general abilities, motivations and personality factors needed for that job.

One of the first companies in the area to test Wolfe’s creation is Rettew Associates Inc., an engineering and environmental consulting firm based in Lancaster, PA.

Lisa Horst, who oversees growth and development at Rettew, says her company chose CriteriaOne after looking into several types of assessment vehicles. “We chose it because it allowed the company to create its own benchmarks. It is very customized,” she says.

CriteriaOne encompasses the “whole-person approach”, says Wolfe. This approach means job candidates and current employees can be evaluated and managed against a grid of factors that are measurable and observable.

Wolfe says CriteriaOne helps organizations to evaluate skills, attitudes, general abilities, personalities and motivations necessary for optimum performance in any given job. Wolfe says answer generated by CriteriaOne aid managers in making better decisions by accurately predicting results that will happen with existing employees, with candidates under consideration for hiring and with employees selected for promotion.

One of the tests available through CriteriaOne is the Prevue Assessment System. (Update: Success Performance Solutions now recommends ASSESS for leadership, management and other professional positions although other assessments (if validated and reliable) can be used.)

Horst was intrigued by Wolfe’s claims that Prevue offered a means of assisting companies in hiring the right people for the right jobs. Horst deals with that problem often in her human resources position at Rettew.

Horst contacted Wolfe, and together they developed a pilot program at Rettew Associates. Rettew has six other offices in Pennsylvania, including Harrisburg, and in New York. It employs about 200 people.

Horst was looking to fill some project manager positions.

“This is a key position at Rettew,” she says. It is often difficult to assess a person’s true abilities during an interview, she says.

All of the project managers completed the one-hour Prevue Assessment test, which measured each project manager’s general abilities, motivational interests and several personality characteristics as they related to the job. Then, the managers were evaluated.

Finally, all of the information was entered into the Prevue Assessment software, which automatically determined a benchmark for this position. This benchmark showed what the job might require and what personalities are better suited to the position.

The total process took about six months to complete.

“Now that I know what I am doing, it won’t take as long,” says Horst, who feels that a similar process would probably take four to six weeks.

Horst adds that Rettew can now use that information in two ways – during the interview process to help determine how suitable a candidate is to the Rettew project manager benchmark and for hiring internally. By sharing the information that the assessment generates, Horst says employees receive good information about themselves She also says managers are given a chance for dialog with the employees. This allows managers to offer ideas and coaching tips to help prospective employees develop the necessary skills for a desired position. Horst says, however, that this benchmark is only a piece of the total process. She says Rettew also considers a candidate’s interview and past work experience. She also noted that they could coach a candidate if she or he needs help with certain skills.

William Moulfair says that a multifaceted approach to hiring like CriteriOne offers is the best way to ensure a good fit between a person and a job. He is the assistant director for programs at the state Labor and Industry’s Bureau of Employee and Career Services in Harrisburg. He says it is best when an assessment can be made on what an employer needs and what skills a candidate have to offer.

How It Works

The CriteriaOne process begins with a job analysis. Questions include: What are the responsibilities and activities that must be done for a business objective to be met, and how can those applying be measured and evaluated?

The answers to these questions, along with the results of testing, allow CriteriaOne to determine a benchmark, or blueprint, for a particular job.

CriteriaOne uses a variety of tests, ranging from personality test to tests of general abilities. The test used depends upon what the company is looking to measure.

CriteriaOne creator Ira Wolfe, president of the Poised for the Future Co. and founder of Success Performance Solutions, helps companies determine which test will be right for them based upon their needs.

The cost of CriteriaOne process can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousands dollars. “It depends on the number of positions, the number of people who hold the position, and the number of people the company is expecting to hire,” he says.

Most of the tests are available in a software or Internet version and a paper-and-pencil version. (Note: Assessments are now all Web-based.)

To learn more about CriteriaOne, click here.