You’ve likely had occasion after purchasing something to have buyer’s remorse. The same thing happens in business. Managers have buyer’s remorse all the time.  Fortunately pre employments tests can help avoid regret and ensure the candidate you interview is the same one who shows up for work.

employee in boxWhen it comes to the workplace, employee behaviors are like the wrapping on the birthday gift. Sometimes the shape of the box and the design of the paper give away hints to what lies inside. Shaking the box may reveal a few hints. But after all is said and done the gift is eventually unwrapped and what turns up is often times totally unexpected. 

Gifts are wrapped with the sole purpose of hiding what’s inside. The giver wants to surprise the recipient. Unfortunately the element of surprise has no place in the hiring process.  Pre employment testing allows hiring managers to peel back employee behavior and peek inside the box to see what makes the job candidate tick. This pre hire scrutiny helps avoid the expensive and painful result of hiring “as-is.”

Here’s an example of a surprise you want to avoid. After just a few weeks, your hot-shot new salesperson is falling faster than a shooting star. He struggles with calling prospects and following up with current accounts. He struggles with working and mining your database. You’ve referred him for coaching and created incentives to meet quotas and deadlines but nothing seems to help. You are tempted to invest in more coaching, training, and phone scripts but wonder if his behavior will ever change.

This brings us to the world of work. How did this happen? It’s such a common problem. How could so many managers be so wrong so often?

The element of surprise should have no place in the process of hiring employees. Unfortunately many managers rely on the “gift wrap” and not the contents in making the decision to hire or not hire. They don’t open the box until AFTER the new hire is on the payroll.

By that time the thrill of finally hiring someone is over and reality sets in, the contents of the “gift” – aka employee personality, attitude, and competence – is revealed for the first time. At that point, many managers wish the “people store” had a receipt and a liberal return policy.

This surprise when hiring can be minimized if not eliminated entirely if hiring managers only used more effective employee screening and selection practices.  Like the kid who shakes the box and tries to peek inside, managers should be doing the same thing with job applicants.

Re-gifting out-dated skills too seems to be a problem these days. For many reasons a lot of people are looking for work. Through the help of career and outplacement coaching, jobseekers tend to re-wrap average or tired job skills and pawn it off as top-shelf. Former employers even verify the new and improved “package” in hopes of helping a former employee land on his feet or getting him off their unemployment rolls.

Fortunately science has evolved where managers do have sophisticated tools to look inside the job candidate without buying “as-is.” Breakthroughs in technologies and volumes of empirical research are beginning to crack the code for identifying and developing peak performers.

Pre employment assessment tests help hiring managers separate the high energy from the “steady-eddy,” the initiator from the follower, the risk-taker from the risk-averse, the outgoing from the reserved, and the relaxed from the excitable. They help predict if an individual will adapt and lead or go with the flow. They can assess how likely an employee can do the job today and grow as the work changes.  They can even tell if an employee will benefit from coaching and training and what skills will need the most development.

Employee testing saves managers enormous expense, heartache, and the embarrassment of hiring a “great personality” only to find out that what they really got was wrong fit… or worse, the infamous “problem personality”. It helps ensure the “gift” in the box brings smiles and joy and not tears of regret.