The Proof is in the Pudding

How many of you have hired individuals who “exaggerated” their skills in a particular area? I would guess that this has happened to most all of us at one point in our career. Years ago I worked for a temporary agency and our livelihood depended on testing each and every individual who came into our office on their levels of knowledge in different software applications. Ironically, it was always the applicants who swore up and down they were “advanced” who ended up “beginner” at best, when tested! Can you imagine if I sent temporaries out on advanced word processing assignments without testing them on their skills? The client would never use us again and very likely I would get into serious trouble with my boss, if not fired! Sadly, this happens everyday in the recruiting world. What do you rely on to get concrete skill information from a candidate besides what they tell you? As recruiters, we hope that the hiring manager will be able to “quiz” these individuals on their particular skills in the interview process – but realistically does this happen? Do your hiring managers use direct sets of questions to verify an individual’s level of knowledge in different areas or is the hiring manager depending on the Recruiter to get this information? Let’s face it; it is very easy for a candidate to exaggerate or flat out “lie” in the interview process to get a job. In this technology driven society where the success and failure of a company is directly related to the technology skills of their staff, I would imagine this will become an increasingly important issue! Not only is “Skills Testing” very important in the selection process of a candidate but what about “Personality Testing” or “Reliability Testing” or “Team Building Testing.” Each of these types of “intangible skills” may or may not play a significant role in the job at hand but if they do, should we use a type of personality test to assist us in the hiring process. How valid is a Personality test in measuring a particular individual’s performance on the job? If a typical interview yields a 14% accuracy rating (Industrial Psychologist 20, 34-36) in the selection of a candidate then how much more helpful can a personality test be? Secretly, I believe most of us Human Resource individuals are quasi-psychologists in that we are drawn to what makes people tick as well as human issues. I have always been fascinated with personality tests from the moment I took my first Myers Briggs test my senior year in college. I was surprised at the accuracy of the test and disappointed I didn’t take the test my freshman year when I chose my major! Over my next few articles, we will be exploring the art of “testing” individuals during the hiring process as well as the legalities, implications, and effectiveness of specific tests. There are several types of tests an HR individual can administer: Skill Testing, Personality Testing or even Reliability or Team Building Testing. Any feedback or assistance you can offer in this exploration is much appreciated! Please feel to email me at

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Audra Slinkey is a leading Internet Recruiting Consultant who has designed the Recruiters-Aid PERS (Proprietary E-Recruitment System) to ensure Internet recruiting success. Recruiters-Aid provides Internet candidate sourcing and screening services, and guarantees results—or the clients do not pay. Recruiters-Aid manages one of the largest FREE recruiting resource sites online. Recruiters-Aid services were created specifically for recruiters who don't have time to source the Internet themselves.

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