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A Few Good Men and Women

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By KENT MARTIN

There are critical components to success in virtually every business. These include such factors as cash management, product development, attracting and keeping customers — and hiring the best employees.

To Larry Bossidy, former chief operating officer of General Electric, “Nothing is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not strategies.”

While many employers look for skill and talent when choosing their next employee, one key ingredient is frequently overlooked: Personality. A personality test can offer an employer vital insight into personality and emotional intelligence, which can’t always be identified in an in-person, one-on-one interview. These tests provide an employer with a psychological analysis of an individual’s character prior to employment.

The use of personality tests in hiring decisions has increased in recent years. As a result, the market for these tests has expanded. There are numerous personality tests available today, ranging from the popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to Conscientiousness and the Caliper Profile.

In 2011, almost 56 percent of all companies were using some form of personality testing in their hiring, a jump of 8 percent over 2010. The biggest reason for this rise may be growing security and workplace violence concerns, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

But just as significantly, companies of all sizes are recognizing that they need to dig more deeply into their candidates’ character to more accurately determine their potential.

Critical to Success

“We recognize that improving on hiring and selection is critical to our franchisees’ success,” Chris Fox, chief operating officer of United Financial Services Group, said.

This is why he said his company, one of the largest franchisors of retail check cashing centers in the United States, chose Hireology, Inc., to manage the company’s hiring processes across its 130 franchise locations.

Hireology provides a SaaS-based selection management platform that enables franchisees to more effectively manage their hiring process system wide. (SaaS is otherwise known as Software As A Service, a software delivery system that provides access to software and its functions remotely as a Web-based service.)

“Anytime you can get another piece of information, another piece of the puzzle figured out on a candidate, the more likely you are to make a sound choice,” Margot Baill, product development director for Hireology, said.

“With personality assessment, you not only get to know how somebody reacts in certain types [of situations], but you also know their tendencies to what types of things they’ll be motivated to do.

“In the world of check cashing, I think personality is probably more critical than most other industries, because you’re going to have somebody who is face-to-face interacting with customers and you want to make sure it’s a personality that can a) deal well with other types of people, and can adapt to other personalities’ styles, but b) it’s important to figure out how to motivate that person.”

Fox said his company’s franchisees will be able to utilize Hireology’s selection management platform, Selection Manager. It includes job profiling, skills testing, behavioral interviews and verification services such as reference and background checks.

Fox said Hireology was selected because of its “strong offering, low implementation costs and deep experience in the franchise space.”

Those who testify to the benefits of personality tests point to one aspect of an individual’s character that cannot be determined in an in-person interview: Their EQ, or emotional intelligence, not to be confused with a person’s IQ. Baill said this is particularly critical in the check cashing industry.

“What’s interesting is for positions in check cashing, EQ tends to be more predictive of success because you’re dealing with more people face-to-face, you have to know how to adapt your style to meet the needs of every customer who have their own different styles and preferences,” she said.

“While IQ can help you understand the in’s and out’s of a product, it can’t necessarily tell you how to adapt to a certain style.”

Range of Tests

Cost is a major differentiator in selection of personality tests by a company. There is a wide range of tests available on today’s market, from programs that are available for free online to others costing from $100 up to $5,000 per employee candidate.

Baill suggests you get what you pay for. “The problem with the ones you find online, such as Myers-Briggs, is they’re not very job-specific,” she said. “And they can’t tell you how well somebody’s going to perform in a certain job.”


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