March 2, 2020

In this chapter, we’ll explore a few best practices for implementing pre-employment assessments in your business. All are based on years of real-world experience working with many B2B customers to identify and hire the best possible candidates.

Our hiring test of choice remains the Advanced Personality Questionnaire (APQ), so we will refer to it throughout the following guide.

When to test

Regardless of how you prospect, whether through online job boards or professional recruiters, the first step is typically a phone interview with the most promising candidates. This allows you to get a feel for their personality and identify those likeliest to be a good match without investing a lot of time in formalities.

Now that you have whittled down the field to a small number, it’s time to administer the pre-employment assessment. Some of our customers express surprise that we place testing before an in-person interview, but there is a very good reason for that: if you meet them and they establish good rapport with you, there is a tendency to “fall in love” with them and explain away the assessment!

It’s a natural human tendency, and the result is a poor retention rate. To avoid this we recommend testing before you meet them for the most unbiased hiring possible.

Administering the pre-employment assessment

As explained in a previous chapter, firms can choose to bring candidates into the office for a formal testing experience or allow them to take the test remotely. In practice, most prefer remote testing as it permits candidates to take the test at any time and from any location with an internet-connected computer.

It takes less than two minutes to set up an account for the APQ and there is no charge for the initial setup, nor to maintain accounts. This contrasts with some other pre-employment assessments which charge for these services.

Once the account is set up, the test takes about 20 to 25 minutes to complete and results are delivered immediately to the account administrator.

After testing

Now it’s time to review and, if the candidate seems to be a good fit for your company, bring them in for a personal interview to continue the process. Often, test takers want to see the results of their APQ, and this becomes a great opportunity to dig deeper into each prospect’s attitudes. Does he or she become defensive at the results? For personality traits which are out of range, do they show self-awareness and a willingness to work on them if hired?

As the person hasn’t been hired yet, this should not be drawn out into a comprehensive coaching session. Instead, the focus should be to explore any red flags or challenge areas that come up as a result of the testing. Reluctance or hostility could indicate a person who might be very difficult to coach later.

We also recommend multiple interviews with different levels of management in order to confirm the candidate is a good fit. Each interviewer will naturally choose different areas of the APQ to zero in on. This ensures the candidate is viewed from multiple lenses in the organization and nothing is missed.

Once hired, the new employee’s APQ coaching reports should be incorporated into their training and coaching plan in order to remedy any weak spots.

Test the entire team

The above is how to implement a pre-employment assessment on a hiring line. But what about existing personnel? We recommend that the APQ be used to test all existing staff as well.

Doing so illuminates where changes could be made to improve performance and morale. Some employees are square pegs in round holes. This means they were placed to satisfy some immediate need but were never quite suitable to begin with. They do their best but rarely thrive. They would likely be much happier and more productive if moved to positions better suited to their innate personalities. The APQ can identify these employees and the job roles where they would likely perform best.

Every company is different and not all can test their entire staff all at once. Many begin with smaller buckets. Some prefer to test executives and sales leaders and make changes there first. Others will assess a couple of people at the top, some at the middle level, and a few more at the bottom as prototypes. Then they assess everyone as they become familiar with the APQ’s real-world correlation and see the value of the coaching reports.

There’s a lot more to be said about coaching with the APQ and we will do so in the next (and final) chapter. We will also explore other uses for the test beyond pre-employment.
In the meantime, should you have any questions about how to implement pre-employment assessments for your particular situation, please contact us.