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Make the Hiring Puzzle Easier

06:59AM Aug 28, 2014

Take the frustration out of hiring with an innovative testing procedure.

Inevitably it will happen. A key employee quits leaving your business in a bind until another person can be found. Upon going through the process of finding a replacement, you have to worry about identifying a person who will be a good fit and hopefully have some longevity at your farm.

It can be a long, challenging route to locate a new hire. Piles of resumes have to be sifted through, interviews need to be performed and references must be checked. When it is all said and done a new worker will be added to the staff, but do you really know anything about them?

"When it comes to hiring really what we have is a jigsaw puzzle," says Aoife Lyons, Director of Educational Initiatives at Alltech. Resumes, references and interviews are the traditional pieces to the hiring puzzle, Lyons relayed during Alltech’s 30th Annual International Symposium in Lexington, Ken.

The fourth piece to the jigsaw: psychometric testing.

Psychometric testing isn’t an intelligence or ink block test. The test doesn’t delve into childhood memories. Instead, Lyons says psychometric testing allows businesses to discover what a potential work style will be like. The test looks at various areas including motivation, goal orientation, achievement, creativity and the ability to be a team player.

The testing method has been quite popular for large corporations to make hires. Lyons says 85% of companies in the Forbes 500 use psychometric testing. "Companies such as Kellogg’s, Ford, Chevron and Coca-Cola are using this as one more piece to that jigsaw puzzle. One more piece of information to make that hiring decision," he says.

Alltech has been using psychometric tests for more than 10 years to help prevent employee turnover and reduce the costs incurred through rehiring.

"If someone leaves a company, [the cost] is actually twice the amount of what that person’s salary was," Lyons adds. "If you hire someone for $25,000 per year and they end up leaving, it has actually cost your company $50,000. This is a huge, huge risk."

Those additional costs besides salary come from lost time spent looking for a replacement, missing deadlines because of a reduced workforce and the loss of specialized knowledge that particular employee had.

As it relates to cost, psychometric tests aren’t cheap. They cost approximately $1,500 per test to have it outsourced to a clinical psychologist. Alltech has been able to pare the cost down to $10 per evaluation because Lyons is a clinical psychologist, but there are options for employers looking to keep expenses down.

A Myers-Briggs Type Indicator questionnaire can be taken on-line at a cost of roughly $50. It determines personality type, along with identifying strengths and areas of personal growth.

For Alltech the tests also help in hiring at the international level. Psychometric test can be formed to fit different cultural differences and are available in 37 different languages. "A person can take the assessments in their native language and the person doing the hiring will get the results back in their native language," Lyons says.

The true potential of psychometric testing comes from finding employees who can fill roles that may not even exist right now. Potential growth in the company or technological advancements could present the opportunity for an employee to move into a new role. To find those employees you need to find their soft skills.

Soft skills are things like creativity, flexibility, foresight and ability to problem solve. "They are difficult to teach and also very difficult to assess in an interview," Lyons says. "Psychometric testing can help us take a look at some of those soft skills because hiring is the biggest risk that you have at your company, but it is also your biggest opportunity."