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  • Writer's pictureProsperity Plus

Looking for a Diamond in the Rough?

Updated: Jan 24, 2020

Job candidate testing system helps you spot issues that may not appear in a "great" interview.

By Jim Kahrs

So the interview went very well. The candidate arrived fashionably early; was well dressed and very well prepared for the interview. He asked questions the other candidates did not and his knowledge of the industry seemed pretty keen. Your staff was impressed with him to the point where all you need to do now is offer him the position and get things rolling. So that’s exactly what you do.

On the Monday he comes in to start, everyone is happy and very anxious to make him feel welcome in his new role. His desk is furnished. You’ve gone through all orientation data and by the time the first week is out, he’s already brought in a box of donuts as a gesture of camaraderie.

Yet, week or two later, something odd emerges. You’ve had three or four team meetings scheduled and he’s failed to say anything during these sessions. In fact, he was late for one and didn’t show for the most recent meeting. When you confronted him on this he said he got stuck on a call with an account, yet there’s nothing on the CRM calendar showing any call notes on this customer.

Something about his posture and tone doesn’t sound right to you and now you’re not sure whether or not you’re getting the truth or if you’ve acquired exactly what you thought you were getting in a new account manager. And when this happens, you’ve arrived at the point so many employers dread…the moment of doubt or insecurity. Is this individual you thought he was based on the interview? Does he have the confidence and capacity to fill the role you’ve entrusted to him? Is there something you should have known before you made the offer? Is there any chance this guy can be salvaged with another assignment, or should you be looking at a legal and diplomatic way to separate?

I empathize with anyone who’s faced this dilemma. It hits you on many fronts, especially with

those situations that appeared to be ideal going in.

And while we all have heard “it’s not personal, it’s business” at one time or another, there’s always an emotional component to so-called “bad hires” that cut even more deeply when you look at the dollar amount spent in payroll, training, downtime and potential damage control you could face within the company walls or even outside depending on the employee’s contact with your customers and suppliers.

For this reason, we urge the clients we consult to adopt firm policy for pre-employment assessment testing. There are many testing packages out there, so I’ll outline in the rest of this article the practices we find to work best.

Personnel Potential Analysis (PPA) Testing System

The Personnel Potential Analysis (PPA) System uses a series of three tests to give you a profile of the candidate you are interviewing. These tests evaluate the candidate’s ability to perform the job and duties for which you are hiring them. The tests cut through the role play of the interview to give a view of who the person really is. This tool takes the guess work out of the hiring process and helps you whittle down the list of potential candidates you should seriously consider based on what you know you need.

PPA Test

The Personnel Potential Analysis itself is the center point of the testing system. This 200-question test gives you a numeric score in 10 different key areas directly related to job performance and success. Here is where the hiring manager or recruiter will find if the candidate has the personality makeup needed to succeed in the exact job for which you’re hiring him. Furthermore, it gives you insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate. This will allow you to know if they are right for the post and will also give you a better knowledge of the candidate you do hire.

We review the results with the recruiter or manager making the hire and relate it to the exact job or post for which the candidate is being considered.

IQ Test

The second test in the series is the IQ Test. This 80-question test gives you the person’s Intelligence Quotient, which is a measure of their ability to solve problems. In most organizations that we work with, the best employees up and down the line are the ones who demonstrate a willingness to confront and handle problems even if it means stepping outside of their comfort zone. An individual who’s running a service department for example needs to be able to think on his feet and solve problems quickly and efficiently.

Again, we review these scores with management team and help relate the data to the level of job you can expect the employee to succeed at after he or she is hired.

Aptitude Test

The aptitude test is designed to measure a person’s ability to read, understand and follow directions. This 11-question, timed test really tells you if the candidate will do as they are told or if they will make consistent mistakes. Time and time again, I have found an organization struggling with an employee who can’t seem to duplicate basic instructions or procedures no matter how many times he or she has been briefed. As likeable as the person is, they may create a lot of trouble when they have a low aptitude score.

Together, these tools offer a legitimate, standard way to make more educated decisions based on objective information rather than on gut instinct, or by the social tone of good interview. They also provide the means with which to more accurately gauge your advancement decisions with key employees.

Given the economic pressure we’re up against, it only makes sense to invest in a proven tool that can assist best hiring practices.

For more information on the Personnel Potential Analysis Testing System contact us at or call 631-382-7762.


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