written by: Michelle Shuler Key•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 1/16/2011
Hiring can be daunting, but by learning about employee selection techniques and knowing their advantages and disadvantages you can implement hiring procedures that help you find the best employee for the position.
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Personality profiling is an employee selection technique that can provide valuable information about a potential employee’s fit. Popular and well-respected tests like DiSC profiling can help you determine which candidates are likely to have strong leadership, organizational or communication skills. When not administered and interpreted correctly, however, these tests can actually steer you away from qualified candidates, or worse, open your company up to legal difficulties.
One might assume, for example, that extroversion is required for leadership, public relations and other communication-heavy positions, but one of the most powerful and successful business leaders in the country—Bill Gates—is a known introvert. This does not dispute the value of personality assessments, but it does underscore the importance of proper interpretation of the results. If you choose to implement one of these programs in your office, look into specialized training for someone in your Human Resource department to avoid turning away strong candidates unnecessarily.
Personality assessments have also come under legal fire. In 2005 a then-popular assessment, the Minnesota Multiphastic Personality Inventory Test, was ruled to violate the Americans with Disabilities Act due to the fact that the test uncovered and identified psychological conditions protected under the Act. The test in question has since been modified to be acceptable under EEOC guidelines, but the importance of avoiding discrimination in pre-employment testing cannot be over-emphasized. Weigh these advantages and disadvantages carefully before deciding to institute personality profiling.
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References should always be checked for any candidate you are seriously considering hiring. This method helps you weed out employees who may have represented themselves dishonestly and gives you an opportunity to learn about the candidate’s reliability and job performance. Be aware, however, that a prospective employee is unlikely to use a reference from a negative work experience. Just like the resume, references are tailored to put candidates in the best light possible.
An additional concern is the legality of checking references. Many states have laws in place regarding what questions can be asked or require written permission from the candidate before contacting previous employers. Be aware of the laws in your state before contacting references.
By hiring through a staffing agency you save yourself the time of placing ads and screening potential candidates. Employees hired through an agency are often available to start work more quickly than those found through other employee selection techniques, who may be currently employed and need to work out a notice.
There is cost associated with this method, however, and you are in essence leaving the selection up to someone else. Weigh your decision to use a staffing agency against the importance of the position. For employees who will be integral to your operation you may find more security in handling the process yourself, but if time is of the essence, an agency may be the right choice.
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The Bottom Line
The advantages and disadvantages of employee selection techniques can make the process of choosing a technique nearly as complex as filling the position itself. To help determine the usefulness of these methods for your office, consider:
The time allotted to fill the position - Staffing agencies are a great choice when a position needs to be filled quickly.
The monetary investment - Both staffing agencies and personality profiles can have associated costs.
The importance of the position - Reference checks and personality profiles have added value when filling certain roles.
Most importantly when using any of these techniques, be aware of local laws and how they affect your hiring decisions.