Hiring Wisdom: Yes, Applicants Tell You What They Want You to Hear

Illustration by istockphoto.com
Illustration by istockphoto.com

This is not really news, but was triggered by an email I got from a testing company.

Here is their tag line: “Applicants tell you what they want you to hear. Assessments tell you the rest.

Are we now supposed to assume applicants don’t tell us only what they want us to know when they take our tests? When did testing become infallible?

Great work history, but they failed your test?

Tests are simply another way of collecting information from applicants; they are another form of interview. They may have less bias, ask more questions in a shorter amount of time, and eliminate emotional involvement, but they are still just another interview.

How many great people have not been hired because an assessment said they have the wrong values or personality?

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We all hear stories of the person who FAILED THE TEST, was hired anyway, and the test was right. How about the stories of the person who FAILED THE TEST, was hired anyway and became a real asset to the organization?

What opportunity do you give to people who did not do well on your test, but who have a great work history?

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.


2 Comments on “Hiring Wisdom: Yes, Applicants Tell You What They Want You to Hear

  1. Oh are you talking about those horrible “personality tests” that idiot employers make applicants take? The ones where candidates are obviously just trying to pick the “right” answers? Those should be illegal. They’re a waste of everyone’s time.

    I thought for a moment that you were talking about assessments where you’re actually being tested in skills necessary for the job, to determine whether or not the applicant has the skills they claim to have, the ones that seek to duplicate some task that the applicant would need to perform on the job. Those are valuable!

    1. Job-fit assessments are VERY valuable but must be applied correctly. They must be validated and psycho metrically sound. Many are not and that is why they get the bad rap. Finding out if a candidate is a good FIT for the job (assuming other qualifications are met) is key to making both the candidate AND the organization productive.

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