Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How Employers Evaluate Job Applicants: 3. The Verification Process

Many job applicants are taken aback when they are suddenly introduced to an employer’s verification procedure, which for most companies is a requirement for all employees. What used to be handled by way of “word of mouth”, in many cases is now a multistage process that must be completed satisfactorily before a job applicant can be hired.

Sources of information that verify basic employee requirements as well as the accuracy of the information presented by the applicant are all verified. This can include drug tests and skill based tests that are required, disclosures about citizenship and residency, non-compete issues that could exist from past employment, etc.

© 2014 Don Arday.

Biographical Verification

Most applicants are unaware that prospective employers investigate the biographical information they supply or that is available through record keeping agencies. This usually includes an identity check, former employment history, as well as a history of an applicant’s residency.

Criminal Background Check

In the past, a criminal background check was an expensive proposition for an employer, but now CBC companies offer the service for a nominal fee. Background check services are plentiful and  are offered online through a subscription fee for investigating employers.

Drug Testing

No longer conducted for safety reasons, drug testing has now become a prerequisite to a final sign off on a job offer by an employer. These drug tests usually require an applicant to report to an outside third party service for a blood test and a urinalysis.

Certification

Degree Certification

Educational degrees are a form of certification and most jobs require some form of educational certification even if it is only a high school diploma. Higher wage employers usually require some form of bachelor degree, BA, BS, BFA, etc., or even a masters or PhD degree. The degree status of an applicant will be verified to determine employability.

Special Certification

Some jobs require an applicant to have additional certification(s), i.e., non-degree related certification. For example, an art education job that calls for a MST (Master of Science for Teaching) degree, may also require applicants to have state certification, and other certifications such as certification to teach English.

Health Testing

Physical Testing

Health testing is a very special category of testing required by some employers. Controversial, but sometimes necessary, heath testing verifies an applicant's ability to perform a physically difficult task or work in an extreme environment. For instance, a deep sea salvages diving job or the job of an astronaut. A true example of a physical ineligibility was when an applicant was being considered for the job of a commercial color-proofing specialist and was tested to have deuteranomaly or green colorblindness.

Health/Life Insurance Testing

Many employer's insurance companies require a new employee to declare any preexisting health conditions, and/or have a physical examination to establish his or her state of health for the purpose of determining the terms and conditions of insurability.

Talent Assessment Testing

Many employers looking to fill a job that requires a very specific skill set will test an applicant's requisite knowledge in a specialized area. These tests sometimes take the form of a written examination, or in the case of illustrators and designers they may involve the completion of a mock assignment.

Personality Testing

Behavioral Trait Testing

Employers use tests to determine the personality of prospective employees and to predict behavioral tendencies. These tests attempt to indicate an applicant’s dependability, integrity, receptiveness, safety, etc.

Interpersonal Trait Testing

Interpersonal testing is used to indicate how an applicant will interact and work with others; how he or she is likely to communicate with individuals and within a group situation, both with fellow employees and customers.

Language Proficiency Testing

In the US, knowledge of the English language is tested pertaining to verbal and written communication. Proficiency with grammar, spelling, and vocabulary are tested as well.

Testing Oversight

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The EEOC provides governance over all employment hiring practices in the US. With regard to pre-employment testing, the EEOC has no objection to an employer using testing to determine qualified job applicants as long as the testing does not violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Briefly stated, the Act prohibits testing or any other applicant screening process that is performed for the purpose of intentional discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.







Tuesday, June 10, 2014

How Employers Evaluate Job Applicants: 2. The Decision Making Process

Along with recommendations provided by outside sources, employers also evaluate and catalog less intangible personal traits that are presented by the applicants themselves. Converted by employers into qualifications, these traits are acquired and measured from an interview through the actions and behavior of an interviewee, as well as from other credentials. This can occur directly, face-to-face, or through remote resources and correspondence.

© 2014 Don Arday.
This information is offered to give job applicants a look at the job hiring process from the standpoint of an employer seeking a new employee. Considering what happens during this process from an employer’s viewpoint can help applicants prepare better job applications. A portfolio, resume, bio, and other bits of information are not entirely responsible for a candidate receiving a lucrative job offer. Other supplemental considerations such as an applicant’s personality, conduct, attitude, and values strongly influence a decision to hire, and surprisingly in some instances, even more so than their skills or achievements.

Getting to “know” an applicant is a high priority for most employers. This explains why nearly every salaried position requires more than one interview, or a series of interviews with different persons within a company. Interviews and other investigations are all for the purpose of establishing a comfort level with the applicant before making him or her an offer. It is nearly impossible to consider every standard every company could possibly use, but the following essential prerequisites are seriously considered as part of the evaluation process.

Personality

It is said about some people one encounters that they “have personality”. The phrase generally refers to someone with an outgoing, bubbly, vibrant, gregarious, noticeable, or notable mannerisms. A misconception many applicants have about personality is that they themselves should possess these fervent mannerisms. The truth is that it is most important to have a personality that will blend naturally with the personality of the company they are seeking employment with, and company personalities do vary. Some company personalities are energetic and boisterous while others are more modest and reserved. The bottom line is, employers are looking for a good fit concerning personal mannerisms.

Conduct

An interviewer can tell a great deal about an applicant by the way they conduct themselves in an interview. Conduct within a company can be very formal, or it can be casual. This depends on many factors including the type of company, the industry the company serves, cultural influences that exist, the company personality, etc. For instance financial and law firms are generally conduct themselves more formally than design and gaming firms. The jewelry industry is more formal than in the more casual fashion industry. And companies in Japan conduct themselves so formally as to be almost ritualistic, whereas American companies have a much less structured form of conduct. Like personality, employers are looking for applicants who demonstrate an understanding of the type of conduct exhibited by the company they are seeking employment from.

Attitude

Although attitude and conduct are both forms of behavior, attitude differs from conduct in that conduct is about how an applicant accomplishes tasks, whereas attitude is more about what an applicant’s thinks about the tasks he or she accomplishes; in other words, an applicant’s opinion and mind-set. Demeanor plays a very important part in whether an applicant may be offered a job or not. Interviewees that even show the slightest hint of narcissism, insensitivity, egocentricity, or inattentiveness are quickly removed from consideration. These forms of attitude are often presented through body posture, facial expression, and inflection in speech, but a problematic attitude can also be detected in an applicant that doesn’t seem to be listening or fails to answer questions directly.

Values

Employers believe their employees should have good values, and they search for job applicants who possess them. A job candidate who believes in, has an opinion and can converse about, commendable ideals, standards, ethics, and principles has a distinct advantage over one who hasn’t placed value(s) on what they do; and it is surprising how many job seekers have not, particularly when it comes to standards of quality and excellence.

Conclusion 

Employers cross-reference an applicant’s personality, conduct, attitude, and values with the desirable skills sought after by the employer such as leadership abilities, a willingness for teamwork, task-based initiative, work ethic, time management abilities, organizational skills, self-discipline and self directedness, critical judgment, creativity and ingenuity, and ability to communicate. And in the end, impressions and knowledge from personal contact with candidates, are combined with outside recommendations and verification data to form the final assessment of a job applicant.