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Pre-Employment Tests, Interview Skills & Hiring


GROW YOUR COMPANY by HIRING “OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE” EMPLOYEES
By Michael Mercer, Ph.D.
Jul 9, 2008, 16:05

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You can use pre-employment tests and other methods to help you hire obsessive-compulsive employees – when the job requires an organized perfectionist.

 

I read a hand-wringing article in a management magazine about obsessive-compulsive employees.  The article gave a moaning account about how such people are troubled.

 

Yikes!  That makes exciting reading – but it does not reflect workplace reality.  I have observed many obsessive-compulsive people.  Only one was a certifiably troubled.  All the rest were perfectly happy working in jobs requiring perfectionism and attention to detail.

 

REASONS YOU WANT – & NEED – TO HIRE OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE EMPLOYEES

 

You can answer these questions to see the value of obsessive-compulsives in the workplace.

 

1st Question = Would you feel comfortable hiring an accounting employee who fails to make sure every number is correct?

 

Of course, you would not.  Productive employees in certain jobs must be perfectionists.

 

2nd Question = How much has your company lost due to careless employees making mistakes?

 

Every manager has tales of employees making mistakes, and causing a lot of waste.  Plus, how did your customers react to low quality and other problems caused by employees who did imperfect work?

 

Summary:  You absolutely need employees in some jobs who do everything perfectly. 

 

DEFINITION:  “OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE” EMPLOYEE

= PERSON WHO FOLLOWS RULES, POLICIES, & PROCEDURES

 

Saying someone is “obsessive-compulsive” sounds clinical.  In the workplace, we should not look at clinical aspects of job applicants or employees.  So, here are words describing obsessive-compulsive employees’ work-related behaviors:

+  Perfectionist

+  Person who follows rules, policies, & procedures

+  Organized, careful, neat, & orderly

+  Not impulsive

 

Instead, you must uncover job-related personality traits and abilities you need in job applicants you decide to hire.  Other businesslike words describing obsessive-compulsive employees include:

+  Perfectionist

+  Person who follows rules, policies, & procedures

+  Worker who is organized, careful, neat, & orderly

+  Not impulsive – i.e., thinks before acting

 

PERSONALITY TRAITS & ABILITIES YOU NEED TO FORECAST

 

Pre-employment tests are the most accurate way to tell if a job applicant may succeed on-the-job.  Tests also are the best way to predict if an applicant is a perfectionist.  You can use pre-employment tests to make such predictions by looking for applicants who get these test scores:

1.  high score on “Follows Rules, Policies, & Procedures”

2.  low score on “Creativity”

3.  high score on “Fact-Focused”

4.  high score on “Grammar”

5.  high score on “Thinks Before Acting,” i.e., low “Impulsiveness”

 

 

SOME COMPANIES’ CULTURES REQUIRE OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE EMPLOYEES

 

Each time I customize pre-employment tests for a company, I get insights into the company’s culture.  Fact:  Some companies’ success depends on employees being perfectionists.

 

The way to customize a pre-employment test is to test current employees, and then analyze test scores of the best employees in each job.  Scores of the best employees are the “benchmark” test scores for each job.  Then, the company focuses on hiring job applicants who get the same pre-employment test scores as its best employees.

 

 

EXAMPLE of PERFECTIONISTIC COMPANY CULTURE

 

A very successful company asked me to customize pre-employment tests for its three most important white-collar jobs.  The tests forecast – or predict – 14 behaviors and five mental abilities.  The benchmarking study results showed the best employees in all three jobs got these scores on pre-employment tests:

1.  high score on “Follows Rules, Policies, & Procedures”

2.  low score on “Creativity”

3.  high score on “Fact-Focused”

4.  high score on “Grammar”

5.  low score on “Impulsiveness”

 

As I reviewed the tests’ statistics with a company executive, I remarked, “Your company’s benchmark scores on the pre-employment tests prove your best employees are obsessive-compulsives.  They’re perfectionists.”

 

The executive told me that having orderly, organized, perfectionistic employees plays a key role in the company’s stellar success.  And that is why he asked me to customize pre-employment tests and interview methods to help the company hire the best perfectionists.

 

Here are more insights into this company’s culture.  I traveled to the company to deliver a training seminar on how to use the customized (A) pre-employment tests plus (B) interview method.  The company’s facilities were spotless.  Employees dressed neatly.  This illustrated the company values neatness, orderliness, and doing things right the first time.  These qualities were crucial to its success.  As such, that company uses customized pre-employment tests to find out which job applicants have the behaviors and abilities the company needs to continue growing.

 

 

SOME JOBS REQUIRE PERFECTIONISTS – & SOME JOBS DON’T

 

My pre-employment test customizing for many companies reveals the best employees in some jobs – but not all jobs – are fairly obsessive or perfectionistic.

 

Here are jobs for which the best employees usually will carefully follow rules, policies, and procedures.  That is, they are perfectionists:

*  Accounting

*  Bookkeeper

*  Cashier

*  Engineer

*  Finance

*  IT

*  Machine Operators

 

Although some jobs require perfectionists, other jobs do not.  For instance, many sales and customer-service jobs need people who are flexible in dealings with customers, prospects and fellow employees. 

 

 

3 MORE WAYS TO SPOT OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE JOB APPLICANTS

 

Pre-employment tests are the quickest, easiest and most objective way to forecast – or predict – if an applicant is a perfectionist.  Here are some other methods you can use, along with tests.

 

On the application form, examine if the applicant’s printing or writing is ultra-neat with perfect punctuation.

 

In job interviews, does the applicant looks “ironed” and neat?  Then, notice if the job applicant answers include

a.  lists

b.  careful enunciation

c.  organized responses

 

If the applicant drove, after the interview walk the applicant to his or her car.  See if the car is neat and clean inside and out.

 

 

YOU CAN HIRE PERFECTIONISTS to MAKE YOUR COMPANY SUCCESSFUL

 

You get the idea.  If some or all jobs in your company require an obsessive perfectionist, you can vastly increase your odds of hiring the right people by

A.  using pre-employment tests – and look at five specific test scores, as listed above

B.  seeing if the application, appearance, and interview ooze perfectionists’ qualities

 

You now know how to uncover if a job applicant is the right perfectionist for the right job in your company.  Go ahead, and use these tips to hire the best.

 

 

COPYRIGHT 2008 MICHAEL MERCER, PH.D., www.MercerSystems.com

 

 

Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is nationally recognized as America’s Hire the Best Expert™.  Dr. Mercer created 3 “Forecaster™ Tests” – pre-employment tests that many companies use so they can hire the best.  He authored 5 books, including “Hire the Best – & Avoid the Rest™.”  Dr. Mercer delivers keynote speeches at many conferences, and he conducts training seminars at many companies.  You can go to http://www.MercerSystems.com to get (1) free 14-page Special Report on “How to Hire Productive & Honest Employees” plus (2) free subscription to “Dr. Mercer’s Management Newsletter.”

 



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