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Research Using Pre-Employment Tests to Discover Companies’ Actual Core Competencies
By Michael Mercer, Ph.D.
Dec 13, 2013, 11:34

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CORE COMPETENCIES OFTEN HAVE NO CONNECTION TO REALITY:

Research Using Pre-Employment Tests to Discover Companies’ Actual Core Competencies

 

Many companies proudly show their list of core competencies to anyone who will look.  However, the core or key competencies listed often have no connection to reality. 

 

Using pre-employment test research in many companies, I discovered the actual core competencies of companies often differ from their stated key competencies.   

 

RESEARCH ON CORE COMPETENCIES USING PRE-EMPLOYMENT TESTS

 

When a company wants to use pre-employment tests, especially personality tests and intelligence or cognitive tests, the best first step is benchmarking.  Specifically, the company can test superstar employees in each job.  Pre-employment test scores of the superstars become the benchmark test scores for that job in that company. 

 

For example, let’s say a company wants to use pre-employment tests to test applicants for Sales Rep job.  To benchmark, the company’s best Sales Reps take the test.  Then, their typical test scores become the benchmark scores for the company’s Sales Reps.  Job applicants who get the same pre-employment test scores as the company’s best Sales Reps deserve further consideration and, perhaps, hiring.  But job applicants who get test scores different than the superstars probably may be dropped from consideration. 

  

EXAMPLES OF PRE-EMPLOYMENT TEST SCORES PROVING COMPANY’S CORE COMPETENCIES HAVE NO BASIS IN REALITY

I often notice companies list the following as some core competencies for their employees: 

*  Creativity

*  Flexibility

*  Learning or Quest for Knowledge

 

However, in conducting pre-employment test benchmarking studies for companies, I often find the company’s best, superstar employees score: 

1.  Low on Creativity Motivation

2.  High on Rigidly Following Rules, Policies, & Procedures

3.  Low on Knowledge or Learning Motivation

 

You notice such pre-employment test scores are very different than the stated core competencies of Creativity, Flexibility, and Learning or Quest for Knowledge. 

 

That means some core competencies are nothing more than wishful thinking done by managers who want to create lofty key competencies lists.  Given a choice, would you choose a list (A) nice-sounding, lofty competencies that have no basis in reality or (B) research-based reality of skills the company’s best, superstar employees actually possess and use to succeed on-the-job? 

 

You certainly would choose option B.   

 

WHAT TO DO ABOUT YOUR COMPANY’S CORE COMPETENCIES LIST? 

Put it to the test, literally and figuratively.  Take pre-employment tests and test your superstar employees in each job.  Use personality tests and intelligence tests or cognitive ability tests.  Statistically see benchmark pre-employment tests scores of your best-of-the-best employees. 

 

Then, use the pre-employment test benchmark scores as a basis to list true, research-based core competencies needed to help your company grow and prosper. 

 

Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is nationally recognized as a pre-employment test expert.  He is creator and researcher of all 3 “Forecaster(tm) Tests” – pre-employment tests:  (1) “Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test,” (2) “Behavior Forecaster(tm) Test,” and (3) “Abilities Forecaster(tm) Test.”  Dr. Mercer also wrote 6 books, including “Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest.”  You can contact Dr. Mercer at (847) 382-0690 or www.MercerSystems.com



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