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Pre-Employment Tests, Interview Skills & Hiring

By Michael Mercer, Ph.D.
Jan 28, 2014, 14:52

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Managers conducting job interviews need to assess job applicants in two arenas:  (1) Technical Skills & Knowledge and (2) Job-Related Personality Traits.   

A recent article in “eFinancialCareer News” by Beecher Tuttle lists 12 questions financial asset managers asked  business school students applying for finance jobs.  Of the 12 questions, nine delved into Technical Skills (e.g., “How do you currently keep up with the markets?”).  Only three questions focused on Personality Traits (e.g., “What is your biggest professional failure?”). 


The huge problem with asking mostly Technical Skills job interview questions is they are incredibly easy for any applicant who studied finance (or any specialty) to give you a "good" answer.  For example, the applicants discussed in the article were business school students studying finance.  Unless they slept during their finance classes and did not read textbooks (which is doubtful), don’t you think they would know the “correct” answer to Technical Skills & Knowledge questions?


In my book, “HIRE THE BEST & AVOID THE REST(tm),” I suggest hiring managers how to make a list of 6-9 most important job-related talents they need in a successful employees.  Then, they should ask "open-ended" questions to observe how well the applicant has each of the 6-9 job-related talents.  Some of those 6-9 talents should be Technical skills -- e.g., questions in “eFinancialCareer News” article cited earlier. 


But, since most people applying for finance-type jobs will possess the Technical Skills & Knowledge, it is important to ask Personality Trait questions.  Personality Trait questions may help the hiring manager determine crucial factors, such as the applicant’s (1) work ethic (many people are lazy!), (2) honesty, (3) teamwork and collaboration preferences, and (4) ability to "fit in" your corporate culture. 


Also, use pre-employment tests:  In fact, these personality tests and intelligence-related tests can have custom-tailored benchmark scores. 


Research shows pre-employment tests with custom-tailored benchmarks are vastly more scientific and accurate at predicting job success or failure than even the best job interview! 


So, conduct an in-depth job interview.  And also administer personality and intelligence pre-employment tests to help you work on your goal to hire the best.   


Michael Mercer, Ph.D., helps managers assess job applicants so they hire productive people and avoid expensive hiring mistakes.  He devised three pre-employment tests, the FORECASTER(TM) TESTS, used by many companies to evaluate job applicants.  Dr. Mercer also authored the book, HIRE THE BEST & AVOID THE REST(TM).  He conducts seminars and custom-tailors pre-employment tests for companies.  You can learn more at or by calling Dr. Mercer at




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