Personality Tests in the Hiring Process

The vast majority of Fortune 100 companies use personality tests to separate the candidacy wheat from the employee-to-be chaff. What do these tests do? Are they worth the time and resources? And more importantly, are they effective?

Kathy Brizeli, the Senior Director of Member Services and Client Success at McLean & Company, worked in psychometrics for 12 years at Caliper. Psychometrics is one of many tests used to measure how an applicant’s traits relate to job performance. As an evaluator, Kathy interpreted assessment results and relayed them back to the potential employers for the candidate being evaluated.

“What we found out were the candidate’s innate tendencies – strengths and weaknesses,” notes Brizeli. “I would recommend their use as an additional piece of information, but never the sole determinant of a hiring decision; they should only be a piece of the puzzle. Assessments don’t necessarily consider experience or skill development.”

Personality testing is in the news: Merve Emre’s The Personality Brokers is the just-released book on how the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was invented by a mother-daughter team in the early twentieth century. According to Emre, personality testing is now a two-billion-dollar industry.

The New Republic weighed in on the topic, saying that Myers-Briggs, taken by two million people each year “is used by universities, career coaching centers, federal government offices, several branches of the military, and 88 of the Fortune 100 companies.” CPP Inc. sells it for $49.95US. On the flip side, organizational psychologist Adam Grant wrote, “The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is better than a horoscope but less reliable than a heart monitor.”

Robyn Knezic, Delmanor’s Director of Human Resources uses the Wiley – Global Assessment Profile XT.

“We are able to see areas where a candidate excels, and where they may have challenges. Some of those areas are: verbal skills, verbal reasoning, numeric reasoning, energy level, assertiveness, sociability, manageability, attitude, decisiveness, accommodation, independence, and objective judgment,” notes Knezic. But this comes with a caveat: “I think it is important to keep in mind that the personality profile is only one piece of the process and should not be relied on solely when making a hiring decision.”

With fifteen years of testing experience, Maryann Romano, Vice President of Human Resources at Distinct Infrastructure Group, also worked with Caliper, which she says costs $600 per test. “If you are limiting it for one or two candidates, fine. If you’re filling ten candidates over six months, the costs can get significant, especially if things don’t work out for whatever reason.” She claims that personality testing has shone light on, “knowing the warts, deciding if you can live with them, how to manage them, and how they like to work.”

Meanwhile, Mardi Walker, VP of Human Resources for the Ottawa Senators shares similar experience with personality testing. “Personality testing,” she says, “has worked out well for store clerks and store associates.”

In addition to Caliper, Walker used Gallup’s StrengthsFinder Personality Test – what she refers to as “very intense”. “It tested arithmetic ability, a person’s honesty and integrity, and how likely they’d be to ‘help themselves to the merchandise’.”

Vered Lerner cautions if the test is not administered properly, or if the tested individual isn’t honest, “the results may be misread or misunderstood.” The CEO and Founder of Bizstance Services has been working in HR and management for over 20 years.

The employer, moreover, ought to understand that a test doesn’t reveal everything. “Not all roles require testing, and employees are complex individuals with emotions, and the ability to change and adapt, given the right conditions and support.”

– Dave Gordon

Writing A Cover Letter

A recent human resource study shows that about 70% of applicants who submitted their resumes with a cover letter landed a job interview. This figure indicates the importance of presenting a cover letter with every resume submission. However, preparing one can become time consuming and tedious.

A cover letter is a one-page document that the candidate submits to a company in addition to their resume, to express interest in the advertised opportunity or to explore future vacancy. Writing a cover letter is an opportunity for the aspirant to present themselves as suitable candidates for the job, stating in detail relevant experience, major accomplishments, significant achievements, skills and competencies – highlighting at least 75% of what is essential for the post. The ultimate goal is for a recruiter to take a glance on the enclosed resume and eventually asked to come for an interview. This can be compared to a door that, once opened, will lead to an individual’s professional journey.

While your resume is an overview of your credentials, your cover letter is equipped to serve as a sales tool. It should establish why you are a perfect match for the position. Remember, one job posting is seen by hundreds of passive and active job seekers, making it crucial to use this to market yourself to potential employers. Demonstrate why the hiring manager should utilize your services than other candidates vying for the post. Not all companies have time to train newcomers, if you possess the technical and transferable skills needed to be successful on the job, display that on a cover letter, this will sets you apart from other candidates.

Nonetheless, it is not always enough to simply know the job and have proven your expertise in the field. Expressing specific knowledge or background about the industry and company is definitely an advantage. This displays your genuine overall giving the employer the impression that you have a clear understanding of the kind of organization you want to be part of.
In more detail, here are some basic things you have to know about and include in your cover letter:

  1. It is ideal to provide the name and designation of the hiring manager on every cover letter. However, if this information cannot be obtained, your alternative should always be: “Dear Hiring Manager:, Dear Recruiting Team:, or Dear (Company Name) Team:” Do not use “To Whom It May Concern”.
  2. Always put a colon after a name in the salutation and not a comma.
  3. Your cover letter must have the same format as your resume. The header, footer, borders, font style and size should look exactly the same.
  4. Never present your cover letter in a coloured and/or fancy sheet. Print on a standard 8 ½ x 11 short bond paper.
  5. Never exceed one page. Make it elaborate but not too long and narrative.
  6. Follow a business format in dating and addressing your cover letter.
  7. It is a business letter therefore, do not indent. Use formal block paragraphs with spaces in between.
  8. The letter in total should never exceed three paragraphs:
    –   The first one should always consist of the position that you are applying for, your interest to join the company and how you learned about the opening. When referred by a specific person, acknowledge that person with their permission. Research the company and determine why it is well-known and recognized in their line of business. Use simple but catchy terms such as: “leading retail company”, “forerunner in the cement manufacturing industry”, “undefeated telecommunications enterprise”, etc.
    Be sure to articulate your strengths in the workplace supported by your background and emphasize the value that you will add to the organization.

    –   Next, briefly outline your qualifications vis-à-vis job specifics. Accentuate on the talents and experiences that matches the needs. Your letter should sound that you are the best person for this job. Use bullet points to enumerate your assets. You can say: “Some of the key strengths that I bring to the table include but are not limited to:” The list must catch the hiring manager’s attention enough to immediately call you for an interview.
    Own your accomplishments. Instead of saying: “This exposure increased my skills in”. Make yourself the active subject in the sentence: “In this role, my technical capabilities have greatly improved”.

    –   In your closing paragraph, wrap up the ways in which you will proceed with the application. In bold statement emphasize again why you should be considered. You should be assertive too by expressing that if you don’t hear from the person within a week (put the specific date), you will take initiative to follow up. Otherwise, you can say: “Looking forward to hearing from you soon or to meeting you in person to further discuss my qualifications in more detail”. Do not forget your contact information – your email and phone number where you can be easily reached. Thank the person for taking his/her time.

  9. End your letter with: “Sincerely,” and allocate a space for your signature.
  10. Make a notation at the bottom of the letter that your resume is enclosed with this letter.
  11. Proofread your letter. Do not rely too much on the computer’s “spelling and grammar” feature. If possible, ask a friend or a family member to review, correct or comment.
  12. Sound professional and educated. Use technical terms when necessary. For example, “in-depth knowledge of targeted selection, strong ERP background, extensive supply chain management exposure, CHRP or CPA designation, etc.” Avoid all forms of slang, unnecessary abbreviations, and avoid texting lingo at all times.
  13. Refer to sample cover letters online, but never plagiarize.

To summarize, it is important to always tweak your cover letter to correspond your desired position. Make it visually appealing and well-coordinated with your resume. Sell your expertise and value to the organization, but remember it is not your autobiography and should not exceed one page. Be very specific and concrete about what you can offer and bring to the company. Do not exaggerate or use generic language.

A potential employer’s first impression of you is the cover letter you submit. By following the guidelines above you can be certain to create a cover letter that will stand out and best exhibits your potential for future employment.

 

M. Beltran | DBPC Blog

4 Interview Formats & How to Conquer Them

The dreaded interview is still an intimidating prospect to job-seekers young and old. After all, not all of us are born extroverts and learning to sell yourself is a skill that can be difficult to hone even for the most intrepid salesperson. Adding to that difficulty is the fact there’s more than just one your career. Few things are worse than sitting down with an employer and realizing that you are completely unprepared for the type of environment they have set up. This week, our objective at the DBPC Blog is to help arm you with knowledge about some of the most common evaluation / interview formats and provide tips on how to make sure you excel in each of them.

Behavioral
In this type of interview, the employer evaluates your past experience and work ethic from your previous jobs, and they are attempting to examine whether you have real-world experience applying the skills you outlined in your resume. A key factor to remember during any behavioral evaluation is that even if you are discussing your history in the past tense, what they are really trying to do is imagine how you will perform for them in the future. Try to use the most recent examples possible, and demonstrate that you have consistently exhibited desirable behaviors over a long period of time. Bring the past into your present and future, and you will be able to instill confidence in your interviewers.

Situational
The situational interview is common in retail and other customer service industries. It involves giving the applicant a hypothetical scenario and then asking how they would respond on the company’s behalf. This structure is often used to determine your response to stress, unruly behavior and unexpected problems or setbacks. The most important message you can send to an employer during this type of evaluation is to demonstrate that you can maintain your composure – even when you are initially unsure on how to resolve the issue. Your key objective is to show that you can keep clients and customers calm and reassured until a proper solution can be found.

Unstructured
The unstructured interview tosses out many of the formalities of the other evaluations. Both parties may end up meeting over drinks or dinner rather than in a formal business environment. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security by the more laid back atmosphere. You may be tempted to “let your hair down in this scenario, but you must keep in mind that you are still being evaluated. In fact, this is the perfect opportunity for your employer to get a better sense of the “real” you when you are removed from a more staid office habitat. Do your best not to say anything you would not have said in a more formal setting.

Case
This type of interview is utilized in professional environments such as IT, law, consulting or engineering. Similar to the situational interview, applicants will be presented with a hypothetical scenario; however, this time, it will be significantly more technical and detail-oriented. It will test the breadth and the depth of your industry knowledge, as well as your ability to apply the skills they are looking for in true-to-life situations. Being able to demonstrate ingenuity and practicality is the surest way to win over employers in this environment. Companies want employees who can solve problems realistically in ways that account for time and budget restrictions. Preparation is key. The last thing you want to be doing is “winging it” in a meeting like this. Treat it like you would treat an exam. If you feel you are lacking expertise, study previous cases from magazines or at an academic library. Also, keep in mind, there is not always a “right| answer that the employer wants. Usually, what is more important, is that they are able to analyze your thought process and see why/how you came to your conclusions.

Going to an interview does not have to feel like you’re wandering blindfolded into a minefield; hopefully, at this point, you will feel that you have a better grasp on where the pitfalls for each interview format lie, and you will be aware of what you need to do to successfully navigate around them. The rest is up to you to make the best first impression that you can.

How to Prepare and Present Yourself for an Interview

If you’ve been invited back to an interview it means you have already impressed the potential employer on paper. Interviews are about “selling” yourself and your skills. It is imperative that you exceed their expectations, to make a good and lasting impression. This will make you stand out from your competition. Follow these steps on how to prepare and present yourself for an interview and you will be able to make a good and lasting first impression.

First Impressions
Succeeding in an interview is mostly about your professional appearance and the interviewer’s impression of you. The old saying that goes “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” and that’s always the case meeting people for the first time, especially for an interview. The first point of the meeting MUST be positive, if not, it will be difficult to change the hiring manager’s mind during the rest of the interview. Arrive five to 10 minutes early, it demonstrates that you respect their time and also proves that you are taking the position seriously. Acknowledge each person you encounter with respect and professionalism. When you shake hands, make eye contact and match the interviewer’s grip, you don’t want to seem aggressive. Don’t be concern about being nervous. It’s normal to feel that way during the interview. Keep in mind the purpose of the meeting is to fully evaluate your personality, qualification and your best interest in the profession. Many interviewers begin with “small talk” to help you relax but bear in the mind that are still being evaluated. Maintain a positive attitude.

Plan to Articulate
Preparation is the key to mastering a job interview. Plan ahead, systematize your thoughts and gather materials such as, cover letters, resumes, and any credentials that will help you land the job. Now that you have gotten the interview, review the job description and focus on its responsibilities and duties. Identify the employer needs. As the applicant, you should prepare anecdotes of specific times where you have used the required skills. Explain how useful those abilities can be for the company, and emphasize your ability to solve problems like the ones the employer might have.

Dress Professionally
Interviewers pay attention to every detail. Your apparel, demeanor, and mannerisms are all elements influencing what they think of you, whether in a job search or even on work. What you wear creates a significant initial impression that can affect the employer’s ability to take you seriously, or consider you for the position. Formal dressing allows you to “sell” and plan better which promotes productivity and camaraderie. It re-affirms your dedication to professionalism in both your work and your appearance. This allows you to exude confidence and self-assurance that recruiters are looking for. So dress for success!

Research the Company
It is always wise to conduct research on the company before the interview. Whether its product and services, opportunities and its competitors, is information will enable you to properly articulate your values and skills to match the organization’s needs. This also authenticates your enthusiasm for the job during the interview, it will likely impress the interviewer that you are fully informed and updated about the company. With this type of preparation, you will also have the opportunity to determine if it’s an organization you will want to devote yourself for the next few years.

 

Leslie | DBPC Blog

Is Your Resume The Right Format For You?

Have you ever been in a situation where you apply to multiple jobs but never get a call back, even though you have the perfect qualifications for that particular job? It happens to many individuals and the main reason why people are not getting interviews is their resumes. This document provides the employer all the information s/he needs to know about each candidate, based on that s/he will decide which applicants are the best for the company and the particular role. Getting a call back for your dream job wouldn’t be that hard, if you knew the correct aspects to arrange your resume. There are three different types of resume formats, chronological, functional and combination. You should select the one that works for your particular experience and the type of job you are looking for.

Is your resume the right format for you? This article will help you to understand each format and what you need to consider to select the right for you.

  1. Chronological Resume
    A chronological resume enlists your work history, going from the most recent job to the oldest one. This format is perfect for people with stable work history that means working for a company for at least three years and not changing jobs repeatedly. You can also use this format if you want to stay on the same career field, this will allow you to showcase your experience in the area.

    Here is how to structure your resume following this format:
    –  As mentioned before, first enlist your work history in chronological order. Initiate with your most recent job, follow by the ones prior to that one, and just mention your experience from the last ten years. List job titles, name of companies and length on each position including month and year.
         –  Below each job, use action verbs to give a short description of your main responsibilities. It’s also extremely important to mention your most relevant accomplishments and provide the results and impact of the same ones by numbers.
         –  After you finish with your work experience, enlist your educational background. Include name of the establishment, degree(s) earned and year of graduation. The extent of this section will depend on your situation, if you are a recent graduate this will be your main focus and you will need to enlist your accomplishments, honors and awards. But if you are an experienced professional, just the basic information will be fine.

  2. Functional Resume
    The main focus of this format is the skills you have acquired during your work experience that are relevant to the position you are applying for. Decide which areas of expertise you wish to highlight and list the responsibilities and achievements you had on each of them. Utilize this type of arrangement, if you have gaps on your work history or wish to have a career change.

    The structure for this format will be as follows:
         –  The initial part of your resume will depend on your experience. If you are a recent graduate or an individual with entry level experience, you should establish a clear career objective, this will show the employer what you want to achieve professionally. But if you are an experienced professional, mentioning the position you are submitting your resume for will be enough.
         –  After the objective or Position, you will start with the Highlights of Qualifications. Under this you will indicate the most important skills you possess that are related to the position you are applying for, it’s imperative to focus on the company requirements and qualifications.
         –  The next part will be Areas of Expertise, on this section remark all the achievements and contributions you had with past employers. Divide them by specific areas like accounting, office administration, customer service and so on. As mention before, just try to include what will be relevant to the specific role or company you wish to submit your resume.
    –  On the third section you will enlist your professional experience and volunteer work. As the chronological format you will start with the most recent job and go back just ten years. Don’t go over specifics of each work, limit the information to company name, role or roles at the company, city and province/state where the organization is located and the period you were working on each position indicating month and year.
    –  At last you will go over your Education, Training and Certificates. Indicate the name of the course, establishment where you took the course, location of the same and the year you graduated or completed the course.

  3. Combination Resume
    As the name says, this type of resume blends the two previous formats. Include the highlights of qualifications of the functional and the professional experience of the chronological. This arrangement will allow you to feature the skills you have that are relevant to the position and at the same time will give the employers the detail work history that they usually prefer.

When selecting a resume format, based your decision on the type of job you want to get and your experience. Take your time writing your resume and if it’s possible target it to each particular job you are applying for, it will take time and effort but it will increase your chances to get an interview. Regardless the format you select, your resume should always have your contact information, educational background, work experience, achievement and qualifications. It should also be visually appealing, with not grammatical or spelling mistakes. Always be sure just to mention what is relevant to your career and professional goals and when applying for jobs make sure to submit your resume just to the positions you are actually qualified for. Getting interviews depends more on your dedication and commitment to your job hunting process, than the unemployment situation as a lot of people think. There will always be companies hiring and is just in you to give a good first impression and show why you are the best for the role, selecting the right format will allow you to do that and take you closer to that goal.

 

V. Sanchez | DBPC Blog

How to Answer the Most Difficult Interview Questions

In a period where everything seems to be fast-paced, we have to be assertive enough to endure any challenges. Success comes with preparation and consistency. For interviewees, nothing is as intimidating as an employment dialogue. Passing it means possible career and stability. Everybody aims to stand out with their resumes and ace the thought-provoking meet up. Consider the following in order to be able to answer the most difficult interview questions:

Employers are definitely looking for candidates with critical thinking talents. Since this stage is demarcated as an elimination process in hiring, interviewers are set to put you in a hot seat and throw challenging queries. Now that you are given the opportunity to prove yourself, you want to prepare and guarantee a good chance of getting into the organization.

When you are asked with situations that make you divulge a weakness, you are probably into the route of saying you have no mistakes or you are a perfectionist. Obviously, you want to impress.
However, even the person you are talking to knows that it is not the truth. Even when this is counter intuitive, you should be truthful. The questioner does not really care about the faults. Rather, he/she wants to see how you succeeded the circumstances. Was it solved systematically? Did you have methods of tracing the cause of the problem? Were you mindful of any consequences it could possibly have on yourself as a team player and on the establishment?

“Tell me something about yourself.” is an overused inquiry. It’s either you have mastered your answer by simply repeating what is written on your portfolio, or you are suddenly caught off guard because it feels awkward to discuss about yourself. Avoid giving dull and expected answers. Share your greatest personal advantage as well as aspirations. Ambitious individuals are known to be assiduous. In addition, state something personal that will make them remember you. Keep it short though. They do not want to hear what happens in your house.

Mentioning about salary on the initial conference is not advisable. It is better to wait for them to do the offer than giving them the impression that it is your most imperative factor. It is a fact that remuneration matters. Nevertheless, be professional and wait for the right timing. When they ask, do not undersell yourself as this gives them an impression your capacity is tantamount to the pay. Give them a figure in the meridian range or slightly higher. A manager who sees the exceptional skills will not be held up by numbers.

Normally, executives will assess you through topics like value that you have added to your former company. They would also want to know the time-frame you could do the same, or even better to their corporation. Give a detailed account of how you were able to escalate the profitability of operations. Disclose any proposed procedures that was adopted and eventually increased savings. Your evaluator is waiting to hear statistics that you can back up. If you are not sure when you can do it for their firm, inform them of any plans that you have in mind instead. They are not expecting that you can provide positive modifications in a month in case they hire you. However, convince them that you have actual plans and you are definitely worth a try.

Now that you have idea on what happens inside those boardrooms or offices during job discussion, organize your thoughts and be ready to land on your dream job. Don’t forget the basics. Do the STAR method (situation, task, action and result). Research about the position and company. Make proper gestures like handshake and eye contacts. Last but definitely not the least, arrive on time.