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Upgrade your hiring process with this questionnaire.

P

Through a well-designed series of written questions, an employer can glean information omitted in

resumes and sometimes not obtained by interviews.

Take a hard look at your present hiring process. Do resumes or job application forms fail to provide the information you need'? Are employment interviews conducted halfheartedly, and do they seem discursive and repetitious'? Do references tell you little of substance about job candidates? If the answer is yes to one or more of these questions, you may want to use the experience-oriented, competency-based questionnaire described here.

Let's start by considering some deficiencies in hiring practices:

*Resumes. Ostensibly a principal source of information about applicants, resumes reveal only what these individuals want you to know. You receive a distillation of everything the applicants would like to be, too often, there's a large gap between what is claimed and what is delivered. To further complicate matters, most job-hunters and job-hoppers now get professional help to polish their resumes. This stretches the truth even more. * Interviews. The average supervisor conducting job interviews has not been trained to use this potentially valuable hiring tool and does it too seldom to develop expertise. Applicants, on the other hand,often have been coached on how to behave at interviews and how to control the flow of questions. What you see and hear when talking to a prospective employee may be a far cry from what you get when that person reports for work. * References. Fear of legal action has severely reduced the flow of information from previous employers, making even core data hard to get. Many employers only confirm information provided by applicants. Some limit the verification to dates of employment.

It's not surprising then that despite the time and effort expended on the hiring process, after-images of candidates are often fuzzy and ambiguous. In the final assessment, guesses are made at strengths, weaknesses, and job competencies. If the person selected becomes a valued employee, it is often a matter of luck. If the selection turns sour, the mistake is faced daily or the employee is dismissed.

What we propose is not a cureall, nor does it substitute for any of the three mechanisms above, which all of us must strive to strengthen. Instead, our questionnaire aims to supplement information derived from resumes, interviews, and references. The idea originated from Victoria Sears's suggestion for a "tailored applicant questionnaire. "

Anyone armed with a word processor, position descriptions, and a check-off list of tasks for indoctrinating new employees can quickly prepare such questionnaires for immediate use. The first page (Figure 1) can be used for all positions. Only the job title and the department will vary. The check-off items about experience in certain job functions provide

core data related to the applicant's technical and professional background.

Next, the applicant is asked for a self-rating in such behavioral areas as willingness to alter work hours and ability to handle stress and conflict (Figure 11). Examples are sought. The quasity of what the applicant writes will show whether the information is given enthusiastically or in grudging compliance. If the spaces are left blank, that manifests a disqualifying degree of unconcern.

If the same questions are posed to previous employers of the applicant, you may get a goodidea about the self-image of the applicant. An inflated ego or undue modesty may become obvious.

In Figure 111, the applicant is asked to conjecture on ratings he or she would receive in the last job for quantity and quality of work, initiative, and other factors. These are among the factors we recommend an employer explore in phone or written contacts with references. They represent practical performance criteria. Again, comparing the ratings supplied by the applicant with those from references can be revealing.

Since the queries in Figures 11 and Ill are generic, no word processing modifications are needed for different jobs. In contrast, Figure IV gets down to specifics; in this case, microbiology. It has items transferred from the checkoff lists we use for training new hires. The answers indicate just how experienced in different tasks the applicants are.

Another use for Figure IV is to provide applicants with a detailed position profile. This information can also be used to devise the training agenda for new employees.

The following is a summary of the questionnaire's advantages:

1. It may be the major source of information when resumes are wanting and when employment interviews are conducted by inexperienced supervisors.

2. It is simple to prepare, requiring only a word processor, position descriptions, and training check-off lists.

3. It provides a guide for questions to be posed to candidates and their references. The questionnaire is especially useful if these contacts are made by members of the human resources department, who might not be familiar with the job, or by individuals who lack skill in conducting selection interviews.

4. It permits comparison of answers given by candidates with those of references, thus shedding light on how honest candidates are or how realistic in self-appraisal.

5. It provides useful information for assessing orientation and training needs of new hires. Discrepancies between what they say they can do and what they can in fact do become readily apparent.

6. The questionnaire helps to avoid possible discrimination charges since everything asked is job-related.
COPYRIGHT 1988 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Umiker, William O.; George, Wendy
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Date:Nov 1, 1988
Words:877
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