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5 Overlooked Ways to Hire Winners

Michael Mercer

Here is a true story. My dentist did a “clinical” evaluation of my teeth. That
is his fancy way to say he looked in my mouth and stared at my teeth with
his own two eyes. He found no cavities in his “clinical” evaluation. I felt
happy and relieved!

But then he took a quick x-ray. Lo-&-behold, the x-ray immediately spotted
a cavity hiding under one of my fillings!!

In other words, what you see is not always all you get!!! An objective x-ray
found a lot more important information than a highly trained eye.

Likewise, some applicants come across fine in a job interview. But, they
then proceed to flop after you put them on the payroll. In fact, huge
amounts of research prove most interviewers do poorly at predicting how
an applicant will do, if hired.

So, it is crucial for a manager to use special “x-rays” to spot potential
trouble lurking within an applicant – and also uncover skills and talents
that will prove beneficial on-the-job. Here are five superb “x-ray” methods
you can use immediately to help you hire high-achievers – and stay away
from underachievers.

1. Pre-Employment Tests

Research shows that customized tests are the best way to accurately
predict on-the-job performance. You can use three types of tests:

Behavior tests – to evaluate interpersonal skills, personality, and

Abilities tests – to predict brainpower in problem-solving,
vocabulary, arithmetic, grammar, and handling small details

Character tests – to detect a “bad apple” who has a bad work ethic
or might steal

Tests can be given in paper-&-pencil test booklets or on the Internet.
Importantly, only use tests designed for pre-employment assessments.

Customize tests you use by doing a “benchmarking study” to find out how
your highly productive, low-turnover employees typically score. Then, you
quickly can compare applicants’ test scores against scores of your most
productive employees. Of course, you can show preference for applicants
who score like your winners.

2. Remember One Truism

When I deliver my speech or seminar on Hire the Best -- & Avoid the
Rest™, I always point out: Whatever behavior you see from the applicant
during the screening process is likely to be the very best behavior you
ever will see from that person! You surely witnessed this truism.

Let’s say you want to hire a high-energy person. Candidate A stays very
high-energy during your entire screening process, including all in-depth
interviews. Candidate B starts interviews high-energy (a good sign) but
then acts increasingly drained as the interviews go on (a bad sign).
Candidate A is much more likely to be high-energy on-the-job than
Candidate B. Do not expect Candidate B to suddenly explode with energy
if you hire that person.

3. Referrals from Your Best Employees

Winners hang around with winners. Losers hang around with losers. Your
best employees probably hang around with high-achievers. Ask those
employees to refer applicants.

4. Bio-data

I’m not referring to DNA. Instead, bio-data is biographical data. Here’s how
to benefit from bio-data. Grab the files on your superstar employees. Look
for common work-related experiences or education that most of them

For example, one company I consulted to wanted to hire salespeople to
sell a service (not a product). Upon examining bio-data of the company’s
superstar salespeople, we found the high-achieving salespeople had
worked selling services. Most of the company’s underachieving
salespeople worked in sales, also. But, the underachievers sold products,
not services.

Interestingly, the same company also discovered most of its superstar
salespeople worked at McDonald’s for six months or longer in high school
or college. This showed an interest in serving customers (after all, that is
what McDonald’s stresses) plus stick-to-itiveness (lasting six months or
more in a normally high-turnover job). So, start digging into your bio-data
treasures located in employees’ files.

5. RJP

RJP stands for realistic job preview. To do an RJP, (a) show applicants
exactly what they will do on-the-job if you hire them, (b) let applicants think
about it for 24 hours, and (c) then ask applicants if they want to take the
job. Research shows employers who give detailed RJPs get two results:

--less employees accept the job offer

--applicants who accept the job off are less likely to turnover

Importantly, an RJP needs to be super-realistic. For example, I consulted
to a tire company. It had great difficulty getting people to work in
“purgatory” – a horribly hot room in which hot, just-made ties were moved
on the tire molds. Anyone who worked in the “purgatory” room spent all
day covered in sweat and thick white dust. No wonder most people quit
that job after short time!

I recommended using RJPs. The company worried, “Applicants won’t take
that job if they know much about it!” I said let’s try RJP anyway. Sure
enough, after seeing this awfully hot and dusty job, only a small
percentage of applicants took the job. But, those who did stayed a long
time. Note: They were people who acted distinctly “odd,” and relished
feeling hot and sticky all day!

Do It Now

If you remember these points, you can hire the best – and profit from it:

--what you see is not all you get – but it is the best you will see

--use customized tests, since tests predict job success better than other

--take advantage of predictors right under your nose, including referrals
from winners, bio-data, and RJPs

Importantly, you can start these valuable methods today so you
immediately start hiring the best.


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