A Buyer's Market for Employers Leads to Aptitude Adjustment

Article excerpt

New economic analyses say that the nation's unemployment problem stems not so much from layoffs as from employers' using existing personnel more efficiently -- and hence not having to hire when business picks up.

This means that when new employees are needed, the selection process is more onerous because the number of applicants for most jobs has soared. It's a far cry from when people were needed so badly that only a cursory investigation was made to make sure the applicant had no glaring weaknesses that could harm the company. Now human resources has to screen a lot more carefully if their companies are to take advantage of what has become a buyer's talent market.

One result has been that aptitude tests, which can involve psychological testing and can take up to a full day, are assuming greater importance after long being scoffed at as a waste of time and money.

A headhunter friend told me a story that should be a warning for community bankers not to ignore this extra opportunity to learn as much as possible about a candidate.

She had a candidate who looked great. His background seemed to be just what the client wanted, and his personality was tops. She already was counting on the large fee the assignment would bring her firm after the candidate completed the client's mandatory aptitude test.

That was the killer: The report showed that he was in the bottom 1% in critical thinking.

Another friend, who works in human resources at a different financial institution, said many people go through the ranks with strong records by relying on the work of others and never making the hard decisions. …