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This is a Test: Tell Him I’ll Be Late

“Send an email to Mr. Major Client and tell him I’m going to be 15 minutes late. Then follow it up with a phone call, please.”

Assess this assignment in light of these questions: Does the email make sense? Is the spelling and grammar correct? Is it friendly?

The task could be an appropriate test for a receptionist, although not for a janitor. This and other legalities of pre-employment tests were among the topics discussed at the recent joint teleconference of the Human Resources and Commercial Lines Practice Groups.

Other comments included the following:

  • “We use Omnia personality profiles. We have submitted all our job descriptions to Omnia, and they have built tests assessing specific personality traits for each job.”
  • “Our second interview is technical, and managers use specific templates. We ask applicants, for example, if they have handled a construction book and then ask what they did in a specific situation. We also take a deliverable from a particular job and scrub it is so there is no client-specific information. We ask applicants to review the situation and tell us what they would do. Every finalist gets the exact same test.”
  • “Tests are legal as long as they are specifically job-related and in line with the minimum qualifications.”
  • “To be sure tests are valid, we have the incumbents take them and give us feedback. Sometimes they tell us the questions don’t make sense or they involve work that they don’t do on a daily basis.”
  • “We want people who can follow a career path to future promotions, but we also have to balance it with reality. We can tell applicants that if they have career expectations, these are the additional skills they will need to succeed.”
  • “Tests should be a data point, not pass-fail.”

An earlier blog post from the teleconference discusses considerations in setting salaries.


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