Any teller who gets hired at Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union must firsttake a 100-question personality test developed by MindData. The test asks aseries of questions that rate 20 personality traits, such as ethics,aggressiveness, and compassion.
Although recruiters look at all the trait scores when they evaluate testscores, certain characteristics are more important than others, says JaneLaFlame, senior HR specialist. For example, whether or not applicants areoptimistic isn’t of great concern to her, but they are expected to rate a 9 or10 on ethics to be seriously considered for the job.
"Strong ethics are critical for our industry," she says. "These tellersare handling other people’s money." That means they are expected to answerno to questions like "Do you think it’s okay to take home office supplies?"
She also looks for highly compassionate, moderately aggressive, somewhatsensitive people. Each trait on the MindData test has a benchmark range based onscores from the existing staff of tellers, and candidates are expected to fallwithin that range. When an applicant completes the test, the answers areautomatically tabulated at the MindData Web site and LaFlame is given a reportabout how the applicant ranks for each trait, along with a comparison to thegroup norm.
She might consider hiring someone who falls just outside the benchmark range,but she’ll proceed with a lot more caution. "The test is just one tool thatgives me an objective view of the candidates, but it’s not the soledecision-maker," she says. Using their test results in the interview, she maytalk to candidates about their answers to certain questions.
"Most of the applicants are young and just out of high school. They may notunderstand what’s expected in the workplace." The test questions help her tounderstand their core values and set expectations. "Sometimes it’s just amatter of teaching them what’s considered appropriate behavior."
Along with the personality test, LaFlame gives applicants a math test andessay questions. Then she meets with them in person for a structured behavioralinterview. The combination of tests and interviews gives her a clear picture ofeach candidate’s skills and motivations, and allows her to make the besthiring choice. "At Randolph-Brooks, we want people to stay and move within theorganization. Hiring the right people is how we make that happen."
It appears to be working. According to LaFlame, 90 percent of the managementstaff came from internal promotions. "Almost all of our managers were tellersfirst."
Workforce, April 2002, p. 69 -- Subscribe Now!