A deeper look

Ten years ago, executives at Waxman Consumer Products wanted to start a training program for their employees, but weren’t exactly sure what skills everyone needed — and from what point they should begin the training.

To solve their dilemma, they hired a firm to perform psychological assessments of each employee, then used the results to determine where everyone stood and how to move forward.

The testing was successful, helping the Bedford Heights-based company grow. Today, Waxman uses psychological assessments as a standard part of its recruiting process, says Charlene Levkanich, director of human resources.

“It helps us identify candidates for our open positions and allows us to gain a closer match for their skill sets,” she says. “We use it as a go-forward tool to look at individuals and see what type of training they’ll need in various areas.”

Waxman is not alone. A small but growing number of Northeast Ohio companies employ psychological assessments during the selection phase of recruiting, according to a survey conducted for SBN by the Employer’s Resource Council. One in five companies has instituted testing in one way or another to help them make crucial hiring decisions.

“They do a couple of things,” says Donald Walizer, a doctor who runs Corporate Psychological Services Inc. in Solon. “First, they help determine whether a person’s psychological profile matches the job requirements. Some jobs, for example, require a person to sit and work with data entry and numbers. That’s not a lot of interaction with people. So, if a person is an extrovert and requires social interaction as a part of their daily life, they wouldn’t find that type of job rewarding.”

On the other hand, Walizer says, if you’re looking to fill a customer service job that requires extensive social interaction and a helpful attitude, that job wouldn’t be right for an introvert who would thrive on data analysis.

“It’s very difficult to find out that type of information during a conventional interview,” he says. “Interviews tend to reflect the bias of the interviewer rather than extract information about the interviewee. People tend to relate most positively to people who are like them.”

So, Walizer says, conducting independent psychological assessments designed to determine whether a candidate meets basic job profile requirements could be the difference between finding the right personality for your open position and creating a revolving door in the business.

As for Waxman, Levkanich says evaluations conducted during the recruiting process make a noticeable difference in the company’s ability to attract and retain the right employees.

“It’s made it easier to match people with the right skill sets to the proper jobs,” she says. “Psychological assessments really do allow you to key in on a candidate. We’ve been doing it 10 years and swear by it.”

How to reach: Waxman Consumer Products, (440) 439-1830; Corporate Psychological Services Inc., (440) 248-9920

Dustin Klein ([email protected]) is editor of SBN.