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Millennials Hiring, Management & Work Ethic by Michael Mercer, Ph.D.

Complaints about hiring millennials make big news.  People say Millennials are lazy, uninterested in working, and goof-off a lot..  “It’s like déjà vu all over again!”  

Yogi Berra made that “déjà vu” remark.  And that quote perfectly describes current bellyaching about hiring and managing Millennials.

I feel concerned that I might projectile vomit if I see one more article complaining about how (a) difficult it is to hire Millennials or (b) hard it is to manage Millennials or (c) pseudo-impossible about getting Millennials to produce a day’s work for a day’s pay.


1.  Some Millennials are lazy bums.

2.  Some Millennials are hard-working, very productive employees.

Lo-&-behold, this is “déjà vu all over again,” because the same two observations were made about every previous “generation” of job applicants and employees.  

The same complaints leveled at Millennials were made about Generation X, Generation Y, Babyboomers, and every other “generation” that had a cute, convenient label.


To overcome your Millennial hiring & supervising woes, simply do the following: Hire applicants who possess high likelihood of being both

A.  Highly Productive

B.  Low Turnover  

Those two factors always should be your guiding light when you consider job applicants and decide whom to hire.


First, make lists of your best employees (highly productive and low turnover) in each job in your company.

Second, make pre-employment test benchmarks on those employees.  To do this, have those superstar employees take two types of pre-employment tests:
a.  Intelligence or mental ability tests
b.  Personality or behavior tests

Your best employees’ typical scores on the intelligence and personality pre-hire tests become benchmark test scores you look for in applicants when they take the same two pre-employment assessment tests.

Third, make lists of objective biographical data (biodata) of your best employees in each job.  For example, you may find your best Sales Reps worked in sales-oriented jobs in, let’s say, three previous companies for three years or more in each company.  Well, then look for Sales Rep applicants who did that.

Or, for instance, if you have laborer jobs for doing outdoor labor, see if biodata of your company’s best laborers included doing hard work outdoors, rather than indoors.  Then, you look for such biodata from applicants.

Fourth, give pre-employment tests to job applicants who have relevant biodata.  Applicants who get same scores as your benchmark, superstar employees can proceed to the next step. (See second step, above).

Fifth, do realistic job observation (RJO).  Applicants who make it through your fourth step should spend half-day observing employees doing job for which they are being considered.  

Fortunately, some applicants going through your RJO will decide they do not want to do that job, and withdraw from consideration.  Congratulations!  That is better than putting those applicants on your payroll, training them, and then discovering they do not care to do the work the job requires.  

Sixth, as appropriate, do reference checks, background checks, and substance abuse tests.  Some job candidates who get through your first through fifth steps will do well on these.  Fortunately, some will reveal lousy characteristics you do not want in your workforce.  Congratulations!  Find out before you put the applicant on your payroll.


 Recommendations =

1.  Stop complaining about Millennials. 

2.  Remember = The same complaints were made about every previous “generation.”

3.  Complaining will not help you hire and manage a productive workforce.

4.  Use pre-employment tests to compare applicants to your company’s superstars.

5.  Also, use biodata, RJO, and other assessments.

6.  Result = You hire terrific employees!

Summary = Hire job applicants of any age or “generation” who possess work-related qualities similar to your company’s best, superstar employees in each job.  

You will have a highly productive, low turnover workforce.  And you will save a lot of time, because you will not waste time (a) complaining about Millennials nor (b) reading the endless articles moaning about Millennials.

 #millennials #managingmillennials #hiringmillennials  


PRE-EMPLOYMENT TEST News:  How To Custom-Tailor Pre-Hire Assessments 
By Michael Mercer, Ph.D.

 Pre-employment tests can help you hire terrific employees when you use custom-tailored benchmark scores for each job in your organization.  


The best way to customize pre-employment tests is to have your company’s best, “superstar” employees in each job take the tests.  The typical test scores gotten by your best employees in each job should be the benchmark test scores for that job in your organization.  Doing this is called a benchmarking study or concurrent validity study.

Then, when the pre-employment tests are taken by job applicants, you immediately see if the applicant’s scores are the same or different than your company’s benchmark test scores for that job.

For example, let’s say you want to hire great Sales Reps.  First, you test your very best Sales Reps.  Such superstar Sales Reps are both (A) highly productive and (B) low-turnover.  Then, you use your best Sales Reps’ typical scores as benchmarks.  

If an applicant scored the same as your best Sales Reps, then that person is worth spending your time to interview and consider possibly hiring.  However, if an applicant gets test scores different than benchmark scores for your company’s Sales Reps, then you probably want to (a) stop considering that applicant and (b) find a better applicant!


When pre-employment assessment testing, do NOT use two methods to get benchmark scores: 
1.  National Norms
2.  Job Description-based or Job Competencies 

Some companies are too lazy to make custom-tailored benchmark test scores based on their best, employees in each job.  So, they ignorantly use two methods that are lousy, illogical, and do not give them customized benchmarks.  

First, some companies use national norms.  Those are the test scores of many people with the same job title in many companies across the nation.  

But that is a dumb method you should NOT use.  Why?  Because the employees across the nation included in national norms likely are NOT the same as your company’s best employees!  

For instance, I have many companies in the same industry using my pre-employment tests.  Each company’s employees have similar job titles, e.g., Sales Rep, Driver, Warehouse Worker, Customer Service Rep, and more.  

Although all these companies are in the same industry, the Sales Reps’ benchmark test scores in one company are different than the Sales Reps’ benchmarks in another company.  Similarly, I find statistical differences in the benchmark pre-employment test scores for each job.   

Second, do NOT choose pre-hire assessment test benchmark scores from (a) job descriptions or (b) job competencies lists  Reason = Job descriptions or competencies models often list work qualities that are NOT really qualities possessed by your company’s best employees.  

For example, I often see a job’s description or competency model stating “Creativity” is needed in the job.  But, when we test the best employees in that job, their pre-employment test scores clearly show the best employees do NOT use creativity on-the-job!  The best employees often get test scores that are the opposite of creativity, specifically, (a) low scores on Creativity Motivation and (b) high scores on Rigidly Following Rules, Policies, & Procedures.


Pre-employment tests are your most scientifically-based, objective method to assess job candidates.  When you objectively find custom-tailored benchmark test scores based on your company’s best employees, you increase your odds of determining which applicants have qualities similar to your best employees.  And that is what you want, isn’t it?

Benchmark pre-employment tests by (a) testing your company’s best employees in each job and then (b) using their typical scores as your company’s custom-tailored benchmark scores for each job.

Importantly, do NOT use two methods to choose benchmark scores.  Do NOT select benchmark test scores based on (1) national norms nor (2) job descriptions or lists of job competencies.  

Instead, use benchmark assessment test scores based on how your company’s best employees’ actual test scores.   Give pre-employment tests to job applicants.  Then, you wisely can consider applicants who get assessment test scores the same or very similar to your organization’s superstar employees.  

Such customized pre-employment tests help you hire superstars, i.e., productive, low turnover employees.   

Michael Mercer, Ph.D., wrote the book “Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest™.”  Dr. Mercer also created 3 pre-employment tests – the 3 “Forecaster™ Tests.  His pre-employment tests are used by many companies to do pre-hire assessments  job candidates.  He is a frequent speaker at conferences.  You can subscribe to “Dr. Mercer’s HIRE THE BEST Newsletter,” and see info on his 3 pre-employment tests and 6 books, at www.Pre-EmploymentTests.com



Certainly, pre-employment tests help you assess what job applicants really are like under all the smoke-&-mirrors and tricks they use on hiring managers.

Job applicants put on a show to impress you.  It’s drama.  It’s theater.  It’s designed to fool you into mistakingly thinking the applicant is wonderful so you foolishly make a job offer.  

So, let’s expose tricks or games job applicants use to make you think they are wonderful, although they are not.


On personality pre-employment tests, some applicants lie.  They give answers to make themselves seem better or different than they really are.

As an industrial psychologist who did research to create three pre-employment tests, I examined many personality tests.  Most claim they catch liars, but when I look at their method and research, I discover they really do not catch liars!

Solution:  Only use pre-employment tests that use a scientific method to detect applicant dishonesty on the test.  I spent about six months developing my lie-detection method for two pre-hire assessment tests I created.  So, make sure whatever tests you use really catches applicants who try to lie. 

Importantly, good pre-employment tests will tell you what the applicant truly is like.  Such pre-hire assessment tests reveal the real person under all the theater and drama and showmanship the applicant  uses to deceive and impress you.

Notes:  (a) Job candidates may try to lie or answer dishonestly on pre-employment personality tests, so make sure such assessment tests give you accurate lie detection score.  (b) Applicants cannot lie on pre-employment intelligence or mental abilities tests, because such tests have factual right or wrong answers. 

You can read about pre-employment personality tests can catch or detect job applicants who try to lie on the test by reading my article AVOID HIRING LIARS:  A Few Pre-Employment Tests Help You Do That


Many applicants begin the job interview by asking, “What are important qualities you must have in the person you will hire?” 

I discovered most hiring managers answer this question!  They fall for this trick!  The applicant then spends the rest of the interview saying they have those qualities.  Then, when you hire the applicant, you discover the applicant (a) does not possess those qualities and (b) conned you by claiming they have qualities you told them you want in the person you will hire. 

Solution:  When a job applicant asks you what qualities you want in the employee you will to hire, do not tell the applicant.  Instead, simply respond, “Maybe we will talk about that at a later time.  Maybe.”  Do not tell the applicant what you are looking for!


Eager job hunters read books that tell them terrific-sounding answers to your questions.  Watch for this. 

Solution:  When you hear an answer that sounds memorized or too good to be true, say, “Aw, come on!  Your answer sounds like something you memorized from a job hunting book!  Now, tell me your real answer to my question.”  If they repeat the same well-rehearsed answer, again say, “Aw, come on!  Tell me your real answer, not an answer that sounds like you memorized it from a job hunting book!”


Applicants love to say they achieved incredible results, e.g., monstrously increased profits or amazingly reduced costs. 

Solution:  When a job candidate claims marvelous results, stare directly into the applicant’s eyes, and say:  “Thank you for telling me those great results.  Whom can I contact to verify the results you just told me?”  Insist on getting names of people you can contact.  Doing this shows applicants you may check to see if they are lying.


There is an epidemic of people saying, “We” and not “I.”  “We” sounds teamwork-oriented.  But, beware when you ask an applicant a question, and the applicant says, “We did blah-blah.”  Perhaps all the applicant did was buy pizza for the employees who really did the work!

Solution:  When an applicant says, “We….,” say, “I need to decide whether or not to hire you, and not all the people you include as ‘We.’  So, from now on, please answer my questions by saying, ‘I,’ and not ‘We.’”  Sure, employees work with co-workers, but you need to uncover what the applicant did, and not what the applicant maybe did with a bunch of other people.


In sales training, people learn the first ingredient of making a sale is to develop rapport with the buyer in the first 120 seconds.  So, watch for this within the first two minutes:  An applicant smiles at you + nicely shakes your hand + compliments your office or company + makes you laugh.

Managers often ‘fall in love’ with such charmers!  Do not fall into that trap. 

Solution:  Look beyond the first 120 seconds of rapport-producing techniques.  Do not ‘fall in love’ with any applicant due to the candidate using Sales Training 101 techniques on you.  


You now know six tricks applicants pull on you with

1.  trying to lie on pre-employment tests
2.  conniving you into telling them what to say
3.  memorizing good answers from job hunting book
4.  claiming spectacular results
5.  hiding behind the word “We”
6.  making you ‘fall in love’ with them within 120 seconds

Remember, applicants want you to offer them a job.  You must make sure you hire terrific employees.  Now you know how to avoid getting connived by applicants who use tricks to deceive you during your quest to hire the best.


Michael Mercer, Ph.D., wrote the book “Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest™.”  Dr. Mercer also created 3 pre-employment tests – the 3 “Forecaster™ Tests.  His pre-employment tests are used by many companies to do pre-hire assessments  job candidates.  He is a frequent speaker at conferences.  You can subscribe to “Dr. Mercer’s HIRE THE BEST Newsletter,” and see info on his 3 pre-employment tests and 6 books, at www.Pre-EmploymentTests.com


WORK ETHIC FORECASTING: Pre-Employment Tests, Child Labor, & More

Amazingly, pre-employment tests, child labor, certain job interview questions and more help managers forecast if a job applicant possesses a terrific work ethic or a lousy work ethic.


Employees with a good work ethic
+  show up at work
+  arrive before their start time
+  put in more than a day’s work for a day’s pay
+  conscientiously do work assignments
+  consistently are highly productive
+  work well with others

The opposite is true for employees with a lousy work ethic.  Such lazy bums (oops!  low work ethic  employees) often
-  do not show up at work
-  arrive late
-  take extra time on breaks
-  are not worth what their pay
-  are below-average in productivity and do not care
-  harm co-workers’ productivity


Three ways you can forecast work ethic are the following:
1.  Pre-employment tests
2.  Child labor
3.  Job interview questions


A few pre-employment tests give you scores on an applicant’s work ethic.  Using such pre-hire assessment tests tells you if the job applicant’s work ethic and conscientiousness on-the-job is below-average, average, or above-average.

Managers, of course, can seriously consider applicants whose pre-employment test forecasts the applicant possesses above-average or strong work ethic.

Personality test scores of above-average work ethic are not enough.  The manager also should see if the applicant got test scores similar to their company’s best, most productive employees.

For example, if you use personality and intelligence test scores, you can (a) test your company’s best employees in a specific job, and then (b) use your best employees’ pre-employment test scores as the benchmark test scores for that specific job.

For example, a good Sales Rep applicant should get high personality test score on Work Ethic, plus also score high on sales job factors, such as running after sales, following-up with prospective customers, and handling obstacles well.  The applicant also should get intelligence test scores similar to scores of the company’s best Sales Reps.

Another example:  a good Warehouse Employee should get high pre-employment test score on Work Ethic, and also get high scores on other factors connected to doing well in that job.  Such factors might include low Impulsiveness, strong Procedure-Following, low scores on Stealing and Substance Abuse, and intelligence test scores similar to the company’s best Warehouse Employees.

2nd Method:  CHILD LABOR

Child labor is a magnificent way to help you predict an adult’s work ethic.  This does not mean forced nor coerced child labor.  Instead, in my consulting to many companies, I consistently find their best, most productive employees worked while in high school (and often even in grammar school).

Why does child labor, e.g., working while in high school, help you predict an adult’s work ethic?  Reason:  When a person in grammar or high school works, they learn at a young age the importance of working.

In contrast, I often find underachieving employees did not work while in high school.  Such people may behave nice, and possess relevant education or training.  But, by not working in high school or earlier, they may not have developed a good work ethic.  Maybe they did other wonderful activities.  But, you must decide if you want to gamble or “bet” they developed a strong work ethic at an age later than people who worked while in grammar or high school.


Unfortunately, most job interview questions do not uncover work ethic. 

Fortunately, here is a question I consistently find helps managers assess an applicant’s work ethic:  “When you finish all your work in your workday, what do you like to do?”

That is a beautiful artfully vague job interview question!  An applicant with low work ethic will answer by telling you personal, non-work activities they would do.  They assume when they “finish” all their work, they automatically will do non-work activities.

But, an applicant with strong work ethic will tell you how they will pursue more work to do.  For instance, they may say they will ask their boss for more work to do, or they offer to help co-workers, or they work on a project to help their employer improve productivity and profits.


Pre-employment tests that measure work ethic and related qualities help you determine an applicant’s level of work ethic.  To do this, use both personality tests and intelligence tests relevant to the specific job. 

Also, find applicants who worked while in school.  Working while in high school (and perhaps grammar school) shows you the applicant learned at an early age that working is important.

Finally, certain job interview questions may help you assess a job applicant’s work ethic.

Now, go forth:  Use pre-employment tests, child labor, and key interview questions to help you hire hard-working employees who have a strong work ethic.



Beware:  Some words and phrases employees use are warning signs that those employees may be lazy,  unproductive,  unengaged and thoughtless. 

Here are seven phrases and words that spell trouble – if your employees use them.

1.  “No Problem” 

An important reason you hire anyone is to handle activities that are a “problem.”  An employee who joyfully spouts, “No problem” implies he happily will do work that is “no problem.”  But, what if the work feels like a “problem?”  Will the employee want to do it?  Do not bet on it!

2.  “My pleasure” 

Saying “my pleasure” is pseudo-sophisticated drivel.  Like “no problem,” it implies the employee gladly does work considered “pleasure.”  But, jobs entail activities lacking “pleasure.”  OMG!  Do you want an employee who may avoid unpleasant duties?

3.  “Have a good one!” 

Have a good what?  Lousy customer service employees love this phrase.  Actually, customers prefer hearing “Thank you.”  Employees who say, “Have a good one” have no clue they should say, “Thank you.”

4.  “I don’t know”

Motivated employees who do not know answers say, “I’ll find out.”  Lazy people say  “IDK.”  Avoid hiring lazy employees.

5.  “Like” 

If the employee does not know what to say, the person could pause or say, “Um.”  But, “like” sounds like they are, like, hanging out at the mall, like with friends.  I bet you do not pay employees to, like, socialize with friends, like, at the mall.

6.  “You know?” 

If employees or customers do not know something, then tell them.  If they know, then why ask, “You know?”  You know what I mean, you know? 

7.  “Try” 

Saying “try” is a way to avoid doing something.  Productive employees actually do their work.  Unproductive employees “try.”  In fact, saying “try” is similar to saying someone is “a little bit pregnant.”  Either you are or are not pregnant.  Either you really do your work assignments or you do not.  Employees who say they will “try” implicitly warn you they may not complete work assignments.


First, hire employees with a good work ethic, and enough brains to do the job.  Use pre-employment personality and intelligence tests to assess job applicants, plus in-depth interviews, role-plays, work simulations, and realistic job observations. 

Second, make sure new employees know they will stay on your payroll only if they improve your company’s productivity and profits. 

Third, if an employee uses any of the seven phrases or words mentioned here, tell them to stop that, and explain what those phrases imply about their work behaviors.

Finally, de-employ, fire, terminate and get rid of any employee who does not help you grow your business.


Michael Mercer, Ph.D., wrote the book “Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest™.”  Dr. Mercer created 3 pre-employment tests – the “Forecaster™ Tests.  His pre-employment tests are used by many companies to do pre-hire assessments of job applicants. 
He is a frequent speaker at conferences.  You can subscribe to “Dr. Mercer’s HIRE THE BEST Newsletter,” and see info about the 3 pre-employment tests, at www.MercerSystems.com




Managers need to hire motivated, productive employees. Unfortunately, all applicants say (or lie) they are motivated. Fortunately, pre-employment personality tests plus certain pre-hire assessment methods can help you hire employees who are productive and motivated to help you grow your business.

Jobs usually have five categories of work activities employees may focus on:
1. Financial Gain
2. Helping People
3. Creative Work
4. Exerting Control
5. Increasing Knowledge

So, what should hiring managers do to hire employees who are motivated by the right factors to become productive employees?

First, use a pre-employment personality test to benchmark motivation test scores. To do this, have your best employees in each job take the pre-hire test. Since you crave to hire employees who have same qualities as your best, their scores becomes the benchmark test scores.

Pre-employment test benchmarking research I do continually finds that sales reps are most highly motivated by (A) seeking Financial Gain, i.e., making sales and (B) Exerting Control, e.g., following-up with customers. So, when testing sales rep applicants, you could prefer applicants who get high test scores on those two motivations.

Another research tidbit for you: In my personality test research, I often find a company’s best customer service reps and administrative employees get high pre-hire test scores on (A) Helping People and (B) Increasing Knowledge. Tip: When you test and assess applicants for such jobs, you may prefer applicants who get high test scores on those two motivations.


Managers sometimes ask me if “Achievement Motivation” is important. They wrongly think that people high in Achievement Motivation are likely to be high-achievers.

Nonsense! Reason: High Achievement Motivation does not correlate with becoming a productive high-achiever at work: People only feel motivated to make achievements they personally consider important. They are not motivated to achieve things they consider unimportant.

For instance, if a person who has ‘general’ high Achievement Motivation is put in sales rep job, but that person is not motivated to (A) seek Financial Gain by making sales and (B) Exert Control to follow-up with customers, then that person will fail in sales job.

Interestingly, I know someone whose adult son took a personality quiz that indicated the son has a high Achievement Motivation. But, the son was going nowhere in his jobs and career. They begged me to talk with their adult son. I did. I quickly discovered he feels high Achievement Motivation to do activities he loves doing, specifically, playing video games and spending much time on social media! No wonder he is a failure in his jobs and career.

Lesson: Do not confuse a job applicant’s high Achievement Motivation with achieving a lot on the job. People only want to achieve in activities they feel motivated to do.


A personality pre-employment test may tell you if a job applicant got same motivation test scores as your company’s best, superstar employees in each job. If an applicant got the same motivation test scores, then you can use other applicant assessments, also.

First, give pre-employment intelligence test. Find benchmark intelligence test scores of your superstars in each job. Then, you could prefer job applicants who get the benchmark intelligence test scores.

Second, in interviews, ask applicants for results they achieved. Since many applicants lie about their results, you should ask: “Whom can I contact to verify the results you said you achieved?” Watch the applicant’s body language to help determine if applicant was honest about results or exaggerated.

Third, another applicant assessment method is realistic job observation (RJO): Have applicants who got good pre-employment personality and intelligence test scores, plus impressed you in job interviews, spend a half-day observe an employee performing the job they applied for. Then, you ask (a) if applicant still wants that job and (b) employee the applicant observed for their impressions.


Since all applicants will tell you, truthfully or not, that they are motivated workers, you need to assess their claims. Use pre-employment tests, job interviews, and realistic job observations. Then, you can make your hiring decisions based on insightful pre-hire assessment methods.

Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is creator and researcher of all 3 Forecaster(tm) Tests – pre-employment tests – and author of the book Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest(tm). Dr. Mercer also wrote 5 other books, and he delivers informative and entertaining speeches and seminars. To learn how Dr. Mercer can help your organization succeed, go to
www.Pre-EmploymentTests.com or phone Dr. Mercer at 847-382-0690.



Here are pre-employment testing essentials.  When you want to use pre-hire assessment tests to evaluate job applicants, you can use these guidelines. 

For “white-collar” jobs, use both personality test and intelligence tests.  “White-collar” jobs are office jobs, professionals, managers, and sales reps.  

A personality pre-employment test predicts personality traits, interpersonal communications skills, and work motivations.  Intelligence tests or mental abilities tests tell you if applicant is smart enough to (a) learn the job and (b) correctly handle situations that arise on-the-job. 

For “blue-collar” jobs, use dependability or reliability pre-employment test.  “Blue-collar” jobs are lower-level, unskilled, or semi-skilled jobs.  Examples are laborers, production workers, shipping & receiving, drivers, housekeepers, kitchen staff, and other unskilled or semi-skilled jobs.  

A dependability or reliability pre-employment test assesses honesty, work ethic, impulsiveness, rule following, stealing, and substance abuse.  

You may use intelligence pre-employment test also for “blue-collar” job applicants if the job requires certain mental abilities, e.g., problem-solving, arithmetic, and handling small details. 

Make sure you get expert advice from a Ph.D. industrial psychologist who has research and experience helping companies find, custom-tailor and use pre-employment tests.  Contact Dr. Mercer at www.pre-employmenttests.com

How to Assess Job Applicants’ Discipline Level   by Michael Mercer, Ph.D.

Managers seldom talk about how good employee are people who use discipline.  They often feel it sounds to say employees need discipline.  In fact, employee discipline comes up in conversations only when an employee breaks company policies, and gets disciplined.

But, my research benchmarking pre-employment tests for hundreds of jobs in hundreds of companies consistently finds companies’ best, most valued and productive employees practically always are very disciplined on-the-job.


Pre-employment personality and intelligence tests are used by companies that want a scientific method to evaluate applicants.  Such pre-hire tests or assessments predict which applicants possess qualities similar to a company’s best employees.  Valued, superstar employees are both
>  Highly Productive
>  Low Turnover

Benchmarking to find pre-employment test scores of the best employees almost always shows companies’ highly productive and low-turnover employees get benchmark or typical high test scores on
+  Rigidly Following Rules, Policies, & Procedures
+  Fact-Focus
+  Poised Reactions to Pressure
+  Optimistic, Solution-Oriented Attitude
In contrast, unproductive and high turnover employees tend to get the opposite pre-employment personality test scores:
-  Lax or Rebelling about Following Rules, Policies, & Procedures
-  Feeling- or Emotion-Focused
-  Complaining & Whining Reaction to Pressure
-  Pessimistic, Problem-Obsessed Attitude

Important:  Make sure you test your best employees to devise benchmark pre-employment test scores.  By doing this, you can compare each job candidate’s test scores to test scores of your company’s best employees in the specific job.


In addition to employment personality tests, you also can use other methods to see if a job candidate may be a disciplined person.

To do such evaluation, remember a comment I wrote in my third book, “Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest(tm)”: 

“Whatever  behavior you see from an applicant during your screening process is likely the very, very best behavior you ever will see from that person.”

So, give the applicant some assignments or homework to do as part of the applicant screening process.  For example, if you let applicant take pre-employment personality or intelligence tests online from her/his home, tell candidate definite deadline to complete taking test.  Then, see if applicant meets that deadline. 

Another example is for you to give the applicant a work simulation:  Give the job candidate materials and information to complete tasks similar to tasks the person would do on-the-job.  See if the applicant does that in disciplined, orderly, and organized manner. 

Also, if you want to talk with the applicant again on the phone, schedule specific day and time for applicant to call you.  Then, see if candidate calls you that day at the precise time you specified.


Pre-employment testing research shows companies’ best, most valued employees are disciplined people.  They (1) follow rules, (2) focus on achieving specific work goals, (3) react to pressure with poise, and (4) optimistically focus on solutions rather not problems. 

These are the types of employees are (A) highly productive and (B) low turnover. So, use applicant assessment methods to predict if a job candidate may become a terrific employee.  These candidate evaluation methods include pre-employment tests, pre-hire homework, work simulations, and seeing if applicant follows your instructions.  Such assessment methods help you hire disciplined employees who help your organization increase productivity and profits. 



Pre-Employment Test Research + More Methods Help You Hire Productive Sales Reps


Hiring productive Sales Reps is super-important for every company’s financial success.  As Henry Ford said, “No one has a job until someone sells something.”  Unfortunately, sales rep applicants often use their sales skills to connive their way into jobs on which they end up failing or doing poorly.  Fortunately, pre-employment tests plus other four other applicant assessment methods increase your odds you hire highly productive sales reps. 


Research I did on pre-employment tests scores of superb sales reps clearly indicate qualities of terrific sales reps you want to hire.  Specifically, my research show terrific sales reps typically get these pre-employment test scores:

>  High test scores on Money Motivation, Power Motivation, Teamwork, Poised Reaction to Pressure, and Optimism

>  Moderate test scores on Friendliness, Assertiveness, and Feeling-Focused vs. Fact-Focused 

Intelligence pre-employment test scores depend on what level of intelligence is required for the sales rep job in each company.  For instance, some companies’ best sales reps require high-level intelligence.  In those companies, their successful sales reps get high scores on intelligence tests, e.g., Problem-Solving, Vocabulary, Arithmetic, Grammar, and Handling Small Details.  For example, the best sales reps in one particular famous high-tech company get such high intelligence test scores.  They need high-level intelligence to sell their products and services. 

However, pre-employment intelligence test scores in other companies can be more average.  In fact, my research continually finds that in most companies, the best sales reps typically get average intelligence test scores.  That is the level of brainpower required to succeed in sales in most companies. 


In addition to pre-employment tests, you should use four other sales rep evaluation methods. 

First, does applicant’s work history indicate applicant will feel enthused about selling your company’s products.  Did the applicant’s work history show examples of interest in selling your company’s products or services? 

Second, do in-depth job interview that resembles a polite interrogation.  Each interview should last approximately two hours.  Do not get charmed by applicants who use their “Sales Training 101” skills on you!  Instead, ask hard-hitting interview questions to assess sales talents, such as persistence, work ethic, desire for high earnings, diplomacy, honesty, and handling resistance and work difficulties.

Third, do a sales role-play.  You play a prospective buyer, while the applicant plays a sales rep.  Tell the applicant try to sell you something.  Use this role-play to assess or evaluate the job applicant on crucial sales skills, such as developing rapport, uncovering prospect’s needs, presenting solutions, handling objections, asking for the order, and following-up.

 Fourth, do a realistic job observation.  Have the sales rep applicant tag along with one of your sales reps for one-half day.  Then, the sales applicant can see how much they may like or dislike your company’s sales job.  Also, the sales rep the applicant accompanies will give you insights into the applicant’s possible strengths and weaknesses in your company’s sales environment.


Use pre-employment tests, work history evaluation, in-depth job interviews, sales role-play, and realistic job observation to assess and evaluate sales rep applicants.  If an applicant does well in all five assessment methods, then offer the person a job.  However, if the applicant rates poorly in any of these five evaluation methods, then (a) take a match, (b) burn that applicant’s resume, and (c) find better sales rep applicants. 


Michael Mercer, Ph.D., created 3 pre-employment tests to assess job applicants.  His 3 “Forecaster(tm) Tests” help companies (1) hire great employees and (2) avoid hiring lousy employees.  Dr. Mercer authored 6 books, including “Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest(tm).”  Also, he delivers entertaining and informative speeches.  You can talk to Dr. Mercer at 847-382-0690, or read about his 3 pre-employment tests, 6 books and speeches at www.Pre-EmploymentTests.com


Lately, a lot of job hunters are unemployed and out-of-work.  They were laid-off or fired for many reasons.  So, many long-term unemployed people apply for jobs. 

But, how do you determine if the long-term unemployed person will be (a) hard-working and productive or (b) a lazy slacker?  You can use these three methods to assess or evaluate long-term unemployed applicants.


An unemployed job applicant who might become a productive employee probably kept very busy while out-of-work.  Possibly productive unemployed job seekers should tell you – and prove – they

A.  Job hunted 40 hours/week or more

B.  Volunteered to keep busy and productive

C.  Learned and practiced job-related skills

So, in interviews, ask long-term unemployed job applicants what they did and for how many hours per week.  Insist on proof to verify if they actually (A) job hunted a lot, (B) volunteered, and (C) learned job or work skills. 


Some people may tell you it is not nice or allowed to take long-term unemployment into account in assessing job candidates. 

But, think about it:  If a person with an excellent work ethic is unemployed, they vigorously search for employment.  Sooner or later, they should find full-time or part-time employment.  And they spent their time out-of-work on productive activities like job hunting, volunteering, and learning skills. 

But, job applicants with questionable work ethic will not find work nor do productive activities. 
Then, they apply to your company with, for example, one year or more unemployment while not doing productive activities. 

Use your management judgment.  And do not let long-term unemployed job applicants sway you with sad sack or heart-touching stories of their unemployment woes. 

Remember:  Job candidates with strong work ethic occupy their time with productive activities.  But job applicants with weak work ethic occupy their time with unproductive activities, e.g., complaining, watching TV, and exerting energy to get other people to support them. 


Use pre-employment tests that measure work ethic and conscientiousness.  Such pre-hire assessment tests evaluate if a job hunter will be a hard-worker or a slacker who feels entitled to a paycheck. 

Also, use personality and intelligence pre-employment tests for skilled jobs.  Such assessment tests help you compare each job applicant’s scores versus benchmark test scores of your company’s most  productive employees.  Such pre-employment tests quickly evaluates whether a job candidate possesses work qualities similar to your most terrific and productive employees.


Warning:  Long-term unemployed people may give you a sob story.  Of course, you feel badly for them.  But, do not allow your well-meaning heart to overrule your logical assessment and evaluation of job hunters. 

Instead, use pre-employment tests for work ethic, personality, and intelligence.  Also, dig into how they spent their unemployed time job hunting, volunteering, and learning job skills.  Plus, use your management judgment to assess if their length of time in unemployment appears reasonable or questionable. 

After all, your job is to assess and evaluate job applicants correctly so you hire employees who are productive and help grow your business.   

Michael Mercer, Ph.D., designs pre-employment tests to assess job applicants.  His 3 Forecaster™ Tests help companies (1) hire productive employees and (2) avoid hiring unproductive losers.  Dr. Mercer authored 6 books, including Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest™.  Also, he delivers practical and interactive presentations at companies and conferences.  You can phone Dr. Mercer at
847-382-0690, or learn about his pre-employment tests and speeches at www.Pre-EmploymentTests.com


When assessing or evaluating employees for manufacturing or production jobs, companies should use specific types of pre-employment tests.  These pre-hire tests give manufacturing companies research-based assessments of how productive or unproductive the applicant may perform on-the-job.  

For Skilled “Blue-Collar” jobs, e.g., machine operators, technicians, etc., use two pre-employment tests:  First, use Intelligence Tests or Mental Abilities Tests.  Such pre-hire assessment tests tell you if an applicant has enough intelligence to (a) learn the job and (b) correctly think through situations encountered at work.  These intelligence tests should evaluate job applicants on abilities in Problem-Solving, Arithmetic, and Handling Small Details.  

Second, pre-employment Personality Tests should be given to job applicants.  This pre-hire assessment test helps you forecast an applicant’s (a) Interpersonal Skills, (b) Personality Traits, and (c) Work Motivations. 

Customize pre-employment tests by benchmarking your best employees.  Have some of your productive employees take the assessment tests.  Their typical test scores can be the benchmark scores you want applicants to have when job applicants take the pre-employment tests.  

For Unskilled “Blue-Collar” jobs, e.g., laborers, janitors, and lower-level jobs, use test a Integrity Test.  This pre-employment integrity or honesty test helps you forecast five crucial work factors:  (a) Honesty on test, (b) Work Ethic, (c) Impulsiveness, which is crucial for reducing accidents and improving safety record, (d) Stealing or Theft concerns, and (e) Substance Abuse concerns about alcohol or drug abuse.  

After pre-employment tests are administered to job applicants, you can decide if you want to continue considering each applicant.  If an applicant gets good scores on pre-employment tests, then it is worthwhile to use additional assessment methods or techniques, e.g., interviews, work simulations, realistic job observations, reference checks, etc.  

But, if pre-employment test scores for an applicant are lousy, then you may want to stop considering that person. 
Now you know how sharp manufacturing companies use pre-employment tests to help


Pre-Employment Test News: Dr. Mercer's Podcast on Pre-Employment Tests:

Click the link below to begin listening to Dr. Mercer's podcast interview on his scientific approach to hiring superstars that fit in your organization.



Pre-Employment & Hiring News:  Job Interviews Problems & Solutions

Managers conducting job interviews need to assess job applicants in two arenas:  (1) Technical Skills & Knowledge and (2) Job-Related Personality Traits. A recent article in “eFinancialCareer News” by Beecher Tuttle lists 12 questions financial asset managers asked  business school students applying for finance jobs.  Of the 12 questions, nine delved into Technical Skills (e.g., “How do you currently keep up with the markets?”).  Only three questions focused on Personality Traits (e.g., “What is your biggest professional failure?”).  

The huge problem with asking mostly Technical Skills job interview questions is they are incredibly easy for any applicant who studied finance (or any specialty) to give you a "good" answer.  For example, the applicants discussed in the article were business school students studying finance.  Unless they slept during their finance classes and did not read textbooks (which is doubtful), don’t you think they would know the “correct” answer to Technical Skills & Knowledge questions? 

In my book, “HIRE THE BEST & AVOID THE REST(tm),” I suggest hiring managers how to make a list of 6-9 most important job-related talents they need in a successful employees.  Then, they should ask "open-ended" questions to observe how well the applicant has each of the 6-9 job-related talents.  Some of those 6-9 talents should be Technical skills -- e.g., questions in “eFinancialCareer News” article cited earlier. 

But, since most people applying for finance-type jobs will possess the Technical Skills & Knowledge, it is important to ask Personality Trait questions.  Personality Trait questions may help the hiring manager determine crucial factors, such as the applicant’s (1) work ethic (many people are lazy!), (2) honesty, (3) teamwork and collaboration preferences, and (4) ability to "fit in" your corporate culture. 

Also, use pre-employment tests:  In fact, these personality tests and intelligence-related tests can have custom-tailored benchmark scores.  Research shows pre-employment tests with custom-tailored benchmarks are vastly more scientific and accurate at predicting job success or failure than even the best job interview!  

So, conduct an in-depth job interview.  And also administer personality and intelligence pre-employment tests to help you work on your goal to hire the best.  

Michael Mercer, Ph.D., helps managers assess job applicants so they hire productive people and avoid expensive hiring mistakes.  He devised three pre-employment tests, the FORECASTER(TM) TESTS, used by many companies to evaluate job applicants.  Dr. Mercer also authored the book HIRE THE BEST & AVOID THE REST(TM).  He conducts seminars and custom-tailors pre-employment tests for companies.  You can learn more at www.Pre-EmploymentTests.com or by calling Dr. Mercer at 847-382-0690.             


Research Using Pre-Employment Tests to Discover Companies’ Actual Core Competencies

Many companies proudly show their list of core competencies to anyone who will look. However, the core or key competencies listed often have no connection to reality.

Using pre-employment test research in many companies, I discovered the actual core competencies of companies often differ from their stated key competencies.


When a company wants to use pre-employment tests, especially personality tests and intelligence or cognitive tests, the best first step is benchmarking. Specifically, the company can test superstar employees in each job. Pre-employment test scores of the superstars become the benchmark test scores for that job in that company.

For example, let’s say a company wants to use pre-employment tests to test applicants for Sales Rep job. To benchmark, the company’s best Sales Reps take the test. Then, their typical test scores become the benchmark scores for the company’s Sales Reps. Job applicants who get the same pre-employment test scores as the company’s best Sales Reps deserve further consideration and, perhaps, hiring. But job applicants who get test scores different than the superstars probably may be dropped from consideration.


I often notice companies list the following as some core competencies for their employees:

* Creativity

* Flexibility

* Learning or Quest for Knowledge

However, in conducting pre-employment test benchmarking studies for companies, I often find the company’s best, superstar employees score:

1. Low on Creativity Motivation

2. High on Rigidly Following Rules, Policies, & Procedures

3. Low on Knowledge or Learning Motivation

You notice such pre-employment test scores are very different than the stated core competencies of Creativity, Flexibility, and Learning or Quest for Knowledge.

That means some core competencies are nothing more than wishful thinking done by managers who want to create lofty key competencies lists. Given a choice, would you choose a list (A) nice-sounding, lofty competencies that have no basis in reality or (B) research-based reality of skills the company’s best, superstar employees actually possess and use to succeed on-the-job?

You certainly would choose option B.


Put it to the test, literally and figuratively. Take pre-employment tests and test your superstar employees in each job. Use personality tests and intelligence tests or cognitive ability tests. Statistically see benchmark pre-employment tests scores of your best-of-the-best employees.

Then, use the pre-employment test benchmark scores as a basis to list true, research-based core competencies needed to help your company grow and prosper.

Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is nationally recognized as a pre-employment test expert. He is creator and researcher of all 3 “Forecaster(tm) Tests” – pre-employment tests: (1) “Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test,” (2) “Behavior Forecaster(tm) Test,” and (3) “Abilities Forecaster(tm) Test.” Dr. Mercer also wrote 6 books, including “Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest.” You can contact Dr. Mercer at (847) 382-0690 or go to www.MercerSystems.com for more information.



Employee engagement is a big topic in management periodicals.  Strongly engaged employees are said to prove more productive and loyal than low engagement employees.  Plus, surveys claim a bigger percentage of employees feel low engagement with their jobs and employers. 

 It is hard to tell if employee engagement is something new, or simply a phenomenon previously called something with a less captivating phrase. 

 Regardless, here are five actions you can do to increase employee engagement. 


Problem:  Some job applicants care little for being productive or even showing up for work.  They feel disengaged. 
Solution:  Hire people who exhibit strong employee engagement.  And avoid hiring low engaged people. 

 To do this , pre-employment tests give you the fastest, most scientifically-based method to assess job applicants.  For “white-collar” jobs, start by doing benchmarking study of your best employees. Have your superstar “white-collar” employees take two tests, a personality test plus intelligence-type tests.  Your superstars’ scores for each job become that job’s benchmark scores.  Then, have job applicants take the same personality test and intelligence tests.  Applicants who get same scores as your superstars are worth considering and possibly hiring.  But, applicants who get test scores different than your superstar employees may not be worth your time to interview, reference check, etc. 

 For “blue-collar” jobs, i.e., lower-level or unskilled jobs, use an honesty, integrity, or dependability test.  Use a test that reveals the applicant’s honesty on test, work ethic, impulsiveness, theft/stealing concerns, and substance abuse concerns.  Then, you can prefer applicants who get good scores on the pre-employment test.

 After pre-employment tests help you quickly determine which applicants are worth considering, you must interview finalists. 

 Here is one job interview question that I find amazingly insightful.  Near end of job interview, ask the applicant, “When you finish your work, what do you like to do?”  Hint:  Job candidate with a good work ethic will read into the question that they need to find additional tasks to do in their job.  However, job applicants with lousy work ethic, who have low employee engagement, will read into the question that you are asking them about after-work, personal, non-work activities. 


Tell employees know exactly how productive they must be to keep their jobs.  Use quantitative productivity measures whenever possible.  

Also, tell employees how they must behave.   This includes showing up on time, low absences, working while at work (not goofing off), and helping co-workers and customers. 


Fire or terminate employees who do not meet your productivity or behavior standards. 


When you fire an employee for being an underachiever, make sure all your employees know the reason.  Make sure they know they may be terminated if they fail to meet or exceed your standards for productivity  and work-related actions. 

 Why?  Because turning one or more firings into publicly discussed events will make every employee aware of what might happen to them if they show low employee engagement.


Go into the department where that low employee engagement person worked.  Their department colleagues realize that underachiever was a goof-off or lousy employee.  Hold a celebratory snack or meal with everyone.  At the celebration, a company executive should give a brief speech congratulating and thanking the engaged employees for their productivity and contribution to the bottom line.  Also, the executive briefly should list reasons it is wonderful when a co-worker with low employee engagement leaves your company.

Note:  Such events will become company folklore.  Future employees will hear about this.  That is terrific, because the employees will carry on your company’s culture which includes strong employee engagement. 


First, use pre-employment tests to hire people who are likely to enjoy being highly engaged, productive employees.  Second, set clear productivity and work behavior standards you expect from employees.  Third, fire or terminate employees who underachieve.  Fourth, make sure all employees know reason you terminated underachievers who showed low employee engagement.  Finally, celebrate when you get rid of employees who exhibit weak employee engagement.  

The pre-employment tests in hiring plus the other four actions will result in your company profiting from your corporate culture that insists on terrific employee engagement. 

 Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is the researcher and creator of all 3 “Forecaster(tm) Tests” – pre-employment tests:  (1) “Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test,” (2) “Behavior Forecaster(tm) Test,” and (3) “Abilities Forecaster(tm) Test.”  Dr. Mercer also is author of 6 books, including “Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest.”  You can call Dr. Mercer’s office at (847) 382-0690, or you can read about the 3 pre-employment tests and 6 books at www.Pre-EmploymentTests.com.


Pre-Employment Tests News:  Pre-Employment Test Research Helps You Stop Employee Theft & Stealing

The best way to stop employee theft and stealing is to not hire thieves.  And the most scientific way to accomplish this:  Use a well-researched pre-employment test that helps you avoid hiring people who might steal. 

Unfortunately, most business owners cannot determine a job applicant is a thief while conducting job interviews.  After all, applicants will not tell interviewers they steal!  And background checks only uncover people who have been convicted, but not people who stole but never were caught and convicted.

Fortunately, there is a scientific way to avoid hiring thieves.  It is to use a pre-employment test that has been researched to discover if a job applicant might steal. 

For example, my research to create “Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test,” included me doing these research steps.  First, I wrote 50 questions I thought thieves might answer differently than non-thieves.  Second, I got 2 groups of research subjects answer my 50 research questions: (A) Thieves = 300+ people convicted of “property crimes,” i.e., stealing and (B) Non-Thieves = 300+ people never convicted of stealing crimes.  Third, I statistically compared Thieves’ versus Non-Thieves’ answers.  Fourth, I found 24 questions that Thieves answered “statistically significantly differently” than Non-Thieves.  Finally, I put those 24 questions in my “Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test.”

This pre-employment test assesses job applicants on five ‘dependability’ factors:  Honesty on DF, Work Ethic, Impulsiveness, Theft/Stealing concerns, and Substance Abuse concerns. 

Managers have job applicants take “Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test.” If a job applicant gets scores like convicted Thieves, the manager definitely may feel concerned that person might steal from (a) the company, (b) co-workers, and/or (c) customers.  However, if a job applicant gets scores similar to my Non-Thieves research group, the owner or manager could have less concern about that person stealing.  

Dangerous pre-employment test research details:  My hundreds of Thieves research subjects were prisoners in five county jails.  I spent dozens of days locked-up in jail cells while the convicted thieves answer my research questionnaires.  I was locked in jail so the prisoners could not escape.  But, I could not get out until the jail guards came to get me.  I would arrive in the morning and leave late-afternoon.  While locked-up in the five jails, I saw and heard things I never saw nor heard before!  I also learned how to handle dangerous and “sticky” situations I encountered in the five jails.  

Important:  Beware of other tests that claim to “catch” thieves, but base that claim on research using college students or other people who are not actual thieves.  For example, I saw a pre-employment test that claimed it spotted potential thieves.  But, their research was unrealistic and ludicrous.  Specifically, they wrote possible test questions, and then had college students ‘pretend they were thieves’ while answering the questions.  That is ridiculous, lousy pseudo-research!  College students ‘pretending’ to be thieves are not actual thieves.  

So, if you hear of a pre-employment test that says it can help you tell which applicants are thieves, make sure you ask them how they did their research.  If their research used college students or others who ‘pretended’ to be thieves – but not real thieves – you should not use that pre-employment test.  And you are justified to laugh at their ludicrous research.  

Only use a pre-employment test that used real, verifiable thieves in its research to create the test’s theft and stealing section.  Do not use any test that created its stealing-related questions based on college students or others who ‘pretended’ to be thieves. 

 Recommendation to stop employee stealing or thievery:  Use a pre-employment test based on scientific research that “catches” job applicants who have similarities to people who definitely are thieves.  Such a pre-employment test is quick, easy-to-use, and vastly cheaper than you putting on your pay role employees who steal. 


 COPYRIGHT 2012 MICHAEL MERCER, PH.D., www.MercerSystems.com


Use pre-employment tests for two purposes:  (1) hiring good employees and (2) developing/improving employees you hire.  When properly done, certain pre-employment tests help you develop and train employees to exhibit the terrific qualities of your best “superstar” employees.  


Start by having your best employees in each job take pre-employment tests, especially tests of
*  Behavior or Personality Tests
*  Mental Abilities Tests

Behavior tests assess interpersonal skills, personality traits, and motivations. 
Mental Abilities Tests assess brainpower in problem-solving, vocabulary, math, grammar, and handling small details. 

Your best employees’ pre-employment test scores are your custom-tailored “benchmark scores” for the job.  When you hire job applicants, you could prefer applicants who get same scores as your best employees.  That helps you hire applicants who exhibit same work behavior and mental abilities as your best employees.


Sometimes, you might hire an applicant who gets some pre-hire test scores different than your best employees’ benchmark scores.  When you do this, you use their pre-employment test scores to identify behaviors and mental abilities on which they need to improve or “develop.” 

You sit down with the new employee, and say something like this:  “You want to succeed in your job.  Also, we want you to succeed in your job.  You took pre-employment tests.  On each pre-hire test scale on which you scored the same as our best “benchmark” employees, keep doing what you are doing.  But on each scale where you scored different than our best employees, I will help you improve or develop – so you will have the qualities our best employees have.”

Example:  Let’s say the new employee got same test scores as your best employees on Teamwork.  You say, “You scored like our best employees on Teamwork.  Keep doing what you do for Teamwork on-the-job.” 

But, if the employees’ Friendliness scores are lower than your company’s best employees’ Friendliness benchmark score, then you say, “Our best employees’ pre-employment test scores are higher on Friendliness than your scores.  To help you succeed, I’ll help you become friendlier.”

Then, you can use what I did to create ready-to-use Employee Development Recommendations for my Behavior/Personality and Mental Abilities pre-employment tests.  Specifically, you tell the employee specific behaviors to use to improve Friendliness.  For instance, behaviors you recommend to increase the employee’ Friendliness include (1) Smile, (2) Say “Hello” to a lot of people, and (3) Use person’s name two or more times in each conversation. 


The employee’s manager MUST hold three follow-up meetings with the employee.  One meeting is not enough to make sure the employee improves.  Reason:  Employee development efforts fail when the employee’s manager fails to make sure the employee actually uses the agreed upon employee development actions. 

Employee development efforts succeed when the manager

*  insists the employee improve on specific behaviors or abilities

*  follows-up multiple times in three pre-scheduled meetings

I recommend holding three follow-up meetings.  At each meeting, the employee tells the manager specific examples of putting the development recommendations into action.  For Friendliness improvement explained above, at all three follow-up meetings the employee must tell the manager specific examples of (1) smiling a lot, (2) saying “Hello” a lot, and (3) twice using name of people they talk with. 


Pre-employment tests can serve as objective basis for excellent, customized employee development recommendations.  Start by establishing pre-hire tests “benchmarks” based on your best employees’ test scores.  Benchmark both behavior or personality tests and mental abilities tests. 

If you hire a job applicant whose pre-employment test scores differ from your best employees’ benchmark scores, you should help your new employee improve to become more similar to your best employees.  Focus on specific techniques your employee must develop or improve. 

Importantly, hold three follow-up meetings with the employee.  At each follow-up meeting, insist the employee tell you examples of using the behaviors the pre-employment test indicated the employee need to improve. 

COPYRIGHT 2012 MICHAEL MERCER, PH.D., www.MercerSystems.com

Michael Mercer, Ph.D., created 3 pre-employment tests that companies use to assess job applicants’ personalities, mental abilities, and dependability.   These pre-hire tests – the 3 “FORECASTER(tm) TESTS” – help companies hire and develop excellent employees.  Dr. Mercer’s 6 books include the best-seller “HIRE THE BEST & AVOID THE REST(tm).”  Also, he delivers speeches and training seminars at companies and conferences.  You can learn about the 3 FORECASTER(tm) pre-employment tests, or subscribe to his “HIRE THE BEST Newsletter,” at www.Pre-EmploymentTests.com


Dr. Mercer is in "SUCCESS Magazine".  Click here to read full story on "Boost Your Mood: 23 Ways to Up Your Love of Life",



3 Steps To Hire The Best People for Your Training or Apprenticeship Program

Warning:  Only put people in your training program who are ultra-likely to complete or “pass” the program – and then will stay with your organization.  

More companies are creating and operating training programs or apprenticeships – mainly to train people for jobs requiring technical skills.  Reason:  There is shortage of people possessing crucial technical skills, including
*  “blue-collar” technical skills – e.g., equipment maintenance, welding, and more
*  “white-collar” technical skills – in computers, healthcare, laboratory work, and more 

This problem is compounded by retiring employees who (a) possess technical skills, (b) remained in same company 20-40 years, and (c) are retiring.  They stayed so long that companies did not train technicians to replace them. 


I delivered a speech at a huge training conference.  The room was filled to capacity with training directors from across North America. I got a huge audience response when I said this:  Do NOT try to train people who never should have been hired and put in your training program! 

Specifically, it is an expensive waste to put people in your training program who might
a.  be too stupid or lazy to “pass” your training program
b.  drop out
c.  get kicked out
d.  leave your company after you pay for their training 

Most training programs cost a lot per trainee. 

Question:  Financially, how much is one graduate of your training program worth to your company? 
Answer:  Financially, vastly more than your training program’s cost! 

So, if a trainee fails or drops out or gets kicked out or finishes training and departs your organization, your training investment was 100% wasted.  Plus, your company loses business opportunities due to not having another trained employee.  Then, your company has too few qualified technicians, which harms business growth opportunities. 


From my experience helping many organizations select the right people for their expensive training programs, I created a three-step hiring method to select applicants likely to
+  successfully complete training program
+  not turnover – stay long-term with the company

 Recommendation:  Only consider hiring applicants who earn high ratings on all three steps. 


Select applicants who have work-related qualities similar to your best, ”superstar” employees in the job.  So, unearth the superstars’ bio-data (biographical data) on job requirements, work experiences, education, and pay.  Then, conduct brief, 15 minute interviews with job applicants to see if they possess bio-data similar to the job’s superstar employees.  

Example:  If the job requires machinery operation, ask about applicant’s machinery experiences.  If the job requires laboratory work, ask about applicant’s lab and science experiences.  


Give pre-employment tests to applicants who do well on BISI (Step #1).  Pre-employment tests are created via years of scientific research.  Well-researched tests are the best proven method to predict if an applicant may succeed on-the-job.  To start, your best employees in the job take the tests.  Their scores become the job’s benchmark test scores.  Then, test applicants.  You would prefer applicants who get same test scores as your best employees.

 Two pre-employment tests you should use:
*  behavior or personality tests – on interpersonal skills, personality traits, and motivations
*  mental abilities tests – e.g., problem-solving, verbal skills, arithmetic, and handling small details

 For certain jobs, you also should administer pre-employment dependability test – so you can evaluate applicant’s honesty, work ethic, safety, stealing and substance abuse concerns. 


Applicants who get good pre-employment test scores (Step #2) should be given a 1-2 hour interview.  Customize this interview to assess the 6-9 most important job talents the applicant must possess.  Ask the same questions to each applicant, and rate applicant on lengthy list of job talent observations. 


At minimum, hire trainees or apprentices using the three steps of custom-tailored (1) BISI, (2) pre-employment tests, and (3) in-depth interview.  If an applicant earns high ratings on those three steps, then you might put applicants through these optional assessment methods: 
*  Work Simulations – to evaluate applicant on specific job skills
*  Realistic Job Observation – have applicant observe employees doing the job
*  Reference, Background, and Medical Checks 


You operate a training program for one big reason:  Employees completing your training program will become financially valuable – profitable – for your organization.  So, make sure you only hire applicants who are likely to (A) complete your training program and (B) become long-term employees.  

You can hire the best trainees using three steps: 
(1) Brief initial screening interview
(2) pre-employment tests – behavior, personality, mental abilities and dependability tests
(3) in-depth interview. 

 Applicants who do well on all three steps have a good likelihood of completing your training program, and becoming financially valuable employees in your organization. 

 COPYRIGHT 2012 MICHAEL MERCER, PH.D., www.MercerSystems.com



I can learn amazing leadership lessons and skills in a forest – if you pay attention.  I know first-hand, because I have a forest behind my house.  Here are three terrific lessons I learn in the forest – lessons to help you improve your leadership skills.


I always see deer in the forest.  About 99.9% of deer run away when I walk nearby. 

But, one deer does the opposite.  She walks near me, usually 25-50 feet away.  Sometimes she follows only 5-10 feet behind me.  [Note:  I never feed wild animals, so she does not follow me to get food.]  A few times, this deer walked up to my house, and looked in windows! 

I affectionately call my deer friend Little Pink Riding Hood. 
Once a monstrous, 6=foot tall sandhill crane was walking on a forest trail.  Little Pink Riding Hood walked 5 feet behind that mammoth bird.  Whenever the bird stopped walking, Little Pink stopped.  When the bird resumed walking, Little Pink followed. 

I consider her my ‘deer friend.’  Sometimes a small deer tags along with Little Pink.   Little Pink Riding Hood is admirably brave.  Once, six deer stood in the forest, eating leaves.  A coyote walked toward them.  Four of the deer moved away.  But, Little Pink and her small friend calmly walked in a big circle away from the other deer. 

Suddenly, Little Pink and her small friend started running astoundingly fast straight at the coyote!  The coyote ran away. 

 Leadership Lesson =
Most people are chicken or too lazy to take charge of situations.  Thank goodness for brave leaders like Little Pink Riding Hood.  Superb leaders use their brains to plan what needs to be done. and then immediately start to do it.


Every weed, tree and plant in the forest is an imperialist pig.  They try to take over the entire forest! 
I only want beautiful wild flowers and trees I like in my forest.  But every plant and tree produces seeds and tries to take over more and more territory – unless unless I stop them. 

So, I spend many after-work hours in the forest.  I remove plants I do not want – so wild flowers and trees I want can thrive and spread.  

Leadership Lesson =
Every organization lets some bums – unproductive,  irresponsible, lazy employees – sneak onto its payroll.  Bums are corporate weeds:  They see how much they can get away with.  Bums encourage other employees to slack off and lower productivity.  If left unchecked, that organization will get taken over by ‘weeds.’ 

Your threefold leadership lesson:
A.  Hire productive, responsible, hard-working people. 
B.  Avoid hiring “weeds,” i.e., unproductive, irresponsible, lazy bums
C.  De-employ bums ASAP 


Executives calling me for advice on how to handle business problems usually start by telling me many details of the problem. 

After awhile, I point out:  “Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest because of all the trees!”  

“Trees” are the many details.  “Forest” is the vision or big goal the executive desires to achieve. 

In my forest, I often experience this see-forest-from-trees predicament.  When I walk through the woods, I see many things I need to improve, e.g., fix trails, destroy weeds, clear brush, and more. 
Then, it dawns on me that I invested hundreds of hours of strenuous work to make my forest beautiful – but I see only problems.  I fail to see my forest’s beauty, and appreciate the great results I produced. 

At such moments, I force myself to (a) focus on the “forest” and (b) stop focusing on “trees.”  Then, I feel proud of results my hard work produced.  I enjoy the wild flowers and trees I cultivated.  I cherish the fresh air, and seeing wild animals, like deer, coyotes, hawks, and foxes. 

Leadership Lesson =

As a leader, make sure you see the “forest.”  Stop looking mainly at “trees.”  Instead, focus on “forest” – your vision or big goals for your organization’s growth and prosperity.  


I used to think of forests as beautiful, enjoyable places.  Now, from investing innumerable hours working in my forest, I discovered forests also offer tremendous leadership skills and lessons.  

COPYRIGHT 2011 MICHAEL MERCER, PH.D., www.DrMercer.com

 Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is a book author, management psychologist, and speaker.  He authored 6 books, including “Absolutely Fabulous Organizational Change” and also “Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest.”  Dr. Mercer delivers speeches and seminars at conferences and companies.  Three pre-employment tests he created are used by many companies so they can hire hard-working employees.  You can learn about his presentations and pre-employment tests, plus subscribe to his Newsletter. at www.DrMercer.com

 Pre-Employment Testing & HR Hiring News: JOB APPLICANTS who have PERSONALITY PROBLEMS: 

Imagine your horror as you observe an employee making trouble in your company.  Imagine how this troublemaking employee with personality problems . . .
-  increases costs
-  hurts profits
-  harms productivity
-  disrupts co-workers
-  needs extra management attention
-  makes you cringe

Fortunately, certain pre-employment personality tests can help you avoid hiring people who have personality problems.  Here is how specific personality tests can enable you to hire people with productive personalities – and avoid hiring those disgusting people with personality problems that will drag down your company’s organizational culture and financial success. 


As pre-employment test researcher and creator, as a Ph.D. in industrial psychologist, I discovered troublemaking employees most often display seven personality problems: 

1.  Liars – dishonest, hate following instructions, and refuse to admit work difficulties

2.  Obnoxious & Pushy – ‘eat people up before breakfast, and spit them out before lunch’

3.  Anarchists – rebel against following your company’s rules, policies, and procedures

4.  Complainers – react to pressure by whining, moaning, and complaining

5.  Pessimists – down-in-the-dumps, low-confidence, and seek to drag down co-workers’ moods

6.  High Strung – cannot sit still and concentrate and, even worse, does not want to concentrate on work

7.  Emotionally Volatile – enjoys focusing on their array of negative emotions


On one pre-employment test I created, “Behavior Forecaster(tm) Test,” I devised personality test scales that reveal if a job applicant has certain personality problems.  Here are examples of test scores of applicants with certain personality problems:

1.  Liars – low score on the test’s Honesty/”Accuracy” scale

2.  Pushy and Obnoxious applicants – horribly high score on Assertiveness scale

3.  Anarchists who despise your rules & procedures – low score on Following Rules & Procedures scale

4.  Complainers – low score on Reaction to Pressure scale

5.  Pessimistic – low score on Optimism scale

6.  High Strung – score Excitable on Calm-Versus Excitable scale

7.  Emotionally Volatile – score Feeling-Focused on Feeling- versus Fact-Focused scale


Answer #1 = Interviewers typically are lousy at evaluating applicants in job interviews.  For instance, most applicants act nice and accommodating during job interviews.  That is a ‘show’ to win a job offer.  Unfortunately, most interviewers fail to uncover personality problems during interviews. 

Answer #2 = Reference checks very often fail to uncover personality problems.  When you call an applicant’s previous bosses, those ex-bosses typically (A) refuse to reveal useful information or (B) sugarcoat their comments by not mentioning ex-employees’ flaws.  The flaws they hide from you usually are productivity and personality problems. 

Given common problems of job interviews and reference checks, what can you do to avoid hiring people with personality problems?  The answer is to use a personality test designed specifically for pre-employment testing. 


The best way to not have troublemakers on your payroll is not to hire troublemakers. 

The best way to not have employees with personality problems is not to hire people who have personality problems, such as
-  Lying

-  Terrible aggressiveness

-  Dislike for following your company’s rules and procedures

-  Complaining, blaming, & moaning

-  Pessimism & lack of confidence

-  Hyper-excitability

-  Emotion-focused on their feelings rather than getting work done

A pre-employment personality test that forecasts such horrible personality problems immensely helps you.  The personality test helps you identify good applicants – those applicants who have personalities of hard-working, productive employees – the type you crave to hire.  

Also, the pre-employment personality test can warn you about other applicants with personality problems – the ticking time-bombs you must avoid hiring if you want to operate an efficient, productive, profitable company. 

COPYRIGHT 2011 MICHAEL MERCER, PH.D., www.Pre-EmploymentTest.com

Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is a book author, industrial psychologist, and speaker.  His six books include “Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest(tm)” and also “Turning Your HR Dept. into a Profit Center(tm).”  Dr. Mercer spent years researching and creating three pre-employment tests that many company use.  The three tests are “Abilities Forecaster(tm) Test,” “Behavior Forecaster(tm) Test,” and “Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test.”  You can get your own subscription, at no-cost, to “Dr. Mercer’s Management Newsletter at www.Pre-EmploymentTests.com



 Fortunately, pre-employment tests can help you avoid hiring troublemakers – including applicants who have lousy or unproductive interpersonal skills.  Three interpersonal skills of major concern are the applicant’s level of  =  Friendliness, Assertiveness & Teamwork  Here, you will learn how to determine what pre-employment test scores are “good” or “bad.  Then, see an example of how to put these “good” or “bad” test scores into action. 


Before using pre-employment tests to weed out interpersonal troublemakers, you should uncover the typical or “benchmark” test scores of your company’s “superstar” or best employees in each job.  How?  Have some of your best – “superstar” – employees in each job take the pre-employment test.  Scores of these “superstars” become the “benchmark” test scores you could prefer in job applicants.  Reason:  You want to hire applicants who possess qualities similar to your best employees. 

 Pre-employment tests’ interpersonal skills benchmarks will be on (a) low-friendliness vs. high-friendliness, (b) passive vs. aggressive, and (c) solo-work vs. teamwork.  Knowing your company’s benchmark test score helps you avoid hiring applicants whose interpersonal skills differ from interpersonal skills of your company’s “superstar” employees. 


One company that uses pre-employment tests I created wanted to hire great Sales Reps.  The company’s Sales Reps took the behavior personality test.  On the test’s three interpersonal scales, the company’s “superstar” Sales Reps’ “benchmark” scores were 
+  Moderate score on Friendliness
+  Moderate score on Assertiveness
+  High score on Teamwork

 So, when the company tested applicants, the pre-employment test showed if applicants scored similar to – or different than – its best Sales Reps.  Now, let’s look at how hiring an applicant with test scores different than the company’s benchmarks can cause trouble.  Such trouble harms productivity and profits, plus waste valuable management time dealing with an employee you should not have hired.


Imagine the interpersonal problems – that would impact productivity – if the company hired a Sales Rep whose interpersonal skills differed from the company’s “superstar” Sales Reps. 

 For instance, the pre-employment test’s benchmark scores on Friendliness scale was moderate Friendliness.  A low-friendliness applicant is more shy, withdrawn and introverted than the company’s “superstar” Sales Reps.  That spells trouble. 

 Or, imagine an applicant who scored highly-friendly, which is higher than the company’s  benchmark of moderate friendliness.  Such a highly friendly person would excessively socialize – so excessively that their boss would need to tell them to “stop socializing, and get back to work!” 


Now, imagine an applicant whose pre-employment test scores on the test’s Assertiveness scale differed from the company’s “superstar” Sales Reps.  Remember:  The company’s best Sales Reps’ benchmark test scores indicated moderate Assertiveness.  But, if an applicant scored Passive – i.e., low Assertiveness – that spells trouble.  Such a person would be too “laid back” or wishy-washy and fail on-the-job. 

 And pre-employment test scores showing an applicant is highly Assertive – i.e., aggressive – also spells trouble on-the-job.  Applicants who get highly Assertive test scores often act extremely aggressive:  They “eat people up before breakfast, and spit them out before lunch.”  Since this company’s best sales reps are only moderately assertive, such aggressive, pushy behavior spells trouble. 


The third pre-employment test interpersonal skills scale is Teamwork.  This test scale is a continuum from Prefer Solo Work to Prefer Teamwork.  In example used here, the company’s best Sales Reps scored high, that is, Prefer Teamwork. 

 Well, imagine an applicant who scores low on the personality test’s Teamwork scale, i.e., scored toward Prefers Solo Work.  Watch out!  Such an applicant prefers to work solo or alone.  Obviously, that would result in expensive trouble on-the-job. 


Your goal is to hire applicants who are likely to be productive, low-turnover and profitable for your company.  So, you have financial reasons to avoid hiring troublemakers.  The most scientific way to determine who may be a “troublemaker” at your company is to do a pre-employment test benchmarking study. 

 For this, pre-employment test scores of your best or “superstar” employees must be determined.  Then, you could seriously consider applicants whose test scores are the same or similar to your superstars’ benchmark test scores. 


First, use pre-employment test that measures interpersonal skills like Friendliness, Assertiveness, and Teamwork.  Second, do benchmarking study – to find typical or “benchmark” test scores of your company’s “superstars.”  Third, seriously consider possibly hiring applicants who get pre-employment test scores the same or similar to your company’s benchmark test scores.

 Using these three steps enables you to avoid hiring interpersonal troublemakers – based on applicants’ benchmarked pre-employment test scores.

 COPYRIGHT 2011 MICHAEL MERCER, PH.D., www.Pre-EmploymentTests.com

 Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is a book author, industrial psychologist, and speaker.  His six books includes “Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest(tm).”  Dr. Mercer spent many years creating three pre-employment tests that are used by many companies.  The tests are “Abilities Forecaster(tm) Test,” “Behavior Forecaster(tm) Test,” and “Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test.”  You can subscribe to his no-cost newsletter at www.Pre-EmploymentTests.com


Pre-Employment Testing News: PRE-EMPLOYMENT TESTS versus CREDIT CHECKS: 


Pre-employment tests should do better at predicting irresponsible behavior than credit checks.  So, take pre-employment test scores into account when you want to evaluate if a job applicant potentially could be a responsible person for your organization.



Credit checks in employment applications are under a lot of scrutiny.  The argument for doing credit checks is if an applicant has a lousy credit history, that applicant may (a) steal from their employer to ‘raise funds’ or (b) be an irresponsible employee.  In fact, some localities require credit checks of applicants for jobs requiring ‘public trust,’ e.g., healthcare professionals, day care workers, teachers, sports coaches, police officers, and firefighters. 

However, many factors resulting in credit problems may not correlate with the person acting irresponsibly on-the-job, if hired.  Also, not all credit problems are created equal.  For instance, a person who has credit problems due to a major illness may be different than a person with credit problems due to gambling.  

At a recent Washington, D.C. hearing about credit checks, Michael Aamodt of DCI Consulting Group, Inc., commented, “This lack of research [on credit checks] is especially important to note, because there have only been five studies that investigated actual credit history, rather than self-reported levels of financial stress . . . When these studies are combined using meta-analysis . . . financial problems seem to be correlated most highly with absenteeism, and least highly with performance ratings.” 


Pre-employment personality tests zoom in on the underlying issue.  Specifically, the desire to use credit checks is fueled by employers wanting to hire responsible employees who will (A) do a good job and (B) not steal.  

Fortunately, pre-employment personality tests get at this ‘responsibility’ concern a number of ways.  

First, pre-employment tests for “white-collar” and skilled jobs should forecast how much the applicant follows rules, policies, and procedures.  That assesses key concerns companies hope credit checks address.  The issue is whether an applicant will follow rules, such as handling duties and company property in a responsible way.  

Since pre-employment personality tests that are properly created require years of research, the personality test give an employer reliable and valid forecasts of each applicant’s rule-following or rule-breaking.  So, the company would not need to hope a credit check would uncover such problems.  Instead, the company could feel confident the personality test found out what the applicant really would be like on-the-job.

Second, pre-employment personality tests for “blue-collar” or lower-level jobs also should include forecasts of whether a job applicant might be a troublemaker.  For instance, one dependability pre-employment test evaluates applicants for honesty on the test, work ethic, impulsiveness, stealing, and substance abuse.  

hat pre-employment test of key personality traits quickly and easily directly tells employers more about crucial work behaviors better than an indirect evaluation by a credit check.  For instance, let’s say stealing by employees is a problem a company wants to eliminate.  To do this, the company could get credit checks, but then must make the ‘leap of faith’ that a good credit rating means an applicant would not steal and a bad credit rating means the person might steal.  That is a lot of conjecturing with little or no research to back it up.  

Instead, a pre-employment personality test is designed and researched to assess such risky, irresponsible behavior.  


So, it appears credit checks of job applicants rely on wishful thinking:  Maybe-possibly-perhaps a good or bad credit rating predicts a job applicant will do good or bad actions on-the-job.  

But, wouldn’t you and your company be better off using scientific, research-based prediction methods, rather than wishful thinking?

Pre-employment personality tests offer you a research-based tool to forecast how responsible or irresponsible a job applicant might be.  Use

*  behavior tests for “white-collar” or professional jobs

dependability tests for “blue-collar” or lower-level jobs

Pre-employment tests help you directly predict important job-related factors.  In contrast, credit checks do not have research to help you make good hiring decisions.  

As such, you may want to quit using questionable credit checks.  

Instead, use pre-employment personality tests to help you hire good, productive, responsible employees – the type of employees who help you grow your business.  

© Copyright 2010 Mercer Systems, Inc. 


Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is an expert on (1) pre-employment tests and (2) how to hire good, productive, responsible employees.  Many companies use 3 pre-employment tests Dr. Mercer created – the 3 “Forecaster™ Tests” – to help them hire good, productive employees:  (1) Abilities Forecaster(tm) Test, (2) Behavior Forecaster(tm) Test, and (3) Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test.  Dr. Mercer wrote 5 books, including “Hire the Best – & Avoid the Rest(tm).”  You can get (a) no-cost subscription to his Management Newsletter at www.MercerSystems.com or (b) talk with Dr. Mercer at 847-382-0690. 

Learn about Dr. Mercer's Pre-Employment Tests

Tags:  Pre-Employment Tests, Pre-Employment Testing, assessing job applicants



Pre-Employment Testing News:

Pre-employment tests plus other techniques may help you avoid hiring violent, perhaps even murderous, employees.  
You do

>  not want to hire potentially violent employees

>  need to create a safe workplace

Recent news reported a company’s employee murdered co-workers, and then committed suicide.  A surveillance camera caught him stealing.  The company was firing him when the massacre began.


So, how might that company – and your company – avoid hiring violent, perhaps murderous, job applicants?  


Certain personality test scores tell you if a job applicant may lash out in violent or dangerous ways.  
Good news = In my 20+ years’ pre-employment testing experience, no company using my personality tests hired an employee who became violent on-the-job.  

Interestingly, some companies using my pre-employment tests rejected job applicants due to their poor test scores, and those applicants responded in aggressive or threatening ways to their rejection.  

More good news = Those companies called me to say my pre-employment tests forecast serious problems in those obnoxious people – and helped them reject those terrifying people.  

What pre-employment test scores could help you foretell a job applicant may be a violent or dangerous person? 
Since you can use two types of personality tests – dependability tests and behavior tests – let’s look at “bad” test scores that may predict violence.  


Companies give “Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test” to job applicants applying for “blue-collar” jobs, such as lower-level, entry-level, unskilled or semi-skilled jobs.  

If an applicant gets low scores on five “Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test” scales, watch out – for possible violence or other trouble:

1.  Dishonesty on DF – if applicant does not answer test honestly, that is bad sign

2.  Lousy Work Ethic – imagine the anger of a lazy bum whom you tell to work harder

3.  Impulsiveness – impulsive people act before thinking – so imagine if they get mad

4.  Theft/Stealing Concerns – thieves violate rules – including perhaps controlling anger

5.  Substance Abuse Concerns – substance abusers want you-know-what & want it now

So, if a job applicant gets bad scores on the dependability-type personality test – congratulations.  You quickly discovered an applicant whom you probably want to avoid hiring.  Don’t you feel better knowing this – before you hired that risky person?


The employment test entitled, “Behavior Forecaster(tm) Test” predicts 14 work behaviors, including interpersonal skills, personality traits, and motivations.  Companies give this pre-hiring test to applicants for skilled and “white-collar” jobs.  

Be careful with applicants who get certain scores on “Behavior Forecaster(tm) Test.”  For starters, a low score on Honesty on BF scale is a bad omen.  I received phone calls from companies that rejected applicants who scored low on Honesty scale, telling me some of those dishonest applicants became “stalkers.”  They bugged the hiring manager who rejected them.  You need to avoid hiring such dangerous people.  

On this pre-employment test’s interpersonal skills scales, you may feel suspicious of people who get very high scores on Aggressiveness scale.  Job applicants who get high Aggressiveness scores “eat people before breakfast – and spit them out before lunch.”  Be careful about hiring applicant who gets very high Aggressiveness score.  Such people can act overbearing and pushy when they do not get their way.  

Also, consider it a bad omen when a job applicant gets the following risky test scores in the personality section of the behavior pre-employment test:

a.  Lax & unconcerned about Following Rules, Policies and Procedures

b.  Whining & ultra-upset Reaction to Pressure

c.  Pessimistic – focuses on problems, and ignores solutions

d.  Excitable – hyped-up & looking to get rid of steam

e.  Very Emotion or Feelings-Focused

If an applicant gets such risky personality test scores, do not “light a match” near that person.  They may be ready to explode verbally or physically when they feel bothered or upset.  Better yet, you probably prefer to not hire people with such possible personality problems.  Why would you want to put them on your payroll?


Pre-employment tests can help you hire productive employees who work well with others, and help you create a safe work environment.  I explained warning signs you must watch for when you look at job applicants’ scores on two types of personality-related tests:

1.  Dependability test

2.  Behavior test

Such pre-employment tests not only help you hire the best.  They also help you hire safe people you and your employees will not need to fear.

Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is a book author and management psychologist.  Dr. Mercer created all 3 “Forecaster(tm) Tests” – pre-employment tests companies use to select productive employees.  His 5 books include “Hire the Best – & Avoid the Rest(tm)” and also “Turning Your HR Dept. into a Profit Center(tm).”  He delivers speeches and seminars across North America .  You can contact him – and get no-cost subscription to his Management Newsletter – at www.MercerSystems.com

COPYRIGHT 2010 MICHAEL MERCER, PH.D., www.MercerSystems.com


Pre-employment Test are tests that organizations give to job applicants to help them hire employees who are productive, dependable, and low-turnover.  

What does research say about Pre-Employment tests? Research on pre-employment tests and other prediction methods indicate pre-employment tests are the most method to accurately predict how an applicant may perform on-the-job, if hired.  

In contrast, interviews typically are a lousy method to predict an applicant’s job performance.  
Also, reference checks, unfortunately, are quite useless, because many companies refuse to reveal negative information
about their former employees.

Why are pre-employment tests so accurate at predicting actual job performance?

Pre-employment tests that work well are created after doing In-depth research. 
The research is done find out which test questions work best in the test, plus make sure the test is both reliable and valid.

What is pre-employment test validity and reliability?

Use pre-employment tests only if they were created using research to establish the test is both (a) valid and (b) reliable.  

Validity of a pre-employment test means the test accurately predicts or forecasts exactly what it is meant to predict.  For example, if one scale or section of the pre-employment test aims to predict if a job applicant is teamwork-oriented, then that test scale is valid only if accurately measures how much or how little an applicant likes teamwork.  Or, if a test scale helps predict Problem-Solving Ability, then that Problem-Solving Ability section must be a valid or accurate measure of Problem-Solving Ability.  If a test scale helps predict Theft/Stealing concerns, then it needs to be a valid or accurate prediction of an applicant’s possible Theft/Stealing behavior.

Reliability of pre-employment tests is different than validity.  Reliability of a pre-employment test can be established through research in a number of ways.  In general, reliability means a test reliably or consistently measures what it is supposed to measure.  For instance, if multiple questions predict Teamwork, then those Teamwork questions must overall measure Teamwork and not some other factor.  Also, test-retest reliability means that if a job applicant takes the pre-employment test one day and then takes the same test at a later date, e.g., a month later, then the applicant’s scores should be the same in at both times.  

In summary, use pre-employment tests only if they were created using research to establish the test is both (a) valid and
(b) reliable.

What “Assessments” Are NOT Pre-Employment Tests?

Pre-employment tests are specially researched and created specifically for testing job applicants.  

In contrast, some organizations mistakenly use “assessments” meant for training or teambuilding with current employees when they evaluate job applicants.  This is wrong to do – for a number of reasons.  For instance, such “assessments” are not researched, designed, nor justifiable for pre-employment testing of job applicants.  Also, if any question is raised about the use of such “assessments,” the organization certainly may have a very hard time explaining why it used an “assessment” meant for training or teambuilding to evaluate job applicants.  

So, only use pre-employment tests that actually are researched and designed to test job applicants.  Do not use “assessments” that are not researched, designed, meant for, nor justifiable in your evaluation of job applicants.

What Types of Pre-Employment Tests Might I Use?

Three types of pre-employment tests can help you hire the best.

1.  Mental Abilities Tests – help you predict job-related cognitive abilities, such as

            a.  Problem-Solving Ability

            b.  Vocabulary Ability

            c.  Arithmetic Ability

            d.  Grammar, Spelling & Word Use Ability

            e.  Ability to Handle Small Details with Speed & Accuracy

2.  Behavior Tests – help you predict key interpersonal skills, personality traits, and motivations:

            a.  Interpersonal Skills




            b.  Personality Traits

                        Following Rules & Procedures

                        Poise Under Pressure


                        Calm vs. Excitable

                        Feeling-Focus vs. Fact-Focused

            c.  Motivations

                        Money Motivation

                        Helping People / Service Motivation

                        Creativity Motivations

                        Power Motivation

                        Leaning / Knowledge Motivation

3.  Dependability Tests – help you predict key factors, such as,

            a.  Honesty on test

            b.  Work Ethic

            c.  Impulsiveness (may be linked to safety, accidents, & interpersonal conflict)

            d.  Stealing / Theft concern

            e.  Substace Abuse concern

Will Pre-Employment Test “Catch” Job Applicant Who Lies on Test?

A correctly designed pre-employment test will detect – or find out – if an applicant lied by giving answers that may make the applicant seem “better or different” than the applicant really is.  

In sharp contrast, “assessments” designed for training or teambuilding – and not for pre-employment testing – do not have such a built-in lie detector.

A good pre-employment test can use  number of methods to “catch” a job applicant who tries to answer its questions dishonestly.  Perhaps the best method involves using a set of truism questions.  

You will not “catch” a lying job applicant if you only rely on whether or not the applicant answered different versions of the same question the same.  For starters, when  test asks different versions of the same question, that is for (a) creating a scale on that topic and also (b) reliability. 

Here is why that will not catch a lying or dishonest applicant:  The liar could consistently answer those questions dishonestly.

Always ask the Business Psychologist who created the pre-employment test how the test will “catch” or detect if an applicant answered questions to “pull the wool over your eyes.”



Learn about Dr. Mercer's Pre-Employment Tests

Tags:  Pre-Employment Tests, Pre-Employment Testing, assessing job applicants




Pre-employment test expert Michael Mercer will appear today on KGO’s Gil Gross radio show.  
Dr. Mercer is author of “Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest” (13th printing).

The pre-employment tests he researched and created are “Abilities Forecaster™ Test, Behavior Forecaster™ Test, and Dependability Forecaster™ Test.  
Companies use personality tests and cognitive abilities tests to help them hire good workers with a good work ethic.

KGO is San Francisco ’s #1 radio station.  It is 50,000 watts.  
Gil Gross is an award-winning radio journalist.  His show broadcasts daily on KGO AM 810,

2-4pm. P.T.

Dr. Mercer, Pre-Employment Testing Expert is quoted in National Federation of Independent Businesses.
Please click on link to read article.


Here are some of Dr. Mercer's Press Releases & Articles:


Pre-Employment Test News:

(+ 3 Guidelines to Help You Hire the Best)

I repeatedly notice managers do make four mistakes that result in hiring losers – employees they wish they never hired.  I will help you avoid making these four blunders.  Plus, I will reveal to you three guidelines that will help you hire fantastic employees.  


1st Reason = Applicant Acts Charming

Managers feel mesmerized by applicants who act charming.  Such applicants act friendly, smile at you, look into your eyes, compliment you, and display other make-you-feel-good charm.


Such applicants would earn an “A” grade in charm school.  

The problem is managers who hire lousy employees tend to feel overly swayed by applicants’ charm.  Resist the temptation – don’t let yourself get swept away by a smooth operator who charms you.

 2nd Reason = Applicant Has Seemingly Relevant Work Experience

Many managers get carried away by applicants whose work experience appears relevant.  
However, many applicants might have seemingly relevant experience.  Also, just because an applicant has relevant experience in one organization never means that person will do well working for you.  What it takes to succeed in one organization – or for one manager – never is exactly the same in your company or working for you.

So, do not fall in love with an applicant just because the person has semi-pseudo-relevant work experience.  

3rd Reason = Manager Feel Desperate to Hire Someone Fast

I jokingly say that some managers feel a horrible compulsion to hire someone ‘yesterday.”  That means they have an open position, and they feel pressure to hire somebody right away.
hat is a recipe for disaster.  

Of course, sometimes you have an open position, plus you have a need to fill it ultra-soon.  But, hiring with such desperation often results in hiring people you later regret hiring.  

Remember:  Each time you hire someone you are betting.  You are betting your (a) career and (b) company.  If you hire enough losers you injure your career, and may even get de-employed.  Also, if you hire enough underachievers, you hurt your company – harming productivity and profits.  

4th Reason = Manager Is Too Lazy to Find More Applicants

Managers who hire lousy employees frequently are lazy – and will hire almost anyone to avoid spending time finding more and better applicants.  Such managers have a “To-Do List” with, for example, 10 action items to do.  Regrettably, finding better applicants is not among their 10 action items.  


Here are solutions to help you hire the best.  
1.  Never get swept away by applicants who act charming and/or have semi-pseudo-relevant work experience.

2.  Never rush to hire someone fast and/or be too lazy to find more and better applicants.

3.  Use pre-employment tests.  Well-researched pre-employment tests – that you can get custom-tailored for specific jobs in
        your company – give you an objective, scientific evaluation of each job applicant.  

Three pre-employment tests can be used to assess applicants.  First, a personality test forecasts an applicant’s interpersonal skills, personality, and motivations – and the test is not swayed by an applicant who acts charming.  Second, cognitive ability tests measure up to five key brainpower factors – and never get affected by an applicant who may have seemingly relevant work experiences.  Third, a dependability test helps you uncover an applicant’s work ethic, safety, and if the applicant may steal or be a substance abuser.  

Importantly, pre-employment tests that you get custom-tailored for specific jobs in your company give you the huge advantage of being able to find out if the applicant has the most important qualities needed to succeed in your organization. 


Managers sometimes call and tell me they hired a lousy employee.  When I question how they decided to hire that lousy employee, I overwhelmingly find they (a) hired based on applicant’s charm and work experience or (b) felt desperate compulsion to hire fast or (c) was too lazy to find better applicants.

Also, managers who hired losers usually made these mistakes:  Either they (a) did not test the applicant, or (b) ignored glaring warning signs pre-employment tests revealed about the applicant – warning signs indicating they should not put that person on their payroll.  
As I hear their distress, I want to comfort them, so I point out, “Well, you learned from this experience.” 

Then, the managers always say something like this:  “Yes, I learned from the hiring mistake I made – but it was a terribly expensive lesson.”


Simply follow three guidelines to help you hire productive, dependable employees:

A.  Stop getting carried away – by applicants’ charm and work experiences.

B.  Never hire fast – in your desperate rush to fill a position ASAP.

C.  Use pre-employment tests – and pay close attention to applicants’ test scores


COPYRIGHT 2009 MICHAEL MERCER, PH.D.  www.MercerSystems.com
Pre-Employment Test News:

A pre-employment test I researched and created – “Dependability Forecaster(tm ) Test” – helped me learn a lot about people who are turnover risks, accident-prone, and rub co-workers and customers the wrong way.  Specifically, such people are impulsive.  So, you should avoid hiring impulsive people. 

*  Impulsive people = act before thinking.
*  Non-impulsive people = think before acting.

You want to hire job applicants who think before acting, that is, people who are responsible, careful, prudent human beings.   

If you hire impulsive people – that is, people who act before they think – you are more likely to have expensive problems, such as

-  Accidents – because they are careless

-  Interpersonal Messes – because impulsive people blurt out inconsiderate, hurtful remarks

-  Turnover – because they are disloyal and uncommitted

-  Substance Abuse – because substance abusers are impulsive people

-  Absenteeism – because they do not care that you expect them to show up

-  Lost Customers – because impulsive people fail to offer good service

-  Violations of Rules – because they think it is o.k. to break your rules

In fact, my pre-employment test research to created “Dependability Forecaster(tm ) Test” discovered a statistically significant correlation between being (a) substance abuser and (b) highly impulsive.  My test research finding means

*  substance abusers = highly impulsive people

*  when you hire highly impulsive people = you are more likely to hire substance abusers

You do not want to hire substance abusers, do you?


When you hire people who are not impulsive – that is, people who think before they act – your company may profit from

+  Safety – since non-impulsive people think to avoid accidents

+  Nice Relationships – with customers and co-workers

+  Retention – since non-impulsive people are more likely to be loyal

+  Less Substance Abuse – low impulsiveness does not correlate with substance abuse

+  Better Attendance – they follow rules, including showing up for work

+  Good Customer Service – because they consider their words and use good manners

+  Rule & Policy Following – because they feel rules are meant to be followed


You can imagine these examples of impulsive employees:

-  Delivery person – carelessly unloads a truck, dropping boxes, thus breaking the contents

-  Patient’s Caregiver – unsafely picks-up patient, thus dropping and injuring the patient

-  Warehouse employee – injures himself by incorrectly picking up a box

-  Housekeeper or Janitor – spills dangerous chemicals

-  Kitchen Staff – waste food, and violate health rules

-  Car Valets – take joyrides in clients’ cars or dent cars

-  [fill-in examples – of impulsive employees you witnessed]


Believe it or not, impulsive people are sought after for one highly visible job.  For this position, impulsive people are the very best.

Impulsive people are the best people to select – if you are casting a reality TV show.  Why?  Because reality TV shows thrive on antics and “drama” of highly impulsive cast members.  

You do not produce reality TV shows.  So, avoid hiring impulsive people.


Without pre-employment testing, most managers fail to spot impulsive job applicants.  Research proves interviewers overwhelmingly make incorrect predictions about applicants.  

Fortunately, a pre-employment test researched and designed to forecast – or predict – an applicant’s level of impulsiveness cannot be faked by a job applicant.  A built-in lie section warns you if an applicant tries to fool the test.  

In creating pre-employment tests – for entry-level and blue-collar job applicants – I found it crucial that the test assess applicants’ dependability.  A key dependability ingredient is thinking before acting, that is, being non-impulsiveness.  So, the pre-employment test includes an impulsiveness prediction section, in addition to also predicting (1) honesty on test, (2) work ethic, (3) stealing concerns, and (4) substance abuse concerns.  

The pre-employment test’s Impulsiveness scale is a very useful – but seldom seen – prediction that managers need.   


Your management goal is to hire employees who are productive, low-turnover, safe, team players, and dependable.  Such stellar employees typically are

*  non-impulsive people – who think before they act

*  not impulsive people – who act before they think

A pre-employment test that includes a specific impulsiveness prediction gives you the easiest, quickest and most accurate prediction of how impulsive an applicant is.  Such a pre-employment test helps you avoid hiring trouble-making impulsive people.  So, make sure you hire applicants seem suitable on all prediction methods you use, including getting low-risk scores on the pre-employment test’s impulsiveness section.

 Contact Dr. Mercer for more informations at http://www.pre-employmenttests.com

Pre-Employment Test News:
Stealing On The Rise: Pre-Employment Tests Reduces Theft 

“Pre-employment tests plus two other techniques help reduce stealing and theft by employees,” explained Michael Mercer, Ph.D., a test researcher and author of Hire the Best – & Avoid the Rest.“  This is important advice, given that The Wall Street Journal” and Fox News reported increases in employees stealing plus employee theft’s financial drain on companies.

“Stealing by employees drains a company’s finances and morale,” said Dr. Mercer, a corporate psychologist in Barrington, Illinois .  The value of stolen items rose one-third in two years, according to PriceWaterhouseCooper’s survey of 5,400 companies.  Also, 20% of employers find employee theft a moderate to big problem, found Institute for Corporate Productivity research. 

“Stealing starts by hiring lousy humans,” claims Dr. Mercer.  “Plus, employees know anything reducing profits impacts their job security.  If a company loses money to theft or stealing, eventually employees may get laid-off to decrease losses.” 

Fortunately, Dr. Mercer offered three tips to avoid hiring job applicants who are thieves and discover which employees steal. 

”First, pre-employment tests that forecast dependability help companies hire non-thieves.” points out Dr. Mercer.  “The fastest and cheapest way to avoid stealing by employees is to avoid hiring job applicants who will steal.”  Dr. Mercer created a pre-employment test, “Dependability Forecaster™ Test,” that helps predict if an applicant might steal.  Companies have job applicants take his test so they can hire applicants who are unlikely to be thieves. 

Second, Dr. Mercer recommends doing background checks.  Unfortunately, background checks typically only uncover if an applicant was convicted in the locale where you do the check, for example, your county.  If an applicant was convicted elsewhere, then you may not find out.  

A solution Dr. Mercer proposes is to “use both a dependability pre-employment test plus a background check, and then only hire applicants who come out great on both.” 

Third, Dr. Mercer suggests managers “act like James Bond.  It may not sound nice, but you need to spy on employees.  Companies can install video cameras, tracking devices and other allowable spying instruments.  He recounted how one of his clients used pre-employment tests to avoid hiring thieves and also installed tracking devices on its delivery vehicles.  The result was the company hired non-thieves and also discovered and fired thieves on its payroll.  

Finally, Dr. Mercer advises companies to “make sure employees realize you watch them.  They will thank you for stopping workplace theft and increasing their job security.”

                                                                #  #  #
Tags:  Pre-Employment Tests, Pre-Employment Testing, assessing job applicants
Contact:  http://www.DrMercer.com

Pre-Employment Test News: 

Pre-employment tests plus other applicant evaluation methods help you select salesperson job applicants who will turn into highly productive, super-profitable sales reps.  These applicant evaluation methods include pre-employment tests, intriguing bio-data, vague job interview questions, plus colorful role-plays.

Hiring fantastic sales reps is crucial.  As Henry Ford wisely observed, “Until someone sells something, no one else has a job.”  A company with monstrously effective sales reps can grow and prosper.  However, a company with wonderful products but lousy sales reps will wither away.

So, how can managers hire highly productive sales reps? 
Here are four great methods you can start using immediately.


Use two pre-employment tests to evaluate sales rep applicants:

1.  Behavior or personality test

2.  Mental abilities or intelligence-related test

The behavior or personality test needs to forecast the applicant’s behavior in three key areas:

a.  Interpersonal Skills –  e.g., friendliness, assertiveness, and teamwork

b.  Personality Traits – e.g., poise under pressure, optimism, and action-orientation

c.  Motivations – e.g., if the sales applicant feels driven to earn incentive pay

The mental abilities or intelligence tests forecast if the applicant has enough “brainpower” to

+  learn – how to do your company’s sales job

+  think correctly – to solve problems encountered while selling your company’s products

Importantly, before using personality and intelligence tests, you must conduct a benchmarking study.  This custom-tailoring tells you specific test scores of your company’s best salespeople.  

Then, when you test applicants, you quickly, easily and objectively can

>  favor job applicants who got same test scores as your company’s best sales reps

>  weed-out applicants whose test scores differed from your best sales reps’ scores

Hundreds of pre-employment test benchmarking studies I have done – for many companies – often result
in this “benchmark” pattern of test scores gotten by the best, super-productive sales reps:

>  high scores on Friendliness

>  average scores on Assertiveness

>  average scores on Following Rules & Procedures

>  high scores on Poised Under Pressure

>  high scores on Optimism

>  Calm for inside sales reps – but Excitable for outside sales reps

>  high scores on Money Motivation

>  average scores on Intelligence or mental abilities

As such, pre-employment tests enable you to objectively – not subjectively – know if a sales rep applicant has crucial personality and intelligence qualities similar to your company’s best sales reps.  That is the reason pre-employment tests tremendously help companies hire the best sales rep applicants.  

Importantly, using pre-employment tests removes the tendency of managers to like applicants who con them through (a) charm in interviews or (b) semi-pseudo-relevant work histories.  Pre-employment tests helps you avoid getting fooled again by a smooth talking sales applicant.


Bio-data means biographical data, and yields loads of super-useful insights into which applicants you should seriously consider.  

Suggestion:  When you conduct your pre-employment test benchmarking study of your best sales reps, also have them fill-out a questionnaire on their bio-data from before they started working for your company.  The bio-data questionnaire helps you gather specific details of your company’s best sales reps’ work experiences, education, training, compensation, and more.  

For example, in bio-data questionnaires I created for many companies, I continually find successful sales reps worked during high school.  That is only one example of useful bio-data.  

Armed with exact bio-data of your best sales reps, you then can include relevant bio-data questions in your interviews.  For instance, if all your best sales reps worked during high school in service-type jobs, then you definitely want to see if each applicant you interview had similar experiences.  

Translation:  See if each job applicant you might consider has bio-data similar to your best sales reps’


If the pre-employment test scores of an applicant are similar to scores of your best sales reps, then you probably want to make time to conduct an in-depth job interview.


Unfortunately, too many sales applicants come across exceedingly wonderful in typical job interviews.  After all, salespeople know how to make a good impression and “knock your socks off.”

Secret Revealed = Here is a trick sales applicants use to make you “fall in love” with them:  Immediately upon meeting you, the applicant gives you a nice handshake with good eye-contact and a smile.  The applicant compliments something about you, your company, or your office.  Then – and here is the cincher – the applicant makes you laugh within 120 seconds after meeting you.  After that laugh, the applicant’s charm offensive has melted the heart of most interviewers – and the interviewer then incorrectly slobbers positive ratings on almost everything the sales applicant says.

Fortunately, you can avoid doing a typical interview, and getting conned by a salesperson.  

First, only interview job applicants who got pre-employment test scores similar to scores of your company’s best salespeople.  Second, make a list of the most important 6 – 9 job talents you must have in anyone you hire.  These might include persuasiveness, friendliness, teamwork, handling obstacles, action-orientation, and desire to earn incentive pay.

Third, avoid telling the applicant you are looking for those job talents.  Instead, ask vague questions.  Then, listen to whether the applicant might have talents you need.  For example, if teamwork is important, do not ask a question like “Do you like teamwork?”  Any applicant with some brains would know to say, “Yes” to such an obvious question.  

Instead, ask a vague question, such as, “What are examples of the work situations you enjoy most?”  Then, notice if the applicant tells you examples of work situations involving (a) teamwork or (b) working alone.  If teamwork is a key job talent, then you prefer an applicant who gives examples of enjoying teamwork – and not examples of enjoying working alone.  

Warning:  Never ask any interview question that gives clues to job talents you want the applicant to have. 

Whenever I create custom-tailored “Interview Guide Forms” for a company to use, I always make sure none of the questions I create tell the applicant either (a) the specific talent is being evaluated nor (b) the desired “right” answer is. Unfortunately, most managers give hints to the answers they want to hear.  Do not be one of those naïve managers.


If an applicant’s pre-employment test scores are similar to your best sales reps’ test scores, plus the applicant’s bio-data is similar to your best reps, plus the applicant did well in your in-depth interview, then you really ought to use an ultra-useful but seldom used additional prediction method.  It is a carefully crafted role-play.  

To do the role-play, tell the applicant to try to sell something to you.  It can be any product or service both you and the applicant are familiar with.  The applicant plays the sales rep and you play the prospective customer.

During the role-play, you must evaluate the applicant’s skill on using six key selling steps:  (a) Quickly developing comfort and rapport with prospective customer, (b) uncovering prospect’s needs, (c) probing important details, (d) presenting solutions, (e) overcoming objections and resistance, and (f) asking for the order.  

If the job applicant excels on these key sales steps, that is a good sign.  If not, then you must decide if the applicant is worth training in your company’s sales procedures.


Only hire applicants who get all wonderful ratings in the following surefire hiring formula.

Pre-employment tests + bio-data + in-depth interview + role-play = fantastic odds you will hire a highly productive sales rep.
Copyright 2009 Michael Mercer, Ph.D., www.MercerSystems.com

Pre-Employment Test News:

One kind of pre-employment personality test gives hiring managers a quick, easy-to-use way to avoid hiring substance abusers – e.g., alcoholics and drug abusers – and other bad characters.  Plus, you also have few more methods you can use in your quest to avoid hiring substance abusers.


Fact #1 = No manager I ever spoke with wants to hire a drug abuser or alcoholic. 
Fact #2 = Substance abusing employees waste huge amounts of a company’s money.

According to U.S. Department of Labor estimates, drug abusing employees waste $75 - $100 billion/year in (a) lost time, (b) accidents, (c) healthcare, and (d) workers’ compensation.  In fact, substance abusers force horribly expensive problems onto their employers:
-  65% of on-the-job accidents are by substance abusers 

-  3 times more absences than non-substance abusers 
-  16 times more healthcare benefits than non-abusers

-  16 times more likely than non-substance abusers to file worker’s compensation claim

Fact #3 = If you send drug abusing employee for treatment, it costs you big bucks.

Your company pays money for alcoholism or drug abuse problem you did not cause.  Translation:  You pay to treat a substance abusing employee you never should have hired in the first place!

Fact #4 = Dealing with substance abuser wastes expensive management time. 

Conclusion = Managers need to use pre-employment tests and other steps to avoid hiring alcoholics, drug addicts, and substance abusers. 

Here are four methods to help you avoid putting drug addicts or alcoholics on your payroll.


One type of personality test helps you quickly predict – or forecast – if a job applicant may be a substance abuser.  You do, after all, want dependable employees – including employees who are not possibly alcoholics or drug abusers.

I call such a pre-employment test a “Bad Apple Test.”  Why?  This test helps you avoid hiring an applicant who is a “bad apple” – someone with flaws that harm productivity and waste your company’s money.

A good pre-employment test that helps you avoid substance abusers predicts up to five crucial factors that impact applicants’ job performance:  
16 times more likely than non-substance abusers to file worker’s compensation claim = If you send drug abusing employee for treatment, it costs you big bucks.Your company pays money for alcoholism or drug abuse problem you did not cause.Translation:You pay to treat a substance abusing employee you never should have hired in the first place! = Dealing with substance abuser wastes expensive management time. Here are four methods to help you avoid putting drug addicts or alcoholics on your payroll.


One type of personality test helps you quickly predict – or forecast – if a job applicant may be a substance abuser.You do, after all, want dependable employees – including employees who are not possibly alcoholics or drug abusers.I call such a pre-employment test a “Bad Apple Test.”Why?This test helps you avoid hiring an applicant who is a “bad apple” – someone with flaws that harm productivity and waste your company’s money.A good pre-employment test that helps you avoid substance abusers predicts up to five crucial factors that impact applicants’ job performance:

a.  Substance Abuse concerns
b.  Theft / Stealing concerns
c.  Honesty
d.  Impulsiveness [e.g., safety, accidents, etc.]
e.  Work Ethic

Hiring managers, of course, crave to hire applicants whose pre-employment test scores indicate low concern for possible Substance Abuse.  You also want applicants who are (1) unlikely to steal, (2) honest, (3) not Impulsive, plus (4) have good work ethic.  

In sum, a pre-employment test predicting substance abuse personalities helps hiring managers achieve their goals to

+  screen-in “good apples”

-  screen-out “bad apples” 


You reduce your odds of hiring alcohol or drug abusers, if you can avoid hiring smokers.  After all, most substance abusers are smokers.  

Question:  How often have you met an alcoholic or drug addict who did not smoke? 

Answer:  Probably never.

So, if you avoid hiring smokers, then it will be harder to hire a substance abuser.  

Note:  Not all smokers are substance abusers, but most substance abusers are smokers.

More than 67% of drug abusers are tobacco smokers, according to research published in the scientific journal “Experimental & Clinical Psychopharmacology.”

Amount of drug consumption correlates to the amount of smoking, according to research conducted at Integrated Substance Abuse Program of UCLA: 

-  More smoking = more drug-taking

-  Less smoking = less drug-taking

Point:  The more a substance abuser smokes, the more drugs the person is likely to take.

Check to see if your state has laws about not hiring people who smoke.  Some states allow it, and others do not.  

With this substance abuse and smoking information, you need to decide what to do if you

A.  smell smoke on a job applicant

B.  see cigarette pack on applicant

C.  notice applicant’s car ashtray has cigarette butts

D.  discover other signs applicant is a smoker


Many companies tell applicants they must take a drug test – if the company might hire them. 

Receiving this warning scares away some applicants who are substance abusers.  


Unfortunately, problems with drug tests are very big problems:  Drug tests are

-  expensive

-  cheated or faked – very easily

-  inaccurate in their results – many times

Caution:  An “underground” industry exists that helps job applicants avoid having alcohol or drug use uncovered in a drug test!  So, many applicants know they can “fake-out” a drug test.  


Certain pre-employment personality tests plus other methods help you avoid hiring substance abusers who rob your company of productivity and profits – plus waste your valuable management time.  

Stop hiring substance abusers using four methods:

1.  Have applicants take pre-employment personality test that predicts substance abuse

2.  Don’t hire smokers

3.  ‘Threaten’ to give applicants drug test

4.  Give costly drug tests just before putting applicant on your payroll

It is best for you to use all four methods.  Doing all four saves you time and money.
Make sure you hire the best – and don’t hire a substance abusing alcoholic or drug addict!

Tags:  Pre-Employment Tests, Pre-Employment Testing, assessing job applicants

© COPYRIGHT 2009 Mercer Systems Inc., www.MercerSystems.com 
Pre-Employment Test News:
Pre-Employment Tests & Other Ways To Stop Stealing by Your Employees

Pre-employment tests plus two other techniques help reduce stealing and theft by your employees.
“Wall Street Journal” and Fox News reported (a) increases in employees stealing plus (b) employee theft’s financial drain on companies.

How financially draining is employee stealing and theft?  (A) The value of stolen items rose one-third in just two years, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers’s survey of 5,400 companies.  (B) 20% of employers consider employee theft a moderate to very big problem, found Institute for Corporate Productivity research.

And how does employee theft impact your non-stealing employees? 
First, your honest employees feel dismayed when co-workers steal.  It proves you hired lousy humans. 
Second, employees know anything reducing profits impacts job security.  If a company loses too much to theft or stealing, eventually employees may get “de-employed” to decrease losses.

Fortunately, managers can use pre-employment tests and other methods to (a) avoid hiring job applicants who are thieves and (b) discover which employees steal.

One kind of pre-employment personality test gives hiring managers a quick, easy-to-use way to avoid hiring substance abusers – e.g., alcoholics and drug abusers – and other bad characters.Plus, you also have few more methods you can use in your quest to avoid hiring substance abusers.  = No manager I ever spoke with wants to hire a drug abuser or alcoholic.  = Substance abusing employees waste huge amounts of a company’s money.According to U.S. Department of Labor estimates, drug abusing employees waste $75 - $100 billion/year in (a) lost time, (b) accidents, (c) healthcare, and (d) workers’ compensation.In fact, substance abusers force horribly expensive problems onto their employers:-65% of on-the-job accidents are by substance abusers.


Pre-employment tests that specifically predict or forecast dependability can help you hire Non-Thieves. After all, the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to avoid stealing by employees is obvious:  Avoid hiring job applicants who will steal.  

For example, in my pre-employment test research to create the Theft/Stealing prediction on the “Dependability Forecaster(tm) Test,” I used a two-step method to find out which test questions predict if someone may steal.  First, two groups of people answered my extensive list of research questions:  (1) One group was Thieves – hundreds of prisoners locked-up in jails for stealing and theft crimes.  (2) The second group was hundreds of Non-Thieves.  Then, I did statistics to find out which specific questions the Thieves answered significantly differently than the Non-Thieves.  

Those questions became the pre-employment test’s section that helps predict if a job applicant may steal.
hen applicants take the pre-employment test, companies immediately see if a job applicant scored like the Thieves or the Non-Thieves.  Of course, managers prefer hiring applicants who get the test scores of the Non-Thieves.  

Here are four methods to help you avoid putting drug addicts or alcoholics on your payroll.


One type of personality test helps you quickly predict – or forecast – if a job applicant may be a substance abuser.You do, after all, want dependable employees – including employees who are not possibly alcoholics or drug abusers.I call such a pre-employment test a “Bad Apple Test.”Why? This test helps you avoid hiring an applicant who is a “bad apple” – someone with flaws that harm productivity and waste your company’s money.A good pre-employment test that helps you avoid substance abusers predicts up to five crucial factors that impact applicants’ job performance:


In addition to pre-employment tests that help predict Theft/Stealing, a company also might conduct a criminal background check to see if the applicant was convicted of stealing crimes.  

Problem:  Unfortunately, a background check only will tell you if the applicant was convicted in the locale where you do the check, for example, your county.  Warning:  If an applicant was convicted in another locale, then you will not find out.  



Solution:  First, administer a pre-employment test to help predict Theft/Stealing – before you spend your time and budget on background checks.  Then, if employment test scores show an applicant scored like Thieves, then you probably will not bother to waste budget doing a theft or criminal background check.


After you use pre-employment tests to hire the best, you still need to watch your employees to make sure they do not steal.  It may not sound nice, but you need to “spy” on employees.  You can install video cameras, tracking devices and other spying instruments that are allowed.

For example, an executive at one company called me for help to stop employee theft and stealing that harmed the company’s finances.

First, I helped the executive start using the pre-employment test that predicts possible Theft/Stealing concerns – so the company could avoid hiring thieves.  Second, I recommended the company “spy” on current employees by installing location-tracking devices on its delivery trucks.

Results = The pre-employment test helped the company hire Non-Thieves.  Among employees, the company discovered delivery drivers were (a) driving away from their most direct routes and then (b) selling company goods during their off-route driving.  The company’s stealing by employees came to a screeching halt.  And new employees were Non-Thieves.

Suggestion:  Make 100% certain employees realize you watch them.  Some may complain about “Big Brother” for awhile, but they will know your rules.  Your rules include no stealing is tolerated.  Plus, employees realize you use multiple tools to catch employees who steal.  Also, point out that stealing by employees creates less job security for everyone.  That will make them thank you for “spying.”



Employee stealing drains a company’s financial resources.  It also creates a lousy workplace for employees.  Research and news reports indicate employee stealing is a big, growing and expensive problem.  So, managers need to take three steps to stop theft by employees.  

First, give pre-employment tests to job applicants to help you avoid hiring possible Thieves or people who may steal.  Second, conduct criminal background checks on job applicants who did well on the pre-employment test.  Third, monitoring devices catch employees who try to steal your company’s possessions.  

Pre-employment tests, criminal theft background checks and “spying” give you a fantastic 1-2-3 punch to knock-out employee stealing in your company.

 COPYRIGHT 2009 MICHAEL MERCER,   http://www.MercerSystems.com 
Tags:  Pre-Employment Tests, Pre-Employment Testing, assessing job applicants

Press Release: 

Pre-employment tests plus corporate culture convulsions could have saved Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, according to industrial psychologist Dr. Michael Mercer.  


“The corporate cultures of Lehman and Merrill were like circular firing squads,” observes Dr. Mercer, of Barrington, Illinois .

“Their bizarrely wild risky behavior naturally led to blowing themselves up,” says Dr. Mercer, author of “Hire the Best and Avoid the Rest.”  “It is like someone acting crazy at a rowdy party, and then committing suicide to cap off the night.”

Interestingly, Dr. Mercer had close encounters of the Lehman kind.  He was a member of the board of directors at a publicly-traded company that received unsolicited calls from Lehman.  At board meetings, he heard about pushy “Lehman bankers calling to peddle other companies to us, or trying to sway us to sell our company.” 

“Those antics made Lehman seem like obnoxious children throwing frequent tantrums – hoping they eventually might get their way if they harassed us enough,” commented Dr. Mercer.  

Corporate culture trickles down from the top brass, just like children copy some of their parents’ behaviors.  “Now,” observes Dr. Mercer, “the whole world sees the horrible result of what trickled down from the top of two huge investment banks.”


If corporate culture changed, then pre-employment tests and other hiring methods could have helped Lehman and Merrill Lynch hire ambitious but cooler heads.  “Apparently, Lehman and Merrill hired many sensation seekers who felt thrilled executing a suicidal strategy.”

“Pre-employment tests could have helped Merrill and Lehman avoid hiring kamikazes,” quips Dr. Mercer.

The pre-employment testing at Lehman and Merrill should have focused on helping hire investment bankers with healthier ambitions,” Dr. Mercer remarked.  “For instance, the pre-employment tests could have helped them hire bankers who were less aggressive, keenly followed rules, and focused on service rather than unquenchable greed.”

Of course, now it is too late to alter the harm and mischief Lehman and Merrill did to themselves, hoards of investors, and the financial markets.  

Nevertheless, Dr. Mercer feels optimistic:  “Some people need to learn the hard way.  Lehman and Merrill gifted millions of people with useful lessons about pushiness, sensation seeking, risky behavior, and immediate gratification.  I’m sure this debacle taught many people to act wiser.”


Contact:  Dr. Michael Mercer

Phone = 847-382-0690

Website = http://www.MercerSystems.com 
Press Release:
Leaders & Hiring Managers Profit From ‘Birds of a Feather Flock Together’ 

Hiring managers and leaders use pre-employment tests, job interviews, role modeling and
strategic de-employment to increase profits based on the saying, “Birds of a feather flock
together.”  In business and daily life, this is called “social networks.”

What is the premise and useful research on social networks?

The premise is expressed in a phrase in the book, “How Winners Do It” which says, “Human
beings crave to be around people who seem similar to themselves.”

Research on social networks received a lot of media attention (New England Journal of Medicine,
Vol. 357:370-379, Number 4).   This reported on a 32 year study showing obese people tend to
hang around with obese people.
Hiring managers and leaders use pre-employment tests, job interviews, role modeling and strategic de-employment to increase profits based on the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.”In business and daily life, this is called “social networks.”What is the premise and useful research on social networks? The premise is expressed in a phrase in the book, “How Winners Do It” which says, “Human beings crave to be around people who seem similar to themselves.” Research on social networks received a lot of media attention (New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 357:370-379, Number 4).This reported on a 32 year study showing obese people tend to hang around with obese people.  

he day I heard about that research, I was driving on a street near my house.  I saw dozens of high
school students running.  All looked trim and fit.  They were on the school’s sports teams.  Both
the research and track team members illustrated the same point:  “Birds of a feather flock together.” 


In my research on pre-employment testing, I continually find employees like to work and talk with
employees with similar qualities.  Examples:
 *  Productive workers hang out with productive workers
*  Lazy employees prefer working with other lazy people
*  Teamwork-oriented employees enjoy collaborative people
*  Whiners complain and gossip with whiners

Observation:  Whiners’ favorite social activity is a Whine-&-Cheese Party!

To customize a pre-employment test, a benchmarking study is done.  The outcome enables the company to focus on hiring job applicants who get test scores similar to test scores of the company’s best employees in each job.

From this research, I regularly find similarities among high-achievers in each job in each company.
For instance, the winners in a particular job might typically get employment test scores indicating strong teamwork, optimism, and customer-service.  In other jobs, the high-achievers earn pre-employment test scores showing strong optimism, attention to detail, and arithmetic abilities.

Profitable lesson for leaders and hiring managers:  Such research results repeatedly prove that,
indeed, “Birds of a feather flock together.”


Managers and executives can harness the power of ‘social networks’ to hire and manage groups of highly productive employees via  
1.  Pre-Employment Tests
2.  Job Interviews
3.  Role Modeling
4.  Strategic De-Employment


Conduct a benchmarking study to customize pre-employment tests for each job in your company.
The benchmarking starts by having employees answer the employment test’s questions.  Next, have
an expert statistically uncover how your best employees typically score.  Those are the benchmark
test scores.  Then, when you test job applicants, you can prefer applicants who get test scores
similar to your best employees.

For example, if your company’s best employees pre-employment test scores are high on friendliness, teamwork, optimism, motivation and problem-solving, then focus on hiring job applicants who get
similar test scores.  It is that simple.


Start customizing your interviews of job applicants by listing the most important 6-9 job talents you must have in the person you hire for a particular job.  Make sure those job talents are verified by the
pre-employment test’s benchmarking study.  For instance, if you list teamwork as an important job talent, make sure your employment test’s research showed your superstars scored high on the test’s teamwork scale.

Then, create an interview guide form and questions to assess job applicants on the key 6-9 job talents.  Make sure you focus on applicants who do well on all prediction methods, including customized (1)
job interviews and (2) pre-employment tests.


Effective leaders and managers put this Thoreau quote into action:  “What you do speaks so loudly
that I cannot hear what you say.”

That means act the way you want your employees to act.

Let’s say you did a pre-employment test benchmarking study and also customized job interviews.
And then you hired only employees who got employment test scores similar to your high-achievers
and who possess the most important 6-9 job talents.  For example, let’s say you hired only employees who are friendly, teamwork-oriented, optimistic, and good problem-solvers.

As their leader and guiding light, you must be their role-model,  Hiw?  By always exhibiting friendliness, teamwork, optimism, and astute problem-solving.  Your employees learn how to act by watching your actions.  And you simultaneously reinforce the strengths for which you hired them.


ince “Birds of a feather flock together,” what does the wise leader or manager do with employees who do not fit into the pattern of productive employees.  For instance, using the example cited above, what does the leader do with an employee who is unfriendly, solo work-oriented, pessimistic, and stinks at problem-solving?

First, make sure that employee knows your company’s winners’ excel at friendliness, teamwork, optimism, and problem-solving.

Second, be a role-model of those outstanding qualities.

Third, make the underachiever hang out with the ‘social network’ of productive employees, and stop interacting with unproductive employees.  This can include (a) having the employee join you for lunch
or (b) assigning the underachiever to work only with productive employees. This puts positive peer pressure on the underachiever.

Fourth, if all else fails, you need to de-employ or get rid of the underachiever.

Remember:  You are running a business, not a baby-sitting service for underachievers.


Remember the adage:  “Birds of a feather flock together.”  Leaders and hiring managers profit from this by hiring and managing what now are called ‘social networks’ – especially social networks of composed of only productive, low-turnover, and honest employees.

© Copyright 2007 Michael Mercer, Ph.D.

Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is a nationally-recognized expert on hiring and pre-employment testing.  Dr. Mercer created the “Abilities & Behavior Forecaster™ Tests” used by many companies to hire the best.  His five books include “Hire the Best – & Avoid the Rest” and also “Turning Your HR Dept. into a Profit Center .”  You can receive a free subscription to his “Management Newsletter,” plus his free 14-page Special Report on how to hire the best, at phone = 847-382-0690 or


Press Release:

With unemployment rates low, are you frantic to find good employees?  In your search and
assessment of job applicants, don't fall into the trap of hiring any warm bodies that walk into
your office. One the of keys to successful employees is that they are smart enough to do the job. 

You readily can use pre-employment tests and work simulations to hire job applicants with enough intelligence be productive employees.  This helps you reach your goal to assess job applicants so you can decide which one will be fantastic employees who are productive, profitable and dependable.

I bet you hired some job applicants who had all the behaviors you sought.  They turned you on in the interview.  They had the right interpersonal skills, personality traits, and motivations.  You felt excited to hire the applicant with many great behaviors.

But – after that new employee worked for your company for about 2 weeks – you realized the person had the IQ of tire pressure!

That very nice person did not have the brains to
1.  learn the job
2.  correctly handle problems and situations on-the-job

Oops!   At that moment, you thought to yourself, “When they passed out brains, that nice person forgot to stand in line!”


You can avoid making such hiring blunders.  You simply need to
*  find out how smart your successful employees are
*  hire job applicants as smart as your successful employees 


The best ways to predict if a job candidate possesses the intelligence level needed to do a job are
>  Pre-employment tests
>  Work simulations

The easiest – and most customizable – way to predict an applicant’s brainpower is to have the applicant take mental ability tests.  In my 20+ years of research and experience, I found five crucial mental abilities the tests should measure:
1.  Problem-Solving
2.  Vocabulary
3.  Arithmetic
4.  Grammar, Spelling & Word Use
5.  Handling Small Details

In fact, large-scale meta-analytic research on hiring methods found mental abilities tests had the highest correlation for correctly predicting if an applicant can do a good job.  Behavior tests also predict well, according to the research.  So, an efficient, easily customizable way to help you hire the best is for applicants to answer both (a) mental abilities tests plus (b) behavior tests.

You also can add an additional job skills evaluation method called work simulations.


Since it takes about four years to research and validate a highly useful pre-employment test, you are best to start by using an already created test.  Then, your goal is to find out what test scores your successful employees get on the test.  After all, you want to hire applicants who have the same
amount of intelligence as your best employees in each job.

Beware:  Some people tell you to use “national norms.”  That makes little sense.  “National norms” foolishly are based on who-knows-what quality of employees – not only top performers.  Doesn’t it make a lot more sense to test your company’s successful employees in 15 – 25 minutes?  Then, you will discover “benchmark” test scores customized for your company’s successful employees.  After all, those are your best employees, and you need to hire applicants with similar qualities.

After you do the “benchmarking study,” you then can have job applicants answer the same mental ability tests.  When a candidate gets test scores similar to your successful employees, that applicant has the brains to do the job.  You can seriously consider that person.

However, an applicant who gets test scores different than your best employees is someone who may not have the needed brainpower.  You probably want to throw their application or resume in the garbage, and then find someone better.


Many managers incorrectly assume they should hire only highly intelligent employees.  What a monstrous mistake!  Instead, focus on hiring applicants who get test scores similar to test scores of your best employees in each job.

Keep this in mind:  (A) Few jobs require high levels of intelligence, for instance, executive positions and jobs needing super-smart people.  (B) Some jobs need average intelligence levels, for example, many professional and mid-management jobs.  (C) Most jobs require only a below-average to average level of intelligence.

The book “The Bell Curve” presented hundreds of pages on research proving this point.  Summary:  Intelligence is on a bell curve – with some people below-average, some average, and some above-average.  Each job requires a person with intelligence at a certain point on the bell curve. 

For example, my research on pre-employment tests prove most productive factory workers have only below-average to average intelligence.  My research also shows most executives score very high on mental abilities tests.  Think about it:  Would you take a productive factory worker and offer that person an executive job?

The reverse also is true.  You should not take an applicant who scores super-high on the intelligence pre-employment tests, and put that brilliant person into a low-level job requiring low intelligence test scores.  If you did that, the brilliant employee would feel bored within two months!  The highly intelligent person will fit better in jobs intelligence at the high end of the bell curve.


First, see which applicants score similar to your successful employees on the mental ability tests and behavior tests, plus impress you in interviews.  Then, you know which applicants you may seriously consider hiring.  Then, you can do a work simulation.

In a work simulation, you can see if an applicant can do key job skills.  Make sure they are job skills you definitely want the applicant to have before you possibly hire the person.

ere are examples of work simulations I customized for companies I consult to.
+  Sales Rep applicants – role-play a sales call on a prospective customer
+  Driller applicants – take pile of items on ground and efficiently stack items on pick-up truck
+  Project Manager applicants – design project management plan plus give presentation on it
+  Customer Service Rep applicants – handle simulated calls from customers
+  Secretary/Assistant applicants -- type, make spreadsheets and do online searches

Importantly, keep the work simulation very similar to the real work the applicant would do, if hired.  Make a rating sheet to assess how well (or poorly) the applicant did on work simulations.


Remember:  Your goal is to hire the best.  To succeed, you need to hire applicants who get
1.  mental abilities test scores similar to your best employees’ test scores
2.  behavior test scores similar to your best employees’ scores
3.  excellent ratings on work simulations of key job skills

You often find it tough to locate job applicants who do well on all three crucial forecasts.  But, it is tougher, time-consuming and expensive if you hire a second-rate employee who does not have enough intelligence to be a fabulous.  So, make sure you hire applicants who are intelligent enough to be productive, profitable, and dependable employees.

© Copyright 


Dr. Mercer in the news.

Please click on the link belw to view The Wall Street Journal quoting Dr. Mercer  on pre-employment tests and intervewing job candidates.




© 2015

Contact Us:
Email = drmercer@mercersystems.com   or Phone = (847) 382-0690