Pre-employment Testing Software Provides Defensibility (Video)

In this video, Mike Callen, Vice President of Products at Biddle Consulting Group, discusses one of the most important reasons to use pre-employment testing software in your organization – defensibility.

Visiting Africa: Providing On-Site Training for Poise Nigeria

Victor and Mike

Victor and Mike leaving for Lagos, Nigeria

This week Mike Callen and Victor Muh are in Nigeria providing training and support to POISE Nigeria – a new OPAC and Encounter client. While we have many international clients, this is the first time we’ve visited Africa to provide on-site support. We’re excited about this opportunity and want to share it with you. We’ll be posting updates and photos from Mike and Victor here.

Note: Mike’s most recent updates are at the top. To see the earlier updates, please scroll to the bottom.

Updates from Mike:

Saturday, 10-22-12

Our Friends and Tour Guides

Our Friends and Tour Guides

Saturday was a relaxing day and we were fortunate to spend the day with Sam and Niyi, our friends from Poise Nigeria. They, along with our driver (also named Sam), took us shopping at a local outdoor marketplace. It was not a tourist stop at all and we seemed to be as foreign to the marketplace as the items being sold were to us. Everyone was very kind and patient and allowed (sometimes even offered) us to take pictures of the goods that they were selling. Nearly everything in Nigeria is negotiable so it was good to have Sam and Niyi around to assist us with our purchases, as well as to describe the items that we could not identify.

After leaving the marketplace, we drove to Victoria Island, an island in the bay that is roughly in the center of Lagos. The west end of the island borders the Atlantic ocean. We had lunch outdoors at a hotel resort and then continued our journey as we drove to the Lekki Animal Conservation Centre. Victor and I had heard of this when we were researching our trip and hoped that, if time allowed, we could see some wild animals while in Africa. As it turns out, we did not see many. However, we did have an incredible walk through the jungle on a 2 kilometer-long boardwalk that passed straight through the wetlands and jungle.

It was amazingly beautiful, and at the back of the loop was the highlight of the visit. There was a large tree that had a wooden ladder attached to it. Visitors were encouraged to climb the ladder attached to the dawadawa tree, 25 meters up the trunk, into a tree house that is perched in the crook of the tree. There are two small benches and just enough room for four people to peer between the tree limbs and across the canopy of the forest. At eye-level, monkeys can be seen harvesting and eating fruits in the neighboring trees. It was truly an amazing sight and adventure, and one I doubt that we would ever see the likes of in the US.

In the park we took lots of pictures and greatly enjoyed the beauty. Leaving the hustle and bustle of Lagos behind was quite relaxing. Victor and I the chance to see the animals we did see during our brief visit (monkeys, birds, and monitor lizards) was a real treat.

From there we turned back and headed toward Ikeja (the part of Lagos where our hotel was located) but first stopped at the Nike (pronounced NEE-kay) Art Gallery. This gallery was a five or six story building and contained a wonderful mix of historical and modern art of many different modes. After leaving the gallery, we continued on home to our hotel. Saying “continued on home to our hotel” doesn’t accurately capture the entirety of the task and what it is like to cross through downtown Lagos in the early evening so I recorded the video below.

To see more photos, click on the image below:
[EasyGallery id=’saturdayinnigeria’]

Mike

Friday, 10-19-12

Mike & Victor with the Poise Nigeria Team

Mike & Victor with the Poise Nigeria Team

Wow! What a day! Today we had scheduled to roll out the brand new PSENSE certification (of which our OPAC and a localized version of our ENCOUNTER video situational judgment testing are a huge part) to business, education, industry, the Nigerian government, and the local press. The one thing we hoped for was good weather. As it turned out, it was pouring this morning – the roads were backed up and flooded everywhere. Though the traffic challenges were daunting, they did not seem to keep a single person from attending this morning’s presentation. I looked back just after the start of the presentation and was pleased to see that there were 80 seats occupied with another ten or so people standing at the rear of the room.

Two distinguished speakers started off the presentation and gave a rousing address as to the state of the local employment situation, the applicants, and what they are missing. It was universally agreed that soft-skills testing and training were going to be key in facilitating transformation in Nigeria. Nigeria is an oil-rich country with a huge window of opportunity in terms of growth. With high unemployment and infrastructure lacking in Lagos (home to at least 10 million – 15 million people), there is a pressing need to strike while the iron is hot. Transforming the Nigerian workforce will take time, for sure, but doing so will allow Nigeria to maximize their share of the markets in Africa and Asia. In the next ten years, it is estimated that 55% of the world’s GDP will come from Africa and Asia. The nations (and the markets) that move now can really benefit themselves as well as being better-suited to handle any economic downturns that the future may hold.

Uki and our Victor Muh managed most of the PSENSE presentation and it went really well. The distinguished audience showed their support throughout; most notably during the open Q&A session the comments were entirely positive and many in attendance wanted to know the cost to participate. In Lagos, when a blue chip employer posts a position as available, it is not uncommon to receive over 150,000 applications. The process of sifting through applicants, even electronically, is inconceivable, and yet it is done. Companies are willing to take a risk on an applicant who appears to have the soft skills necessary for success and train their hard skills – even for an entire year – in the hopes of making a good hire. It was clear to all in attendance that the PSENSE certification will be an excellent way to identify both hard skills and soft skills super-performers and so taking the risk and onboarding time out of the hiring process. Doing so will allow Nigerian companies to hire more people, more quickly, and more successfully. This will be necessary in order to maximize their position while this incredible window of opportunity is open.

We’re quite pleased to be a part of this process and look forward to aiding Poise Nigeria in shaping and promoting this certification for many years to come.

OPAC Installation Training

Uki is front and center. Damola is on the right. Folake is to the left of UKi and then Victor.

Thursday afternoon, 10-18-12

View from the Hotel

Today we held our first SME (subject matter expert) workshop with over a dozen in attendance.  It was a great group of professionals representing local and international business, industry, and workforce development.  A couple of the professionals were from large companies, notable by any standards, namely representatives from Ernst & Young and Deloitte Consulting –  both from the Lagos, Nigeria offices.

Last night it rained in Lagos…poured actually.  The streets were soaked and the gutters flooded, and the normally wicked traffic was even worse.  Everyone seems to put up with it just fine and instead go by “Africa Time” – a phrase that means that time will just have to go with the flow, flexing here and there.  It works out because everyone, like the traffic, seems to just go with it.

I continue to be amazed by the Nigerian people.  Every day I meet more people and I find that they are so kind, intelligent, hard-working and helpful.  While the environment is quite rough by California standards, you certainly wouldn’t know it from meeting the people.  They are some of the most self-sufficient folks I’ve ever heard of.  Each basically supplies their own utilities.  There is power supplied by the grid, but it is non-functioning or not reliable much of the time.  So each has a generator that runs on diesel fuel.  There is city water, but it, too, is not reliable.  So, each drills a well in their backyard, installs a pump, and runs water up to a personal water tower installed on a scaffolding frame in their backyard.  They treat the water with chlorine and it runs down a pipe and pressurizes the water in the house.

Tomorrow night I hope to interview Ukinebo Dare (Uki) – our contact at Poise Nigeria – and capture it on video.  I’d like you to meet her and get a sense of her passion for training and empowering the emerging workforce in Nigeria.  She is an amazing person.

Thursday morning, 10-18-12

Breakfast in Nigeria

Breakfast in Nigeria

Today will be the first of two workshops. We will be reviewing the scripts for our Nigerian version of our ENCOUNTER video situational judgment tests with Nigerian subject matter experts. Poise Nigeria plans to use this localized version of our office and interpersonal competence testas a keystone in their PSENSE certification that will designate preparedness for employment in the region. Ukinebo Dare of Poise Nigeria believes that this certification can be the catalyst to overcome stifling unemployment during a time of unprecedented economic growth opportunity in Nigeria.

I’ll report later on how the day goes and the progress of the workshop. It is raining here in Lagos for the first time since our arrival. It should make for an interesting commute into the office today.

Wednesday morning, 10-17-12

As I wake up the first morning here, I’m a bit less tired and thinking slightly more clearly. Horns continued to honk all night long, but only less frequently. The prominent thought, however, is about the people here.  We have yet to meet a person who is not nice. Not everyone understands us correctly and we don’t understand everyone so well here, but the dozens of Nigerian people that we have met are simply very kind folks. It has been a real joy to meet these wonderful people.

OPAC Office Skills Training

Training the Poise Nigeria team

Uki was telling us on the way to the hotel yesterday, as we were so often stopped in traffic and surrounded by street vendors, that there is a saying that says “you can outfit your entire home on the drive home from work without ever stopping at stores.” (see the video below)

Last night I had shrimp “Lagosian style” for dinner. There were only two shrimp (they were spot prawns, I believe) and they were enormous. They looked like tiny lobsters laying across the entire plate served ‘head on’ with their tails flayed open after being sauteed in lemon and red chili. They were delicious and two ‘shrimp’ made up plenty of food.

I slept really well until 1:00 .am.  and then woke up.  I was awake   until 4:00 a.m. when I fell back asleep pretty soundly until 7:00 a.m. I should be fairly well adjusted to the time by tomorrow morning.

Today we’re at the Poise Nigeria offices installing the OPAC Office Skills Testing software and training administrators to use the program.

More to come…

Tuesday afternoon, 10-16-12

Poise, Nigeria

Poise, Nigeria Office

Victor and I arrived in Lagos, Nigeria, at just after 1:00 PM local time.  Lagos is on the same time zone as London, so we’re eight hours ahead of Folsom.

Lagos is very tropical in that it is hot and humid. It’s only 85F or so – 85F is hot enough. It is very green here with lots of grass, trees and shrubbery.  Police almost all have AK-47s (Victor told me that they are AK-74-somethings… ) so there is a real intimidation factor, but it makes you feel pretty safe at the same time.

Our main contact at Poise Nigeria and one of her coworkers picked us up and actually arrived as we were walking out to the front of the airport.  The traffic that they fought to get us was insane and we were fortunate that they arrived when they did. Everyone honks here while driving, but no one seems to hear the honking… except Victor and I! 🙂 There are people

and buildings and construction everywhere. The streets are pretty rough in terms of the pavement and everyone seems to drive by the same rules, though you’d swear there were none at all. They just keep moving and merging with motorcycles zipping in and out of traffic everywhere and horns a blazing.

Tomorrow we’ll be heading to the offices of Poise Nigeria, installing OPAC, training administrators, and preparing for our Thursday presentation to the HR community. Thursday and Friday we’ll be hosting SME (subject matter expert) panels to go through the ENCOUNTER Situational Testing videos in preparation for re-filming them in Sacramento in January.

All for now…

Working Together: Biddle Consulting Group & NEOGOV

In this video, Biddle CEO Dan Biddle and NEOGOV President Scott Letourneau discuss the benefits of our new partnership and specifically what it means to clients.

With Biddle Consulting Group and NEOGOV working together, public and private organizations are offered a fully integrated HR solution. Our partnership integrates Insight –  NEOGOV’s recruiting, selection & applicant tracking tool –  and the Biddle Consulting Group pre-employment testing products consisting of  OPAC Office Skills Testing, CritiCall 911 Dispatcher Testing,  and ExamIn online pre-employment assessments. Also included in the integration is the AutoGOJA job analysis software by Biddle.

For more information on how this could benefit your organization, please contact us at (800)999-0438.
Also visit www.opac.com/NEOGOVpartner/

New! ExamIn Online Pre-Employment Testing – Free for a Limited Time!


ExamIn - Online Pre-Employment Testing

Online Pre-Employment Testing

Biddle Consulting Group, the developers of the OPAC Office Skills Testing Software, has just released ExamIn – our new online pre-employment testing solution.

Job applicants can take their pre-employment tests before you bring them into your office.

As organizations are pressed to cut costs and find ways to do more with less, many are looking towards the practice of allowing applicants to test from home, via the web. ExamIn is an innovative new online test suite developed by Biddle Consulting Group, Inc., a leader in employment testing and test validation for the public and private sectors. Organizations can administer the tests from their office via an online administrative interface and applicants can take their test(s) from virtually anywhere in the world.

Responsible, Reliable Test Results

How do you know that the person who took the test is the same person as the job applicant?

Here’s how it works. The applicant takes the test remotely via the web. Then, your test administrator reviews the online pre-employment test scores to determine the applicants who are qualified to make it to the next step in your hiring process. In that next step,  you can give them an optional confirmatory test that has statistically similar, but not identical, test content as the online forms. If they scored well on the online pre-employment test, they will score well on the in-office confirmatory test.

ExamIn pre-employment online assessments include:

  • Business Correspondence
  • Accounting Principles (Basic)
  • Computer Skills
  • Accounting Principles (Public-Sector)
  • Industrial Measurement
  • Accounting Oriented Math
  • Language Arts
  • Mechanical Comprehension
  • Math Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Word Use & Vocabulary
  • Conscientiousness

Download the ExamIn Test Descriptions[Download the ExamIn Test Descriptions]

What Does It Cost?

OPAC® is offering, for a limited time, FREE use of the online assessments to qualified organizations that are testing a certain volume of applicants. The free testing will not last forever, so contact us now for details.

Start using ExamIn today!

www.OPAC.com/ExamIn | (800) 999-0438 | staff@opac.com

Office Skills Testing in the Classroom

In this short video, OPAC Senior Account Executive Adam Agard shares about using OPAC in the classroom.

Hire for Skills or Attitude?

This interesting Forbes article poses the question:
“Should you hire for skills or attitude?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/billfischer/2012/01/25/want-innovation-hire-for-skills-not-attitude

Holistic Pre-Employment Testing for the Whole PersonOur answer: “Why not hire for both?”

With a holistic pre-employment testing approach you can test the whole person including their job related hard skills, soft skills (interpersonal competence) and personality.

As organizations begin to look at their job applicants in a more “holistic” manner, they realize that these applicants are really much more than the mere sum of their abilities. They are, in fact, a combination of skill, ability, knowledge, desire, attitude, personality, and much more. The key to selecting the right ones is to be able to tap into the applicant and gain a “holistic” view of who they are and how hiring them may potentially affect the organization.

If you’re interested in reading more about this, take a look at these two links:

Scottsdale Healthcare

At a recent trade show in Phoenix, we had the opportunity to meet Carlo Sanchez from Scottsdale Healthcare.  He shared with us his experience using the OPAC Office Skills Software.

Thank you, Carlo!

3 Online Resources for Business, Technology & Vocational Teachers

 Online Business, Technology and Vocational Instructor ResourcesEducators, this one’s for you. Here are 3 great resources for teaching your students.

 www.MoneyInstructor.com

“Teach and learn basic money skills, personal finance, money management, business education, career, life skills and more with lesson plans, worksheets, and interactive lessons including counting money, coins and bills, spending, saving, investing, check writing and checking, budgeting, basic economics and finance lessons. Tools and information to help educators teach money and money management, business, the economy, and investing.” 
-from MoneyInstructor.com 

Microsoft in Education -Teacher Resources

“Find lesson plans, free tools, training, and other information for teachers to make the best use of technology in the classroom.”
-from Microsoft in Education

Poynter News University

“Free self-directed and paid online courses on writing, grammar, journalism, multimedia storytelling, and more.”

What online resource would you add to the list?

Choosing a Pre-employment Testing Solution

Over at Forbes.com, Lisa Quast posted an informative article titled  “Pre-employment testing: A helpful way for companies to screen applicants”.

Along with defining what a pre-employment test is, how to use pre-employment assessments and discussing the key issues of test validity and reliability, Ms. Quast also gives the following helpful tips on using pre-employment testing:

  • “Choose the right tests and certify validity and reliability
  • Ensure tests meet all EEO laws
  • Conduct thorough research if purchasing tests from outside companies
  • Avoid test questions of an overly personal nature or that are considered offensive
  • Do not rely solely on test results to choose candidates”

With Ms. Quast’s tips in mind, and after considering the needs of your company,  ask your pre-employment testing sales representative these questions:

Biddle Consulting Group - An EEO HR Software and Consulting Firm Since 1974

EEO HR Software & Consulting Since 1974

  1. What tests do you offer? Is your testing solution reliable and valid? How were the assessments developed and tested?
  2. Does your company have a thorough knowledge of the EEO laws? Was your pre-employment testing solution created with the EEO laws in mind?
  3. Do you have a fully functional demo that I can use? Will you walk through the software with me?
  4. Do you have a test writer function? Does your company have the resources and consulting expertise to assist us in developing our own questions and tests if we need to?
  5. What type of customer service support do you offer?

Employers can increase the likelihood of hiring high-quality candidates by using pre-employment tests to help screen and select the best candidates for jobs. Administered correctly, pre-employment testing can help companies save time and cost in the selection process, decrease turnover, increase productivity, and improve morale. Even though screening tests are occasionally challenged in court, companies can reduce their legal risk by ensuring test validity and reliability, by making sure tests do not cause disparate impact on minorities or protected groups, and by consistently applying tests to all candidates.

Lisa Quast, Pre-employment testing: A helpful way for companies to screen applicants

Hiring the “Perfect” Employee

We found this fun, silly infographic over at Visual.ly. It’s a tongue in cheek view of what the “perfect employee” looks like.

Anatomy of the Perfect Employee by Mindflash via Visual.ly

by Mindflash via

Preconceived Ideas versus Actual Job Needs & Requirements

Of course, this graphic is just for fun but it brings up a good question, too. How do employers hire based on what the actual job requires versus preconceived ideas of what the “perfect’ employee looks like?

Well, it begins with asking and answering more questions…

Ask:

“What does the job require? What the duties? What are the knowledges, skills, abilities, and personal characteristics (KSAPCs) needed for this job position to be done effectively in our company?”

Answer Hint: Do a job analysis to determine these needs. The primary reason an organization will perform a job analysis is so that they can ensure that their employee selection procedure is valid and defensible. Practically speaking, a valid selection procedure is one that accurately measures the actual requirements of the job in a fair and reliable way. A valid selection procedure should use those duties and KSAPCs identified by the job analysis as being essential requirements for the position in question and use them as the basis for that selection procedure . Essentially, a valid selection procedure should effectively measure the net qualifications that are really needed for the job, and not much more or less.

Ask:

“Once the KSAPCs are determined and we’ve identified the job duties, how do we know which applicant is the most qualified?”

Answer Hint: Use validated pre-employment testing that assesses if an applicant meets these job related requirements. Further, use a holistic testing model that assesses the whole person including their knowledges, skills, abilities, personal characteristics, soft skills, situational judgment, interpersonal competence and personality.

Your Hiring Investment

Asking and answering the right questions is critical to hiring not only the right employee for the job but also hiring the right person legally. Taking the time to thoroughly answer these questions not only protects you from discrimination claims but protects your hiring investment, too. It’s expensive, on multiple levels, to add a new employee to your company. Don’t settle for hiring based on preconceived notions of what the “perfect employee” looks like; base your hiring decisions on what the job actually requires and how the applicant is actually qualified.