New Pre-employment Test Helps You Hire the Best "blue Collar" Employees

by Michael Mercer, Ph.d. - Date: 2008-10-22 - Word Count: 955 Share This!

Question = Do you want to hire productive and dependable people for your company's "Blue-Collar" jobs?

Note: "Blue-Collar" jobs are
- Unskilled jobs
- Semi-Skilled jobs
- "Lower-Level" jobs

Examples of "Blue-Collar" jobs include laborers, warehouse workers, shipping and receiving employees, care-givers, janitors, store clerks, plus other "lower-level" jobs. Often, the highest education level of employees in such jobs is GED or high school.

Hiring dependable "Blue-Collar" employees is difficult. So, I conducted in-depth research to
A. identify qualities managers need and want in "Blue-Collar" employees
B. create a test that forecasts - or predicts - those important qualities


My research found managers want "dependable" employees for "Blue-Collar" jobs. So, what are specific qualities of "dependable" employees?

The results identified five important "dependability" factors that managers must find out about - before hiring a "Blue-Collar" job applicant:
1. Honesty
2. Work Ethic
3. Impulsiveness [a cause of safety problems and accidents]
4. Theft / Stealing concerns
5. Substance Abuse concerns


Let's look at the five crucial "dependability" factors.

Problem: Some job applicants try to fool you on a pre-employment test. Such fakers try to answer questions so they seem ‘better or different' than they really are. Solution: A good pre-employment test will "catch" - or find out - if the applicant displays honesty.

Managers crave to hire applicants who will put in a day's work for a day's pay. That shows a strong work ethic. Problems arise when a company a job applicant with a lousy work ethic.

Fact: Impulsive employees cause many costly problems, such as
> Accidents
> Safety violations
> Worker's Comp claims
Imagine how much more productive and profitable your company would be if you hired employees who think before acting and are not impulsive.

Stealing is an expensive problem. Many items at your company probably get stolen. So, it is crucial to predict how concerned you should be that a job applicant might be a thief.

Many "Blue-Collar" employees show up at work with alcohol or drugs in their systems. That may (a) violate your substance abuse policy, (b) reduce productivity, and (c) increase accident. As such, managers must evaluate applicants to help predict possible substance abuse concerns.


Creating a pre-employment test to help hire dependable "Blue-Collar" job applicants presents some unique problems that require unique solutions.

A. Easy Reading Level
Many job applicants for "Blue-Collar" jobs have limited reading skill. The highest educational level of many applicants for lower-level jobs is only GED or high school. So, the questions on the pre-employment test must be very easy to read. To assure this, I took my research questionnaires to a fast-food restaurant in a very bad neighborhood - an area where most residents have only a GED or high school education. I asked customers to read my research questions, and point out words or phrases they did not easily grasp. For example, few of them knew the words "uncertain" or "boast." I made the wording very easy to read.

B. How Can a Test Predict Theft/Stealing?
My research for the new pre-employment test needed to create a scale to predict if a job applicant might steal. That is difficult to predict. Solution: I got hundreds of prisoners in jails to fill-out my research questionnaires. Those prisoners were locked-up for stealing crimes - so they definitely were thieves. It is exceedingly hard to get permission to do research in jails, but I managed to get permission. Also, prisoners filled-out my questionnaires while the prisoners and I were locked in their cells or adjacent rooms. They were locked-up so they could not escape. The problem is I had to be locked in their cells or rooms with them while they answered my questionnaires. Unfortunately, no guards sat in the locked cells with me. I must say I heard and saw things I never knew existed. On each of dozens of days I did my research in jails, it took me 2 - 5 hours to calm down after I left at the end of each day. Fortunately, I collected fantastic data to create a theft/stealing part of the pre-employment test that significantly differentiates non-thieves from thieves.

C. How Can A Test Forecast Substance Abuse Concerns?
Another thorny issue was my research to make pre-employment test questions that help predict if a job applicant might present substance abuse concerns. For this, I had substance abusers fill-out my research questionnaires. How did I find substance abusers? That, too, was difficult. Finally, I made special arrangements to get my questionnaires answered by hundreds of people who had been convicted of substance abuse crimes, specifically, DUI and/or drug possession. Then, I statistically determined which of my research questions best predicts if a person might be a substance abuser.


The final pre-employment test made the difficult, in-depth research worthwhile. The final test has very good statistical validity and reliability. That means the new pre-employment test can make very accurate predict if an applicant might make a dependable employee. It forecasts the five important "dependability" factors that managers need and want to know before they hire a job applicant for a "Blue-Collar" job:
1. Honesty
2. Work Ethic
3. Impulsiveness [a cause of safety problems and accidents]
4. Theft / Stealing concerns
5. Substance Abuse concern

Also, since many applicants for "Blue-Collar" jobs are not very ‘verbal' in job interviews, the new pre-employment test even offers specific interview questions a manager can ask each applicant.

Predicting these important dependability factors is difficult. Fortunately, the new pre-employment test makes it
* do-able
* quicker
* easier

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Related Tags: hire the best, pre-employment testing, pre-employment tests, pre-hire assessments

Michael Mercer, Ph.D., is America's Hire the Best Expert™. Many companies use pre-employment tests he created -- "Abilities & Behavior Forecaster™" Tests - and his "7-Step Method to Hire the Best"™. Dr. Mercer authored 5 books, including "Hire the Best -- & Avoid the Rest™" and also "Turning Your Human Resources Department into a Profit Center™." You can (a) get a free subscription to his e-Newsletter at or (b) call to talk with Dr. Mercer at (847) 382-0690

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