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Choosing a Psych Test – Four things you must do

If you ever want to polarise opinion in a meeting of sales managers, just start talking about psychometric testing.

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If you ever want to polarise opinion in a meeting of sales managers, just start talking about psychometric testing. You’ll find that few hiring managers are indifferent to the subject, with some extolling the benefits of identifying high flyers who exceeded all targets, whilst others vehemently deliver bitter experience of using psycho-babble junk science that selected turkeys they still can’t fire.

Regardless of any sales manager’s individual experience, most would have come to use psychometric testing or personality assessments after realising the benefits of reducing the risks of poor recruitment decisions and identifying talent in their existing team. But when the subject has such a polarising effect based on very different experiences, where do you start in choosing a process for your business?

There are four criteria that anyone with hiring and staff management responsibilities should consider before going down the route of using psychometric assessments for their sales team. The pitfalls of getting these criteria wrong have cost businesses dearly, so here’s an opportunity to learn from their collective mistakes.

1. Is this psychometric test any good?

Google ‘psychometric tests’ and you will be faced with a mountain of differing tests and assessments, each one claiming to be the latest and greatest and backed up with assertions of their effectiveness. Many are either free or very cheap internet-based assessments, which we would urge you to treat with the same caution as most ‘too good to be true’ internet offers. Just as you wouldn’t trust your health with cut-price on-line pharmaceutical products, or give your bank account details to receive a billion dollars from an allegedly ousted royal family in a country you’ve never heard of, would you trust internet test freebies to determine whether a sales candidate is going to put hundreds of thousands of dollars onto your bottom line, or to use as a trusted guide of where to direct your career?

The acid tests for psychometric products are their reliability and validity. The best products on the market have as much as twenty years of empirical research behind them before they were launched. Independently researched findings of whether a psychometric test actually does what it claims to do can be sought from the New Zealand Council of Educational Research (www.nzcer.org.nz) and the British Psychological Society (www.bps.org.uk). If you go directly to the seller, insist on seeing their products reliability and validity reports.

Also, ask what training and qualifications users must have to administer, interpret and feedback the products you are considering. Most personality assessments worth a second look require at least five days training to use, and can only be purchased and used by appropriately qualified people. Tests and assessments that require no or minimal training are best avoided.

2. Is the product relevant to sales roles?

If you are hiring into sales roles, then it follows that you need assessments that focus on the skills, behaviours, competencies and experiences closely associated with success in a sales environment.

Assessing only the criteria relevant to the job enables hiring managers to make selection decisions based purely on whether a candidate:

  1. Is going to exceed all expectations and should be fast-tracked into the job,
  2. Meets enough of the criteria to be hired, with a clear personal development plan to get them from good to great performers,
  3. Has enough question marks hanging over their potential to suggest it is most unlikely that they will add significant value to your business.

A strong sales-focused assessment should also measure your candidates against an appropriate norm-group of other sales people. Any seasoned sales manager can tell you that not everybody is cut out for a career in sales, yet plenty of assessments measure candidates against a ‘general population’. Make sure the sales-focused assessment you choose measures your candidates against other New Zealand sales people so you can assess their likely effectiveness in relation to other sales people.

A quick point on good practice is timely here. Even the best psychometric tools need to be used in conjunction with other methods such as interviews and reference checks, so the potential concerns identified by these assessments need to be explored at interview and/or in reference checks rather than rejecting a candidate on the basis of psychometric assessment results alone.

3. Is the test relevant in New Zealand?

This is the yawning bear-trap waiting to swallow unsuspecting New Zealand businesses.

Psychometric tests are referenced against a norm-group to ensure anyone who takes one is measured relative to other similar people; for example a sales manager completing a sales personality assessment is compared with other sales managers to see where s/he is likely to perform in relation to his/her peer group, and what an employer is likely to need to do to get them from good to great performers.

Many psychometric tests and assessments marketed in New Zealand do not have New Zealand specific norm-groups. They measure your Kiwi candidates against American or British people working in American or British organisations with American or British values and beliefs. This may not sound like a big deal, but it is for two reasons:

Firstly, there are differences in the way people from different countries respond to tests and questionnaires. When we brought over a very successful UK developed sales aptitude test, we ran comparative validation studies on 200 New Zealand sales people and found distinct differences between UK & NZ sales staff responses to the questionnaire, which we accounted for when using the test. Had we taken the easy route and not bothered, some good NZ sales job applicants may have lost job opportunities or had unfair personal development plans placed on them, and employers would have lost out on good sales candidates too.

Secondly, New Zealand isn’t America or Britain. We have a unique blend of ethnic diversity, a distinct set of cultures and values and need to ensure we measure Kiwis against Kiwis. Any employer who uses a non-New Zealand norm group as a tool to screen out staff could fall foul of fair selection tests by law; and rightly so.

So, the third question for a prospective supplier of tests and assessments is ‘Has this test been kiwi-fied?’ Insist on the proof that it has. Some suppliers will insist that their American norm groups are fine and that there is no difference between the countries, but the fact is that they haven’t done the validation tests to find out and are therefore not in a position to quantify that statement.

4. How good are the suppliers?

This relates to both the professional abilities and service delivery of suppliers.

If you are going to make the most from the results of personality questionnaires, you need to be assured that the supplier has the depth of knowledge, skills and experience to support you in interpreting and implementing the findings of difficult feedback discussions from time to time.

Your supplier doesn’t have to be an Occupational Psychologist to do this, although that helps!, but should be qualified to at least New Zealand Council of Educational Research (NZCER) Level-C, plus have good depth of on the job experience. Always ask for confirmation that professionally qualified and experienced people are available when you need them.

When it comes to service delivery, ensure a supplier is going to only enhance your selection process rather than slow it down. All online test providers produce near-instant reports, but is the professional support as accessible when you need it?

When you get satisfactory answers to these four questions, then you have covered the basic requirements to determine whether a proposed psychometric test or assessment is going to benefit your business, or simply raise more barriers to success and risks to integrity.

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New Zealand

Trump’s Triumph Crashes Immigration Website

Canada and maybe New Zealand will be the top beneficiaries of exiting Americans unhappy with Trump’s triumph victory in the US Election. Canada’s immigration website crashed once news spread that Trump’s victory was likely and Reuters reported New Zealand’s website also had a spike in interest from visitors looking for information on residency visas.

Canada and maybe New Zealand will be the top beneficiaries of exiting Americans unhappy with Trump’s triumph victory in the US Election.  Canada’s immigration website crashed once news spread that Trump’s victory was likely and Reuters reported New Zealand’s website also had a spike in interest from visitors looking for information on residency visas.

We published an article less than a week ago on How to move to New Zealand & get a job in 31 easy steps. This is an extract from a book written by an American woman who sailed to New Zealand with her husband and two daughters in 2012.   Sara and her family have now settled into the kiwi lifestyle and Sara’s tips on how to move to and get a job in New Zealand is timely.  The Brexit vote and now Trump’s triumph has many residents of the UK and America seeing their future somewhere else.

Canada has been quick to embrace the interest in their country saying:

“In Canada, immigrants are encouraged to bring their cultural traditions with them and share them with their fellow citizens.”
@Canada

The list of celebrities whom have said they will leave America is if Trump becomes President includes the likes of Barbara Streisand, Cher, Miley Cyrus, Samuel L Jackson, Jon Stewart and on Twitter

Locally, NZHerald reports many Hollywood celebrities are commenting on twitter and Instagram saying they will leave America.

“I’m freaking out too but, together, we are gonna be OK, we got each other, animals, don’t lose your s***. Worst case, let’s all move to New Zealand,” wrote Kesha alongside a selfie on Instagram, before editing her post.

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New Zealand

How to Move to New Zealand & Get a Job in 31 Easy Steps [Book Extract]

If you plan to work in New Zealand, the time to start looking into getting a job is long before you arrive. While you may not begin your official job search until you are in the country, there are a number of things you can do to kick-start the process.

New Zealand work visa

If you plan to work in New Zealand, the time to start looking into getting a job is long before you arrive. While you may not begin your official job search until you are in the country, there are a number of things you can do to kick-start the process.

We were still in Tonga, aboard our sailboat, and not planning to arrive in New Zealand for another three months, when my husband, Michael, polished up his curriculum vitae (CV) and sent it along to friends in Auckland. They forwarded it to their information and communications technology (ICT) contacts and to recruiters with whom they’d worked. A number of the recipients responded immediately, asking Michael to get in touch again when he landed in country. Although it felt like he was jumping the gun at the time, the tactic appears to have worked. Within a week of arriving at the Bay of Islands, Michael had a job interview scheduled in Auckland and a job offer in hand a few weeks later.

Getting a job in New Zealand is a lot like anywhere else. It’s all about who you know. I’d say it’s even more so in New Zealand as there is only a degree or two of separation between people due to the small population. This is a tight-knit country. So if you do know someone down here, it may pay to leverage that contact.

On the other hand, it’s certainly not required to know anyone. Michael landed his current ICT gig by applying for positions advertised on seek.co.nz, the most thorough job listing website in New Zealand and Australia. This is the best place to start researching the jobs that are available and where they’re located. (See Step 11 for choosing which part of the country to live in.) Many New Zealand companies advertise open positions on LinkedIn.com.

My other favourite job listing sites are:

  • Trade Me (all types): trademe.co.nz
  • New Kiwis (all types of skilled work): newkiwis.co.nz
  • Kiwi Health Jobs: kiwihealthjobs.com
  • NZ Education Gazette (teaching positions): edgazette.govt.nz>

For an extensive list of job websites, browse careers.govt.nz/job-hunting/job-vacancy-and-recruitment-websites. Check out the rest of careers.govt.nz too. It’s chock-o-block full of job hunting, training, and general career advice for New Zealanders.

Finally, have a look at the government’s Skill Shortage Lists (skillshortages.immigration.govt.nz). On these, you’ll find occupations that New Zealand needs more people to fill, either temporarily or long-term. If your occupation (or one of them) is on one of the skill shortage lists, your work or residence visa application is much more likely to get approved, and more quickly.

This leads to one of the most common questions people ask me: Do I need to be in New Zealand to get a job? The answer is…it depends. If your occupation is on the skill shortage lists, you are much more likely to be successful in applying and interviewing from out of country. But even if your occupation is not in demand, and you find a job that’s a perfect fit for you, apply.

According to one hiring manager I spoke to, they often interview applicants who are outside New Zealand. He says: “It’s difficult to find people already here that have the ICT skills we’re looking for. After we offer the person the position, they start the work visa application process. When their visa is approved, they move down and start working.”

For some positions, such as seasonal or temporary work, you are likely to have a better chance at scoring a job if you interview face-to-face. As I wrote earlier, Michael began seriously applying for work after arriving in New Zealand, but having a good idea of what’s available with a CV ready to go was key in making this process as short as possible.

This post is an excerpt from How to Move to New Zealand in 31 Easy Steps by Sara Dawn Johnson.

Sara Dawn Johnson, along with her husband and two daughters, moved to New Zealand in 2012 by sailing their home, a 38-foot sailboat called Wondertime, across the Pacific Ocean. Sara is also the co-author of Voyaging With Kids: A guide to family life afloat.

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New Zealand

Is Your Website Your Best Salesperson?

Businesses who fail to look after their website and online presence do so at their own peril. There are many real life examples of businesses large and small losing market share and in some cases going out of business altogether due to their poor online presence.

Their competitors however probably engage a professional SEO company and as a result they’re reaping the rewards with more customer leads and revenue.

Businesses who fail to look after their website and online presence do so at their own peril.  There are many real life examples of businesses large and small losing market share and in some cases going out of business altogether due to their poor online presence.  Their competitors however probably engage a professional SEO company and as a result they’re reaping the rewards with more customer leads and revenue.

Google doesn’t care if your business earns millions or even billions in revenue.  Google only rewards websites that are well designed.  A mobile friendly website is not a luxury like many out of touch businesses believe, it is a fundamental requirement.

Start up businesses with well designed websites can get a jump on established firms and grab market share.  They appear to be overnight successes while steadfast market leaders can appear to go out of business just as fast.  We don’t have to look to far either to find lots of examples all around us especially in the retail sector.

Summarily if your website design is not mobile friendly it’s not going to be found by prospective customers who use Google for their research.  When your business fails to show up in the search results consumers set their sights elsewhere.  Consumers now almost rely exclusively on online research.

MYOB released a report a couple of years go stating 86% of New Zealanders were using the Internet every day and 80% of us are searching online before buying a product or service.  New Zealand is one of the most Internet savvy countries globally with four out of five homes connected to it therefore your website really should be your best salesperson!


This blog article was written for BusinessBlogs by Mobilize Mail.

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Management

How You Can Get The Best From Your Team Meetings

The benefit of regular (preferably weekly) team meetings should NEVER be overlooked. From a results-driven point of view through to team morale and a common purpose, these meetings can be pure gold for your business. Some businesses we come across don’t have regular meetings with their team. It’s just not something they’ve thought of, or perhaps they’ve considered their business is too small.

meeting

The benefit of regular (preferably weekly) team meetings should NEVER be overlooked. From a results-driven point of view through to team morale and a common purpose, these meetings can be pure gold for your business.

Some businesses we come across don’t have regular meetings with their team. It’s just not something they’ve thought of, or perhaps they’ve considered their business is too small. In my book – two counts as a team. So unless you’re really a solo flier – team meetings are relevant for you too! They provide a valuable forum for you and your team to update, communicate, handle any issues, and set the scene for success and achievement in the business for the week to come.

Getting your team together at the same time each week might seem impossible at first – but once the habit’s set you’ll find yourself and your team beginning to look forward to the meeting. It doesn’t need to be a long meeting – anything from 30 minutes to one hour max.

It helps to time your weekly meetings to occur just before a deadline (eg. lunchtime, 1 hour before closing, … or 1 hour before starting!) This will reduce the chances of running overtime.

Once your meetings are scheduled, our 7 point checklist will ensure you and your team get the most out of each and every meeting:

7 point checklist for weekly team meetings

1. Have an agenda
If you’re going to make this meeting productive and effective, have an agenda and stick to it. (Make sure you’re aware ahead of time of anything and everything that needs to be covered).

2. Set the meeting up
These meetings are often about addressing challenges, what new stuff has to be done next week and what wasn’t done in the last week. This can sometimes feel like hard work. So set the meeting up by starting “upbeat”. Have everyone share one specific good thing that happened during the week (personal or business). As well as offsetting any negativity, it’ll help to get to know eachother and give everyone a pat on the back. At first this can feel a bit uncomfortable, but stick with it and make sure everyone takes part.

3. Reporting the Results
Go over the results for the week. Make sure your statistical reports are standardised. Graphs are a great way to do this. Your team will be able to see the trend in the numbers and whether or not they are hitting targets.

Beware of targets that haven’t been met as this can cause a reaction within your team (not to mention you!). It’s a good idea to acknowledge the breakdown and it’s a great time to look at what can be done to remedy it – opportunities to build on it … what’s going to make the difference in the next week. But remember – this is not the place for “beating up” a team member that is repeatedly under-performing!

A note on reporting the results: Create some milestones along the way – don’t just wait until the end of the project for you and your team to celebrate!

4. Customers and Team
Review whether there are any recurring problems that your team or customers are dealing with. These can either be handled on the spot (if it’s an easy fix) or you’ll need to investigate it later (but not too much later) …. and make sure you let everyone know the outcome.

5. Brain storm
If there’s a problem or something your business is grappling with – use the combined brainpower of your team. You’ll be amazed how many new ideas you’ll end up with … and your team will feel pretty good about contributing in this way.

6. Keep a record
Don’t forget keep a record of who said they were going to do what and by when.

7. Finish on time
At the end of the meeting let everyone say a brief word or two that represents how they feel about the meeting. This gives everyone an opportunity to “complete” the meeting and move on.

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New Zealand

How To Secure Your Home Wifi & Systems

Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce with Mobilize Mail Limited are hosting a one hour non techie presentation in May 2015 on how to keep your home wifi and systems secure. Most of us believe we have someone in the household savvy enough to secure our home IT systems. However it’s probably not so – when we use Wifi the unthinkable can happen, i.e. your password can end up with someone else.

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Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce with Mobilize Mail Limited are hosting a one hour non techie presentation in May 2015 on how to keep your home wifi and systems secure.

Date: Tuesday 19 May 2015, 9.30am – 10.30am
Place: Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce, IT Engine Training, Level 3, 15 Daly Street, Lower Hutt, Wellington.

Most of us believe we have someone in the household savvy enough to secure our home IT systems. However it’s probably not so – when we use Wifi the unthinkable can happen, i.e. your password can end up with someone else. During this presentation there will be a live demo on how easy it is to have your home wifi password stolen and what you can do immediately to prevent it from happening to you.

Unfortunately it isn’t any safer using free wifi hotspots – they too can be fraught with security issues. This presentation will show you how to use free wifi and what to avoid doing whilst you’re online.

Date: Tuesday 19 May 2015, 9.30am – 10.30am
Place: Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce, IT Engine Training, Level 3, 15 Daly Street, Lower Hutt
Presenter: Mobilize Mail Ltd – HVCC Silver Sponsor
Fee: Members – $45 + GST     Non-Members – $75 + GST

 

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Marketing

Less is More in Email Marketing

Expensive data plans and image loading time are two reasons to carefully consider your use of images in email marketing.

The use of mobiles to view emails has increased however the data plans are not dropped in cost so images in emails can be blocked from downloading. Therefore avoid using just one image as the entire marketing message.

email prospecting

Expensive data plans and image loading time are two reasons to carefully consider your use of images in email marketing.

The use of mobiles to view emails has increased however the data plans are not dropping in cost in some countries where the volume is low, so images in emails can be permanently blocked from downloading. Therefore avoid using just one image as the entire marketing message. While this may save you time and investment it’s not a good look when the email message area is empty before images are downloaded.

Use a good mix of colour (created in HTML), text including Alt-txt (words that show in the image box before images are downloaded and also add a relevant image or two. Remember a picture speaks a 1000 words and conversion is higher when images are present. We recommend linking all images, and titles to the relevant click-through pages as well as the usual ‘click here to read more’ text links.

 

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