Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Having a Stress-Less Christmas

As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations,
compounded by December's bad weather,
it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation,
and people to whom we are worth the same.

~Donald E. Westlake

The holiday season often seems like a great time to relax and unwind. Work tends to be quieter; there is a brief pause from the morning hustle of getting kids up, ready, and off to school; and many hope to enjoy the extra days off that come with the holidays. Unfortunately, Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of the year – a quick Google search of the “stress of Christmas” resulted in over 100,000 hits! In 2010, we put together 10 Tips for Surviving the Christmas Season; with just 5 “sleeps” until Christmas morning, they are worth revisiting.

Given the stress the season can bring, it may also be important to take a moment to review some stress management strategies; HelpGuide.org has a great list that is worth reviewing.

Remember to take time to enjoy the holiday; even if you don’t celebrate Christmas it can be a great time to focus on friends, family, and the joys that life can bring.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pre-Employment Screening in the Workplace

Most employers and job seekers are familiar with the traditional methods for screening applicants (i.e., reviewing application forms, resumes, and cover letters, as well as conducting interviews, background checks, and reference checks); however, assessments can be a valuable addition to your screening process. Pre-employment screening assessments can help employers weed out applicants that either don’t meet their standards/requirements or don’t seem to fit well within the organization.

As there are numerous screening options available, we advise employers to follow Stephen Covey’s principle: Begin with the end in mind. Once specific assessment needs are clearly identified, tools can be selected to achieve those goals. Keep in mind that assessments for entry level positions may be different from those for managerial positions. Ensure you have a qualified test administrator interpreting results – someone who’s trained in assessment techniques and is equipped to use the test(s) you’ve selected.

A word of caution – assessments should be used in conjunction with other screening methods. Don’t base hiring decisions solely on assessment results but, rather, take a holistic evaluative approach integrating information from a variety of sources. A consultant can be helpful in determining which assessment will best fit your testing needs and how to integrate results with other screening methods.

One pre-employment screening assessment that Life Strategies Ltd. is excited about is the AMITAI Integrity assessment. It’s a computerized assessment, currently widely used in Latin America, which predicts an individual’s workplace behaviours related to loyalty, theft, bribery, credibility, substance abuse, and sexual harassment. What’s particularly innovative about this assessment is that organizations can set their own weighting and norms for each scale item. What this means is that if theft is a big concern for your organization, you can give it a higher weight leading to the theft scale contributing more to the overall integrity score (similarly for any of the measured factors).

We are currently researching the validity/reliability of the AMITAI Integrity assessment in North America, on behalf of the test publisher, HRD Global Solutions Ltd. Complete the assessment yourself to enter a draw for a $100 VISA gift card – click here for details. Interested in free credits for the validated assessment? If you’re an HR professional, manager, or recruiter, refer others to us (e.g., family, friends, colleagues); receive one credit for each of your referrals who completes the assessment – click here for details.

To learn more, or to get an access code for completing the assessment, email cassie@lifestrategies.ca

Let us know if you’ve used or have been asked to complete a pre-employment screening assessment. What was your experience like?