Tech Bytes

July 12, 2005
When it comes to the operating efficiencies and benefits of technology, human resources isn't one area of a business that immediately comes to mind.

When it comes to the operating efficiencies and benefits of technology, human resources isn't one area of a business that immediately comes to mind. Organizations have been testing prospective employees for quite some time, but now technology can assist in the screening, tracking, and hiring process of new employees. One company that is marketing such services to corporations, including aviation and government entities, is Carmel, IN-based Performance Assessment Network, (PAN).

PAN is a web-based company which provides assessment and testing instruments, explains VP of aviation and transportation industries Greg Ginder. In business since 2000, the company provides the assessments for a variety of purposes, including pre-employment, self-development, organizational surveys, personality assessments, mechanical assessments, and more.

Providing this service through the Internet allows PAN's customers the flexibility of offering the testing anywhere with Internet access to prospective employees.

The company does not create the tests that employers use, but instead has relationships with 45 different test publishers. "These are scientifically validated tools to make sure you're hiring the best match for that position," says Ginder.

"We carry about 400 different tests in our portfolio," he says. "So if a client calls and says they're hiring aircraft mechanics, we have tests that we can deliver across the Web."

While PAN does not manufacture the tests, they do meet with the client to determine what results the client expects to achieve from the test and what scores will represent a successful applicant. Results are processed on PAN's servers, and depending on how the solution is set up for the client, "results can be sent back within minutes to HR management," says Ginder.

Ginder says the testing modules often allow employers to single out the best candidates before the interview process even begins. "The automated hiring solution lets an employer quickly and efficiently streamline the number of applicants they need to spend their time and talent with."

According to Ginder, PAN recommends a multiple-step hiring process. For example, "An airport could have a careers website where applicants can log on and complete a web-based application. Within the application, we have screening questions to score the candidate." If the candidate receives an acceptable score, determined by the employer, the site directs him or her to an assessment which could contain a personality inventory and a customer service-type assessment. "Once the assessments have been delivered," says Ginder, "the applicant can be invited in for the interview, assuming they pass the cut-score."

Ginder advises that if the test being given is a cognitive one where "the answers are either right or wrong," it should be performed in a supervised environment. "If it's a personality test, it's okay to take that in a [non-supervised] environment."

A major benefit of the system, says Ginder, is the "efficiency you put into the hiring process. The application process is 100 percent driven by the applicant until they are a finalist. You're increasing the probability of lower turnover and increasing the probability of finding more productive employees."

Data collected during the application process can easily be sent to a background checking agency, says Ginder. Additionally, a consistent hiring process is ensured because it's an automated tool. This is particularly important for companies that are doing hiring across multiple locations.

Ginder says the assessment tools can "dramatically" reduce turnover in an organization because candidates are screened for precisely the type of person the company knows will be successful in the position. "It's also helpful in risk mitigation," he adds. "Screening helps ensure they're not bringing dangerous employees into the workplace."

PAN has been a subcontractor to the Transportation Security Administration for its airport screener hiring needs for three years.

The project for TSA is the largest web-based testing program ever executed, says Ginder, with all 45,000 federal screeners having passed through the assessment system. Under the contract, PAN provides online and supervised testing centers throughout the U.S.

According to Ginder, BAA Indianapolis, LLC utilizes PAN's VITA (vital information for talent assessment) hiring and selection solution to hire key customer relations positions for Indianapolis International. "VITA provides an automation of the hiring system from start to finish," he explains.

Ginder says a system like VITA is particularly beneficial to an airport where "people costs" can range anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of overall budgets. "With a 10 percent turnover rate, that's a fairly significant chunk of dollars. These systems can help to avoid the waste of turnover."

Learn more at