In a seminar I did for a group of business owners, I asked this question and everyone agreed that this was their experience.
My talk was titled “How to hire so you won’t have to fire” and here are the most important points to remember.
Resumes and references mostly refer to the person’s “hard skills” which are those skills needed to get the job done. (i.e. Bookkeeping for Bookkeepers, etc.). Even then people exaggerate their capabilities in order to get the job.
The more important focus needs to be on the “soft skills”. Their work ethic, sense of responsibility, teamwork, positive and can do attitude, coach ability etc. This is very hard to detect and most references don’t understand the importance of the question.
While you can ask how they were in terms of the soft skills, it’s difficult to gauge it correctly and most employers are very reluctant to share this information.
In my experience, the best way is to use tests & assessments, which will give the employer a clear picture of the employee’s three main “soft skills”.
Aptitude is usually referred to our inborn tendencies or preferences that doesn’t really change much over our lifetime.
While there are many Aptitude tests, the most popular test is called the Myers-Briggs Types Indicator or MBTI. It’s based on Carl Jung’s explanation of preferences and has been around for many years. Approved evaluators administer MBTI and recently they have expanded the test to MBTI type 2, which has more questions, and much more defined answers. (The online free versions are not as in depth and not as accurate).
Attitude testing refers to our behaviors and the most popular one is DISC. There are many versions of DISC used for a variety of professions (i.e. Sales, management, leadership, etc.). DISC has been around for a long time and works great in conjunction with MBTI.
Altitude testing refers to the 3rdcomponent, which can include strengths evaluation or EQ (Emotional Intelligence) testing.
While a person is made up of about 50% their Aptitude, the other 50% is their Attitude and Altitude. That will determine how well the person will succeed in their job and how well they will use their soft skills to interact with people around them.
I encourage most companies to use all 3 or versions of them, in conjunction with their resumes, references and in depth interviews.
Never use tests alone as a way of hiring.
Incidentally, an ex-McKinsey consultant shared with me that all their teams were built around their MBTI preferences!
There are some great books on these tests and I highly recommend “Please Understand Me 1” by Dr. David Kiersey and EQ 2.0 by Dr. Travis Bradberry.
You can also access free tests and assessments on my website: https://www.theprosperousleader.com/tests-and-assessments-mbti-myers-briggs