May 2005 - Brainbench, an online provider of job skills
measurement services, has announced the rollout of its TotalMatch system of assessment
tools designed to
predict employee success more accurately by measuring the specific mix of personality,
skills, abilities and past employment behavior for over 150 jobs.
The company says that its emphasis on measuring the 'whole person' reflects a
strong demand among organizations for more sophisticated screening tools readily
available for positions beyond the scope of senior executives. "Hiring managers know that
just measuring technical knowledge isn’t enough," says Mike Russiello, President and
CEO of Brainbench. "Until recently, the more complex assessments typically used for
management and executives were not available or affordable for a wider variety of
positions. But technology is changing that. We’ve been able to embed the science of
industrial/organizational psychology into comprehensive test batteries that can be
According to Brainbench, today's hiring organizations under-use the power of automated screening
systems to deal with the flood of applicants created by job boards and other technologies.
The answer, they say, is to create balanced, highly job-focused tests. "No one kind of test
will give you the information you need," says Dr. Wendell Williams, founder and Managing
Director of ScientificSelection.com, a consultancy that works with Brainbench. "TotalMatch
was developed to measure different aspects of an individual - knowledge, skills,
abilities, motivation - and combine the results in a very job-specific way. Balancing
several types of assessment gives you a more complete picture, and creates a tool that
can predict on-the-job performance accurately."
Assessment packages tailored for a particular job have been
available for some time, but Brainbench claim that they have traditionally been customized, expensive, and
therefore limited to higher-level jobs. "TotalMatch delivers assessments for a broad range
of jobs, including many of today’s high-value, often high-turnover jobs like Call Center
and Customer Service representatives, using a validation process that ensures high
quality," says Russiello. "We’re the only test provider to be ISO9001:2000 certified.
And we do them off-the-shelf, very cost-effectively."
Measuring a Wide Range of Success Factors
The TotalMatch assessment tools are drawn from Brainbench’s comprehensive library of more than
600 tests combined, they say, with the highest standards in job analysis and custom assessment
design following Department of Labor’s O*NET guidelines. For each of more than 150 jobs -
from school bus driver to network technician or market research analyst - Brainbench has
created and validated a highly job-specific, off-the-shelf TotalMatch test. Each test is designed to
measure factors such as employment history, technical knowledge, occupational skills,
personality traits relating to job fit and attitude towards work, multitasking skills,
problem-solving, and more, depending on the requirements of the specific job.
Karen Edwards, Business Manager of Pegasus Technologies in Tennessee, had an HR background
and was aware of the benefits and pitfalls of using a testing program. "The whole employee
testing area is fraught with landmines. We would not feel comfortable with testing if a
service such as this wasn't available. Being a small company, it’s very important to make
correct hiring decisions," she emphasized. "In our hiring process, we wanted to test
applicants both on their general abilities and for job fit/personality factors. Our line
of work (RF/Electronics engineering) includes many different fields and subfields, so a
person's direct experience might not match up to what we're looking for. However, in many
cases, a very bright person can pick up the specialized details rapidly, and might be a
better candidate than someone who had actually been doing the same work before. TotalMatch
is aimed at specific job fields that we're hiring in, which makes both the specific areas
tested and the results more directly on target."
According to Brainbench, tests are designed for maximum ease-of use, both for job applicants and
potential employers. All testing and reporting is conducted securely online. "Making the
process easy gives more accurate results," says Russiello. "We don’t think that figuring
out how to take a test, or how to administer one, should be a skills test in itself."
Test-design is also intended to ease the hiring process for employers. Instead of
assigning numerical scores, reports rank candidates on a red-yellow-green
scale and recommend tailored interview questions for hiring managers.
Russiello added, "We’ve identified a major shift in the industry,
from measuring job skills and knowledge in a few areas, to predicting job success in a
more complex way. Because we’ve always focused on predicting on-the-job success, we feel
we’re ahead of the game, and TotalMatch keeps us at the forefront. In a sense measuring
the whole person is just giving hiring managers what they’ve asked for. But in a very real
way, I think their demand is finally catching up to what we’ve always believed."