How to Avoid the Most Expensive Hiring Mistakes?

In certain work environments safety represents one of the most important components of efficient performance of the company. Positions in which the consequences of unsafe behavior and disregarding procedures are huge, both financially and for the health and safety of the employees – require a special approach to employee selection and development. The connection between wrong hiring decisions and repercussions for the company profit and reputation might be even more apparent in these cases. In these work environments safety assessments can help to reduce risks.

How safety assessments help increase safety in employee selection and development?

Safety-related behaviors are directly in connection with personality. Research shows that there is a correlation between certain characteristics of employees and the number of work-related accidents, and financial losses which are a consequence of unsafe behavior.

Also, for certain high-risk jobs, the employees need to have appropriate psychomotor abilities which are necessary in order to do the job safely.

Both dimensions – personality characteristics and psychomotor abilities can be measured in the selection process and could be set as a criteria for candidate selection. The best way to do it is to use assessment tools which are validated and designed for assessment of the key dimensions for safe behavior in different jobs.

Personality Assessment
Hogan Safety evaluates employees and candidates on six personality dimensions for which there is scientific evidence that they influence safe behavior. The report is simple and easy to interpret, and it evaluates only the personality characteristics which predict safety-related behavior of the candidate. These characteristics provide insight into the safety-related attitudes and behaviors of the person. The following dimensions are included in the Hogan Safety report:

Defiant, Panicky, Irritable, Distractible, Reckless, Arrogant

Compliant, Strong, Cheerful. Vigilant, Cautious, Trainable

The results of the Safety report can be very helpful for decision-making in selection processes for jobs in manufacturing and mines, jobs which require working with hazardous materials or high voltage, positions in industry, transportation, military forces, police etc., but they can be used for assessment of current employees as well. In those cases, the results can be used for creating a training plan for the employees, because this tool can provide insight into the safety-related development challenges they have.

Psychomotor ability assessment
Schuhfried Vienna Test System is a software which offers over 100 tests which are applied in the areas of traffic psychology, neuropsychology, sports psychology and HR. A big advantage of such a system is the possibility of precise measurement of specific abilities which are necessary for safe job performance in positions like professional drivers, pilots, train operators, heavy machinery operators, or in production lines, mines, military, police or security.

With the help of Vienna Test System and its special hardware it is possible to measure the following abilities which are crucial for safely doing the above mentioned jobs:

Attention and reaction speed

Perception and peripheral perception

Eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills

Mechanical-technical comprehension

Anticipation of movement

Behavior in stressful situations

Special test batteries are also available within the system which are designed for assessment of candidates in railroad traffic, aviation, mines, and road traffic, and are specifically validated for those areas of application.

By measuring these dimensions we can make sure that the candidates we choose for high-risk positions have the psychological and psychomotor abilities which are necessary for a safe job performance in the given areas. This way we can prevent financial losses and health & safety consequences which may occur due to mistakes employees could make.

So, in order to get a complete answer to the question – Is the candidate going to behave in accordance to the safety requirements and procedures, and will he have the necessary abilities to act and react as required in order to safely do the job? – the best way to go is to assess both personality and psychomotor abilities.

Case study
Challenge: A large transportation company was facing a challenge of having a lot of accidents and traffic violations done by their bus drivers. This lead to expenses which exceeded 100.000 euros per year.

Solution: Hogan Safety report was included into the selection of bus drivers in order to identify the personality characteristics of drivers which are related to safe behavior. An analysis of the personality characteristics of drivers and the frequency of traffic violations was conducted, and the results showed that the drivers who were able to better control their temper had far less accidents than those who scored lower on this dimension. Also, drivers who were more prone to violating company rules, who were more distractible, and were prone to risk-taking had higher chances of having documented traffic violations.

Results: According to these results it was possible to create an ideal profile for the bus driver position at this company. Bus drivers who were selected like this had 31% less accidents and 20% less traffic violations comparing to the drivers whose results did not fit the defined profile.


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