Tag Archives: Testing

Before the interview: How We Screen Our Job Seekers


We like to take measured and holistic approach when it comes to finding the right employees for the job. Because we are looking for quality job seekers to match with our companies, we are careful about the candidates we place. This is why we have a thorough screening and testing procedures at Financial Professionals.

We implement a thorough national and state background screening for every employee that comes through our agency. This is not unusual; nowadays, background checks are very common in seeing whether or not employees are falsifying their applications. The Society for Human Resource Management reported that eight-seven percent of organizations conduct criminal background checks on a least some applicants. We verify if candidates have a criminal record, if they are who they say they are, and we look at their credit reports to get some insight on the candidate’s reliability and responsibility. After all, we want our employees to be responsible when it comes to handling other people’s finances.

In addition to background checks, we also give a series of tests to every person who comes through our agency. Each of these tests were designed strategically, so there’s no way for candidates to cheat the system. Our Bank Rely Test reveals employee’s work ethic, and is a good way to determine their punctuality and attendance record. The Work Attitude Questionnaire tests applicants’ attitudes toward theft and respect toward other people. It also flags checkered behavior, such as substance abuse and problems with anger management. The Bank Customer Service Survey tests a person’s strengths and weaknesses; how friendly the individual is when working in sales, and how they deal with conflict situations. The General Information Appraisal is a reliable gauge for testing one’s overall intelligence, including logic skills. Last but not least, the Teller Test, designed specifically for bank tellers, tests money math skills. We see how quickly these candidates answer the questions without a calculator. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t a guide that helps prepare candidates. The results are out of job seekers’ control. But the good news for candidates is that if they’re honest, trustworthy and responsible, chances are they’re do well passing our tests and our screening process. The best advice we give is for employees to be relaxed and get a good night’s sleep before taking their test. The rest will fall into place.

Feel free to contact us if you’d like more information about our screening and testing services.

Ron Ray

Ron Ray is Owner/Chief Executive Officer of Financial Professionals, a Dallas-based financial staffing agency. Since 1981, Ron has worked with a variety of banks and banking professionals to ensure they are working with the best talent.

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Anonymity and Workplace Attitude

Recall the trust fall bonding exercise where a person falls backwards from a platform, expecting to be caught by peers? Now imagine if pent-up hostility meant a person dropped dead-weight to the floor. With the relative anonymity of tech gadgets, internal chat programs, and company portals, companies are experiencing similar incivility with astonishing frequency. Problems arise with:

  1. Inability to fit meaning in too few characters for appropriate context.

  2. Tech gadget multitasking during meetings or discussions.

  3. Unwillingness to engage in phone or face to face interaction.

  4. Calls and texts cluttering workplace with chatter and alerts.

Employees are unable to decipher cues when they cannot put a message into context. They in turn can feel ignored by another employee’s electronic gadget use, feel isolated with lack of interpersonal contact, or get irritated by all the devices alerts. This confusion can result in built-up resentment and the resulting hostility may be displaced on peers or worse yet on customers. Over-reliance on technology can result in difficulty building personal relationships, but proper training and well defined expectations and boundaries can be a key to mitigation:

  1. Publish policies in your workplace on conflict resolution and social networking.

  2. Help employees learn to identify subjective interpretation.

  3. Use pre-employment testing to identify potential problem candidates.

  4. Promote desired company culture and lead by example.

Adding workplace hostility training will outline a company’s expectations and define acceptable employee behavior. Encourage employees to inquire and ask non-confrontational questions to gain better insight when they are unsure of context. When management leads by example and provides tools to foster a culture of respect, employees can improve those skills. Weeding out potential behavior problems in the hiring phase can also help companies build better teams. Probably the best reminder to ensure common courtesy remains a priority on the job is to follow the golden rule: treat others as we wish to be treated.

Erika Boswell

Erika Boswell is Vice President of Recruiting at Financial Professionals, a Dallas-based financial staffing agency. With a background in Marketing and Management, Erika uses her expertise to place prospective job candidates and seasoned talent where they belong in the financial industry.

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Know Your Teller Applicant, and Know The Whole Person on the Teller Job

“We hire people for their skills, but the whole person shows up for work.”  This piece of overlooked wisdom is from Chester L. Barnard, an American businessman. We tend to focus on a teller applicant’s job skills and experience and overlook or downplay the fact that this is a person, a unique individual with her own personality and preferences for how work is done.

Good cash handling skills are a requirement for a teller, but a teller is also your bank’s point of contact with many of your customers.  And, while your customers expect their tellers to handle their money accurately and in a timely fashion, they also expect to be treated well as a person, not just handled with cool efficiency as a “customer.”

That means that to insure repeat business and new business in the form of referrals to the bank, customers must like the way they are treated.  And that means that tellers must show an interest in the customer as a person, actually get to know the customer and interact with the customer on a person-to-person level, not just on a teller-to-customer level.

Some tellers just naturally like people and enjoy forming friendships with customers.  Other tellers, not so much.  While the interview will give you a pretty good indication which teller applicants are not likely to be good at customer service, unfortunately it is not as good at indicating which applicants will be good at pleasing customers.

A better way to evaluate customer service skills is to use an objective pre-employment test to help you see which applicant has a natural preference for customer service, which ones can learn to give good customer service and which ones just don’t feel like it is up to them to make interactions with customers a positive experience.

Objective test data, when added to interview impressions, give you a more balanced picture of what you are likely to see on the job in the way of customer service skills.  Using this balanced approach, you have a better idea of what the person you interviewed will look like once the “whole person” settles into the teller job.

For a free copy of Dr. Helm’s booklet, “How to Use Pre-Employment Tests in Bias-Free Hiring and Promotion Decisions,” call Helm and Associates at 800-886-4356 or email at khelm@helmtest.com.


Kurt Helm

Dr. Kurt Helm is an industrial/organizational psychologist. His firm, Helm and Associates, Inc. has been developing, validating, and marketing pre-employment tests and professional development systems since 1981.

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