Civil libertarians are down on employee profiling, but home improvement contractors are not. They say personality profiling and other hiring-related tests have proved reliable and can provide valuable help in building an effective organization.

That's certainly been the case at Melani Bros. For the last several years, the Hampton Roads, Va., company has used both a personality profiling test and a specific sales aptitude test. Rick Menendez, vice president, sales and marketing, says sales candidates have to “score above a certain mark” on a sales aptitude test before they can sell the company's sunrooms, replacement windows, siding, and decks. “Otherwise,” Menendez says, “it's hard to get hired here. We've found it to be pretty accurate.”

Personality Profile Melani Bros. uses the personality profile test a little differently. “We don't use it to make a decision on hiring,” Menendez says. “It's more to know how to deal with that employee once they come on board.” In addition to helping match a new hire to the right job, personality profiling “helps us understand the management style that's going to be most effective with certain personality types.”

ABC Seamless, Eagle, Idaho, uses a sales test and a motor skills test for different applicants, “and we usually don't hire them unless they're the right profile for the job,” says president Steven Burak. He uses the general personality test to back up his own judgment about a candidate. After he's made up his mind, “it would be a rare instance when I didn't hire someone because of what the profile said.”

Low-Cost Insurance Personality testing is inexpensive. Contractors can buy the tests and the licensing to use them, then administer and score them in-house. Tests take about an hour, Menendez says, and cost around $15 each.

In particular, Menendez likes the fact that testing makes the hiring process more methodical and deliberate and adds to the overall quality of the team. “We're trying to build a business that has consistent performance for a number of years, not performance with peaks and valleys,” he says. “I think the way to do that is consistently add good people who'll stay with us for a long time.”