Would You Pay $75 to Make Sure Your New Hire Will Succeed?

Published: 2016-02-22

When 300 or so integration firm leaders converge on Dallas, February 25-27 for NSCA’s Business & Leadership Conference, they’ll have certain expectations.

It is, after all, NSCA’s 18th annual event.

They’ll expect to be inspired by general sessions hosted by leading economists, business leaders and authors. They’ll expect industry and operational guidance from breakout sessions on pursuing service revenue and industry-specific sales, marketing and financial topics.

While these business- and industry-specific sessions provide value to attendees, this year’s BLC attendees also will be exposed to information about programs that NSCA offers to enhance aspects of individual organizations. One of those is NSCA’s Technical Assessment Tool.

When NSCA launched in November its online, customizable tool for companies to use to better assess candidates’ technical proficiency and ability to succeed in particular roles, we wondered if it’s a “magic bullet for hiring” — a signature challenge for the AV integration industry.

It’s an online program that allows companies to gauge the proficiency of technicians and installers they’re considering hiring or employees who are looking to move into new roles. The idea sprung from a survey NSCA conducted of its current and expired members, says general manager and VP of operations Katie Chism. “We were trying to figure out what kind of tools we could offer them that would help make them better integrators.”

The Technical Assessment Tool was proposed as an onboarding test that could be used to gauge the proficiency of new hires or employees moving between positions. “Overwhelmingly, members and expired members said they’d be interested in it and willing to pay for it,” she says.

It costs $75 per test.

To build the exam, NSCA looked at its former certification program, which covered a wide variety of technologies. “We looked at that exam, updated and put together an exam that enables a company to customize it,” Chism says.

Related: Plight of an Invisible Industry—Battle to Recruit Students Who Don’t Know AV

Questions are asked about general industry knowledge, along with technology proficiency questions at basic, intermediate and advanced levels. Employees may customize each assessment by selecting the sections most applicable for each position.

Additionally, candidates are asked to provide written answers in response to two standard job interview questions so companies may gauge the communications skills of each applicant. “That’s something that we keep hearing over and over that is a challenge,” Chism says. “While [prospects] may be technically savvy, sometimes the communication skills of people may be really challenging especially in this era of texting and shortened communication.”

When assessing a particular candidate the company can customize the test to zero in on particular technical areas. If they were to choose all potential sections the candidate would be hit with 237 questions developed by industry experts, some difficult, some easy, and weighted accordingly, Chism says. Then they receive an overall score for each section and an indication of whether they’re proficient, exceptional or below average in that area.

“Being able to quickly compare technical skills among viable candidates may be the differentiator in determining who to hire,” says NSCA executive director Chuck Wilson. “This tool will also help integrators measure knowledge levels of current employees who are interested in moving into technical roles.”

Integrators can learn more about NSCA’s Technical Assessment Tool here or ask about it at 2016 BLC.

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Tagged with: BLC, Human Resources, NSCA

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