Companies are facing a tough dilemma these days: thousands more applicants than available job openings. How can they winnow the applicant pool and choose the best employees?
For ThyssenKrupp USA, Inc., a key part of the answer is ACTs WorkKeys® Performance Assessment, a computerized integrity test used to prescreen candidates. ThyssenKrupp is one of the worlds largest steel producers. It is headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany, with operations in more than 70 countries, nearly 188,000 employees, and annual sales of approximately $61 billion. Nearly 24,000 workers are employed at 70 ThyssenKrupp companies in the United States.
Two of the companys segmentsThyssenKrupp Steel USA and ThyssenKrupp Stainless USAhave joined forces to build a new $3.7 billion manufacturing and processing facility near Mount Vernon, Alabama. Slated to begin operations in early 2010, the new plant will manufacture and process carbon steel and stainless steel. It will serve a variety of industries in the United States and throughout North America, including construction, automotive, packaging, electrical, and utility, as well as manufacturers of appliances, precision machinery, and engineered products.
Alabama Industrial Development and Training (AIDT) is assisting ThyssenKrupp in the hiring process for the new facility. To date, AIDT has received more than 20,000 applications for approximately 2,000 positions in operations, inspections, and maintenance. The facility will employ 2,700 workers when fully operational. A state agency established by the Alabama Legislature, AIDT has been involved with several other large-scale workforce development projects.
The agency pre-qualifies ThyssenKrupp applicants using a variety of assessment tools, including the Performance Assessment. Performance is a perfect fit for ThyssenKrupp, said David Scheid, vice president of human resources, ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA. Performance is consistent with our emphasis on safety and our values of ethics and integrity. Its a very beneficial tool for assessing potential employees.
Scheid knew that Performance would be a useful tool because of his experience with WorkKeys at a previous company. He was pleased to learn that AIDT was willing to use the Performance Assessment. Its a good indicator of how a team member will perform on the job. An applicants score is indicative of how we feel the candidate will align with our culture, he said.
The Performance Assessment consists of a 55-item questionnaire that takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete and can be administered as part of the pre-selection and hiring process. Results are intended to help employers narrow the list of candidates for a specific job.
The Performance Assessment offers a reliable way for employers to effectively prescreen applicant pools, said Martin Scaglione, president and chief operating officer, ACT Workforce Development Division. Employers need workers who have the skills required to perform on the job. But qualities such as honesty, dependability, and trustworthiness are also critical to job performance. Establishing a pool of workers who possess these qualities can fulfill a wide range of human resource needs.
The Performance Assessment measures:
General work attitudes. This scale predicts counterproductive work behaviors, task and job performance, and organizational citizenship behaviors. Scores can be related to prevalence of theft, productivity, absenteeism, resilience to work-related stress, team orientation, and employee work satisfaction.
Risk reduction. This scale focuses on the avoidance of work-related accidents and unnecessary risk-taking in a work environment. It addresses organizational conduct that may impact the applicant or others. Scores can be connected to work-related accidents, working under the influence of alcohol or drugs, outbursts of physical or verbal aggression, and coworker complaints about conduct or harassment.
AIDT conducts the prescreening, testing, and training for both ThyssenKrupp divisions, and both share the pool of applicants. ThyssenKrupp sends the most promising new hires to hands-on training at its facilities in Germany and Mexico and to classroom training developed and conducted by AIDT in Alabama. Once the new plant is in operation, the company will look at opportunities to use a variety of WorkKeys assessments for advancement and promotion purposes.
The strength of the local workforce and the accessibility of state services, such as AIDT, played a significant role in ThyssenKrupps decision to locate its new plant in Alabama, said Scheid. In our industry, we have a growing need for team members with a high degree of flexibility, teamwork abilities, and a desire to learn new skills. We look forward to a long relationship with Alabama and the surrounding Mount Vernon community.
The Performance Assessment is one of three Personal Skills Assessments ACT offers. The others are the Fit Assessment, which determines if an applicants interests and values match occupations within an organization, and the Talent Assessment, which measures work-related attitudes and behaviors in areas such as carefulness, cooperation, creativity, discipline, goodwill, influence, optimism, order, sociability, and stability.