As a leader of law enforcement command staff, you understand the cost impact of hiring the wrong person. The cost to re-hire & train a replacement is estimated to be 30% of the person’s salary. (A $50,000 position would cost approx. $15,000 additional to rehire another individual) US Dept of Labor
We might face any one or all of these consequences if the wrong person is hired. This reaffirms the importance of careful reviews of integrity, candidates’ work experience, interpersonal communication … the core value system which is driving their behavior. Law enforcement officers, correctional employees, probation and parole officers, communications, and support staff are justifiably given considerable power, authority, and trust by the courts and the community in general. This makes an officer’s general character and level of integrity an imperative factor to consider during the hiring process.
What Can You Do?
While the use of integrity testing has long been a frequent practice in other industries, its use has not been as commonplace in the field of law enforcement. Historically, law enforcement has relied heavily on skills & knowledge testing. But incorporating an assessment with integrity measures that have been normed and validated can elevate not only the background investigation but the entire hiring process as a whole. The use of a validated general character profile provides continuity within the hiring process, holding all applicants (including your civilian hires) to the same standards and hiring protocol. What’s more, it allows you to speed up the hiring process by quickly identifying those high-risk applicants and disqualifying them. In turn, you can move on to a more desirable candidate immediately, because let’s face it: We are all struggling to hire the best possible candidate faster before the next agency overhires them. Getting that applicant through your hiring process in an efficient manner is crucial.
Studies have shown that the use of general character testing identifies problematic behavior that is not easily identified in other stages of the hiring process. By incorporating written testing early in the hiring process, this should positively affect your agency by:
- Increasing productivity: Identify applicants with poor work drive or drugs problems. Avoiding those that are a “drain” on command staff and co-workers.
- Reducing theft losses: Identify applicants with dishonest tendencies and values.
- Reducing turnover: Identify applicants that are unlikely to stay at the agency due to “washing out”, for-cause dismissal, or using your agency as a stepping stone.
- Reducing liability caused by bad hires: Identify applicants who are troublemakers or that put the agency at risk.
- Improving your agency image: Hire caring, decent individuals who will help your agency flourish because they have positive effects on your staff and when interacting with the general public.
Solutions for Law Enforcement
Personnel Evaluation provides a general character profile that is used by over 600 law enforcement agencies throughout the country, including agencies that range in size from under 10 employees into the thousands. The Personnel Evaluation Profile (PEP) is designed to evaluate a person’s basic value system: their background, attitudes, and beliefs concerning key areas such as honesty, reporting dishonesty, customer service, socialization, drugs, employment background, work ethic, absenteeism, and tardiness. The PEP is a self-administered profile that can be taken onsite at your office or from home*. It is not meant to replace any industry-specific “skills” testing or psychological evaluation, but rather to direct the interviewing official as to what areas are weak in this person’s overall character.
This tool can aid in the basic structure of a hiring process – all applicants (sworn law enforcement, corrections, technicians, communications, records, support positions, etc.) are evaluated on the same questions in the same manner. The inclusion of two Distortion Scales ensures that applicants who attempt to falsify the results (or “beat the test”) are evaluated with caution. In addition to the easy-to-read report, we offer a verbal consultation on every result–at no additional fee. These verbals are designed to assist hiring officials/backgrounder investigators in fully understanding the individual scales and providing guidance on how to explore potentially problematic areas of the result.
Results That Speak for Themselves
Two departments, using the PEP, rejected the same eligible candidate based on the PEP results prior to completing a lengthy background investigation. Their cost was $20. A third department ran a full background investigation on this same individual, only to reject him as a result of his background information. Their cost? Thousands. When the background investigator asked the previous departments why they did not hire the applicant, they shared their experience with the PEP. This department now uses the PEP prior to running their backgrounds.
Helping your staff be more efficient and providing them with the tools to do their job better is key to good management. By doing so, you will not only see an immediate payoff but intrinsic gains in years to come.
* PEI requires the PEP to be proctored remotely if the profile is completed off-site.