Long gone are the days when Jim Orr, owner of Bennett/Dover Home Remodelers, North Olmsted, Ohio, would simply hire a carpenter who walked onto a job. But it wasn't until five years ago that he began using a personality test to help him gauge how a job candidate will fit his company's culture as well as the demands of the job.

Orr uses Caliper, which looks at an individual's motives, core strengths, core weaknesses, and drive. “[The test told] us that one employee matched the job ‘with reservation,'” Orr says. It also revealed that the candidate wasn't very social and might have “difficulty making crucial decisions.” Orr was glad to know that up front. “When you hire a person, you have to realize there are some things you'll need to deal with. [That particular person] is one of the best employees we've ever had.”

Caliper ( www.caliperonline.com), now in its 20th revision, was developed 45 years ago to help insurance companies predict sales success. “It looks not only at who this person is, but at the job they're being considered for,” says creator Herbert Greenberg, whose business has helped 25,000 companies around the world.

After Orr gives the test, he sends it to a Caliper consultant who is knowledgeable about the remodeling industry. The total cost is $295 per test, valuation, and consultation. Orr says that about 25% of his hiring decision is based on the Caliper results, along with background and drug testing.