Three years ago, Kelvin and Susan Pierce (Big50 1993), owners of Commonwealth Home Remodelers, in Vienna, Va., decided to hire a full-time estimator for the company.

The couple first turned to their existing employee base, moving a few project managers into the newly created position. “Even though they were excellent project managers and employees, we found that their personalities weren't at all a fit,” Kelvin says.

courtesy Kelvin Pierce

The estimator job included sitting behind a computer, working in a highly detail-oriented environment, and chasing down subcontractor bids. Within a year, the newly minted estimators asked to return to their old jobs in the field. “We had spent a lot of time and investment training them,” Kelvin says, “and we weren't getting the right type of people.”

Around the same time, through a peer group, Susan heard about personality testing. The Pierces contacted a consultant to help them set up a hiring program that included personality profiling.

First, the consultant met with the company's management team to create a benchmark of key characteristics that the ideal candidate should have. From the benchmark, the team created a job description and an advertisement for the position.

Strong candidates were asked to complete an online personality survey with questions about different scenarios.

The Pierces then received a report detailing the potential employee's characteristics and personality. “We matched that against the benchmark that we'd created, to make sure they were a good fit for that type of position,” Kelvin says.

To date, the company has hired several employees — including an estimator, a production manager, and a marketing specialist — using personality tests in the process. So far, all these hires have been successful.

“We're happy with the results, and will continue to use this process for key positions,” Kelvin says. “We feel it's very important to find someone who has the right type of personality and will thrive in this environment.”