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Puzzle Predicts Performance

By dsamllc, Jun 26 2017 02:00PM

Construction companies can easily run into problems when they hire the wrong people. Not only is it a money problem but it also affects productivity and safety. Replacing someone restarts the hiring cycle, taking time and energy away from more productive work. To avoid costly hiring mistakes many companies have moved from reliance on educated guessing to better selection processes. They have done that because according to the National Center For Construction Education and Research:


•Traditional hiring methods (resume, interview and background checks) only provide a 14% likelihood of a successful hiring decision.


•The cost of employee turnover can range from ½ to 4 times the employer’s annual salary and benefits.


•People are good at convincing hiring managers they are right for the job even when they know they might not be.


•Many times you won’t realize you’ve made a poor hiring decision until the team member has already become an emotional part of your team.


•With the right tools and know-how you can improve the chances of hiring success by as much as 75%.


I found an inexpensive way to evaluate staff and prospective talent is by using puzzles to address workforce development and performance issues.


You can learn a lot about a person by watching them work puzzles. Some people do crosswords, others Sudoku. My puzzle of choice is the Tangram.




A tangram can tell you in less than 10 minutes if you have a potential winner or a dud on your team. How a potential employee approaches the puzzle tells a lot about their personality and their problem solving ability which is critical on a construction project.


“The tangram,” according to Wikepedia, “is a dissection puzzle consisting of seven flat shapes, called tans, which are put together to form shapes. The objective of the puzzle is to form a specific shape (given only an outline or silhouette) using all seven pieces, which may not overlap. It was originally invented in China and then carried over to Europe by trading ships in the early 19th century. It became very popular in Europe for a time” and resurfaced during World War I. “It is one of the most popular dissection puzzles in the world. In China, the game was used to evaluate a person's intelligence. The game has been called "the earliest psychological test in the world", albeit one made for entertainment rather than analysis. The puzzle can be


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