Popular Science Monthly
��ment and aptitude, or to know instinctively the effect of size, texture, coloring, etc. In the past it often happened to me to be dazzled by a man's mentality or a woman's charm, so that I was totally blind to in- dustrial or moral unfitness. I saved time by acting on impressions; I wasted in the end thousands of dollars.
The immense difference in earning power of a good combination of materials, equipment and men, com- pared with a poor combina- tion is not realized. If the net value produced by a thirty per cent machinist amounts to one hundred dollars a year, the net value of a one- hundred per cent machinist may be betw^een six thou- sand dollars and seven thou- sand dollars. If we were certain that the person se- lected would stay perma- nently we could well afford a one thousand dollar or even a five thousand dollar- test. But we are not cer- tain. Why? Because we don't know! Because it is easier to take refuge in plausible objections than to exercise care and do some thinking we refuse to select carefully, assuming that it is costly and difficult.
How It Works in Practice
While it is true that it takes a long while to test any man or woman in all respects, the whole life being perhaps not long enough, it is equally cer- tain that a great many tests, weeding out all ex- cept the one best in a hun- dred, can be rapidly and inexpensively applied.
Recently a young man was wanted for a minor technical pnDsition on a rail- road. The selection was left to me. The following advertisement was inserted in several of the large Metropolitan dailies:
���Motive-mental Type. Ob- servant; p>olitic; secretive; energetic; alert and active; quick to grasp a situation; good at investigating; criti- cal; inquisitive but tactful; agreeable, plausible manner; practical and systematic ; will follow up a subject until it is satisfactorily completed
���Mental-motive Type. Sys- tematic; exact and conven- tional; critical; not ea?ily influenced ; conscientious and reliable; not venturesome — must see his way clear; not impulsive; self -restrained; severe but reasonable; just
��"WANTED: Young man, American, technically educated, of good address for a $60.00 a month position with railroad company. Three months probation then possibility of permanent employment and promotion. Send three post-card photographs, profile, full face, full figure."
About three hundred applications were accom- panied by photographs. CKer tvs'O hundred and ninety were rejected in one afternoon on account of some manifest and undesir- able quality. Some of them showed by dress, bearing and expression that they were socially and other- wise impossible.
Others were belligerant, obstinate, unteachable, ill- tempered, cynical, self- indulgent, dissipated, de- ceitful, unreliable. Others were weak. The whole three hundred graded off from a ver\^ desirable middle ground of good balance, aptitude and character into extremes of badness in one direction and weakness in the other di- rection.
The ten picked out as wholly desirable were sub- jected to further tests. Al- though we only wanted two we finally took four. They were so good we were un- willing to lose them. Their work has certainly proved that we were not wrong in selecting them.
We use the photographic method solely because of its rapidity for a first screening. Personal inspec- tion is very much better but it is not always feasible, as applicants may be scat- tered over a wide area. Do I attempt to read photo- graphs myself in selecting employees ?
I do not any more than I operate the typewriter or the adding machine or keep the books or develop photo- graphs or cook my own food or make my own clothes. I employ specialists.