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...So Finding Go Getters Can Be A Science

International Spotlight On Prague


Sales jobs are among the most lucrative in the booming Czech economy, and that's a powerful draw--even for people who hate smiling and shaking hands all day. Many foreign companies, determined to gain an early foothold after the revolution, hired a lot of the wrong people. Some were quietly let go. Others were kept on at great expense out of fear of the murky waters of Czech employment law.

Today, many foreign companies take a more scientific approach to hiring, with the help of testing outfits such as Caliper Human Strategies Inc. in Princeton, N.J. The typical test includes more than 200 questions and measures motivation, temperament, and creativity. Caliper claims that in three out of four cases, the test can predict which people will excel in a given position. Johnson & Johnson, M&M/Mars, and Holland Chemical are using the test in the Czech Republic. Behavior during the test can be as revealing as the result. "If someone is approaching me with too many questions during the test, immediately I can see this person can't make decisions," says Josef Bielik, Holland Chemical's district manager in Prague.

Still, skepticism about psychological tests remains. That's because they still bring a shiver to those who remember how the communists used them to manipulate and punish the public.EDITED BY JOHN E. PLUENNEKE By Cynthia Durcanin in Prague

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