“You can arrive at your dream a lot of different ways, but you also arrive there as a different version of yourself based on whatever pathway you choose.” – Joanna Gaines
Post-offer physical abilities testing is something that should really be straight forward. Testing based on the minimum essential postural and physical demands for the position that has been offered to the candidate. Seems pretty simple, the candidate either meets or does not meet the minimum essential demands. But, it isn’t always that simple because the process involves people.
When a candidate fails a post-offer physical abilities test, the employer has to choose what path they will take. Some employers may look to see if the candidate’s abilities meet the demands of different position. Other employers may offer the candidate the opportunity to repeat the test at a later date. Some employers may choose to not re-test.
One of the employers that we work closely with allows candidates to work on improving in the areas in which they did not meet the demands and attempt the test again with the next new hire class. This particular employer has a fairly high passing rate (which is due to a phenomenal hiring process by the employer that helps to make sure that the demands of the position are consistently reinforced during every contact with the candidate), so the number of candidates who do not meet the demands is fairly low. Of those that do not meet the demands on the initial test, some come back to test again. It is a good job with solid benefits and is worth the time and effort for these candidates to try again. Nearly everybody who re-tests comes back physically stronger and with improved range of motion and physical abilities and passes the test. Many comment that not meeting the demands on the initial test was a significant wake-up call about their previous level of fitness. They wish they were able to start the jobs with their original classmates but they are also content with the fact that they have not only done what was required to earn the job but have made lifestyle changes that will benefit them for years to come. We don’t mind repeat tests for this employer as we know most candidates return, changed for the better.
Recently, we had a second test for a candidate from a different employer. This candidate’s scenario was much different. It was the first post-offer failure for the employer and it was a result of lack of medical treatment for an auto-immune disorder that attacked the candidate’s upper extremities in a way that did not allow the candidate to meet the minimum essential demands. The employer did not have alternative positions with decreased physical demands to offer. As the candidate had not yet received treatment for their condition, we suggested to the employer (along with the instruction of talking to their lawyers) that if the candidate has a change in physical function due to treatment that they be re-tested.
When this candidate was scheduled for a second test, I was unsure of what to expect. Luckily, the candidate returned with significantly improved function due to appropriate medical treatment and they were able to meet the minimum essential postural and physical demands of the position. The candidate told us that as a result of not meeting the demands for a position, they realized that they needed to become more proactive with their physician in seeking a successful treatment regimen for their condition. For this candidate, not only did they obtain the position they wanted on the second test, they were able to become a successful advocate for their own healthcare status and understand the importance of that in keeping their condition in check.
In each of these success cases, the post-offer candidates arrived at Point B – meeting the demands and obtaining the position – but they also arrived at Point B as improved versions of themselves with better fitness and abilities, and in the second case a better advocate for their own healthcare.