Jul 20, 2023

Behavioral Assessments: Helping Shops Hire Smarter

Behavioral Assessments: Helping Shops Hire Smarter

Why did the math book look sad during the test?

Because it had too many problems!

Tee-hee. We’re so funny.

If the mention of a math book or a test put a shiver down your spine, you should probably brace yourselves, because today we’re talking about tests. Specifically behavioral tests. Or rather, behavioral assessments that can help you streamline your hiring process and hire the right people.

Oh Fullbay, you might be saying, I don’t need behavioral assessments. I am clairvoyant and can see instantly if someone will be a good fit.

We see you over there, Doctor Fate. If your magic helmet tells you which techs to hire, then feel free to bypass this article and read about how to give your perfect employees raises instead. But if you are like many other shop owners and are facing some hiring and retention difficulties in the face of the tech shortage, well, this article is for you.


Do you follow our Shop Owner Roundtables? If so, you’ve probably already heard a bit about behavioral assessments in the diesel field; Jennifer Callaway of Inland Empire Fleet Services discussed them at length in a recent sit-down. She even mentioned the company her shop worked with to produce assessments: JOBehaviors.

Almost as soon as the webinar ended, we had a lot of shop owners reaching out to ask about JOBehaviors, their behavioral assessments, and more. They wanted to hear all about this mysterious alchemy—and maybe even give them a try. We knew it was our solemn duty to investigate this further and provide more information for all the interested shops out there.

We reached out to CEO Mark Tinney to learn more about his company and the assessments they do. He very graciously sat down with us to share what goes into building a diesel tech assessment and why they’re so useful during and after the hiring process.

You have to admit the idea is intriguing—obviously a lot of a technician’s work is going to center on, well, technical proficiency. Can they do the engine teardown/rebuild, can they perform diagnostics, can they do it with a coffee cup balanced on their heads?

Relax, that last part isn’t actually included in the assessment.

Mark describes behavioral assessments as a bottom-up approach. “All of our assessments begin with an intense analysis of top performers in specific job categories,” he tells us. In layman’s terms, Mark and the JOBehaviors team sit down with a room of top techs and generate “close to 500 behaviors” that accompany the job.

JOBehaviors follows this process for any field they create an assessment for. And yes, if you’re raising your eyebrow in surprise—almost every field out there can generate 500 behaviors. Diesel technicians, truck drivers, hairstylists, even writers (“drinks lots of coffee, easily distracted, would rather be lying in a sunbeam right now”).

(Editor’s note: I can confirm this is an accurate description of Suz…)

Anyway, you name it, there are hundreds of behaviors associated with it.

Mark takes care to stress that these are not personality tests. They do not discern whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert, or any of the other -verts out there. What these assessments look for are the core behaviors required and desired to perform the job at hand.


Don’t worry, we’re not going to bombard you with the 500+ behaviors associated with diesel techs (although we did think about it). But here’s a few Mark shared with us:

  • They take in the scope of work before jumping into something—aka diagnostics.
  • They’ll leave notes for the next shift.
  • They’re respectful of peers and employers.
  • They take initiative when solving problems, often creatively.
  • They’ll keep their work area organized.

You’re probably nodding along. Think about your top-performing techs—or yourself as a technician—and you can probably come up with plenty of other job-related behaviors you’d like to see in your staff!


Most of us can agree that hiring and retaining techs remains something of a challenge. The subject came up in multiple panels and presentations during Diesel Connect, and it’s frequently addressed in our webinars and articles.

We won’t go too deep into the shortage, since we’ve covered it so frequently elsewhere. Hiring is tough and takes time, energy, and money. And then what happens if that person doesn’t work out? You’re down a tech and back to square one.

Unlike Doctor Fate’s helmet, assessments are not magical…but they can significantly reduce the time you spend looking at and interviewing applicants. When a shop teams up with JOBehaviors, they receive a link to an assessment that they can drop into job ads or put on their website—however they’re making first contact with applicants. The assessment takes about 8-10 minutes (and Mark does encourage shop owners to make it clear to applicants how long the test should take); once it’s complete, the candidate sees a thank-you screen. The results are emailed to the owner.

You can probably see why these assessments are so useful when it comes to streamlining hiring: Those who don’t meet the standards are effectively self-selected out. You’ll be able to tell right off the bat if someone displays the characteristics you want in a top tech, or if they don’t—and you’ll also be able to spot techs that still need to learn and can be trained up into the role.

Because the behaviors are drawn from and modeled by the best technicians out there, those who do well on the assessment are likely to be (or have the ability to become) top performers themselves. Jennifer prefers to hire technicians that score between a three and a five on the assessment; she has hired those who scored ones and twos, but acknowledged they did not last long.

“We use [the assessment] before we even talk to them,” Jennifer says in the webinar. “Sometimes you can talk to somebody after they have their assessment … some people can interview really well and cover up their pitfalls. But those come right out as soon as you hire them.

“It’s a helpful tool,” she concludes.

Its helpfulness extends to keeping people on, too. Mark tells us that the #1 reason companies of all stripes approach JOBehaviors is to lower turnover—and once assessments are added to the hiring process, they do just that. “Typically we see a minimum 50% drop in turnover,” he says.


If you’re thinking job assessments might be a good step to add to your hiring process, or just want to learn more about them, then head over to JOBehaviors and see what they’re all about.

And remember, hiring a tech is only half the battle. You also have to make sure your shop is a place they want to stay at in the long run—you’ve got to make it worth their while.

Mark puts it this way: “Assessment can have a dramatic impact on turnover if predictive selection is coupled with a management style that’s conducive to retaining.”

If your shop is a grim place to work, if you’re scrimping on pay, if you only provide decaf…well, yeah, people are gonna leave. That’s why, Mark says, you have to “strive to be an employer of choice.”

That means you need to be a good manager (or hire good managers to do the managing for you). We can fold other elements into it, too: You need to offer competitive salaries and benefits. You need to build a great shop culture that makes people want to stay with you through the years. Oh, and maybe invest in tools like Fullbay to make their jobs a little easier.*

*Hey, you’re Doctor Fate. You knew the shameless plug was coming!

Suz Baldwin