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Making Better Recruitment Decisions Faster

Nick Shaw

Managers today estimate that one-in-five employees should not have been hired, according to CEB. Some employees just aren’t a good match for the role or they don’t fit into the culture of the organisation. Article from Nick Shaw, managing director of the UK and Ireland at CEB, now part of Gartner.

All too often judgements about job candidates are made either without using assessment tools – or worse still – without using the data captured from assessments to inform hiring decisions. As competition for top talent intensifies, identifying and hiring high-quality candidates quickly has never been more important. However, the findings show that business partners need help from HR and recruiters to make better hiring decisions faster. To reduce the number of regrettable hires, talent professionals have to introduce greater objectivity into recruitment process. By combining science-based assessment tools with human interpretation of the results and a greater understanding of the competencies required in the role, companies are three times more likely to identify people that will succeed in the role than if they used human judgement alone.

What’s more, measuring candidates by “fit to role” has a positive effect after they join the company. These new hires apply 15 percent more discretionary effort and are 38 percent more likely to stay with the organisation. That’s because happier employees work harder. With an understanding of the value of assessment, talent professionals must also win-over hiring managers, challenging oft-heard excuses and assessment avoidance tactics from the line.

Excuse 1: I know exactly the sort of person I’m looking for; data won’t show me the best person to hire. More than 80 percent of hiring decisions are made based on hiring managers’ ‘gut feel’ about job candidates. Going on instincts rather than objective data is unreliable and precisely why so many hiring decisions are regretted. Relying on intuition also results in unconscious hiring biases and can be harmful to workplace diversity. This approach limits the candidate pool and leaves companies exposed to unintentional discrimination based on people’s race, age, gender and disability, rather than their capability to do the job. The right tools and processes are needed to scale hiring decisions and get the right people into the right roles.

Excuse 2: I don’t want to slow things down, let’s cut out the assessment part. It takes around 13 weeks – that’s three months or 63 business days – to fill a position. Slow hiring is more often caused by the volume of candidates, the distraction of less suitable candidates and/or candidates having to interview with multiple stakeholders in the firm than from including an assessment. Regardless of whether the candidate looks good on paper or not, assessments measure individuals’ competencies, abilities, behavioural styles, and preferences that drive business outcomes. Assessment tools identify the candidates that fit the role best with much greater predictive power than interviews, and can accelerate hiring decisions later in the process.

Excuse 3: I need someone dynamic with the potential to grow, assessments can’t measure this. Whether it’s a graduate role to be filled, a frontline position that requires a specific set of technical or creative skills, or a leadership position where cultural fit matters, assessments can measure the hard and soft skills, behaviours, and characteristics that are most critical to success. The same tools also provide data and insights that can be used to determine how someone will perform in their current role, as well as their potential to perform successfully in other roles or contexts in the future. Objective assessments are still the most accurate tools for identifying the best-fit and highest-potential candidates based on an organisation’s unique role requirements. And the data adds value beyond hiring as it can be used to identify an individuals’ on-boarding and development needs.

Excuse 4: Assessments are boring and have nothing to do with the job candidates apply for. This is sometimes true, but it shouldn’t be the case. An engaging and relevant experience can be created through different types of assessment – questionnaires, animated simulations and real-life video scenarios – to give test-takers greater insight into the role and the company they are applying for. Candidates expect a rigorous and fair process. New technology developments have reduced assessment times and made it possible to complete tests on mobile devices, enhancing the candidate experience while maintaining reliability of the results.

There is no doubt that business partners should be involved in hiring new people, after all, they know the market, the industry and their team best. However, they shouldn’t call all the shots when it comes to recruitment. Regardless of excuses and pressure from the line, integrating talent assessments into the process ensures hiring decisions are fair, scalable, effective and efficient. What’s more the odds of selecting the right people for the job are significantly improved and regretted hiring decisions reduced.

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