By Kathi Graham-Leviss
April 5, 2012
Determining the right people to hire involves much more than just selecting candidates with the necessary technical skills or those who interview well. In order to find right-fit talent, employers must gauge candidates on factors beyond what their resume says or what they tell you about their experience in person. Digging deeper into a candidate’s soft skills and problem solving skills compared with the job for which they’re being considered provides a much better overview of which candidate will be the perfect hire.
The Need for Candidate Assessments
With traditional interviewing methods, companies often rely on gut feeling when making hiring decisions; yet such a subjective strategy usually fails to gain key intelligence about the candidate and gives little indication about how he or she will perform once on the job. Without an understanding of a candidate’s underlying strengths and weaknesses and how these factors will impact their performance in a specific job, the company will be more likely to have to let them go due to poor alignment.
To avoid these situations, hiring managers need to pinpoint the specific skills needed for each position and find candidates whose strengths satisfy these requirements. By basing hiring decisions on the key areas of technical skills, experience, problem solving, and soft skills, companies can avoid hiring ill-equipped employees and lower their turnover rates.
With an assessment system in place, organizations will have the tools they need to find the perfect hire. Such a system can provide the benchmarks and insight needed to develop effective talent management strategies that result in improved performance and greater retention of top employees. Additionally, when hiring managers are equipped with performance standards for each position and interview questions based on specific job profiles, they can use the information as part of the interview process to better predict success and make smarter hiring decisions.
Five Steps to Finding the Perfect Hire
While assessments should be a part of any successful recruiting strategy, they are just one step along the road to finding the perfect hire. When the following five strategies are implemented together, organizations can be confident they have a solid strategy in place to ensure they hire the right people for the right positions.
Define the job. Part of the reason companies end up hiring the wrong people is due to job descriptions that are outdated or that focus solely on the responsibilities of the position. Instead, job descriptions should emphasize the performance standards in addition to the responsibilities of each role, while providing industry-standard language that highlights the level of experience and qualities needed for each position.
Create benchmarks for each position. By developing benchmarks based on the job descriptions, organizations can identify the skills and abilities most relevant for each position. A validated assessment system can then be used to measure candidates against these standards. Thus, the benchmarks act as a guideline to zero in on the candidates who display the competencies, critical thinking, and core values needed for on-the-job success.
Screen and interview candidates. Rather than waiting for positions to open up, organizations can prepare for talent gaps by building a network of pre-screened candidates who can easily be brought onboard. This can be done by continuously scanning resumes for key accomplishments, specific sales figures, positive business results, and relevant skills to narrow down the talent pool. Candidates should then be screened through in-person interviews, and the top candidates can be considered further as positions become available.
Assess top candidates. Assessments provide crucial data for comparing the most promising candidates, offering complete views of their competencies, critical thinking, and core values, and helping to make better informed hiring decisions. The best assessment tools provide easily interpreted results for comparing multiple candidates, allowing the organization to truly select the best candidates from the talent pool.
Provide ongoing employee development. In addition to candidate strengths, a robust assessment solution will provide the insight needed to create development plans throughout the employee’s tenure. Assessments can also be used to analyze current talent for insight into their gaps and areas for improvement. With a deep understanding of each employee’s attributes, and a plan for continuous development, the employer can best support and retain top performers.
Finding right-fit candidates is crucial for maintaining business momentum, supporting organizational growth, and minimizing the adverse effects of employee turnover. Using the steps outlined above, employers can avoid many of the hiring mistakes made in the past and ensure they have a strategy for hiring that puts the right people in the positions for which they are most qualified. Using assessments as part of your hiring strategy is a proven way to find top candidates and often results in lower turnover, higher job satisfaction and better performance across the organization.
Kathi Graham-Leviss founded XB Consulting in 2002. An industry leading global human resources firm, XB Consulting has a rich history of providing private and public sector organizations with the comprehensive insight and tools needed to create high performance workforces. More information about Graham-Leviss and XB Consulting is available at www.xbconsulting.com.