By Michael L. Simpson
March 21, 2013
Ever had an “ideal” candidate turn out to be a “nightmare” employee? With all the effort and time spent in hiring, how does that happen?
Don’t blame the candidate, or even the people making the hire; blame the process – it’s backward.
Four signs let you know it is time to flip the hiring process:
- The primary criterion for filtering candidates is based on resumes, skills, education, references and interviews.
- You have been surprised that a candidate did not work out.
- You experience a high turnover, low retention rate for employees.
- New hires become low performers.
If the bulk of the hiring effort to determine a person’s future potential is spent evaluating self-presented historical data that is never again considered or referred to once that employee starts, it is time to rethink this process.
How many of your successful friends and family are currently in the exact field of their degree?
Have you ever omitted key information or embellished your resume?
Did you ever notice that some of the most passionate and motivated workers are those that made a radical career shift once they finally figured out what they were meant to do?
Degree in the field, years of experience, resume and cover letter writing ability don’t address those issues and are often still the first filters for weeding out those pesky applicants to get down to the sacred few worthy of interviewing. Filtering candidates like this is akin to waiting weeks after you acquire a company to identify the top employees. Unfortunately, they may already be gone.
Try selecting interview candidates with the end game reality in mind - knowing the real person, and how they pair up to the behaviors, design and qualities that determine success in that specific position in your specific organization and location.
Many companies have paid a fortune for consultants to design profiles that model their top performers, but it was considered a bit of voodoo, akin to the early years of chiropractors. No longer.
Select your testing carefully. Personality tests are helpful for developing tolerance within your organization, and your employees consider them a corporate novelty without expensive coaching and training. Skills testing can determine if a person can do a job, but not if they are motivated to do it in your organization. Culture testing can determine if a person can fit in, but not if they can positively influence your culture. And, since such testing typically seeks to identify the median of your company culture, you could just perpetuate mediocrity, when you actually are in need of shifting the median towards the area of a success culture, defined by your top performers, rather than a “get along” culture.
With the proper employee modeling tied into your application process, you can sort candidates based on priority to interview, rather than filter them out too early. When the system has applicants ranked, start your regular process from the top down looking at skills and experience, or even the quality of a cover letter if that is important to you.
There are many pre-employment selection providers available today. Here are a few keys to consider when evaluating the available solutions:
- No consultants required. Automated systems cost a great deal less and are more consistently accurate.
- Find one with a fully functional free trial. If they don’t trust the system for an unsupervised trial, it’s too difficult.
- Maximum 15-minute test, or employees won’t participate.
- No requirement to test a lot of people. Statistical relevance will dilute your results. Identifying the qualities of the Gold medal-winning athlete does not require testing everyone at the Olympics
- Hidden science. Friendly graphics and usable tools, not science, makes hiring faster and easier, so it shouldn’t require new education or learning a new language.
If you are dissatisfied with the results for the amount of effort put into the hiring process, consider flipping the whole thing around. Decide to start with people, not historical data, since that is the end goal anyway. Now, go find some scientific testing that doesn’t require your hiring managers to get a PhD in assessments. You’ll feel like a genius, even if your hiring managers take all the credit.
Michael L. Simpson is CEO and co-founder of Pairin Inc., a pioneer developer of web-based SaaS applications for the pre-employment selection market, helps organizations by focusing the hiring process on the person first, and then assessing historical data, like experience. Pairin streamlines and improves hiring by making it more predictable and removing guesswork. He can be reached at www.pairin.com.