Stop the revolving door, get the right hire…

Are you relying purely on an interview to make hiring decisions? Is your interview focused on a generic set of questions? Do your questions focus on the job description, or the attributes required to be successful in that position?

Hiring the wrong person costs you a lot. It costs money, lost productivity, redundant effort, morale and goodwill.

The Harvard Business Review points out that as much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions.

  • A recent survey by Robert Half showed that one-third (36%) of 1,400 executives surveyed felt the top factor leading to a failed hire, is a poor skills match.
  • The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) says the mistake could cost up to five times a bad hire’s annual salary.
  • Gamble, who runs the Chicago-based Jean Gamble & Associates, believes “wrong hiring” occurs because hiring managers and human resources people confuse the job description with the job criteria.

The bottom line is, “given the myriad of competitive challenges facing organizations today, they can ill afford to also struggle with needless and expensive employee turnover, a lack of leadership capabilities in their managerial ranks and dysfunctional staff members or work teams.” Summit Assessments.

Accurate job profiling, pre-employment testing and candidate specific interview questions will make your search more objective and will contribute to higher success rates, and lasting success.

Information uncovered from assessments helps leaders and managers rely less on gut instinct and make smarter people decisions.”Summit assessments

What to look for in choosing a pre-employment test?

  1. VALIDITY: The degree to which the test measure what it intend to measure. It relates to the accuracy with which an assessment measures an aspect of an individual,  and can predict future job performance or success.
  2. RELIABILITY: The extent to which an instrument delivers consistent results. “For a test to be reliable, an individual’s score should be about the same every time the individual takes it (allowing for the effects of practice)” (Stanley, 2004, p. 12). Should an individual take the test more than once, at different times, the results should have little or no variability. Reliability is often measured with Cronbach’s Alpha, a coefficient ranging from 0 – 1. In Northern America, a coefficient of 0.7 or higher is acceptable for employment assessments.

How do job specific performance models work?

A robust assessment tool will allow you to benchmark the profiles of ideal candidates for any given position. Some assessment tools have large databanks of typical attributes required for common job profiles as we find on the NOC. With some highly sophisticated assessments, the employer can take it even further and develop organization specific profiles for ideal candidates for their key positions. Matching applicants to a role-specific benchmark will provide you with a depth and breadth of information not readily available on a resume. It will cut down on time and effort spent in interviews, and alas, wrong placements.

The benefit of candidate focused interview questions:

Having profiled a position, assessed all the relevant candidates, how do you choose between the three strongest applicants? Once again, try to stay away from  the “gut feel”, “good vibe” and “he made us laugh” decision tree. If you came this far with a strong assessment tool, you might as well  go all the way. A robust assessment may have the capacity to generate candidate-specific interview questions, focusing on the strengths and challenges of the profile as it relates to the position requirements. This gives the interview team the opportunity to ask pointed questions and evaluate the candidate in context of their strengths and weaknesses. You will have first hand information on how the candidate will manage his/her weaker attributes in the job context and how self aware the person is in his/her impact on other people. The interviews for the top candidates will not be exactly the same, but will put the organization in the position to evaluate them on an equitable basis.

People are one of the largest investments of an organization, quite often its main competitive advantage. Choosing your team with care and due diligence will protect your organization from unnecessary losses, and  the negative impact of wrong placements.

Marderé Birkill, BA, MBL, CEC for Sage & Summit Consulting. ( mardere@sage-summit.ca) August 2016.