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How to make sure recruitment decisions don’t go wrong!

As the number of applications for each job increases, so it seems the recruitment process lengthens. Additional steps, interviews etc are added to further test candidates and ensure that the right recruitment decision is made.

But what is the ideal recruitment process, is it a telephone or Skype call, should it these be followed by a one, two or three stage interview process? Who should be involved and what should an interview consist of?  Answering this is like answering, ‘how long is a piece of string’ it all depends on your organisation and the role in question.

What we do know is that it is in the best interests of the employer and the candidate to make the right decision. No matter how much a candidate may want the job, the big question is can they actually do it? Nobody benefits if someone, without the skills, knowledge or behaviours to be a success, is appointed.

For employers, the cost of hiring the wrong person, isn’t just the pounds and pence spent on recruiting, but the hours and minutes wasted interviewing and inducting that person, plus the disruption it can cause the team and department in question, as well as the impact on the wider business and its customers and clients.  This disruption is further amplified within smaller organisations.

Research constantly reminds us just how unreliable interviews are. Even skilled practitioners trained in competency or motivational interview techniques get it wrong. A lot. If perfect prediction is around 1.0 then interviews generally have a predictive validity of about 0.3. Less if the interviewer relies on old fashioned biographical techniques. In simple terms we only get it right a third of the time.

A thorough assessment centre can help minimise the risk of making a poor recruitment choice, however the term assessment centre, has in recent times taken on a slightly negative connotation.  Being associated with mainly entry level or graduate positions and not for what they should be, a way of assessing potential candidates’ ability to do the job in question at any level.

A good assessment process should be fully tailored to the role and enable you to see in greater detail how each candidate will perform once hired.  But what is the typical assessment process, what does it consist of?

  1. Work samples – are by far the most accurate way of assessing candidates. They recreate the reality of the job so you can see the candidate in action. At its simplest, that might be asking a plumber to do some pipe work or a merchandiser to layout some stock. At more senior levels that may take the form of presentations, facilitating discussions or “in tray” exercises.
  2. Psychometric tests – these come in all shapes and sizes, from personality profiling to the ability to test for specific soft and technical skills such as business decision making, numerical analysis or special reasoning. A good assessment designer will look at the key skills you require and suggest relevant tests. These tests are generally hosted online so can be distributed and completed in advance of any further assessment. Analysing the results for each candidate will highlight any areas of concern and allow you to design specific interview questions to probe the candidate’s experience.
  3. Group exercisestheses can often expose how candidates interact with others. Without the formal structure of an interview, and with multiple participants to manage, candidates often drop their guard and behave in more authentic ways. Are they good communicators? Can they influence? Do they take the lead or are they a natural follower? Who is good at bringing the team together – and who generates more heat and conflict?

These are just a few examples. Whatever assessment methods are chosen they will help you, as an employer, gain a deeper understanding on how potential recruits will approach the key elements of their role and stop you from recruiting the wrong person. We recently designed, and help run a full day assessment for a client who was recruiting for a pivotal senior position.  The additional information the psychometric tests combined with performance during the assessment day gave them, meant that they were comfortable in their decision making. In fact, we were told that, had they not had such a thorough assessment they would have made an expensive mistake!

This shows how important it is to fully assess a candidate’s ability and not reply on the information gained at a simple question and answer interview.

If you are looking to recruit and need help with any candidate assessment programmes we offer our recruitment services in a modular format, allowing you to only pay for the elements you need. Whether that’s attracting candidates to create a pipeline of CVs, screening applications, proactive head hunting or assessment design.

For more information on how we could help please do get in touch.

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