(Originally published 2001 and now rewritten to be relevant for the 2011 hiring environment)
But unfortunately, in this current market of applicant shortage…the temptation is strong to hire the next warm body that walks in the front door! However, that type of hiring does a disservice to the applicant, to your other employees and to your organization as a whole. Have you ever hired a mistake? You know how disruptive and costly that can be!
I wrote this article 10 years ago in 2001 and now of course, the above sentence must read…in this current market of applicant overload, how does an employer sort through all those candidates to find the BEST applicant for THEIR open position?
It is still just as important in 2011 to utilize objectivity in your hiring decisions in the face of pressure to fill an open position and keep pace with the growth and expansion your business is facing as the economy rebounds. The answer is to use assessment tools that allow you to create valid benchmarks of the required characteristics that lead to successful performance of the job. Once the benchmark is established, test applicants against that benchmark to ensure that valid criteria are used to make the final hiring decision. This is so important when you have many applicants applying for a limited number of positions. It’s critical for you/the company, and the candidates, that you select employees with the right skills, aptitude and behaviors to fit into the company culture and the job responsibilities.
There are many tests available on the market today and the caution for any company using them is that they must be validated. The criteria used to determine a person’s success in a particular job position must include performance dimensions that 1) are relevant to that specific position and 2) can be measured against successful employees currently in the position with those dimensions. If those 2 criteria are met, an employer can feel comfortable they are using a tool that has no personal biases and can be applied without discrimination to all applicants. If the applicant meets the criteria for the benchmark, then the employer has the objective information needed to make the hiring decision.
How does an organization benefit by using validated assessments for recruitment and employee development?
1. Reduced turnover because new hires are selected who have the characteristics to be successful…in THAT job!
2. Improved employee morale because new additions to the team will “fit” the team
3. Recruitment and training costs SIGNIFICANTLY reduced! Exhausting interviewing time is eliminated and new hires need less upfront training because they come into the job with the core skills you have assessed that indicate they can handle it
4. Productivity increases as more employees stay longer and as the learning curve is shortened. New hire candidates who match the job requirements are productive on the job much faster!
So, don’t be misled that because you have many applicants in 2011 for your open positions, you can relax the need to assess each of those candidates. Use an objective tool - validated testing that assesses a candidate’s match to the specific job requirements. And don’t use a “cookie cutter” job pattern or benchmark; a sales rep at Company A may need to be much more Assertive and Innovative than one working at Company B, depending upon the level of responsibility and the corporate environment. A hospice nurse at Company C may need to have more Tact and Empathy than a customer service rep in a retail environment at Company D. Use an assessment tool that allows YOU to customize the success criteria for the job at YOUR company!