What do organizations that continuously field great employees do in their hiring process?  Well, job simulationsprofessional sports teams, orchestras, and Broadway musicals require everyone to audition for the job.  Common to each of these types of organizations is the desire for excellence.  To help them ensure they will deliver a product that pleases their fans, they will typically require all potential team members or performers to audition for the job.  Unlike traditional interviews, which are all about “tell me” what you can do, auditions or simulations require potential future employees to “show me” what you can do.

For recruiting leaders hiring customer service, sales, or support employees, using a simulation can help you measure key job skills and abilities.

Realistic multi-media simulations allow job candidates to play the part of a fictitious service, sales, or support representative while auditioning for a job from anywhere in the world. This gives hiring managers a realistic preview of a candidate’s skills, such as computer, multitasking and data entry skills. Leading simulations have evolved from minimally interactive situational judgment tests to microcosms of service economy jobs, complete with training, interactive dashboards, timers, and branching that allows candidates to escalate or deescalate a customer’s emotional response based on how well they manage the interaction.

Simulations provide a company’s talent acquisition team benefits in five ways:

  1. Recreate job tasks critical to the performance required in any given job which provides you with an improved way to measure the candidate.
  2. Assess an applicant's aptitude for learning how to perform tasks required on a given job before they are hired.
  3. Assess a candidate's present ability to perform job related tasks by linking simulation performance to actual job performance using predictive analytics.
  4. Provide applicants with a realistic preview of critical job tasks so they have a better understanding of the job requirements and duties.
  5. Create an engaging candidate experience which promotes your employment brand. 

 

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Measuring success is the direct result of sound planning, accurate assessment, standardized interviewing,TA_Blog_Post_5_Photo and transparent communication. New hire evaluations begin with the on-boarding process and the collection of information through the dissection of training scores and voluntary and involuntary attrition rates to predict future productivity and long-term retention. Immediate feedback from managers and trainers helps recalibrate competencies and constantly improve the hiring process. 

Over the year, regular and transparent analysis will determine how top and bottom employees perform in an open environment and provide the necessary information to constantly reshape and create a better hiring plan. The goal is to supply every employee with the tools for success through training, coaching, development, and career pathing. Giving your hires the tools to shape their individual careers will provide the blueprint for achieving corporate strategy success. 

Individual recruiter achievement is rooted in setting clear and measurable goals in a transparent environment and providing the tools to improve productivity. Acquisition strategies are mainly tied to attrition and fill rates, but in most instances poor performance issues are found in soft skill and personality problems that can be overcome through regular communication between managers and team members. A strong team foundation is built on coaching, mentoring, and taking the time to get to the root of the problem through regular one-on-one interaction.  

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At all times during the hiring cycle, transparent communication and redundant skill sets between all TA_Blog_Post_4_Photomembers of the talent acquisition team are vital to success. Improvements in technology make the process easier, but breakdowns may occur and alter the direction of any mass hiring. These changes can be mitigated through leadership preparation and the strength of the acquisition team in three key areas 

  1. A nimble team can change the sourcing strategy without losing any ground. 
  2. A cross-trained team can alleviate any personnel or tactical changes in hiring strategy in real time.  
  3. A redundancy factor strong at every recruiting level will overcome any potential obstacle.   

Transparency gives recruiters the power to make group decisions seamlessly and manage time efficiently while always moving forward through the hiring process. 

Consistent meetings and communication with team members will result in better overall recruiting efforts and also a prolonged improvement of skills. Stronger recruiters can provide insight and mentor to struggling team members. A cohesive and transparent environment provides the structure to share skills and build an ongoing and continuously improving talent acquisition unit. 

Transparency is more than technology; it’s the ability to meet during any time of the day to make actionable group decisions. The candidate experience should be as quick and fair as possible to every candidate. Candidate notification is important to keep qualified candidates moving forward and to ensure that “knocked out” candidates still remain brand champions of your company.  

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Interviews based on gut instinct will produce a continuous pipeline of successful employees as often as aScreen_Shot_2014-08-14_at_11.54.45_PM high school football team will win enough games to make the NFL playoffs. Interviews have to be aligned with every job description to assure all candidates are evaluated fairly and accurately as quickly as possible. Through a standardized process candidates are not only evaluated more thoroughly, but team members can share information faster and make candidate-hiring decisions quicker.  

Interview training is a necessity and should encompass all aspects of the process: what to ask and not ask, how to conduct an audio or virtual interview, how to manage an interview, and how to measure a successful interview. A poorly trained interviewer will make decisions that hurt the strategic goals of a company for years. Face to face interviews are much more than a simple evaluation of hard skills, but a behavioral understanding of work style, direct experience, and personality insight designed to uncover the soft skills that will drive long-term employee productivity and success.  

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Candidate assessment is a science designed to let recruiters read between the resume lines and tease out the best candidate fits. Properly implemented, this pre-hiring stage should provide a direct correlation to top performers and growth opportunities over time. Case studies in mass hiring have shown that assessment and screening provide more pertinent and measureable information related to candidate leadership, business acumen, and overall success indicators than the interview process.  

The true value of assessment provides additional candidate gifts well beyond the scope of your specific job requisition. A complete assessment will identify the strengths of candidates for many other jobs at your company, which is the talent acquisition version of having your cake and eating it too. Candidate assessment allows managers to pull back the curtain and find out if the candidate is truly a wizard or merely another traveler on the yellow brick road with an inflated skill set. 

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Every successful talent acquisition campaign begins with clear objectives, a comprehensive sourcing TA_Blog_Post_1_Photostrategy, and a detailed job description. It’s the job of the leader to communicate to their team all the underlying needs of the business, which includes “how to find the candidates” and “why the company is pursuing the strategy”.  The more specific a plan, the better the chance for success. 

Mass hiring requires a broad and meticulous sourcing strategy. Digital resources (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, various job boards, virtual hiring fairs, etc.) will comprise a substantial amount of sourcing, but never discount the local channels in a community. The goal is to maintain a proactive strategy and always customize it to meet your needs depending on high volume, geographic location, specificity of position, or whatever are your dependent variables.  

All the planning in the world is useless without a precise and thorough candidate description. The ideal job description explains all the hard skills, soft skills, culture fit, and the core values tied to performance success.  Like an onion, a properly orchestrated campaign will reveal, layer by layer, the best skilled candidates quickly and efficiently to expose candidates who will learn, grow, and remain with the company long term to positively impact the corporate strategy. 

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The assessment industry is growing quickly fueled by technology and easier access to data.  As you consider potential assessment vendors, take time to understand how your potential partner will grow with your future business needs. 

1. Does the vendor offer continued support?  

You want a responsive vendor that is invested in their clients, the results of their services, and in building blog_post_5_-_photolong-term relationships. It is inevitable questions or concerns (technical or otherwise) will arise after the assessment process is complete. Investigate how a potential vendor will provide ongoing support and is it included in your contract.  Create some real-life examples and ask your vendor team to walk you through the details of how they would respond, timing, cost, and expected results.  When you care about your organization’s hiring practices, the last thing you want is being negatively impacted by a non-responsive vendor 

Bottom line: Check a vendor’s references to verify they’re in it for the long haul.  

2. How scalable is the vendor? 

If your company is hiring, chances are business is good. Vendors with a strong infrastructure and all the technology tools in place are well-suited for growing with their clients as their hiring volume increases.  Make sure to share with your potential vendors your growth plans and ask them how they will accommodate your needs.  Ask about their data centers, ability to add additional capacity, current utilization levels, and staffing levels so you understand how they will support your growth. 

Bottom line: Ask how the vendor would be able to support a large influx of activity if your company relocates or expands. 

 3. Are they committed to innovation? 

 

As public expectations surrounding technology increase and more people become familiar with workplace assessments, applicants will continue to expect more from a pre-hire evaluation process that takes less time to complete. If the assessment company offers a lengthy, paper-and-pencil test, or an online multiple choice assessment that seems to have little relevance to the job, the process (and your company) is not likely to be as well-received by applicants who expect a quick, engaging, and job-relevant experience.  What innovations has the assessment vendor provided to their customers that are relevant to your needs? 

Bottom line: Applicants do not complete assessments in a vacuum. The assessment process should tell them something about the job and your company’s standards of excellence. 

 4. What differentiates the vendor from the pack? 

In other words, what does one assessment provider offer that its competitors do not?  Sometimes it can be difficult to see the differences between vendors who seemingly have all the major pieces in place. Figure out the importance the company places on being competitive, and you’ll walk away with a better understanding of the company’s products and services.   

Bottom line: Knowing an assessment company’s competitive edge can help you make a final decision and open up your eyes to something you might not have initially thought your company needed or wanted.   

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With so many assessment tools available to you, finding the right assessments that meet your business needs can be confusing.  Here are six questions to ask about each assessment you are considering. 

1. How was the assessment developed? 

Creating a new assessment from scratch is an extremely lengthy process. Effective tests aren’t built in blog_post_4_-_photogarage over the weekend. Rather, the instrument’s concept must be vetted against solid, empirical research in a process that can take years to complete. Without data from real people, there’s little room to believe an assessment is predictive of employee performance.  Take time to understand how the assessment was developed, how the assessment relates to predicting performance for your job types, and why the vendor developed the assessment in the manner they did. 

Bottom line: Go beyond the software interface and look to the technical manual to understand the steps involved in building the assessment. 

 2. What is the theory behind the assessment? 

A critical step in the development of any assessment is to define what characteristics or knowledge are to be measured, and to provide a rationale for why the instrument is expected to be valid. Assessment claims should always be backed up by substantial research evidence. To ensure the content of an assessment aligns with the behaviors and knowledge actually displayed on the job, test providers are expected to conduct thorough job analyses and observations. 

Bottom line:  Be wary of assessments that were developed based on pet theories or assumptions about how employees or organizations work. Take time to talk to the potential vendor about how they would defend their assessments. 

 3. What validity evidence does the assessment have? 

Test reliability and validity are the most important features of a test in terms of quality and usefulness. Assessments need to not only be legally defensible, but should predict some type of performance. Criterion-related, content, and construct are the three main types of validity. By validating a test, you can determine how job-related and useful an assessment is for your business.  

Bottom line: Make sure enough proof exists to support the interpretation of test scores.  Ask how the vendor will develop and implement a validation strategy for your company.  

4. Is the vendor willing to share technical manuals?   

It’s wrong to judge a book by its cover. In the case of assessments, it’s even more of a mistake to not read the book at all. A technical manual is a testament to the vendor’s ability to rigorously design and evaluate its assessment. A high-quality manual includes information on the rationale behind and approach to developing the assessment; details of how the assessment was developed; research highlighting psychometric properties, fairness, and validation evidence; guidelines for assessment administration; and contact information for the test’s developers. A vendor’s inability or unwillingness to produce the technical documents for their assessments is a huge red flag.   

Bottom line: Only in the hands of an expert does a technical manual make sense. Hire a third-party consultant - ideally an industrial-organizational psychologist - to evaluate the assessment’s supporting documents.  

5. What kind of training and support does the vendor provide? 

Even the most highly predictive and psychometrically-sound assessments are of no use to your company if you do not understand what those assessments are designed to measure, how to administer them properly, or how to interpret assessment results and use them to help you make decisions about test-takers.  An assessment provider that produces great tools, but provides little to no training or support around them, is only doing half the job. 

Bottom line: Make sure the vendor’s product is complemented by services and resources that help you thoroughly understand and implement an assessment process.   

6. Will they adapt the assessment profile based on your evolving business needs? 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to assessing applicants for a job. What matters most to your company might not be what your competitors value. Plus, priorities change over time. If a vendor is unable to provide ongoing monitoring of how the assessments are performing and make recommendations to drive improvement, the value of the assessment process becomes less clear. 

Bottom line: Avoid outpacing your vendor by partnering with a company that can adapt to the changing demands within your organization.  

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When selection an assessment vendor, it is important to ask them about their expertise and experience.  But, it is also important to ask them about their clients. 

1. Who are the vendor’s clients? 

Don’t believe just anyone can collect and manage your company’s assessment data. It’s important to first blog_post_3_-_Photounderstand whether or not the vendor has experience handling data types and volumes similar to what your company will have. You want to avoid an unprepared vendor that cannot handle your candidate volume, amount of data, and analytical needs.  The result could be candidates that cannot access the hiring process, platforms that do not work, and the inability of the vendor to create actionable discoveries from your data. 

Bottom line: Experience working with companies comparable to your own is usually a good indication a vendor can adequately manage your candidate volume and data requirements. 

2. Can they provide references? 

You’ll want an honest opinion about the vendor, and past clients with favorable experiences can shed light on what makes their services unique. They may also be able to alert you to potential issues that, with enough foresight, could be avoided. You will want to explore how the vendor has supported and trained the recruiting team, handled candidate support issues, and implemented changes.  You should also explore if what they claim in the sales process is actually what happens once the assessments are up and running. 

Bottom line: Ask to speak with other companies that have worked first-hand with the vendor for an outsider’s perspective. 

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Selecting a pre-hire assessment often comes down to choosing the right partner that has the experience and expertise that meets your company’s needs.  Here are three questions to ask a potential assessment vendor. 

 1. How established and experienced is the vendor? 

The assessment industry is booming, bringing new players to the game. This is great news for buyers of Blog_2_-_Phototalent acquisition products and services.  But, take time to review each vendor and understand the depth of experience they bring to you.  Start-up companies may be flush with cash, but many are pushed to release products before the tools have gone through rigorous psychometric analysis. Companies with longevity and a proven reputation may be best equipped to offer products with actual, documented results you can see over time. 

Bottom line: Reputation and age matters. Look for companies with a broad assessment portfolio and track record of success.  

2. What are the qualifications of the assessment development team?   

Companies new to the assessment industry are eager to make a name for themselves. There’s no faster way to do that than to employ a savvy sales force charged with promoting and selling products. But the brains behind a test and its construction is a skilled research team. Staff with the proper educational background, qualifications and experience needed to rigorously design and evaluate assessments help ensure the company’s products and services are psychometrically sound and highly predictive of critical on-the-job outcomes that truly matter to your business.  

Bottom line: Avoid being swayed by a sales pitch.  Take time to understand how the assessment content was created, who created it, and their experience and background.  

3. Where does their expertise lie? 

Not all assessments are created equal and many won’t suit your organization’s needs. Different instruments, both in terms of structure and construct type, will place restrictions on what can confidently be created for your company. For example, if your business is looking to assess entry-level workers but an assessment vendor specializes in executive assessments, it’s highly unlikely their tools are going to get you the right employees for the job.  

Bottom line: Particular jobs may be more amenable to one type of assessment. Understand the experience level your potential partner(s) have with your job types.  Test providers should be able to develop and implement such assessments validly and effectively and prove this capability to you. 

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