Recently we discussed two important, but often overlooked, strategic requirements that will help you improve your hiring. The first is to define what it means and takes to deliver exceptional customer service. The second is to specify how to measure success (and failure) fairly and accurately. We want to add three additional components to this strategic model.
1. Understand the person who is interacting with the company’s customers.
By measuring current employees’ knowledge, skills, abilities, personal characteristics, and performance using well-designed and researched assessments, the company will gain a better understanding of areas that represent strengths as well as those that will need to be addressed in the coming months and years. Having a transparent view of the company’s bench strength is critical to a successful hiring process because it objectively reveals which individual qualities are most important to the company across its different jobs. In addition, the information gleaned from the assessments also helps the company understand more about the type of people who represent the face of the company in the eyes of its customers – are they friendly, flexible, and willing to go the extra mile to solve a problem?
2. Link representatives’ skills and qualities directly to performance metrics.
A concurrent validation study is a good way to evaluate the value of an assessment’s ability to predict performance in an efficient and straightforward manner. In a concurrent study, current employees (in the same job) take the assessment(s) being considered for use during the pre-hire screening process. Once completed, the employees’ scores on the assessments are compared to their performance data. The results of these analyses allow inferences to be made about an assessment’s ability to predict performance in the job. The following steps summarize a typical concurrent validation study:
Step 1: Communication Plan. Ensure that the purpose of the study and its process are communicated to and supported by key stakeholders.
Step 2: Sampling Plan and Gathering of Assessment Data. Identify job incumbents who will participate in the study. High, average and low performers should be adequately represented in the sample for each job. Ideally, a large sample of incumbents in each job will be included in order to provide the most representative group possible. Incumbents complete a battery of assessments (typically delivered via the web), which have been selected based on the jobs and what they require to be successful.
Step 3: Gather Criterion Data. Collect performance data on those individuals selected to participate in the study.
Step 4: Match and “Clean” Data. Match assessment and performance data for each person and clean data to make sure it is error-free and complete.
Step 5: Statistical Analyses and Recommendations. Analyze the relations between the assessment data and performance data. The analyses indicate not only the magnitude of the relationship between the assessments and performance, but also the nature of such relationships (e.g., which performance outcomes are best predicted by which assessments). Use results to make recommendations on how to best use each assessment to identify qualified candidates for each job.
3. Revisit what it takes to achieve desired performance goals on a regular basis.
It’s important to understand how assessments add value to the business. The key to ensuring that assessments remain inextricably linked to the business is to quantitatively compare assessments and key performance indicators. Depending on the job and business, these comparisons should occur monthly via a robust analytics process. Continuous assessment monitoring is critical to fully realizing the value of a pre-hire assessment process.
Taken together, these five ways to improve your hiring aren’t quick fixes or necessarily easy to implement, but they will drive improvements in the hiring process, retention, and job performance.