Human resource executives have a clear and growing interest in how pre-employment assessments can be helpful to their business. A recent study from Aberdeen Group
included a survey of HR executives in which 61% rate talent acquisition as their top priority in 2012. Since assessments play a critical role in determining the “talent” available in talent acquisition, this means that assessments are an important part of the talent acquisition priority.
The growing use of assessments is also being driven by several factors ranging from technological innovation to the ability to standardize a process that is often ad hoc and open to variance.
The growth of cloud-based applications is one technology factor driving the adoption of assessments. The technology benefits from cloud deployments allows assessment content providers to easily deploy assessment content, connect platforms to create interoperability, and customize client solutions while maintaining scalable economics which reinforces a strong value proposition.
Big data, business intelligence, and analytics are also driving the use of assessments within talent acquisition solutions. The same factors being realized elsewhere in the enterprise apply equally well within talent management and acquisition. Until recently, Human Resource departments have not been able to quantify the investment return like operations or information technology has historically been able to show.
Now, though, recruiting leaders can demonstrate a clear linkage between assessment content and business outcomes through analytics that link the hiring process to new hire performance over the employee lifecycle. In a January 25th article on ERE.NET
by John Zappe, Aberdeen Group Analysts, Madeline Laurano and Mollie Lombardo discussed findings from their research report, “Organizations that integrate talent data with business data are three-and-a-half times as likely to achieve Best-in-Class as those that do not integrate data.”
Finally, the process to implement assessments, when done correctly, enables the organization to drive objectivity and alignment. This process allows for:
- A job analysis which enables the hiring team to determine the competencies that drive job success, gain alignment on these competencies, and use them in future discussion on training, coaching, and ongoing development.
- Standard evaluation of candidates using objective tools that measure these key competencies.
- A validated process that has been calibrated to job performance. When communicated to the hiring managers, this enables everyone to understand how the hiring process is related to business outcomes.
- A closed loop analysis process. As discussed earlier, the economics, availability, and integration of data enable recruiting leaders to deeply understand their hiring funnel, if a candidate meets quality of hire baselines, and ongoing performance improvement opportunities.
How does this relate to recruiting?
With the growing interest and application of assessments as part of a data-driven talent acquisition process, understanding factors that may limit your organization’s use of assessments is important. Your recruiting process is potentially one of those factors. The recruiting and sourcing process potentially creates a bottleneck that reduces the effectiveness of your assessment tools and ultimately your talent acquisition process.
In a well-designed hiring process, you start by creating key foundations. A job analysis defines the competencies that are important to job performance. Understanding the competencies also enables you to select the right assessment content. For example, to measure multi-tasking, you are better to use a simulation than a structured interview. To measure integrity, you are better to use a personality assessment than a problem solving test.
Once you have selected the assessments, you must demonstrate how a candidate assessment score links to job performance. This validation process provides you the foundation to identify an appropriate pre-hire assessment profile. The strength and breadth of your labor pool is an important consideration in determining how stringent you can be in designing that profile. If you design the pre-hire assessment profile to be very stringent or selective, fewer candidates will “pass” the assessment process, potentially making it more difficult to fill job openings, but those candidates should be better qualified to perform well on the job.
To illustrate this, consider the following example taken from a contact center organization. In this example, two assessment hiring profiles were created based on validity evidence and analysis of the candidate population. In Profile 1, a 75% pass rate was modeled. This means that out of every 100 candidates, 75 will “pass” the assessments and be eligible for hire. In Profile 2, a 50% pass is modeled. This means that only 50 out of every 100 candidates will pass the assessments and be eligible for hire. The premise is that the more selective the hiring team can be, the greater the probability that they will be able to hire an individual who will perform better.
For simplicity purposes, we will assume that all candidates who pass the assessment process are hired. We will also examine $$ collected per hour as the performance metric used to determine quality of hire.
Under Profile 1, more candidates pass the assessment process. This means that more candidates who are potentially low performers are allowed into the talent pool for consideration; however, the trade-off is that recruiting can recruit fewer candidates per job opening because more will pass the process (making openings easier to fill).
However, under Profile 2, the average performance increases because those lower performers are eliminated by the assessment process. The trade-off is that the recruiting team needs to source 66 more candidates to reach 100 hires.
In this example, the hiring team has two options to consider. Both options provide them with a substantial improvement over the baseline performance of employees hired without the use of assessments. However, if recruiting can maintain enough candidates at a 50% rate to meet their fill rates, then they have positioned the business to benefit from a potential 30% performance improvement in $ collected per hour.
Ways to Improve Recruiting
In the previous section, we demonstrated the impact of being more selective in the recruiting process. With a lower pass rate, more low performing candidates are eliminated from consideration. In order to be able to be more selective, though, we need to be able to recruit as many candidates into the top of the funnel as possible.
In this section, we will highlight strategies and tactics that have enabled organizations to improve their ability to recruit more candidates into their hiring funnel.
Talent acquisition is a key priority for human resource executives. Pre-employment assessment tools enable hiring leaders to evaluate job candidates to determine how they potentially fit a hiring profile for specific jobs. Being able to hire individuals that meet or exceed these profiles enables the organization to improve quality of hire.
The ability to be selective based on job performance during the recruiting process allows the organization to hire new employees who are potentially more capable. When we compared profile 1 and profile 2, we saw that hiring at a 50% pass rate enabled the organization to drive 30% higher performance compared to hiring at a 70% pass rate.
However, recruiting and sourcing can impact the ability of organizations to hire at a profile 2 level compared to a profile 1 level. Organizations must rethink how their recruiting teams are hired, structured, and compensated. In addition, using different tactics to drive sourcing and analyzing the effectiveness and efficiency of the sourcing tactics will remove the guesswork out of the recruiting process so that your recruiting team is driving performance improvement.