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Time to Flip the Hiring Process

There are times when an ideal candidate turns into a nightmare employee, despite all the effort and time spent in hiring. The candidate and the hiring managers are not to blame; it’s the process – it’s backwards.

Michael L. Simpson, CEO of Pairin, Inc. argues organizations that are dissatisfied with the results for the amount of effort put into the hiring process should consider flipping the whole thing around.

According to Simpson, there are four signs indicating it is time to flip the hiring process: 

  1. The primary criterion for filtering candidates is based on resumes, skills, education, references and interviews
  2. Feeling surprise over a candidate not working out
  3. Experiencing a high turnover, low retention rate for employees
  4. New hires become low performers

To improve this process, he wants these enterprises to decide to start with people, not historical data, since that is the end goal anyway.

Simpson believes “it is a fact that candidates have been known to omit key information or embellish resumes. Degree in the field, years of experience, resume and cover letter writing ability are often still the first filters for weeding out those pesky applicants to get down to the sacred few worthy of interviewing. Filtering candidates like this is akin to waiting weeks after acquiring a company to identify the top employees. Unfortunately, they may already be gone.”

“Instead organizations should try selecting interview candidates with the end game reality in mind – knowing the real person, and how they pair up to the behaviors, design and qualities that determine success in that specific position in the specific organization and location,” he adds.

Simpson believes there is a proven, albeit relatively new, category of applied science called pre-employment selection using science to select the best candidates. This approach enables organizations to look at only 10 or so resumes of just those applicants that have the qualities of top performers, instead of 100s of hairball applicants a job board coughed up.

But this approach has inherent requirements in choosing the right approach to this new science.

Many companies have paid a fortune for consultants to design profiles that model their top performers, but it was considered a bit of voodoo, akin to the early years of chiropractors.

Personality tests are helpful for developing tolerance within an organization, and employees consider them a corporate novelty without expensive coaching and training. Skills testing can determine if a person can do a job, but not if they are motivated to do it. Culture testing can determine if a person can fit in, but not if they can positively influence company culture. And, since such testing typically seeks to identify the median of company culture, new hires could just perpetuate mediocrity, when the organization actually is in need of shifting the median towards the area of a success culture, defined by top performers, rather than a “get along” culture.

Hiring managers should select testing carefully.

Simpson warns, “hiring managers need a stocked pond of candidates to interview. Don’t give them a fishing pole and tackle box, send them out to the sea of applicants and say, “Go get dinner.” They could possibly end up with a barracuda instead of a salmon entrée, because it was more fun to catch.”

With the proper employee modeling tied into the application process, candidates can be sorted based on priority to interview, rather than filtering them out too early. Once the system ranks applicants, hiring managers can start their regular process from the top down looking at skills and experience, or even the quality of a cover letter.

There are many pre-employment selection providers available today. Here are a few keys to consider when evaluating the available solutions:  

  1. No consultants required: Automated systems cost a great deal less and are more consistently accurate
  2. Find one with a fully functional free trial: If they don’t trust the system for an unsupervised trial, it’s too difficult
  3. Maximum 15-minute test: Otherwise employees won’t participate
  4. No requirement to test a lot of people: Statistical relevance will dilute the results. Identifying the qualities of the Gold medal-winning athlete does not require testing everyone at the Olympics
  5. Hidden science: Friendly graphics and usable tools, not science, makes hiring faster and easier, so it shouldn’t require new education or learning a new language

Now, go find some scientific testing that doesn’t require hiring managers to get a PhD in assessments. The process will leave business owners feeling like geniuses, even if the hiring managers take all the credit.

Michael L. Simpson is CEO of Pairin, Inc., a pioneer developer of web-based SaaS applications for the pre-employment selection market.   


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