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Secrets behind making the best hiring decisions

How a pre-hire tool can help


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Anyone who has participated in a hiring decision has done it before: looked at a resume, seen a name or education information, and formed conclusions. These are considered hiring assessments according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s report on assessments. If the conclusions led to elimination of that candidate, or simply informed the ranking of the candidate, biases are likely inherent in these hiring decisions and should be evaluated.

Were the assessments based on empirical evidence or just a “hunch”? Were they in compliance with the myriad of rules regarding bias in hiring? Did they limit the organization's ability to create a diverse and inclusive workforce? More often than they may realize, hiring managers assess a candidate's potential based on his or her likability in the interview.

Unintentionally, such instincts often eliminate future star performers from consideration, or advance candidates for the wrong reasons despite the lack of evidence as to their potential job performance. Many times, these practices lead to poor hiring decisions, which can be especially detrimental to the core of Colorado’s economy – small businesses – which have fewer resources to accommodate workflow demands during shifts in personnel.

Therefore, many HR experts believe resumes and interviews alone cannot lead to optimum choices in hiring decisions. These methods rarely provide enough information to determine the right fit and enable unconscious bias that may lead to a reduction in a diverse and inclusive workforce. Some of those biases violate employment rules and others have no reasonable basis for predicting on-the-job success. Past performance is not necessarily a guarantee of future success, especially with new hires or promotions.

The same position in a different organization may require a different set of workflows, systems and institutional knowledge. Companies should establish a benchmark of performance by which to measure a candidate’s specific job skill aptitude. Similarly, a skilled professional who does not fit culturally, or who cannot adapt culturally, may be disruptive to the team’s cohesiveness or may choose to leave the organization after a short time.

To resolve these issues, hiring managers may consider using a pre-hire tool to measure job skill, cultural fit and adaptability, while trying as best as possible to ensure compliance with anti-bias rules in the selection process.

As Colorado continues to experience significant market growth, local companies have employed such tools to find successful candidates in an increasingly competitive recruiting environment. Symmetry 360 and Rocky Mountain Foods, for example, have used a formal multi-step assessment system to help in hiring, and have experienced more successful hires by using predictive evidenced-based tools during the screening and selection process.

A good tool can help identify the potential right fit for a company’s culture, while eliminating personal assumptions based on looks, gender and socio economic background. The key is to assess hardwired behavioral tendencies balanced against potential and the ability of a candidate to grow.

A candidate’s potential can depend on the position, the industry and the size of the company. The position's requirement for an ability to adapt, create and inspire vision in others needs to be assessed. Measurement takes skill and a methodical interview process.

Hiring managers should also consider a candidate's desire to succeed. To be effective as a new hire, a candidate’s desires should align with what the position and culture deliver. If a company brings forth extrinsic rewards such as financial incentives, hiring managers need to be honest about that while reviewing candidates’ cultural fit. Conversely, if a culture is based on the intrinsic rewards of purpose and cause, candidates must be assessed for this type of desire or motivation.

For Rocky Mountain Foods, a multi-step process assessing cultural fit, skill potential and desire to succeed was essential. The manufacturing company conducted a national candidate search and, per market requirements, paid relocation fees for new hires outside of Colorado. Due to this significant investment, its HR professionals wanted to be confident in its hiring decisions.

Not only do the targeted assessments efficiently select candidates, but HR professionals have insight into the new hires’ behavioral tendencies and skill gaps. They are able to use this information to tailor the onboarding process for each employee, providing the new hires with the best opportunities for success.

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Ken Greenberg

Kenneth L. Greenberg is the CEO of KLG Consultants, LLC, a talent acquisition and management firm based in Colorado. The firm offers large company, C-level talent on an outsourced and permanent hire basis to organizations of all sizes. Visit www.klgconsultants.com for more information.

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