Hiring the right talent

Screening resumes and conducting job interviews? Are you confident these hiring procedures are effective in helping you select brilliant candidates?

Since HR departments want to hire the right people, they have no room for mismatches resulting from wrong judgment in the job interviews. What can HR do to increase the chance of hiring the right person?

Research has shown that the most commonly used techniques are often the least effective at predicting that candidates will perform to a high level in a job (Hunter & Schmidt, 1998). These include resumes, typical unstructured interviews and reference checks. On the other end of the scale, assessment tests are consistently proven to be an accurate prediction of likely job performance.

Assessment solutions redefine the selection process for HR practitioners. Resumes should be used in the selection process, but only to determine if a person has the right level of experience or qualifications required for the job. Resumes tell us nothing about whether the person has the right behaviors and abilities for the job, and, therefore, they should not be used in isolation to screen candidates.

Every job has a behavioural requirement and it is important that HR obtain objective information on the qualities of the candidates to determine whom to hire. For example, for sales staff, certain qualities are essential, such as being outgoing and persuasive and possessing the ability to establish relationships with other people. Such personal qualities are not shown in the academic qualifications on the resume.

Many companies have screened out candidates who do not hold top quality resumes, but they may have missed individuals who have natural talent as top salespeople.

To help companies look for high-performing staff, Kenexa has a range of assessments that accurately measure behaviours and abilities, and partners with companies to find out the behavioural ability requirements of the job. Top-performing staff will be assessed to discover the behaviours and abilities that are linked to high performance in the job.

This information is then used to accurately assess whether candidates have the same set of talents. Company culture is an important element when devising the tests. A candidate may have excellent performance in one company, but when he/she is put in another culture, it may be a totally different story.

Assessment tests can be used in any job sector, but they are especially suitable for companies that need to hire a large number of staff. The concept of employee assessment has been popular in the UK, US, Europe and Australia for many years. Yet, in the Asian market, Hong Kong, China and Japan are still considered emerging markets. 

Local companies are now beginning to realise the impact assessments can have on business metrics such as increased productivity and decreased turnover.

(The writer serves as a senior consultant in the Asia Pacific region of Kenexa)

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