Good Data Missing When It Comes to Prediciting Hiring Succes

The truth be told, many companies that create sophisticated and rigorous employee screening and selection processes are based on gut, not facts, and the result is often a lot of theoretical and academic bull____. Bottom line: most managers have no clue what it really takes for an employee to be successful on the job and within a company.

Considering that payroll and associated employee costs make up the highest expense in almost all companies, it behooves every employer to track and analyze the data.

According to a recent article in Human Resources Executive Online, improved data analytics by human resources in the area of recruiting could have a tremendous impact on the bottom line.

United States employers collectively spend about $124 billion a year on recruiting, according to Bersin & Associates, and almost $6 trillion on payroll, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With that level of spending, small improvements in outcomes can easily be worth billions or tens of billions of dollars.

The processes used by companies to screen and select employees are highly questionable. Research shows again and again the fallibility of the interview and yet many organizations still rely in it as the sole screening method.

Research has consistently shown, however, that most interviewers aren’t skilled enough to really assess a candidate’s capabilities. One study found that interviews are substantially less predictive of candidate quality than simply looking at their resume or checking their references. Another study found that the even untrained observers can predict the outcome of most job interviews after watching the first 15 seconds.

The HRE article highlights several additional screening techniques that defy logic when you attempt to quantify results:

Job hoppers and the unemployed: Researchers at Evolv looked at the data and found no predictive value in looking at how many jobs a person recently held. “Candidates with five jobs in five years were no more of an attrition risk than candidates with only one. Candidates who had been unemployed were no more or less likely to quit or be terminated. Screening out job hoppers and the unemployed serves no purpose.”

Criminal background checks: 92 percent of SHRM member companies use criminal background checks as part of their standard hiring process. Despite the widespread usage,

Numerous studies have found that criminal convictions, especially old ones, aren’t predictive of any future bad behavior. One study, titled Predicting the Counterproductive Employee in a Child-to-Adult

Prospective Study, found that crimes committed before a person entered the workforce had no predictive value for any “counterproductive workplace behaviors.” Another study found that people with records who stay arrest-free for four to five years are only as likely as the average person to be arrested again. A third study found that, for people arrested when they’re 18, their risk of re-arrest drops to that of the normal population by around age 25.

Here’s another example. What about requirements to have a high school diploma vs. a 2- or 4-year college degree? How are these requirements determined? I have yet to find a single client who can validate that a 4 year degree is better than a 2 year degree compared to 10 years of experience is more predictive of success on the job. And yet, nearly every job description includes some minimum education or experience requirement. Who sets these limits? Often times, it is set at a notch below the minimum level of the manager. Others just claim rest their hiring decisions on the false sense of security that a 4 year degree is better than a 2 year degree….or none at all.

The quality of the workforce is becoming increasingly important as a differentiator and competitive advantage. The right approach to measuring quality of hire and using good data to guide decisions has a tremendous impact on hiring outcomes. A key objective of all human resource professionals must be to deliver to their employers the best workforce for the money. This is one of the key areas where HR can deliver true strategic value. Yet, for most recruiting organizations, “quality of hire” isn’t measured or tracked against a target.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.

8 Questions You Must Ask Before Hiring Your Next Salesperson

Sales Personality Personality TestWhen it comes to assessing a candidate’s fit for sales, one size definitely does not fit all.

Traits like assertiveness, criticism tolerance (ability to take a no), and resilience may be good enough to have when “getting past the gatekeeper”and “closing a sale” are the two most critical skills required. But selling complex products or differentiating a company’s services from its competitors require consultative and relationship selling skills that many salespeople do not have.

For example, transactional sales, especially those based on primarily on price, depend upon the ability to get people to accept your call, negotiate the best deal, and close quickly. More complex selling opportunities require extensive product knowledge, broad competitive intelligence, excellent relationship management skills, and resilience. Years of experience and a decade’s worth of President Club awards are not necessarily transferrable from one industry to another, one company to another, or even one territory or product from another.

Before hiring or promoting your salesperson, here are eight questions you must ask before interviewing and assessing candidates.

1. What product or services are you selling? Success in selling requires a lot more than a few years of experience and the completion of a sales skills training. Adding value and differentiating your company from the rest of a crowded market requires finesse and advanced skills.

2. To whom are you selling? Selling promotional products to a retail shop owner compared to selling an enterprise wide human resource information system require very different sales skill sets.

3. How competitive is the market place? If you are the only game in town, or at least considered the industry leader, salespeople can lean on the company’s reputation for credibility. But what if your company or product is unfamiliar to your prospects? The most important skill a salesperson might need is the ability to build endorsement.

4. Is this a new territory or a mature one? Similar to the competitiveness of the market place, developing a new territory or working a mature market require different selling styles and skills. You are likely familiar with “hunters” and “farmers.” It’s much easier to introduce yourself as the new account manager when a customer down the street has been doing business with your company for several years than trying to get the prospect to take a chance on an unknown.

5. How long is a typical sales cycle? The longer the cycle, the more skills are required. The longer the selling cycle, the more the salesperson will have to have a process and system in place to track and follow leads and referrals. The salesperson must be patient and resilient and equipped to stick it out for the long haul. Products or services will long selling cycles often have bigger rewards but many salespeople are more motivated and skilled at shorter cycle, faster rewards. That leads us to the compensation question.

6. How do salespeople get paid? This is a complex and complicated question. But the more commission based the compensation, the more money management skills the salesperson must have to deal with the ups and downs of income, especially for longer selling cycles. Few hiring managers take this into consideration before hiring the high potential candidate. Unfortunately many sales failures have nothing to do with sales skills but the short term income to pay the mortgage and put food on the table while waiting for the big commission check.

7. Who is responsible for lead generation? If developing new business is a requirement for the job, then assessing the sales candidate’s track record or potential for identifying new customers, cold calling, qualifying them, and developing new relationships must be part of the hiring equation. For the company that has a steady stream of warm leads, finding qualified candidates just got a lot easier. Do not assume however that the ability to contact warm leads and qualify them is a predictive indicator of the ability to identify new customers and cold call them.

8. Who is responsible for writing and presenting proposals? The ability to write and present are critical communication skills in today’s marketplace. Unfortunately few salespeople have mastered these skills at a level necessary to compete effectively.

Asking these questions is one thing. Getting this information quickly and accurately is another. Sales pre-employment tests are an excellent way to complement and enhance the interview and reference check process. The right combination of assessments can confirm if a candidate has the potential to learn or meet your job requirements as well as the resilience and motivation to persist through good times and bad.

 

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.

 

 

How Many Job Applicants Does it Take to Find One Qualified Candidate?

While the question sounds like the preamble to a funny punch line, the answer is no laughing matter.

According to an article last week in the Wall Street Journal, it takes many more than most employers think (or at least want to accept.) I repeat – a lot more. The actual numbers are numbing.

For example, an infographic presented in the article revealed that it takes approximately 1,000 online views by candidates to get 100 candidates to complete the application. Out of that, 25 applications are selected for review, then 4 to 6 candidates are recommended for an interview. When all is said and done, companies may find their one diamond in the rough only after 1,000 candidates view the job posting. If those numbers hold up, it is clear that the impending war for talent is no longer imminent or pending. It’s here today.

Not one to rely only exclusively on hearsay, I was prompted by the article to review 25 jobs posted on our applicant processing system by clients during the last 3 months. The results don’t only confirm the findings presented in the Wall Street Journal but throw up an even bigger gauntlet to challenge employers. The best views-to-applicant scenario was 10 percent. But a more common scenario was as low as 1 percent.

Unfortunately for many companies, as good or bad as those results are, the job search does not always end when the one lonely qualified candidate is identified and offered the job. According to research presented by Talent Function Group, LLC, “the chosen applicant accepts the offer only 80% of the time.” That situation leads to two options – offer the job to your second choice (if there is one) or go back to the drawing board. Neither choice is desirable when a company’s productivity and competitive advantage are on the line and dependent on a minimum time to hire and high quality of hire.

To win the war for talent moving forward, nearly every employer will need to cast the widest possible sourcing net to attract, identify, and hire qualified candidates. In addition, operations and sales managers don’t have the time to waste interviewing candidates who can’t do the job.

The competition for recruiting qualified skilled workers poses a formidable challenge for most organizations. Management has a choice: deal with a “resu-mess” which will inundate recruiting and human resource staffs, which are already running lean; or insist on applicant processing automation to build a talent pool of qualified candidates, reduce the time-to-hire, and ultimately improve the quality of employees.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.

 

6 Signs War for Talent is Heating Up

The jobs are out there. Companies just can’t find the workers to fill them. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that 3.2 million jobs remained vacant as of the end of July, even as 14 million Americans were jobless.

This paradox was highlighted in an article posted in the recent issue of Central Penn Business Journal.

Winning The Talent WarThe article includes several interviews with local business executives whose growth is stymied by a lack of qualified workers, not a struggling economy. One owner, whose tool-and-die company doubled in size in the last three years, says he posts jobs in the newspaper and online job banks to no avail. Other executives echoed the challenge especially those leading manufacturing firms in heavy industry, food processing, and trucking.

More and more stories seem to be cropping up, especially in the small business sector. Despite large organizations like Bank of America announcing massive layoffs, a new survey reveals a compelling message for employers who might be feeling a bit complacent in adapting a new environment for recruiting and retaining qualified workers: high unemployment does not equate with ease of hiring.

Here’s 6 signs that the war for talent is heating up:

  • 77 percent of companies surveyed expect hiring competition to increase;
  • One-third of the companies expect significantly more competition for talent;
  • 47 percent currently recruit from competitors; another 14 percent plan to start;
  • 57 percent of employers are concerned with competitors recruiting their employees;
  • 58 percent use recruiting passive candidates as their leading strategy for competing against other employers; (54 percent use benefits; 47 percent use flexible hours; 30 percent use higher compensation.)
  • One-third of employers expect new employees to stay 2 years or less; 79 percent expect them to stay 3 to 5 years or less.

Questions or comments about this article? Post them here.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.

 

So Much Free Advice Available, Why Are Interviews So Ineffective?

Creating an effective employer interview question guide is a necessity for hiring qualified workers. But a simple search for the phrase “interview question guide” turns up 60,200,200 Google results in only 0.14 seconds.  With such an ample supply of free advice, why are employee interviews so ineffective at employee screening and employee selection?

The problem with most employee interviews is that the wrong questions can elicit persuasive but unpredictive candidate responses that influence managers to hire them.

There are two types of wrong questions.  First, you have the illegal questions – the questions you can’t ask.  Federal and some state law explicitly prohibit asking specific questions about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion and others.  These questions are nixed because they generally have nothing to do with the ability to do the job.  The solution to this problem is simple – avoid these questions.

That leads us to the second type of questions – the questions you can ask.  Unfortunately that approach doesn’t mean you can ask just any question that comes to mind.

For example, an interviewer often asks this popular interview question to a managerial candidate: “describe for me how you have motivated an under-performing employee?”  The candidate describes a scenario that is music to the interviewer’s ears. The interviewer checks off that question and moves on to the next. Unfortunately the candidate could have just recited a scripted response he picked up on the Internet or learned from a friend. Providing the “right” answer doesn’t conclude the candidate actually performed this act or even has the ability to do it. All he or she did was merely show a skill in answering a question.

While the candidate might have indeed accomplished what he says he did, the skilled interviewer should not accept the response at face value.  He should follow up by asking something like “And how did you learn that process?” or “have you been able to repeat that success again?”  Few if any interview questions relating to job fit should ever answered satisfactorily with just one response.  The interviewer should always be prepared with a probing follow up question. My rule of thumb is that for every question asked, the interviewer should be prepared to ask two additional follow up questions.

Interviewers also tend to ask a lot of questions that might be job related, but not job relevant.  Agencies like Equal Employment Opportunity Commission only require that employers ask job related questions.  But while a question like “tell me what you disliked about your last job” might be job related, it might not help you determine if the individual can actually do the job for you.  A job relevant question might be “tell me how you generate and qualify leads” or “describe your role in developing and implementing a plan to reduce employee turnover.”

By asking the right job relevant questions, followed up with additional probing questions to challenge your assumptions, managers will begin to hire successful workers and avoid the problem of selecting candidates who interview well, but perform poorly.


This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.