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assessments RSS feed Tag: assessments

Do You Look for Cultural Fit, or for Innovation?

by Jul 5, 2013, 6:24 am ET

The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress. — Charles Kettering

There has been a lot written lately about “cultural fit.” In fact, you could say that cultural fit is the latest rage in talent acquisition.

In an article in the American Sociological Review, Northwestern Professor Lauren Rivera concludes that companies are making hiring decisions today “in a manner more closely resembling the choice of friends or romantic partners.”

The 4 Most-asked Interview Questions keep reading…

Employment Tests Say: Give Us Mobile or Give Us Death!

by Jun 26, 2013, 6:00 am ET

state dept appWhen it comes to linking people to information and opportunities at scale, mobile devices represent “a perfect storm of opportunity” for driving engagement because they provide personalized information on demand. This allows companies to win customers through dynamic ads that are location- and context-specific and can be based on prediction of intent.

Statistics for mobile device uptake show that it is increasing exponentially over time such that mobile internet access is poised to overtake fixed Internet access by 2015

This trend is even more pronounced in emerging markets such as India where mobile technology allows for the chance to skip over older technologies (i.e., land-based cables) that requires a deeper investment in infrastructure.

We are moving toward the global eventuality that an increasing number of things that we do on a daily basis will involve a mobile device. What seems less clear is a firm handle on where are we in our ability to really use these advantages in a consistent and strategic way when it comes recruiting and hiring. That’s what I’m going to talk about, below. keep reading…

Cultural Fit in the Workplace: How Personality Affects Hiring and Teamwork

by Jun 21, 2013, 6:43 am ET

introvert vs extrovertPeople differ in their personalities, attitudes, and values, and an understanding of our individual personality is profoundly important in maximizing our happiness and productivity at work.

We spend a third of our lives at work, and people are moving around from job to job more frequently, seeking a company that allows them to maximize their potential, earn more money, or achieve a better work-life balance. For some, all of these factors will be equally important, while others will prioritize them differently.

Whatever our priorities, work feeds into many different aspects of our lives — it influences our self-identity, self-esteem, and opportunities for personal growth. If work was just about making money, it wouldn’t matter so much where we worked. But for most of us, it’s about far more than that. This is where cultural fit comes into play. But what exactly is cultural fit? Organizational psychology guru Adrian Furnham offers this definition in his seminal academic textbook, “The Psychology of Behaviour at Work

“A fit is where there is congruence between the norms and values of the organization and those of the person.” (page 116)

Although, as Furnham goes on to discuss, fit is not only about the person and the organization — fit to coworkers and supervisor is also of importance (that’s what we’re working on). A simple example of how an individual’s personality might determine their preferences at work is shown in the diagram above (adapted from Furnham’s 2012 work).

The scale on the vertical axis shows the preference of each of the two personality types — introvert and extravert — for open plan versus separate cubicle offices. The introvert, who likes peace and quiet to get on with his or her work, strongly prefers the comforting seclusion of separate cubicles, and dislikes the noise and activity of the open-plan office. The higher the person’s introversion score (imagine it on a continuous line), the stronger their preference for the separate cubicles.

On the other hand, the extravert, who works best around other people, shows the opposite pattern — the more extraverted a person is, the more strongly they prefer the open-plan office. So what does this mean? keep reading…

Develop a Recruiter Scorecard … Because Champions Demand That You Keep Score (Part 2 of a 2-part series)

by Jun 17, 2013, 6:07 am ET

How to develop a recruiter scorecard for assessing individual corporate recruiter performance

Champions insist that you keep score. If you understand that concept, you will ensure that in addition to function-wide metrics, you will supplement them with a scorecard for assessing the performance of each individual recruiter. Everyone knows that corporations are measurement crazy, so I have found that by not measuring something (in this case recruiters), you are inadvertently sending a message to executives and employees that whatever you are doing is not strategic or even important (because if it was, we would measure it).

So unless you want to purposely send a message that “having top performing recruiters doesn’t matter,” you have no choice but to develop an individual recruiter scorecard. In order to do that effectively, you first need to understand the foundation design principles for individual scorecards and then you must select the actual measures that you will use in your scorecard. In part one, I introduced the concept and provided three examples of what a scorecard might look like. In this part two, I will cover the design details and a list of the measure to consider for your scorecard. keep reading…

Develop a Recruiter Scorecard … Because Champions Demand That You Keep Score (Part 1 of a 2-part series)

by Jun 10, 2013, 6:45 am ET

Sample recruiter scorecards 

Champions insist that you keep score. If you understand that concept, you shouldn’t be surprised that one of the best ways to separate champion recruiters from weak ones is to bring up the topic of assessing individual recruiter performance. The worst corporate recruiters and way too many third-party recruiters that I have come across almost instantly react negatively to the topic of individual accountability. Their protests usually include some variation of three different excuses which are, “professionals don’t need to be measured,” “recruiting is too subjective or soft to measure,” or “it’s not my fault, others are to blame.”

In direct contrast, the very best in sports, sales, academia, high tech, entertainment, and yes, corporate recruiting, not only love to have their performance measured but they also like it to be compared and ranked against their peers. If you are a corporate recruiting leader and you want to know which recruiters to reward or to keep (I recommend that you release those who complain the loudest about individual accountability), you need to move beyond broad recruiting department metrics and dashboards and to also develop a “recruiter scorecard” for assessing the performance of every individual recruiter. keep reading…

Before You Require Poem Writing, Take These 7 Steps to Ensure Your Hiring Matches Your Culture

by May 22, 2013, 6:45 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 10.17.15 PMDuring a trip to a suburban mall near Cleveland, I saw a man wearing a jacket with a logo for Hyland Software, a business-to-business software developer whose global headquarters are located nearby. In the B2B world, Hyland has a reputation of being a stellar employer with a fun streak. As evidence, it has a giant tube slide in the middle of its headquarters and has earned several top workplace awards in recent years.

Hyland also has a quirk in its interview process. Candidates applying online are required to write and submit a poem. Not an essay, not a biography — a poem. How does that strike you? keep reading…

Employment Tests Are Anything but Irrelevant

by May 21, 2013, 6:42 am ET

Last week, I found myself wearing down several hours sitting in an airport by catching the latest and greatest in the HR/employment sphere through LinkedIn, when I stumbled onto an article by Dr. Charles Handler titled “Employment Tests Are Becoming Irrelevant for Predicting Job Success.”  I was intrigued. After all, I am a consultant for a company in which a core area of our business is from said employment tests. Especially with that title, shock value achieved.

The article brings to light a number of interesting ideas about big data via social media and how it stands to influence the way we look at pre-employment. However new and edgy gathering such data via social media may be, it isn’t without its flaws.  Furthermore, if someone has to stand up for employment tests, I begrudgingly accept.

From the first excerpt, “The Impact of Publicly Available ‘Free-range’ Data,”

People born in the past decade or so, along with all persons to come, will begin accumulating a personal digital fingerprint that will be associated with them from cradle to the grave … We are even starting to see research that suggests we can gauge an individual’s job success from social media data such as one’s Facebook usage. keep reading…

Smarterer the Big Winner in the Startup Contest at Recruiting Innovation Summit

by May 15, 2013, 7:38 pm ET

Screen Shot 2013-05-14 at 9.45.07 AMSmarterer has won the 2013 startup competition at the Recruiting Innovation Summit.

The award comes with a $10,000 prize. It was selected by three judges: ERE Media Founder David Manaster, Greylock Partners Talent VP Dan Portillo, and Universum Founder Lars-Henrik Friis Molin. The judging panel considered in its decision the results of an audience vote done via text message (judges and the crowd each received a 50-50 weighting).

Friis Molin says the Smarterer tests are “perfecting themselves” through crowdsourcing. (Here’s more on Smarterer.) He sees it as one of the potential future gold standards in the assessment field. David Manaster said he tried the test and found it as fun as Smarterer claimed. He also said that given Smarterer’s “consumer approach” he also thought the test could be a future gold standard.

It was the elite of an elite group of new tools and technologies rolling out for recruiting departments, including one that would help companies hire teams (vs. individuals); another that would add a one-page candidate proposal to the application process; and another that would help companies create mobile careers sites. And more.

Meanwhile, two other companies were also winners at the event. keep reading…

Employment Tests Are Becoming Irrelevant for Predicting Job Success

by May 8, 2013, 5:35 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 1.42.47 PMLet’s talk about the future of predicting job success and why the world’s biggest evangelist for pre-hire assessments thinks tests are in danger of becoming extinct (and is OK with it).

There are a number of emerging trends in hiring right now that center around the currency of the new millennium: data. The impact of our ability to collect, organize, and interpret data is rapidly changing all areas of the economy. Should employment be any different? There are three ways in which data is slowly killing the employment test as we know it. keep reading…

Here’s How to Avoid Picking a Shoddy Assessment Vendor

by Apr 3, 2013, 5:46 am ET

Selecting a pre-hire assessment vendor is not always easy, but doing it right can make a huge difference.

I’ve written about this subject before, as has my fellow I/O psychologist and ERE author Dr. Wendell Williams, and I’ll be doing a webcast with ERE on this very topic soon. I’m going to give you selection tips in a minute.

First, three major reasons why the vendor selection process can be so hard. keep reading…

DIRECTV Improving Funnel, Turnover Among Call Center and Technician Employees

by Mar 20, 2013, 6:20 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 3.34.40 PMThe satellite TV company DIRECTV is in the process, apparently successful so far, of improving the performance and the turnover of front-line employees, partly through the use of an hour-long assessment. That online tool is meant to find out who’s most interested in a customer service or dish installation job, give candidates a good feel for what the work would be like if they get the job, see who’s got the qualities top employees have, and get people more excited about the roles and the company.

Linda Simon is the head of talent management. She started a couple years ago. About eight months before that, a new CEO and then a new HR head had come in. Business leaders and the HR team started looking at the front-line roles — they were all on board — asking themselves if they’re really getting the best people, and whether they can do something about the turnover so common in customer-service, phone-surgically-attached-to-your-ear sorts of jobs. The company was also thinking about the people who come install your satellite TV; in July 2008, it had brought those jobs in house.

In the fall of 2010, it looked at adding a new screen or assessment tool to its hiring process. keep reading…

The Black Hearts and White Knights of Pre-Employment Testing

by Mar 4, 2013, 1:07 am ET

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. — Abraham Lincoln

Honest Abe must have known about hiring tests. You see, the results of a foolish test will always show-up as soon as someone takes a closer look. Foolish tests make bad candidates look good on paper, but crash on the job; and, they make good candidates look bad on paper … but never get a job offer.

Like Abe said, you can’t fool everyone all the time.

I call the difference between good and bad hiring vendors “Black-Hearted” and “White-Knights.” A White-Knight vendor presents thorough research showing its test predicts job performance with a very high degree of accuracy. White-Knight vendors always report jobs, demographics, charts, tables, subjects, correlations, and probability of being wrong. They are very dull. A Black-Hearted vendor presents happy-user stories that are very light on real data and heavy on nonsense numbers.

You might ask why they do this. Well, I guess they might be reluctant to say anything negative; they don’t know how to develop a professional quality test; they don’t know any better; they don’t care; or, a little of all the above.

Right or Wrong, Never in Doubt keep reading…

These 5 Trends Are Shaping the Future of Pre-hire Assessments

by Feb 21, 2013, 5:36 am ET

2013 is going to present the start of a major tipping point in the way people find and are evaluated for jobs (and vice versa), and a blend of technology and assessment content will play a big role in these ongoing changes.

This opinion is not founded on trends within the pre-hire assessment industry, but rather on the bigger picture of emerging trends in internet technology. I’m talking about major changes in the way humans use information and connectivity to support business and social interactions.

The following are key technology trends that are bigger than any individual industry but are already impacting products being offered in the pre-hire assessment market.  I know about many of these companies because I’ve worked with many of them over the past year. In many cases their products are still not fully completed (and some have even asked not to be mentioned due to this), but 2013 will be a year that sees a ton of new companies live and open for business. keep reading…

Hires That Will Transform Your Company

by Jan 17, 2013, 5:39 am ET

Steven Tyler-PRK-032194You have staffed your team with all the right people: they graduated from top universities, worked at leading companies, stayed at each company the requisite length of time, and exuded intelligence in the interview process. Yet you see other companies with far less surface talent achieving incredible results and outstripping you. Why is this?

The most likely reason your company is failing to progress is that you still hire based on standard interview processes that have been followed for decades. You focus on qualifications only, and ignore focusing on the individual attributes that will help you find superstars, or game changers.

A game changer is a person who thinks outside the box and approaches problems differently from the rest of us. They approach problems with passion, a unique perspective, and their thinking inspires others to build on their ideas.

With game changers on your team you can move from average to an industry leadership position. Good examples are Apple and IBM, which transformed themselves from fading brands into dominant positions by adopting the ideas of leaders who were game changers. Three football teams have had great success this year bringing in game changers. The Seattle Seahawks (Russell Wilson), Washington Redskins (Robert Griffin III), and Indianapolis Colts (Andrew Luck) have seen vast improvements after they drafted rookie quarterbacks who have the unique attributes of game changers.

An example of a game changer in the music industry is Steven Tyler. In his entertaining autobiography he discusses how he approaches the four elements of writing a song: melody, words, chords, and rhythm.

He explains, “You know right away if a song has that magic. It has to have those extremes — the one thing it can’t be is okay. Okay is death.

He adds: “Never mind the melody, never mind the chords — no, no, no. You start with infatuation, obsession, passion, anger, zeal, craze, then take a handful of notes, sew them into a chord structure, create a melody over that, and then come up with words that fit it perfectly.”

His diverse way of thinking is completely different from standard music writers, but as a game changer, his unique perspectives have resulted in incredible successes.

If we analyze the way the majority of companies hire, we see a system that is designed to hire okay performers. We focus solely on the tangibles: the candidate’s job history, education, and interview performance. We ignore the intangibles like diversity of thought, work ethic, intelligence, and common sense.

As an example, diversity of thought means approaching challenges using varied thought processes based on personal creativity and different life experiences. If you can combine diverse thinking with a strong work ethic, intelligence, and common sense, you have a game changer. The results of game changers can often transform the way we do business.

To hire game changers, you will need to make modifications in the following areas:  keep reading…

Lessons from Great Coaches and Other Myths

by Jan 9, 2013, 6:45 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 7.18.29 AMEvery so often someone publishes an article about lessons learned from great coaches, offering advice about how to select people. Sorry, this is useless nonsense.

Great coaches don’t work with players who pass an interview. Their players are thoroughly pre-screened by skilled talent scouts who watched each and every one of them excel at the game. Only the best and most talented players ever got to meet the coach. In the corporate world, coaches would be similar to line managers. Talent scouts are represented by recruiters. But the analogy ends with titles.

HR recruiters in the corporate world don’t use tryouts, so they don’t really know whether candidates can do the job. Line managers are generally promoted into their job because they were good individual contributors, so about 70% don’t have any coaching skills at all. Just imagine what a team would be like if talent scouts used corporate recruiting methods: “Are you fast? Yes. Agile? Yes? What kind of barnyard animal would you most like to be?” And, if coaching consisted of “Do what I tell you.”

Yep, organizations seem to think advice from great coaches them all they need to know about candidate skills. But have you ever considered how great people are really selected? keep reading…

Validation: Overcoming Inertia to Prove the Value of Staffing as a Profit Center

by Jan 8, 2013, 6:45 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-01-05 at 2.07.24 PMTalk is cheap. Proving the real value of something is often an exercise that requires intention, dedication, focus, and effort. When it comes to demonstrating value, data and money are among the best pieces of proof one could ask for.

Clearly showing the value of hiring remains a perpetual challenge for those in the staffing game. While it is easy to talk about all of the great things we are doing, it is much harder to turn this talk into the hard proof that business leaders expect (i.e., money).

My research and experience clearly demonstrate that organizations fail to take the proper steps to evaluate the impact of their hiring processes. This is especially true when it comes to the use of pre-hire assessment tools. In fact, the proper evaluation of pre-hire assessments is actually the exception rather then the norm. This is unfortunate because a lack of effort in this area can keep a company from realizing its potential while costing it big time.

The reason most companies consistently fail to evaluate the impact of their pre-hire assessments is both simple and complex. The simple answer is that many companies just don’t care enough or aren’t willing to put in the effort it takes to make it happen. We all know that proving the value of your hiring process is not easy, but what things of value truly are?

The complex answer has to do with to the geeky side of things — specifically the methodological issues that accompany “test validation” and the science of hiring (for a through discussion of this see here).

Validation is important because it is the avenue via which staffing practices demonstrate value.  While there are several types of validation, the most effective type for demonstrating real-world impact of the hiring process involves a systematic investigation of the relationship between pre- and post-hire data. This is known as “criterion related validation” — an analytics-driven process that is essentially business intelligence applied to the hiring process ). We I/Os have been doing this type of work for a good five decades now and have found results we can really be proud of.

Despite our success with it, validation is tricky and presents some inherent difficulties that can obscure its value and therefore its popularity. These include: keep reading…

The Career Center in One of the Last Places You’d Look

by Dec 17, 2012, 6:21 am ET

If someone said “career center,” chances are good you’d think of something at a university. Maybe, you’d imagine a government-sponsored jobs office.

Not this one. One of the more highly regarded of the big U.S. tech companies has an in-house career center, one not publicized due to the internal belief that it gives the firm a competitive advantage. In fact, despite its wide reach with about 5,000 employees having used it, this center is barely even marketed within the walls of the company, with 60-70% of employees who use the career center hearing about it via word of mouth from other employees. keep reading…

Use Anti-DISC to Become a Better Person and Make Better Assessments

by Dec 6, 2012, 12:09 am ET

Warning: do not use this slick all-purpose assessments for screening out people. However, it’s useful for becoming a better interviewer and screening in people.

DISC and all its variants (Calipers, Myers-Briggs, Predictive Index, etc.) should never be used to pre-screen people. At best, and if they’re not faked, these “tests” only predict preferences, certainly not competencies. At worst, they prevent diversity by eliminating the chance to see and hire people who can achieve great results but use a style different than the expected. (Note: Use these types of style indicators after you’ve narrowed the selection to 3-4 people who you’ve determined can meet the performance objectives required for success.)

Despite this predictive limitation — although it will be argued by those who use or sell them — the DISC style preferences are quite helpful for understanding how people communicate, make business and hiring decisions, and interact on-the-job.

To determine your dominate DISC style, look at the descriptions of the four styles in the graphic and select the one that best describes you. Then to validate this, answer these two questions: keep reading…

Success With Pre-hire Assessment Starts With Using the Right Tool at the Right Time

by Nov 28, 2012, 5:35 am ET

While there are many possible ways to use pre-hire assessments, there are some general truths associated with getting the most out of these tools. A good hiring process is a coordinated effort in which the right tool is selected for use at the right time in the process. In many cases talent acquisition professionals (including many of us I/O psychologists) are guilty of being myopic, choosing to focus on the ins and outs of one specific test. Be thorough when it comes to tests, but an effective hiring process requires a focus not only on the individual pieces, but also on the way these pieces work together.

“The funnel” provides the most tried-and-true analogy for configuring components to create a hiring process. Although the funnel may look vastly different in different situations, (for instance more emphasis on screening in high-volume situations), the overall goal is to evaluate people who are unknown to the organization in order to thin the herd while finding those who have what it takes.

While a winning hiring process should include tests, simply chucking a test in the hopper will not get the job done. Despite the many variations possible when constructing a funnel-based hiring process, there are some universal truths regarding what tools are generally most effective at various stages of the process.

Let’s take a look at a quick summary of the ideal components of a holistic and cohesive hiring process, as well as a generally accepted rough order in which they should be used.

Sourcing: Increasing the Odds Outside the Funnel keep reading…

What Thanksgiving Teaches Us About the Importance of Culture Fit

by Nov 19, 2012, 6:28 am ET

I have spoken numerous times about both the benefits and the potential detriments of using cultural fit in the hiring process. On one side many hiring managers measure candidates by cultural fit believing that candidates will stay longer if they gel well with their organization’s work environment. Others argue that cultural fit provides hiring managers an excuse to discriminate and dissuades diversity in the workplace which studies show leads to a greater flow of ideas and creativity.

A recent survey published in Forbes indicates that in an effort to increase workforce attrition, 88% of employers are looking for cultural fit over skills in their next hire.

They believe cultural fit is so important because most executives understand that a bad hire can cost between two and three times that departing employee’s salary and so hiring an employee who works and plays well with others is more important than if they are the most skilled to do the job. The theory is that if the employee likes their manager and colleagues, they will be happier and stay longer. If you’re from a big family like I am, at least on my in-laws’ side, you easily recognize the significance of cultural fit, especially when it comes to deciding who to sit next to at the dinner table.

You visit your family or your in-laws on Thanksgiving Day and the moment you walk into that crowded living room your body deflates as you realize who made it to dinner and with whom you might need to talk.  keep reading…