Like everyone else, I roll my eyes every time I hear business-speak clichés, such as It’s not a challenge, it’s an opportunity! or It’s low hanging fruit! But clichés stick around for a reason. Particularly in the world of pre-hire assessments, these nuggets of wisdom reflect a grain of truth.
In this case, the opportunity is for recruiting cycle times to become shorter, for hiring managers to become happier, and for new employees to stay longer and deliver more value to the company. Who wouldn’t want that?
So, where exactly is the opportunity? In my experience working with RPO client organizations, I’ve found that assessment practices typically receive occasional one-time, check-off-the-box scrutiny (i.e. “yes, we have an assessment for this role,” or “no we don’t”). The trouble is, those assessments are used as a blunt instrument. That’s because all organizations are different, and the same candidate with the same hard skills might do a great job in one particular organization and completely fail in another. For example, some situations require fast and flexible workers, and others require slow, patient and methodical workers—even if those workers have the same computer programming or managerial proficiency.
You probably already know that, and you probably also understand that assessments can do a good job of accounting for behavioral factors beyond hard skills. So, where do you begin to improve? What do you do? The answer lies in having a strategic approach. That means the company has to take a careful look at itself and what it really looks for in an employee for a given role, and then a look at available assessment options. Finally there has to be a process for measuring, managing and improving assessment effectiveness over time. These types of actions sound complicated, and so they are often relegated to the back burner.
The opportunity lies in simply bringing the assessment strategy up the priority list, and doing so is a matter of understanding assessments as part of the larger talent acquisition cycle. I’ve developed a whitepaper to be released next month that does just that. It treats assessments as a way to tune up the entire recruiting operation. As with a car tune up, you may find that many issues with the entire recruiting process (long time-to-fill, low quality of hire, excessive turnover, etc.) may be related, at least in part, to a flawed assessment process. Fixing the assessment component may be much easier than reinventing the recruiting process, and it often yields significant impact.
If you can understand the symptoms of misaligned assessments, look under the hood to see where the fixes need to be made, and then apply the right tools and expertise to address the issues, you will have a better performing recruiting engine. That means more wins for you—hiring managers receive more qualified applicants, the company secures better talent, and you have the data to prove it. It’s a gift worth working for, and may help you move assessment strategy up to the front burner, at least long enough to reap the rewards.
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