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HR Trends   | 3 Min Read

A Next Generation View of Talent Acquisition

Written By Nishant Muralidharan

I would like to propose an analogy here. Think of your organization as a king, and the people as his kingdom. Step back and you’d realize that a king is of no value without his people. About two decades ago, Talent Acquisition Specialists marketed themselves as generals, tasked with the analysis and recruitment of soldiers.

They would often step in with a wealth of experience, and powerful instinct. It would work, or not. Talent was a coin toss, much like Targaryen birth in Game of Thrones – you’re either blessed with someone supremely talented and gifted or with someone destined to bring ruin with madness. It’s a good-bad hire analogy.

I’m not suggesting the method as wrong, but merely as one of little choice. Technology focused on power and convenience in terms of tools; people were an oversight. But when automation hit a false ceiling, people decided to focus on people. Funny if you think about it.

Technology became people centric, Human Resource centric It stretched into avenues of sourcing, attraction, engagement, and almost everything across the employee life cycle. And then emerged assessment technology. It stepped into the ecosystem with benefits of a spectacular level; you’d be familiar with a couple of them, especially if you’ve followed our content.

But upon inception, assessments faltered also. Experts in HR failed to understand what to make of the results, the data – a string of inconsumable intelligence. And of course, as is the case with most forms of technology, assessments evolved. They found a feature. We called it Reports.

Dinosaurs in Talent Acquisition: 

Archaic Methodologies to Hiring Repercussions

“The cost of hiring someone bad is so much greater than missing out on someone good.”

  • Joe Krauss, Founder of Excite & JotSpot; Partner at Google Ventures

In 2017, I have found that when companies hire, their organizational agenda hovers around the assimilation of employees in harmony with their business ethics, work culture, philosophy, and brand. On the flipside, it follows that bad hires immensely mar the finances, reputation and performance of said employers – far more than overlooking profit additive employees.

It’s this scenario that prompted Joe Krauss to make the famously titular quote. At the same time, the statement is better explained with the ramifications of hiring someone bad. Let’s consider this a little further then.

  1. Likely Termination Expenses

While this is expected to vary across organizations, a faulty recruitment inevitably results in the purposeful dismissal of the concerned employees. It could entail termination costs – relocation compensation for example – and perhaps legal expenses also.

  1. Exorbitant Re-Hiring Costs

The hunt for fresh employees post dismissal triggers a cyclic process of arranging for interviews, candidate transport, boarding & lodging, training, and induction. It’s an expenditure that hits profit margins, and organizations – especially start-ups – can ill-afford to vitiate their bottom lines in this manner.

  1. Damaged Reputation

We live in a world of glass doors and digital information openness, which would imply that high personnel renewal negatively impacts an organization’s brand image. In consequence, you alienate clients and customers. And when you talk about turnover? Well, analysts estimate that about 80% of employee turnover is an aftereffect of bad hiring.

  1. Lowered Buyers & Revenues

Ineffective and incompetent personnel are commonplace with bad hires. They are the very definition. It translates to depressed sales, dissatisfied buyers, and business losses. There is a heavy impact on revenue as well.

  1. Weakened Morale

Speaking of unquantifiable costs, there are some of those associated with bad hiring also. They certainly affect morale to an extent, especially when said hire is at a higher position of power. It’s often translated to lowered efficiency, insubordination, and resignation.

Interesting when put to pen, isn’t it? But tangible costs aside, experts expend a lot of time despite incorrect recruitment. You know how that works, with wasted time expanding into missed deadlines, opportunity costs, unwarranted interest, and awry budgets.

Unfortunately, while we do possess the technology to negate much of the cited problems, specialists in the field of talent acquisition remained rooted to their archaic forefathers. Not to say that they’re technologically averse, but that when it comes to making that final call, many have relied on instinct alone.

Human Errors: 

Is Your Instinct Right or Wrong?

When it comes to hiring, we’ve always been about the experience with the older, more refined leadership positions. Add an assortment of spices with a resume and past achievements, and we have with us an ideal candidate. A persona.

It’s not too different with a fresher, or a newly graduated candidate. Replace experience with a touch of consistent performance and that’s your recipe there. You may argue that the interview process reveals all there is to reveal, but I’d say that’s not true. And here’s why.

To explain it further still, I’ll break your understanding two ways:

  1. Technical Competencies

Equate this to the candidate skillset. Their ability to work proficiently at a role based on skill alone. Yes, this is something easily deciphered via either assessment or verbal interrogation. It could be a learned skill, or something acquired via experience.

  1. Behavioral Competencies

It’s something that’s more recently become known. Innate traits within your personality that assess fitment to company culture. It inherently reveals if a candidate is ready enough to become that talked about high performer. This stretches to behavioural traits as well.

In time, assessment technology and advanced psychometrics evolved enough to evaluate most known traits that transpired to on-job performance. But at the end of the day, all a test does is reveal the type of question a candidate can or cannot answer.

So how does an organization assess a candidate’s standing in comparison to others in the same industry? In the case of lateral hiring, how well can you map past growth into the present, or better yet – the future? You must agree that these aren’t things left to intuition to solve.

And that’s where we pull in reports. Yes, what I’d mentioned all the way back to the introduction. Reports are scientific documents specifically designed to minimize the cost of hiring the wrong candidate, filling in the informational needs of the recruiter while selecting said candidate.

Our customizable reports – at Mettl – often breaks down the essentials of a candidate as a whole. It points to not only skills or competencies a person would excel or lack in post-assessment, but a roadmap to train him or her in said weaker competencies. At the same time, they translate to how your employees are likely to measure against others across the industry on both local and global benchmarks.

Reports ensure you don’t miss good candidates. It doubles up by making sure you don’t bear humongous costs to hiring a wrong candidate also. The beauty of it is that reports by itself are nothing extraordinary. It’s an expectation post-assessment. But how you deliver it; well, that makes all the difference.

How Reports Guide You: 

Adding Insight to Instinct in The Interview Process

Traditionally, an interview marked the end of a process. Well, if you’d consider the talent acquisition process at least. It is a method of subtle interrogation, a hunt for information that may or may not present itself. Too often, the category a candidate falls into – be it good or bad – depends on the interview process. It is the selection criteria.

But these metrics have also proven to historically fail, and a majority of bad hires find their way into an organization based on the very same assumptions. Unfortunately, a solid interview performance hardly ever translates to top-tier on-job performance. This truth, in totality, makes reports all the more important.

Making an Interview Guide

When you possess the kind of information a quality report is likely to generate in the wake of a quality assessment, an interview guide tailored to candidate specification becomes something to look forward to.

By design, it’s meant to explain and clarify some of the best ways to enhance the quality of information gathered during the interview process, augmenting the fairness and effectiveness of the selection process. But what truly sets this piece of technology apart is its ability to suggest questions based on isolated competencies; a main question preceding a set of investigative follow ups.

Truth of the matter is, even with qualitative assessments, a complete download of candidate capacity without aid borders on the impossible. Especially when you stretch to information that might augment the interview experience on both sides. It’s why reports exist, to reveal all there is to know from an assessment. It’s why our experts use said reports to make said guides.

At Mettl, we tend to follow a rather strict set of protocols when transforming assessment information into individualized interview guides. Some of which include:

  1. Identifying more than one instance of evidence
  2. Analysing trends and supporting evidence
  3. Attempting to decipher conflicting evidence

The interview questions are designed to cover every competency addressed in the assessment. Industry experts include parameters around cultural differences also, ensuring that competencies from the behavioural component weigh into the guide as well.

If you’ve gotten a hang of what reports are meant to deliver in function, there’s a little something we’d like to share with you. It’s how we do reports, and you’re sure to understand just how different we are.

A Look at Report+: 

Citing In-House Examples

At Mettl, we’ve gone the extra mile with a special feature called Report+. We did consider leaving this a mystery, but with the entire story running on the uprising of reports, it felt a little unfair to have this one left out.

The feature adds to what a report can do, helping the platform generate multiple reports for the same assessment. At the same time, multiple reports could be combined to generate a single report also. Here’s an example of how we’d break into two reports from a single assessment:

 

Recommendation Report Individual Development Plan
Built for HR Specialists Built for the Individual Candidate

 

What you’re seeing here is a report being generated to serve different needs. The permutations on this breakdown hinges on your imagination alone. Another example here would be:

 

Technical Competency Report Behavioural Competency Report
Built for Niche Teams Built for HR Specialists

 

The breakdown of who the report is delivered to rests on your hands alone. Point is, we give you the ability to create a specialized line of questioning based on what you consume from within the report. Different teams could obtain qualitative information pertaining to their departmental purview, enabling a more efficient form of communication with the candidate in question.

It simultaneously ensures that each department holds with them the ability to effectively assess candidates and make the right decision.

[Here’s What One of Our Reports Look Like]

Parting Note

At the end of this piece, there is one thing I’d like for you to hold onto. Your instinct. Yes, despite everything, your instinct is just as important, even with the numbers and analytics. As I say this, I’m reminded of an experiment with the Japanese board game – shogi.

In it, candidates were asked to solve a checkmate move in merely one second. But on measurement of brain activity, the scans showed zero activation of the cortex in expert shogi players, the part of the brain responsible for conscious thought. Instead, the basal ganglia, the part of the brain linked to habit formation and automatic behaviour was triggered. And that’s instinct.

Another experiment with chess had candidates view the layout of an actual chess game for five seconds. When asked to reproduce the layout after the allotted time, the following results were drawn:

 

Novices Masters
Recalled 25% of the Layout Recalled 95% of the Layout

 

However, if the task is repeated with the pieces in a completely random order, both masters and novices recall about 25%. It revealed that masters don’t possess photographic memory, and relied instead on knowledge and intuition based on patterns they have seen over years. I believe this is what you’d call experience.

What I’m hinting at here is that while it’s great to trust your intuition, repeated efforts in talent acquisition is bound to lead to the inevitability of failure. Well, at least in some form. And that’s where reports come in. That’s where your interview guides come in.

But all that aside, our information is now in your hands. Your frontal lobe, since we’ve been talking parts of the brain. What you do with said information, that’s something you control alone. Feel free to reach out to us should you seek more. But until then…

Godspeed.

Topics: HR Trends

Originally published February 07 2019,updated June 29 2019

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