In many ways forming such quick opinions seems counter-productive, but unfortunately, that's just human nature. As human beings we've adapted over millennia to make split-second assessments of the world around us so that we can run away from the tiger hiding in the bushes, and quickly figure out if a stranger means us harm. Worse yet, once you've made a first impression on someone, it typically defines your relationship with them for years to come, and is very difficult to change.
Human Resources – Not Just an Intake Process
If you have your own business or work in Human Resources, you know all too well that first impressions do matter a great deal when a potential candidate walks through the door. The way they are dressed, the way they are groomed, how they speak – all of these factors play into your initial feelings about this individual and whether he or she will be a good fit with your company. And why shouldn't it...?
If they didn't bother to iron their shirt, or didn't have time to do so because they were running late, this lack of organization is likely to translate directly into their job performance. If they forgot to bring a copy of their resume, it's not that big a deal because they probably already sent you a copy by email, but if they forgot to do something so basic for an important meeting...what other important things will they forget when they're working for your organization?
But as important as it is for you to accurately gauge candidates as they come in, one thing that many HR professionals forget is that candidates also form first impressions, and their opinions are of vital importance to the success of your firm.
You're Not the Only Judge
Unfortunately, many HR professionals don't pay enough attention to making a first impression on the job applicants they meet. Think about it…though the stakes may be high for your organization when you're hiring someone, the pressure on the candidate is even higher. What if your company is not the right fit for them? What if they have other opportunities available and are shopping their services around before they make the final decision? How will working for your company look on their resume in the future?
After all, it never really is just about the money. For job applicants, the job search is also about personal fulfillment and finding an organization they can trust to be fair, and to be honest, in this economy, sometimes even just finding a company that won't go out of business in a couple of months. If they make the wrong decision, their job history can be jeopardized, and worse; their livelihood compromised.
Why is this important for you? Because you don't want to lose a great candidate just because they didn't feel like your firm was a good fit. An even more costly alternative is when a candidate accepts a job offer without any intention to stay with the company for very long because they are ambivalent about your firm in the first place. You then spend time and resources training them only to have them give two weeks' notice a few months later for a better opportunity. Or…they might just stay and do the bare minimum to get a paycheck.
Leveraging Employee Assessments to Build a Positive Business Impression
So how do you avoid this problem? Some of the steps you could take are no-brainers; having a clean, professional office atmosphere, being polite with the candidate, and verbally "selling" them on the company during an interview. These are all the basics that any self-respecting HR professional knows are a must. But another tool that is often overlooked is the actual employee assessment and hiring process.
Think of it this way; everyone expects to go to a job interview, but everyone expects their skills to be put to the test. By introducing a new element as part of your hiring process, here is what you’re doing indirectly for potential candidates;
1) You are serious about finding the best talent. And if a company is serious about finding the best people, it lets job applicants know that they will be working with intelligent, experienced professionals – not amateurs.
2) It makes the candidate more vested. By putting the time into taking an assessment test, you've just given the candidate a challenge, and candidates who’re confident in their abilities love a good challenge. Their adrenaline levels rise, and dopamine levels increase as well – just like during any challenge or reward-seeking behavior. And voila, without much effort, you've created an association in their mind between your company and taking on a challenge. In effect, if they are hired, the assessment test was their very first job assignment. Without an assessment test, all they did was have a conversation with you, with the only challenge being to impress you – not to solve an actual problem.
3) It gives the new hire validation that they have the skills to work in your company. If they completed assessments to your satisfaction, they will be more confident when they start the job, and will focus on giving you quality work product, instead of wasting time and energy on worrying about whether their skill-set truly matches what your company needs.
4) Lastly, having skills assessments simply makes your company look bigger and more organized. It gives the impression of a more established organization that knows exactly what it wants.
Hiring new employees is never easy. There are many unknowns, and just like any interpersonal relationship, it takes time to get to know someone. But using skills assessments as part of your hiring process can help you put your best foot forward and make a solid impression on candidates, so that you don't just find the talent you need, but talent that respects your organization and wants to work for you.
Topics: Pre-Employment Test