Hired on skills, Fired on personality?

Most companies select and hire candidates based on a traditional combination of CV , motivation letter and the impression they give during their on-site interview(s). Once they join the team, the real value of the new employee becomes evident.

In many cases a traditional selection process can work out just fine, but at the same time it does feel too much like taking a gamble in a career casino where there is much at stake both personally and professionally. When a gamble does not pay out (= bad hire), the costs for an organization are high as every recruiter knows (https://www.forbes.com/the-true-cost-of-a-bad-hire-its-more-than-you-think/). But what to think of the person you hired. Nobody is applying with the plan to become a bad hire. Both parties are responsible, but one should expect a bit more expertise on the hiring side, right? Most often behavior and personality is the reason to become a bad hire and much of this is contextual, having to do with direct team and company culture.

If candidates are hired based on a CV and fired because of behavior, why don’t organizations check on behavior earlier in the process?? Why do we still accept the gambling part of recruitment when we have so many tools available to reduce risk and increase predictability?

“Number 52 please, take away.” If only you could go to the counter and select those ideal candidates to interview. If only. How do you check personality at the gate? Today’s technology offers great opportunities to get better insights in possible problem areas or potential pitfalls. This can be automated away from the gut-feeling of the recruiter to activate the recruiter as a coach so that candidates are not an application file number.

Personality tests have been around since the 1920’s and were developed with the intention to ease the process of personnel selection, particularly in the armed forces. Since then personality tests have developed in a stand-alone industry with an estimated size of between 2 and 4 billion USD. There is an abundance of tests available on a wide range of personality areas. These tests are accessible, affordable and reliable to counter, or at least benchmark, the gut-feeling in recruitment.

Recruiters are often afraid to add tools, technologies and tests based on a fear that any new element will add to the risk of candidates dropping out of the process. It is a candidate-driven market. No doubt about that. Recruiters are afraid to lose out on a good candidate.
Granted. But what if you can show your applicants that you have a professional selection process that is also designed to help them make the best match and subsequent career move? Even if the candidate does not get hired, you will be sure that they are left with your organization as a highly professional organization.

There are a number of prerequisites of course:

Quality over Quantity

What is your retention rate? In an improving economy, candidates get the upper hand again so to avoid a bad hire, it is crucial for recruiters to get an early insight in who is motivated and who is not. In the end, there is only one vacancy to fill so would you rather have 50 potential candidates or 10 more motivated candidates? Be critical on the motivation, but also be motivated to ‘sell’ your job in a realistic way.

Provide feedback

Share the collected insights with your candidates and involve them in your process. They will appreciate you for it. This applies to both interviews (online or offline) and tests, or a combination of both. Be prepared to coach and guide your candidates to their next career opportunity. Sometimes the best candidate pool are your previous top applicants. If they remember your process as being first-class, they will understand there is a risk of not being hired and appreciate you calling them with the next career opportunity.

The ultimate candidate experience; engaging, responsive and fast

Your application process should be dialogue-based. Think agile instead of waterfall in development terms. The further a candidate proceeds in the process, the more information will be required. Don’t overdo it in the first step with a lengthy application form behind a login. Shower candidates with a fast and responsive process; clarity to come to the office for an interview or a well explained thank you but no thank you. You will not regret it.

Gambling is for casinos, not for recruitment. Add a little more science to your talent acquisition process. Add a personality test, use video interviews or a combination of both. Personality is critical in making a good hire and will only get more important with the decreasing lifecycle of hard skills. Hire for personality!

Happy Hiring!

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