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4 Tips to Building the Perfect Selection System

September 3, 2015

hiring-candidateIf you read this blog regularly, then you've been reading a lot lately about the advantages of using assessments and other objective methods in your hiring system. Hopefully, you have decided to give them a shot. Decision made. Now it’s easy, right? What else could there be? Almost as important as choosing the correct selection tool is building the proper selection process. There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding on the selection process, including, number of potential applicants, objectivity of the hiring system, managing hiring manager expectations, cost, time, administrative burden, and many more. Here are a few pointers that can help you create a system that is cost-effective, valid, and practical:

1) The earlier you use the objective measures (e.g., assessments) the better the system.

Often times, the first step in a selection process is the resume review. However, the resume review has been considered one of the most time-consuming and subjective selection tools that also tends to weed out a lot of quality candidates and reduces legal defensibility. Replacing this step with a general screen of minimum requirements followed by an objective measure, like an assessment, will provide a more accurate measure of your candidates’ hiring potential. The goal of the assessment is to compare candidates to an objective standard and determine who has the knowledge, skills, and abilities to complete the job. In addition, assessments can be faster and less time intensive than a resume review.

2) Put the assessment before the hiring manager interview.

A common question I receive is “can I save a little money by doing the interview first and then only testing the candidates we like?” Short answer, yes you may save money, but you will certainly create more headaches. Commonly, the assessment and the interview measure different things, so just because someone passes the interview does not mean they will pass the assessment and vice versa. Therein lies the issue, the hiring manager may fall in love with Applicant A, but when Applicant A fails the assessment he/she is not eligible for hire. Undoubtedly, hiring managers do not question their interview results, instead they will conclude that the assessment isn’t working. Avoid the headaches and the potential lawsuits from not being consistent and only let hiring managers interview those who have already passed the assessment. (Note: Many researchers have shown that well-developed and validated assessments are much more predictive than even the best-structured interview.)

3) Should everyone take the assessment?

Every candidate that makes it to that stage of the hiring process should. The foundation of an effective hiring system is consistency and objectivity. Best practice is that every qualified candidate should take the assessment and every individual who passes should move to the next step. If you want to reduce the number of individuals taking the assessment, add in objective cuts to identify qualified candidates. We often recommend using an application that will automatically cut individuals who do not meet the pre-determined criteria. This reduces the number of individuals eligible to take the assessment and ensures any individual who passes the assessment also has the minimum qualifications required for the role.

4) Make sure every person touching the hiring system is trained and knowledgeable.

Playing dumb will not help if your selection process comes under scrutiny. Make sure every person on your hiring team understands the laws and do's and dont's of hiring. This is particularly true for resume reviews and interviews when subjective decisions drive who will be moving to the next stage. Being consistent, being objective (as much as possible), and knowing the laws around proper hiring techniques will help you to identify better employees and reduce the risk of litigation.

There are a lot of factors that go into a selection system, whenever working with an assessment vendor always discuss the best practices for setting up the selection system. Each case is different and should be handled as such, thus always make sure the vendor is willing to work with you about how to install a selection system that works for you. Hiring needs change, Applicant pools change. Your selection system and applicant flow should change with them. There is no one perfect hiring system, but there can be a perfect hiring system customized for each company.

The Ultimate Hiring Manager’s Guide

Steven Jarrett, Ph.D. Steven Jarrett, Ph.D. is a Senior Consultant at PSI. He has extensive experience developing, implementing, and validating legally defensible selection solutions for organizations. Steven has worked in a variety of industries including manufacturing, retail, healthcare and education.