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4 Best Practices to Designing an Effective Hiring Process

May 19, 2016

hiring_process.jpgAre you looking for that one answer- what is the “right” way to design an employee hiring process? Well, there isn’t necessarily one “right” way, as the best hiring process for a given position will depend on a number of different aspects related to that specific position, your hiring needs, and the available labor pool. However, there are a number of best practices that apply across the board:

1) Design a hiring process that is efficient

For example, screen for the basic and minimum qualifications for the position in the first step of the process to avoid spending time later in the process on candidates who don’t meet these minimum qualifications. Additionally, build automation in throughout the selection process. Automated applications can screen for minimum qualifications and applicant-tracking systems can serve up assessments and move candidates automatically through various stages of your selection system. In addition to bringing efficiency, such automation can also assist in keeping your process consistent across candidates, a detail discussed further below.

2) Select for characteristics that are job relevant

This may seem like an obvious statement, but ensuring that you are selecting for job-relevant characteristics requires some pre-work before you post a position. To ensure job relevancy, you should conduct a job analysis of the target position. A job analysis is an examination of the target position to specifically identify the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics that are important for effective performance on the job.

There are a number of different ways that you can go about conducting a job analysis, but some common methods involve: observing the job, conducting focus groups with job content experts, and surveying job content experts. Job content experts are considered anyone with expert knowledge of the position, often including incumbents in the target position and supervisors of the role. Once you know the important characteristics for the position, you should then choose selection methods that best measure those characteristics, a point discussed next.

3) Choose selection methods that best measure the characteristics needed for the position

So, you know what characteristics are needed for an individual to be successful in the target position, now what do you do? It’s important at this point to determine the best tools to measure these characteristics, and where best to measure each one in the hiring process to maintain an efficient process.

For example, say you determined that some key aspects for a call center position are customer service, oral communication, problem-solving, multi-tasking, and attention to detail. Given the high degree of customer interaction and the importance of problem-solving skills, you may decide that you want to measure both of these competencies at multiple points of the process, including in an online assessment as well as in an interview. You’ve determined that you can get a good measure of multi-tasking in an online assessment, so you decide to focus the measurement of that characteristic at the assessment stage. Given the nature of the oral communication competency, you’ve determined that the best place to measure this competency is in an interview.

When choosing assessments, you’ll also want to ensure that they are valid predictors for the target position. This can be established either by conducting a validation study specific to your target position or by linking to existing validation evidence in a similar position. For more information regarding validation, click here.

4) Consistently evaluate all candidates using the same process and criteria

Following a consistent process across all candidates is critical to ensure that you are making accurate comparisons, or “apples to apples” comparisons. This consistency is also critical for purposes of legal defensibility. If you treat candidates differently, you open yourself up for claims of discrimination by members of protected classes. How do you ensure that you maintain consistency?

  • Have a well-defined selection process and standards, including evaluation standards (e.g., standard interview rating scales, objective scoring standards on assessments)

  • Train all members of the hiring team on the process, including interviewer training

  • Don’t “bend” the rules for certain candidates

While specific aspects of selection systems will differ across positions based on the characteristics needed for the position, the tips provided above apply across the board to designing an effective selection system.

The Ultimate Hiring Manager’s Guide

Tracey Tafero, Ph.D. Tracey Tafero, Ph.D. was the Director of Consulting Services at PSI. She has extensive experience in designing, validating and implementing selection processes specific to clients’ needs. She has a proven record of successful selection and development project implementations from entry-level through professional and executive level processes, across a number of different industries.