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5 Common Hiring Headaches That Assessments Can Help Solve

July 28, 2016

hiring-headache.jpgThe number of organizational stakeholders that remain vehemently resistant to pre-hire assessments and screening tools is shrinking, but there are still a few skeptics. The refusal isn’t always born of dislike for assessment; some holdouts are simply uneducated about them and have yet to understand their value. One of the best ways to get them to do a complete 180 is to explain to them how these tools can make their lives easier, and relating their ability to address some of the more common trouble areas related to hiring will do just that.

1) Too Many Applicants and Not Enough Time

Considering all of their other responsibilities, it isn’t hard to imagine an HR professional getting overwhelmed on the hiring front. Being inundated with applicants can seem like an insurmountable obstacle. How is the pool of hundreds, or even thousands, supposed to get narrowed down and result in a hire?

If you have a thorough understanding of what knowledge, skills, and abilities translate into success in the target position (perhaps resulting from a job analysis), then you can put a tool in place to filter out applicants without those competencies. Then utilize an assessment to measure the abilities of those remaining. All of a sudden, your vast applicant pool has been seriously shrunken, leaving you with a much more manageable number of highly qualified candidates.

2) Multiple Qualified Candidates

OK, so you got rid of the unqualified applicants, but now you’re faced with another problem. You’ve only got one position to fill but you’ve got several very attractive candidates. How do you decide who gets the job? Thankfully, assessment results are standardized, meaning you can compare results across your candidates.

You’ve done your homework, so you already know what competencies are most critical for success. You can now analyze your remaining candidates’ results to see who is strong in these competencies and meets the desired profile for the position. If you’re still left with a tie after the fact, using the assessment content and results to help form the interview is another great strategy. The interview can help provide information about the candidates above and beyond the screening tools and assessments themselves.

3) Pressure from Higher Ups

Due to the nature of the relationship between organizational leadership and Human Resources, mandates from executives often translate into directives that HR is responsible for enforcing. This leads to a higher level of pressure on individuals in HR, as they are tasked with carrying out initiatives aimed at making the necessary change.

In a hiring context, this pressure can take various forms such as requiring positions be filled immediately, decreasing the time to hire, finalizing the requisite budget, etc. Procuring and effectively utilizing appropriate assessments and screening tools can help relieve these pressures, as it shows that you have a consistent and objective system in place that you can reference and instill confidence from others.

4) Turnover and/or Quality of Hire Issues

Often intertwined, turnover and poor quality hires are a significant issue in any organization and can cause problems for the HR professional responsible for bringing them in. Even if the causes are beyond your control, your superiors and other stakeholders in the company will at least look to you for answers, if not blame you outright.

Screening tools that measure industry-specific risk factors can help filter out the riskiest applicants. Following up with an assessment solution geared towards the measurement of job-related competencies will help ensure only the best applicants are coming in. Until you know what skills are most critical for job success, there’s no consistent way to ensure that new hires will have them.

5) Legal Concerns Related to Hiring

Publicly vilifying companies that have been convicted of illegal and immoral hiring procedures is one of the media’s favorite pastimes. Making sure you keep your organization out of that spotlight is one of the most important duties an HR professional has. Failure to adhere to the strict hiring regulations in the U.S. is rarely malicious.

More often, it’s due to an oversight in some part of the process or ignorance of a particular rule. Regardless, there can be consequences, as discrimination (willful or not) can lead to potentially massive lawsuits and serious damage to the company’s reputation. Having an objective hiring system that is based on the verifiable requirements of the jobs will help ensure that no candidates are filtered out for reasons other than lacking the ability to perform the work. Using well-validated and time-tested assessments are key pieces to any legally defensible hiring process.

These are just some of the areas that assessments can positively impact, selected due to the frequency with which hiring professionals encounter them. There are countless other benefits that organization’s employing pre-hire assessments and screening tools enjoy, and taking the time to properly implement them can make a world of difference.

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Greg Kedenburg Greg Kedenburg is an I/O Psychologist who previously worked for PSI. He is living and working in Chicago, IL.