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Are you hiring the best people for your company? part III

Improving your candidate selection process

In my two previous installments (Part I, Part II) in this series, I described how the hiring process is a bit more¬†subjective than most hiring managers recognize. HR Departments and department managers have had epic battles not only about who should oversee the hiring process but also about interview formatting (hiring managers generally don’t like structure, much preferring to go with their gut instinct). Unfortunately, research shows that spontaneous, unstructured interviews predict only 14% of an employee’s performance.

Pre-interview applicant tracking and assessments

Pre-screening skill candidate tracking platforms streamline the hiring process by directing the hiring manager towards those candidates who are more likely to succeed on the job. Until recently, only big companies could afford this kind of tracking software. Now, for under $20 a month per applicant, mid to small size companies can use affordable web-based tracking platforms like Taleo, NuView Systems, and Accolo. These options include ‘Knock-out’ questions that result in automated email notification of candidates who don’t make the cut.

There are easily over 1,000 online applicant assessments measuring everything from programming skills to emotional intelligence offered by companies like PreVisor and Kenexa. Prices range from a few dollars to $50 a test, well worth the investment in further shortening your final pre-interview list of candidates. Later, during the interview process, you can administer hands-on tests measuring things like work accuracy and ability to resolve workflow challenges.

hiring the best

The irreplaceable structured interview

Structured interviews (with pre-validated, open-ended questions combining additional questions tailored to a position’s specific responsibilities) are the strong predictors of job performance. When combined with tests for general cognitive ability, emotional intelligence, and conscientiousness, you have a winning combination for finding the best candidate. —One potential downside for tests of general cognitive ability is that they tend to be biased in favor of white males, at least in the U.S.

In my next and final installment in this series, I’ll discuss best practices for sequential and group interviews, plus some final additional, simple steps to increase your odds of hiring the best people.

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