Hiring the BEST Talent Every Time

Managers want to hire the best talent available yet rarely give the interview process the time and effort it deserves. Simultaneously, managers believe they are better interviewers than they really are! So how do you balance best in class interviewing techniques with a timely and efficient selection process? There are two ways to ensure that you do hire the best talent every time: Hire a management psychologist to assess the individuals under consideration, AND increase your use of behavioral interviewing techniques.

The #1 predictor of future performance is past performance. Your best strategy in an interview is to focus on how the prospective candidate has handled past situations that they have encountered. For example, if you want to know how they handle conflict ask them:

  • “Tell me about a time when you and a colleague openly disagreed on how to handle a work situation. How did you approach it? Why did you select that approach? What was the result? What did you learn from this? What would you do differently next time?

You can use this technique for any leadership competency or characteristic that is highlighted in a job description. You will probably need an hour to fully cover 3-5 competencies or characteristics so budget your time accordingly. Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind during an interview:

  • Take notes: use facts and observations to keep the discussion fresh in your mind.
  • Avoid small talk: Stick to the interview questions and keep a neutral stance.
  • Ask the same questions of every candidate.
  • Immediately after the interview, write up your impressions and draft some questions you might wish to ask their references.

The single most important reason to assess people in a selection process is to increase the probability of hiring the best talent available from a pool of candidates. For the past 20 years, assessment strategies have been increasingly used to pre-screen potential candidates and to select candidates from a group of finalists. The more critical the job role is to a company, the more you have at risk during the selection process.  Assessments can be used in a variety of ways: to assess personality, work style, cognition, job knowledge or special skills.

Usually a valid and reliable assessment is restricted for use by psychologists or other certified specialists who have completed in-depth training on a given instrument. Management psychologists specialize in talent selection at all levels: executive, managerial, supervisory, and key individual contributors. So why should a company invest in talent assessment by a psychologist? Here are 5 key reasons that justify the modest expense:

  1. Talent assessment improves your company’s ROI.
  2. It can expedite the overall hiring process.
  3. It can transform your culture or ensure a good fit with your existing culture.
  4. It can target specific job competencies with a higher degree of certainty.
  5. It can increase the company’s legal standing and ability to defend their selection process.

ROI is enhanced by improving performance and by reducing bottom line costs. Top performers generate a higher rate of productivity than just “good enough” hires by as much as 25%. Bottom line costs are positively impacted by higher employee retention and engagement. The cost of a bad hire can range from 1.4 times (American Management Association) to 10 times an employee’s salary (California Strategic HR Partnership) depending on the job role.  High turnover costs a company time, money, morale, and productivity.

The right assessments can expedite the hiring process. Through pre-screening assessments only the best “fit” candidates will move to a phone interview saving the hiring team untold numbers of interviewing hours. The appropriate use of assessment tools can move the best candidates faster to the final round of interviews thereby keeping the candidates fresh and interested in what you have to offer.  The faster they move through your hiring process, the more likely they will still be available to hire.

Employees exhibiting similar personality traits and behaviors largely create a company’s culture. If you hire upbeat, optimistic people than your company will most likely have those characteristics. Likewise, if you hire “debbie downers” than your culture will also reflect this. Assessment tools can capture these characteristics and traits much easier and at less cost than an interviewer can.

Assessment professionals are a great resource for identifying job competencies across thousands of job titles and can quickly target those that are the best predictors for success from their data warehouse. Often, hiring managers reuse an existing job description rather than perform a job analysis to assess what is currently needed to perform and excel at a given job. Access to big data ensures that your job description will contain the key attributes needed for success in a given job role.

The use of predictive, valid and reliable assessments will strengthen your hiring process by ensuring that all candidates are treated consistently, and that the tools used to differentiate one candidate from another are legally valid and without adverse impact.

In summary, the enhanced use of behavioral interviewing techniques on the part of hiring managers, and the services of a management psychologist will ensure that your talent assessment process picks the BEST talent every time.