4 steps to selecting the right talent

HR leaders should follow four steps in getting the assessment process right when it comes to selecting and hiring the right talent for their business, according to an international HR consulting firm.

The first step is to build the return on investment (ROI) for assessment purposes, as better data enables better HR decisions to be made and the right assessment processes provides substantially better data.

“Consider the costs of poor hires in terms of salary, cost to rehire and productivity lost during the transitional period,” said Dr Colin Couzin-Wood, senior consultant Right Management.

“Further, consider current hires that promised much on paper but have not progressed or developed to the level you had expected in the time you had anticipated.”

The second step is to consider how assessment results will be used for other core processes, whether this is for on-boarding or the development and succession for the successful hire.

“Assessment tools for selection allows organisations to compare applicants beyond the immediate applicant pool, across geographies, similar organisational levels, industry or sector”

“The power of informal networks and social media mean an organisation’s reputation is shaped by something as simple as providing feedback on talent assessment tools completed as part of a recruitment process,” said Couzin-Wood.

“HR leaders must consider the time, effort and interest an applicant has invested in applying for the role. Providing feedback is crucial to acknowledging this investment.”

Thirdly, he recommended using talent assessment tools throughout the entire hiring process.

Assessment tools provide insights into the “can + will + fit” parameters of an individual’s suitability for the role, yet Couzin-Wood said many organisations use them only at the very end of the recruitment process as a final hurdle.

“In many cases, the hiring manager has already made up their mind and is seeking confirmation to hire,” he said.

“Assessment tools provide an opportunity to clarify areas the hiring manager may not have considered at other stages of the recruitment process. If timed well, assessment results can be used to inform interviews and reference checks.”

The fourth step is to tailor a solution that meets individual needs.

“Take a targeted approach to assessment for selection,” he said.

“Your organisation is unique in terms of current and future capability priorities; even the role you are hiring for is unique.”

A targeted multi-assessment methodology solution can increase overall predicative validity of a new hire’s success in the role, and improve the reliability of hiring/promotion decisions, Couzin-Wood added.

“In an increasingly global talent marketplace, assessment tools for selection allows organisations to compare applicants beyond the immediate applicant pool, across geographies, similar organisational levels, industry or sector,” he said.

Linking assessment to strategy
Kathryn Nell, principal consultant at Right Management, noted that finding the right talent to execute an organisation’s overall business strategy should be an organisation’s key priority.

Anecdotally, she said most organisations do not leverage assessment options available to them when hiring and selecting the right talent for the job.

“Most organisations will invest in 2-3 interviews that focus on screening for critical skills and cultural fit, a portion will leverage psychometric assessment and only a handful invest in a comprehensive/integrated assessment for selection process,” she said.

“Hiring the right talent is one of an organisation’s strategically critical tasks, yet we continue to see organisations underinvest in this area. Therefore, organisations do not reap the benefits of their overall investment by making this a final step in the hiring process.”

While a significant proportion of organisations hire and assess against criteria that is relevant for the current role or vacancy, Nell said organisations that do take a strategic approach to aligning talent to strategy will find themselves more competitive in the long term.

“They will be in a better position to identify current and future capabilities and focus on capability development which will be relevant and aligned to the business over a 3-5 year horizon,” she said.

“Organisations that do use assessment data effectively will then use it across multiple talent systems; including development, succession planning and career development.

“These systems benefit from sitting assessment data alongside performance data, so to provide a more complete picture of how the individual, team/division and organisation is prepared for future business challenges.”

At an individual level, when an organisation gets this right, Nell said the assessment process reflects the organisational culture, and this gives both the applicant/employee and the hiring decision makers the appropriate opportunity to understand what it will be like to work together, evaluate work samples and observe each other in relevant situations.

Behavioural economics and HR
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, vice president of innovation at Hogan Assessments, who spoke at a recent Right Management breakfast in Sydney on leadership assessment and development, said managers should be encouraged to become more data-driven, as past behaviour is still a good predictor of future behaviour – despite the irrationality of human behaviour.

“When we are able to predict what people do at work (and why they do it), their behaviour becomes less irrational,” he said.

“Using comprehensive assessment approaches contribute to more data-driven decision making.”

Chamorro-Premuzic also said the main contribution of behavioural economics to HR is to highlight the irrationality of human decisions – as organisational training leader Dale Carnegie once noted, “when dealing with people, we must always remember that we are dealing with creatures of emotion rather than logic.”