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This is part four of our five-part series about effective recruiting in a candidate driven market.

By: Edna Nakamoto and Jessica Barrett
external-assessment-toolsIn part three of our series on recruiting, we discussed internal screening. Today, we’ll be looking at some of the assessment tools available to us when our search for talent takes us outside the organization.

With the average cost of recruiting, hiring, and training being $4,000, and the cost of turnover being $16,000 for entry level employees and $120,000 for mid-level associates, it’s easy to see why employers care so much about making the right hire the first time. When putting candidates through the assessment process, having the right tools is critical for employers.

For so long, the only tool at our disposal was the interview. The interview is still a vital piece, but it only takes us so far, and, as we’ve all experienced, some people are just better interviewees. The information gathered throughout the interview process tells us about a candidates’ past performance, and through the use of behavioral based interview questions, we hope that their past behavior is a strong enough predictor of future behavior. Meaning, that if they’ve done well in past positions with other employers, that should indicate that they’ll perform as well with us.

Not surprisingly, many companies want even more data as it relates to predicting whether or not their future hire is going to perform well, fit in with their culture, and stick around for the long haul. As recruiting has become digital over the years, the advent of new assessment tools has come in to play. Now, recruiters and hiring managers have more at their disposal, and are able to engage in a more holistic approach to assessing candidates. Let’s explore a few of those tools.

Applicant Tracking Systems

applicant-tracking-systemsWhen applicant tracking systems (ATS) first appeared on the market, they were mainly a tool used to manage applicant flow. Over the years, they’ve evolved into what is now a full portfolio of services that manages a candidate from the recruiting and application process, all the way through to associate performance management.

As it relates to recruiting, the ATS of today can now resume parse, skills match, and filter, based upon requirements. Additionally, recruiters are able to pare down the process through the use of well-crafted prescreening questions. Imagine 100 resumes; it’s helpful if your ATS can quickly direct you to relevant applicants. Recruiters no longer need to spend their time pouring over each applicant. The ATS assists in narrowing the candidate pool for you, ensuring that your time is better spent quickly reaching out to those applicants you’re most interested in as soon as possible. The ATS also allows you to touch base with those folks in whichever way makes most sense, as it’s linked to SMS texting, email, and social media. A well-integrated ATS, like TAM, gives you a centralized place to compare applicants based on all assessment tools. You can easily pull people up by keywords and immediately sort by psychometric testing results.

A favorite feature of the ATS among most companies, is that they can be accessed by more than just human resources. Hiring managers can also use the ATS to view applicants tied to their requisitions. They are more engaged in reviewing candidates, and knowing where they are at in the interview process, which is essential for executing on a top prospect quickly. Managers know that the candidates they are reviewing have already successfully completed pre-screening questions through the ATS, and that they are only reviewing those applicants who meet minimum qualifications. Additionally, through the use of video interviewing, recruiters and hiring managers alike are able to view downloaded videos of prescreening interviews early in the process with the help of products like SparkHire.

Psychometric Profiling

psychometric-profilingAs of 2013, about 57% of large employers were using psychometric profile testing in their hiring process. Many employers would simply prefer to wait to fill a position, than to fill it quickly with the wrong hire, only having to turn around and fill it again soon, incurring lost time, productivity, and profits.

While experience and education are important, hiring managers want to gather more data that acts as another layer of proof that the person they’re hiring is going to work out.

Psychometric profiling tests for attitude and culture fit. It assesses details about core character traits that matter most to organizations, beyond just whether or not someone has the experience to do the work. Companies need to know that someone is trainable, positive, has the critical thinking and problem solving abilities they need. These tests allow organizations to do more than just take the candidate’s word for it. They can actually predict whether or not someone will be a good fit for the company overall, and if they will be able to retain this person long term.

Simulation Assessments

simulation-assessmentsOne of the best ways to know how someone will perform on the job, is to see them in action. Many companies ask their candidates to go through simulation assessments, wherein they are asked to participate in a mock-up scenario similar to those they would actually encounter in the position they are interviewing for. For example, they may be asked to walk through a role-play with an interviewer, wherein they play the part of a customer service manager, and the interviewer plays the part of an upset customer. This would test for skills and personality characteristics related to customer service, problem solving, negotiation, compassion, empathy, stress tolerance, and critical thinking.

Another simulation assessment utilized by several companies is one that tests for organizational skills. When asked, most candidates will attest to being organized. However, being given a test that walks someone through a typical day, and then simulates that typical day being interrupted, asking them to prioritize differently and with only a few minutes to decide, often shows how that candidate actually performs as it relates to their organizational skills. Similar to the psychometric profiling, simulation assessments test for core competencies, but with the added bonus of seeing someone in action before deciding to hire them.

We can utilize assessment tools all the way through to the end of the hiring process including reference, background, and credit checks, as well as drug testing. Reference checking can be done quickly with the help of tools like SkillSurvey wherein the process is online and completed 92% faster than manual reference checks.  As it relates to background and credit checks, as well as drug testing, tools like GoodHire allow you to quickly manage much of that process online, providing you visibility to results immediately.

Each of these assessment tools is designed to make the recruiting process not only simpler and faster, but more accurate. The data pulled from these tools, coupled with the interview data, is an effective way to arm you with more information to make a confident hiring decision, resulting in associates who not only perform well, but will be long-term employees.

Stop back next week for the last installment of our five-part series on recruiting, where we’ll be taking a look at Making the Final Selection.

For more information on the benefits of an applicant tracking system, contact TAM for a free demo.

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