Selecting the right candidate is crucial for any organization’s performance and success. Not only is choosing the right candidate one of the most important HR functions, it is also one of the most difficult. It is a lengthy processes that, if not done correctly, can be very costly to your company.
So how do you make sure you have the best candidate selection process? With the challenge of selecting the most suitable candidate for the job and organization, it is imperative that you use a comprehensive selection system; one that taps into the different aspects of human talent.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to make your life a little easier!
Tip 1: Know what you’re looking for
Not only in terms of knowledge and experiences, but also in terms of the competencies, abilities, and attitudes that you are looking for in a candidate.
And how do you determine what you are looking for? Using the cornerstone of all HR functions: the job analysis.
I’m sure by now you’ve all heard of personality tests in businesses. Their popularity keeps on rising, and they are quite the innovative way to get to know the candidates in front of you, without really knowing them. After all, we already interview them to try and get to know them, but sometimes, that’s not enough.
As the HR professional, it is essential that you be knowledgeable about the nature of the work being done, and how it is contributing to the achievement of the organization’s goals. Having this information at hand ensures that that you are aligning your HR practices with the company’s strategic objectives. A proper job analysis examines all the jobs in the organization and documents the tasks, duties, and responsibilities of the job, as well as the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and other attributes required to be successful at it.
The job analysis if the foundation for all HR activities; and for good reason. In order to be able to advertise a job, recruit individuals, and fill job vacancies efficiently and effectively, we must be able to specify the individual competencies that we seek.
Tip 2: Ensure that your candidate selection process is reliable and valid
There are many reasons why you should ensure that your candidate selection process is reliable and valid, but first, let’s define what we mean by reliability and validity. A reliable process is one that would consistently achieve the same results across time, while a valid process is one that correctly measures what it is intended to measure.
Armed with these definitions, human resources practices are leaning more towards scientific approaches (using reliable and valid processes), and moving away from practice-based approaches (which are more intuitive).
Using a job analysis to identify the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for the job, determining ways to measure these attributes, and using the results as the basis for your selection processes ensures the reliability and validity of your practices.
In fact, researchers have shown that using science-based selection lead to more rational decisions, can be implemented system-wide, and are empirical as opposed to being subjective. Science-based selection processes are also more structured, consistent, and allow a company to maintain specific standards. In addition, the use of an analytical process, as opposed to an intuitive one, allows for a more defensible system against human rights legislation, and produces more productive and effective hires.
Conduct job analyses, use structured interviews (or semi-structured ones), and administer scientifically validated tests to optimize your candidate selection processes.
Recruitment and selection is one of the most important tasks of human resources management. Not only is it crucial for the company’s success, but it could also save it a lot of money! In fact, the cost of a bad hire can range anywhere from 30% to over 200% of the employee’s annual salary; depending on the prominence of the position in question.
Tip 3: Make sure your interview process is effective and efficient
Some companies use the interview as a screening device, while others use it as a selection tool.
Regardless of which method you prefer, it is generally recommended that you interview as few candidates as possible. Compared to other screening and selection tools (e.g. resumes and application forms), the interview is one of the most expensive because it considers managers’ and supervisors’ time as a cost.
Before conducting an interview, it is very important that you are well prepared. Identify ahead of time the information from a candidate’s resume that require further exploration. It is also important to use the interview to extract information that have not been provided in the resume, but are nonetheless important to determine the candidate’s propensity to succeed at the job in question.
Another way to ensure your interview process is effective is to avoid unstructured interviews. While these might provide you with the freedom to ask questions that come to mind during the interview, they leave too much room for subjectivity and bias.
The best thing you can do is conduct semi-structured interviews; where you have a set list of questions to ask, but also have the freedom to elaborate on pertinent topics that may arise during the interview. This practice ensures you get the most amount of information, while still maintaining the reliability and integrity of the process.
Tip 4: Ensure the “fit”
Another important tip is to assess non-cognitive attributes of your candidates; such as interpersonal skills, initiative, teamwork, leadership, and organizational fit.
These attributes, while not directly related to knowledge and work experience, can mean the difference between a good hire and a great hire, so make sure you assess them properly. There are employee assessments available that allow you to explore a candidate’s natural reflexes and innate abilities, and can provide you with the additional information you need to determine the candidate’s level of fit with the job and the organization. In fact, it is recommended that you administer these tests as an additional screening tool, which can help you identify great potential and optimize your candidate selection processes.
Regardless of your location, market, industry, or profession, chances are you’ve had to interview a candidate at some point in your career. Granted, some of us do it more often than others, some got formal training and education, and some just learned from experience.
Selecting the right candidate is not an easy feat. There are several things that you must consider to ensure that your hiring efforts are not in vain.
Make sure you specify and communicate your organization’s goals, determine the knowledge and skills you need for the job, and identify and evaluate your candidates’ natural reflexes to ensure they have what it takes to add value to your company.