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High-Performing Recruitment Organizations Reveal the Secret to an Effective Screening Process

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A bad hire is more than an inconvenience; it can be a risk to the business. The U.S. Department of Labor places the cost of a bad hire at 30 percent of an employee’s annual salary while others place the figure into the hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars. That cost includes the impact on productivity and employee morale, the missed opportunity cost of not hiring a qualified candidate, and the cost of replacing the employee.

An effective screening process not only prevents bad hires, but it also helps companies arrive at the best selection decision, making it one of the most impactful parts of the candidate-employee lifecycle. Unfortunately, it is easy for organizations to fall victim to complacency in screening. A look at the associated behaviors and strategies reveals several areas where companies can improve their processes. Not surprisingly, responses from our recent global talent acquisition survey of nearly 7,000 employers and candidates reveal a disparity between high-performing recruitment organizations and others in their screening behaviors. Of high performers, 79 percent say that their candidates are always effectively screened, compared to only 44 percent of others. (“High performers” are those who strongly agree their recruitment process enables them to fill open positions quickly, attract top-quality talent, and optimize costs.)

Communication and Clarity are Key

Screening begins with communication and alignment of everyone involved in the process. In this area, 80 percent of top performers, compared to only 45 percent of others, say their top three priority skills are clearly communicated by the employer and understood by the recruiters. Notably, only 31 percent of surveyed candidates agree with this statement.

Likewise, 75 percent of high performers, compared to 38 percent of others, always ensure that the top three culture fit characteristics are clarified by the employer and understood by the recruiter. Once again, only a small portion of candidates (18 percent) agree with this statement. Finally, communication also extends to the actual screening questions. Of high performers, 73 percent agree that their questions match job definition requirements, compared to only 27 percent of others.

Process Improvement Opportunity

Differences in behaviors also extend beyond the communications aspect of screening. For example, 53 percent of high performers and 43 percent of others always include additional employees (beyond HR, the recruiter, and hiring manager) in the process. And roughly 65 percent of high performers, compared to only 39 percent of others, always contact supervisory references before extending an offer. As for risks, most employers (94 percent) agree they always or sometimes catch lies or exaggerations in the interview process, but 77 percent also agree that unqualified candidates do slip through the process to become employees.

Most organizations admit that screening is an imperfect process but one worthy of continuous improvement. When done well, the right process, tools, and alignment among everyone involved results in a screening function that predicts candidate success, identifies potential issues, and leads to great hiring decisions that keep the organization moving forward.

Digital Assessment Tools: What’s Working?

Candidates, hiring managers, and talent acquisition professionals all agree that tests for culture fit, cognitive abilities, and personality are effective, with recent developments in mobile matching systems and game-based assessments gaining exposure. Here’s what survey respondents had to say about their satisfaction with, and the efficacy of, various digital assessment tools:

  • Assessments for Cultural Fit: Assessing for culture fit typically involves a personality test that aligns candidate propensities to a company’s core values. Candidates (70 percent), hiring managers (79 percent), and talent acquisition professionals (83 percent) all rate culture-fit assessments in the top two for effectiveness.
  • Cognitive Assessments: Beyond testing for job-related skills, cognitive tests help determine the candidate’s facility for problem-solving, and ability to think quickly and interpret data. These assessments also rate in the top two for effectiveness by survey respondents, with candidates (77 percent), hiring managers (77 percent), and talent acquisition professionals (82 percent) rating them as somewhat or very effective.
  • Personality Tests: These assessments are intended to augment other assessments to help determine a candidate’s fit to criteria for success beyond basic skills and experience. Personality tests are typically not used alone. Instead, they are seen as a complement to other assessments. These tests rank just behind cognitive and culture fit assessments, rated as effective by candidates (67 percent), hiring managers (70 percent), and talent acquisition professionals (72 percent).
  • Mobile Matching Systems: Social and mobile platforms provide applications that match people with the right skills with the right opportunity. Notable advances have taken the concept into Tinder-style applications. Examples include Switch (an application that enables candidates to quickly browse opportunities and “swipe right” to connect with the ones they like) and Blendoor (job matching stripped of non-essential candidate information for effective “blind recruiting” of diverse talent). Along with game-based assessments, mobile matching systems rank in the lower tier for perceived effectiveness among candidates (48 percent), hiring managers (60 percent), and talent acquisition professionals (54 percent).
  • Game-Based Assessments: Gamification remains a growing trend, but creating a game-based assessment requires validation and the support of an industrial psychologist or testing expert. Examples include My Marriott, a simulation of a restaurant manager role, and Siemens’ Plantville simulation of a plant manager experience. These assessments are drawing much interest, but the smallest portion of talent acquisition professionals (52 percent) and candidates (49 percent) rate them as effective. A larger portion of hiring managers (60 percent) expresses confidence in these assessments. As with mobile matching systems, overall ratings may be low due to respondents’ limited exposure to the assessments.

Download our Report to Learn More

Read about these findings and more in Allegis Group’s latest state of recruiting report, “Staying in Front: An Inside Look at the Changing Dynamics of Talent Acquisition.” Based on a survey of nearly 7,000 employers, talent acquisition professionals and job candidates from around the world, the study gauges the satisfaction of companies across key talent acquisition practice areas, as well as stakeholder views on major trends. The report addresses several recruitment challenges, beginning with high demands on employers to be proficient at job definitions, sourcing, screening and onboarding. Employers also face developing trends, including advances in artificial intelligence (AI), evolving views on diversity and inclusion (D&I), and the emergence of the Millennial generation as the largest demographic in the workforce  – all of which exert pressure in several ways.

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