Accurate Hiring of Quality Candidates: A Short Guide

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.” – Lawrence Bossidy, former CEO of Honeywell International

Companies are constantly seeking to fill their recruitment funnel with the “best” employees. When it comes to judging the success of your hiring practices, quality of hire should be the number one metric. This is mostly because the cost of employing a candidate that doesn’t meet the job requirements is high. It also leads to lower work productivity, the loss of time associated with hiring and training replacements.

So how do you improve the quality of your hiring process? 

To answer that, let’s understand 4 key areas that need to be taken into account to ensure that the recruitment process is effective and smooth.

1. Defining quality

Hiring based on quality is different from just filling positions.

To achieve success, the recruiting team needs to track performance measures like quality of hire. However, quality of hire is a rather elusive metric, so defining it becomes challenging. This is primarily because companies have different priorities. Fortunately, some common denominators contribute to the success of identifying the right candidate for your company. 

Quality can be broken down into skills, which can further be divided into soft skills and hard skills. They help define the strengths of individuals and teams as well as how projects get tackled. Hard skills are quantifiable, which means you can evaluate the work product based on the technical proficiency of the candidate. Soft skills on the other hand are personality traits that employees bring to the table. Knowing how to hire for either of these specific skills is essential to your company’s success. Knowledge is another important asset to factor in while assessing a person’s skills. Abilities in terms of cognitive, mathematical, or learning can be important for many jobs as well. For evaluating this and other characteristics, large organizations invest in job analysis and validation studies to define what quality means for each job family in their organization. But that most often tends to be an expensive exercise. This is why it becomes practical and easier to start with the support from existing frameworks available from onetonline.org or country-wise equivalents of that. For example, Singapore has developed the Singapore Skills Framework, which is a very detailed framework that allows companies to readily use it as is or with minor changes, without investing much. 

2.   Defining methods to accurately identify quality

In order to meet the demands of the company and accurately define quality, having defined methods to aid you in the assessment of the candidate goes a long way. These methods are usually structured into pre-employment tests which help and identify the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate. They are also useful in generating insights into the organization’s hiring process and in development training. 

When pre-employment tests are properly calculated, employers can focus on specific sources of hiring problems that stem from recruitment before they impact the quality of hire. This helps employers predict the quality of hire for any recruiting campaign 30-60 days before the people are actually hired. 

Now let’s take a look at some pre-employment tests that can help employ a quality candidate. 

a. Assessment:

There are specific and reliable tests via which employees can assess their candidates based on the field of requirement. 

Cognitive ability tests– These test your mental capacity to work in a particular position. These tests highlight your ability to use logical, verbal, and numeric reasoning to approach tasks.
Knowledge tests– They measure a candidate’s technical or theoretical expertise in a particular field. Knowledge tests are most useful for jobs that require specialized knowledge or high levels of expertise.
Personality tests– These tests determine whether the candidate fits within the company’s culture and if their personality leads to an increase in productivity for the particular role. They help measure their engagement level. 
Work Sample Assessment– These tests require the job candidate to perform tasks that mirror the tasks employees do on the job.
Case Studies– This type of assessment includes asking the candidate to present a solution/business proposal based on a set of fictional documents that mirror strategic problems that she/he is likely to encounter in your new role.

b. Structured interviews:  A structured job interview tests the candidates with the same questions and evaluates them on the same scale. The STAR method is one of the most popular ones because it uses a structured manner of responding to a behavioral-based interview question by discussing the specific situation, task, action, and result of the situation that is being described. Structured interviews are found to be better than unstructured ones and offer a wide range of benefits such as effectiveness, fairness, consistency, and legal protection.

c. Background investigations and reference checks: Experience and qualifications are both considered proxies or heuristics for skills and knowledge, and pre-employment tests have revolutionized this part in the process of recruitment. Another important thing to do is to secure information about potential hires through reference checks to ensure that the employee will not be of any type of risk to you/your client or the workplace

3. Remove unstructured processes and bias

Resulting from mental shortcuts that cause recruiters to misinterpret candidates based on their personal experience, unconscious bias leads to inaccurate assessments. It can defeat the benefits of a diverse workforce and the overall productivity of a workplace. To resolve this and other unstructured processes, businesses should use training, teach the importance of a metrics-based, systematic approach, and make those involved in the recruitment process aware of the harms of unconscious bias. 

4. Implement a system that delivers inclusiveness
Studies suggest that diverse teams are smarter and that including different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences improves the decision-making process in the workplace. In this regard, the organization should focus on making it easy to follow the above approach and ensure a good experience for everyone involved, especially the candidates. If the experience is not good, the system will not be used and that would defeat the entire purpose of this approach. To achieve successful hiring, the organization should make itself inclusive and accessible to candidates from diverse ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, and also people with disabilities. 

Addressing these 4 areas will not just help you to hire quality candidates, but also retain them. impress.ai helps organizations resolve these problems by offering the following services:

● Competency Evaluations: impress.ai’s candidate evaluations are based on competency frameworks built by Organizational Psychologists.

Skills Evaluation: impress.ai offers technical skills assessment solutions in partnership with professional assessment organizations.

Conversational Chatbots: These autonomous interviews, engage, and shortlist candidates at scale 24/7. The impress.ai chatbot-led recruitment platform is fully customizable based on the recruiter’s needs. It can be designed to suit the requirements based on job families.

Thus, we see how an efficient recruitment process can enable an organization to hire top-quality candidates in an agreeable time frame. Through AI intervention,  the recruitment process constantly evolves via quality checks, valid assessments and structured processes, and the elimination of hiring bias. And these groundbreaking upgrades only go to show that the world is full of opportunities for anyone with a dream- only this time it is fairer, more effective, and inclusive!

Shifting careers? Here are some tips to ace your job interview.

Contrary to what many people think, changing careers isn’t all that uncommon. Today, there’s a prevailing attitude of openness to career opportunities—in Singapore, for example, 42 percent of workers said they are “extremely interested” to learn about job opportunities outside of their companies.

In many ways, the death knell of the company man—the loyal and steadfast employee who’s committed to the interests of the organization that employs him—is a reflection of the changing nature of work. In a time where skill sets have a shorter shelf life than ever (less than five years, according to a LinkedIn study), many job seekers are scrambling just to stay relevant to potential employers. Today, everyone’s expected to pick up new skills, learn new tools, and be familiar with new systems.

For example, web designers are expected to have a background in SEO and digital marketing; administrative assistants need to be proficient with computers and cloud-based software; assembly-line workers have had to learn how to work alongside robots.

All of this has also chipped away at the notion that once you get an education or training in a certain field, you’re pretty much stuck there until you retire. Employers are also open to career shifters, provided they can prove they have the skills needed for the open job.

Fortunately, if you’ve already landed a job interview after deciding to shift careers, it means you’ve already succeeded in selling your experience, at least on paper. Now it’s just a matter of sealing the deal for your career transition and demonstrating, through the interview, the value your experience and skills bring to the team.

Job interview questions to expect for career shifters

Below are a few questions you expect in this situation and how you can answer them.

How does your background in a different industry or role make you suitable for this position?

If you want to convince a new employer that you’re the best candidate for a position, you need to back it up with clear examples of your work and the kind of results your tasks generated.

Start by writing down everything you do, down to the smallest details—from mundane everyday tasks to your accomplishments. Be sure to identify projects and responsibilities in your previous role that may align with the new position you’re applying for.

Once you’ve identified a few excellent examples, you can then use the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Activity, and Result) to provide clear and concrete explanations of how you contributed to your previous company.

  • Situation – What is the context of your particular experience? For example, “I was able to show my managerial skills by leading a team of web developers to complete an urgent last-minute project.”
  • Task – What was your specific role in this situation? “I was assigned the role of lead developer and oversaw backend development and deployment.”
  • Activity – What exactly did you do? “I worked closely with the client in determining the scope of the project and led the team in bringing these needs to fruition.” (This is where you can describe the strategies you employed to achieve your goal.)
  • Result – What results did your actions generate? “We rolled out the product a day ahead of schedule.”

As a clincher, make sure you explain how you would apply that experience in your new role. After all, the skills required for managing a team can apply to any industry.

Why should we hire you over a graduate who studied this field?

This may seem like an aggressive question, but if you put yourself in a hiring manager’s shoes, it’s easy to see why they would be hesitant to hire someone with no background in their particular industry.

The key here is framing. Your job is to show potential employers how your particular skillset and knowledge from your industry can be an advantage, rather than a weakness, over those who actually studied in the field you seek to join.

For example, if your job experience has been predominantly in customer service and sales in a software company and now you’re switching to software development, you can bring attention to the keen understanding of what end-users want from software and what their most complaints are as a way of bringing value to the development team.

Of course, applying for relevant jobs will also help make your transition easier. For example, if your work experience has been in the travel industry and you want to move into tech, consider looking for tech companies with a travel service or hospitality-related product.

Why have you decided to make a career shift?

You don’t want to wait until the day of the interview to think about how you will explain the reason for your career change. Make no mistake about it, it will come up in the interview.

That being said, you want to plan ahead and practice your response so you don’t get caught off-guard. Show the hiring manager that your decision was a carefully planned move. This will prove that you are serious about the role and aren’t just applying for the next job you see on a whim.

Whatever your motivation, just be sure you’re honest and that you leave whatever baggage you have at home. You can, of course, say that less than desirable circumstances were part of your decision to change careers, but you should definitely avoid talking negatively about your previous role, employer, and industry. Instead, talk about the opportunities you see with the experience and skills you have, and in the market that you’re entering.

Increasing your chances of getting hired

Even before you get scheduled for your first job interview after shifting careers, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of your getting hired.

  • Before you begin applying for jobs in a different industry or role, look for job ads related to that position and keep an eye out for the skills listed in these ads. This will help you know which skills are transferable from your previous roles and which ones need development. 
  • If you’re in between jobs, now’s the perfect time to join classes and workshops to develop new skills or improve existing ones even further. You can also work on relevant personal projects, as long as you can showcase how they helped you build up the desired skills. 
  • Sometimes, it’s not about what you know, but who you know, which is why it’s a good idea to attend events related to the industry you plan on entering. Networking events offer a great opportunity to meet industry professionals and learn from their experiences. You may even end up getting referred to open job postings.

Finding work after a career shift is possible

First, the good news. Getting interviewed for a job in a new field isn’t exactly a hard reset, so you don’t have to worry about starting from scratch and working your up from an entry-level role. The not so good news, however, is that you’ll have to work extra hard to make a strong case for yourself, especially during the interview process. Be sure to prepare anecdotes, supported with hard facts, to demonstrate how your work experience can be applied to your new career or role. Get this right and hiring managers won’t see you as a complete newbie, but a skilled and experienced candidate needing only a bit of polishing. 

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About impress.ai

impress.ai is an AI chatbot software for recruiters. Our conversational bots conduct competency based structured interviews using techniques from Industrial Organizational Psychology, specifically situational judgement questions. The chatbots autonomously interview, engage, and shortlist candidates at scale, 24/7, and actively fight human bias by hiding biasing information from human reviewers.

If you’re looking for one centralised recruitment solution to manage your growing recruitment needs, impress.ai’s AI-powered conversational bots can help make your day easier.