The Value Proposition of Objectivity in Pre-Hire Assessments

May 15, 2019
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It is a field of landmines for hiring managers. They are repeatedly warned to avoid bias, find top talent before the competition, hire in a way that reduces turnover and hire people who are a good culture fit. Quality of hire matters, but the hiring process has gotten more complex and more competitive, making objectivity a critical quality. It is difficult for humans to be objective, and that applies to Human Resources personnel and hiring supervisors and managers. Everyone has biases, and no one can personally evaluate another person on all the characteristics the ideal employee should possess.

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The process for finding and hiring people is a value proposition. A value proposition is a two-way street. Typically a marketing strategy, it applies to the hiring process also.

From the hiring perspective, the employee is offered potential rewards, with a job topping the list. Other rewards include things like benefits, interesting work, career growth opportunities, training and development, and socialization as a team member. In return, employers get the value of the person’s ability to become a high performer, a best fit in the organization’s culture and less potential for employee problems, like inability to collaborate or get along with co-workers.

Gateways to Value Creation

Bias is removed from the job candidate selection process when the pre-hire assessment tools are well-constructed. Important elements of "well-constructed" are the utilization of real-world data and analytics for objectivity and accuracy in decision-making.

The pre-hire value proposition has a number of value-creating elements, and objectivity is at the core of the ability to achieving full value. As WillisTowersWatson points out, assessments are the gateway to achieving the full employee value proposition (EVP), which is an agreement as to what the employee will get from the employer and what the employer gets in return.

Objective pre-hire assessments are aligned with the value proposition, offering a process for:

  • Convincing a person to join the business by demonstrating the job’s requirements through tools like simulations
  • Evaluating a person’s hard skills
  • Determining if a person is a good fit for the organization’s culture
  • Gauging the whole person, including behavioral and personality traits
  • Matching a person to the best role in the organization
  • Successfully competing in a global labor market
  • Increasing speed to hire without losing intelligence
  • Establishing benchmarks to achieve goals
  • Achieving alignment of the job candidate, role and company culture
  • Overcoming personal biases
  • Adhering to legal requirements for unbiased hiring

Beyond Instincts and Subjectivity

Collecting and analyzing large amounts of data over time is the only way to accurately determine the skills and personality traits that predict job performance in different roles. You could whip up a pre-hire multiple choice questionnaire for job candidates, but without the analytics the process remains hit-and-miss or is based mostly on the manager’s instincts. Yet, it is instincts that have perpetuated bias in hiring, getting many companies in trouble for discrimination and making them unable to attract and hire talent on a competitive basis.

Experienced recruiter Michael Duke points out that job candidates make a sincere effort to get hiring decision-makers to like them. The manager is lured into making subjective decisions because it is human nature to want to hire a person you like, telling yourself you can train the person.

However, you cannot train a personality or force a person to be a collaborator or demand a person like a job after being hired.

Building objectivity into the hiring process is the only way to speedily hire the best talent and get the many advantages listed earlier. To achieve objectivity, the pre-hiring assessment should be consistent and multi-dimensional, assessing personality, intelligence, job interest and suitability.

Bias By Any Other Name…

Bias, by the way, refers to biases about people and situations. For example, an availability bias exists when a hiring manager hires someone just because the person is willing to be hired. It’s often an act of desperation to fill an available position. This bias is often expressed in tight labor markets like the one that exists today.

A confirmation bias in the hiring process is a tendency for the manager to recall experiences, beliefs, perspectives and other information that confirm pre-existing beliefs. For example, giving more weight during an interview to a job candidate’s strong answers, while ignoring the weak ones, because the person made a good first impression or is "like me."

Objective pre-hire assessments can help you find the most qualified talent, high potential people and people who are more likely to stay because they are good fits. Pre-hire assessments should be tailored to the company’s needs and have objectivity as a core principle. Without objectivity, your pre-hire assessment process leaves your hiring process open to bias on many levels and unable to deliver on the value proposition.

The Value Proposition of Objectivity in Pre-Hire Assessments
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