OF HIRE THROUGH
Human resource executives have a clear and growing interest in how pre-employment
assessments can be helpful to their business. A recent study from Aberdeen Group
included a survey of HR executives in which 61% rate talent acquisition as their top
priority in 2012. Since assessments play a critical role in determining the “talent”
available in talent acquisition, this means that assessments are an important part of
the talent acquisition priority.
The growing use of assessments is also being driven by several factors ranging from
technological innovation to the ability to standardize a process that is often ad hoc and
open to variance.
The growth of cloud-based applications is one technology factor driving the adoption
of assessments. The technology benefits from cloud deployments allows assessment
content providers to easily deploy assessment content, connect platforms to create
interoperability, and customize client solutions while maintaining scalable economics
which reinforces a strong value proposition.
Big data, business intelligence, and analytics are also driving the use of assessments
within talent acquisition solutions. The same factors being realized elsewhere in the
enterprise apply equally well within talent management and acquisition. Historically
Human Resource departments have not been able to quantify the investment return
like operations or information technology has historically been able to show.
Now, though, recruiting leaders can demonstrate a clear linkage between assessment
content and business outcomes through analytics that link the hiring process to new
hire performance over the employee lifecycle. In a January 25th article on ERE.NET by
John Zappe, Aberdeen Group Analysts, Madeline Laurano and Mollie Lombardo
discussed findings from their research report, “Organizations that integrate talent data
with business data are three-and-a-half times as likely to achieve Best-in-Class as those
that do not integrate data.”
Finally, the process to implement assessments, when done correctly, enables the
organization to drive objectivity and alignment. This process allows for:
A job analysis which enables the hiring team to determine the competencies
that drive job success, gain alignment on these competencies, and use them in
future discussion on training, coaching, and ongoing development.
Standard evaluation of candidates using objective tools that measure these key
A validated process that has been calibrated to job performance. When
communicated to the hiring managers, this enables everyone to understand how
the hiring process is related to business outcomes.
A closed loop analysis process. As discussed earlier, the economics, availability,
and integration of data enable recruiting leaders to deeply understand their
hiring funnel, if a candidate meets quality of hire baselines, and ongoing
performance improvement opportunities.
How does this relate to recruiting?
With the growing interest and application of assessments as part of a data-driven talent
acquisition process, understanding factors that may limit your organization’s use of
assessments is important. Your recruiting process is potentially one of those factors.
The recruiting and sourcing process potentially creates a bottleneck that reduces the
effectiveness of your assessment tools and ultimately your talent acquisition process.
In a well-designed hiring process, you start by creating key foundations. A job analysis
defines the competencies that are important to job performance. Understanding the
competencies also enables you to select the right assessment content. For example, to
measure multi-tasking, you are better to use a simulation than a structured interview.
To measure integrity, you are better to use a personality assessment than a problem
Once you have selected the assessments, you must demonstrate how a candidate
assessment score links to job performance. This validation process provides you the
foundation to identify an appropriate pre-hire assessment profile. The strength and
breadth of your labor pool is an important consideration in determining how stringent
you can be in designing that profile. If you design the pre-hire assessment profile to
be very stringent or selective, fewer candidates will “pass” the assessment process,
potentially making it more difficult to fill job openings, but those candidates should be
better qualified to perform well on the job.
To illustrate this, consider the following example taken from a contact center
organization. In this example, two assessment hiring profiles were created based on
validity evidence and analysis of the candidate population. In Profile 1, a 75% pass rate
was modeled. This means that out of every 100 candidates, 75 will “pass” the
assessments and be eligible for hire. In Profile 2, a 50% pass is modeled. This means
that only 50 out of every 100 candidates will pass the assessments and be eligible for
hire. The premise is that the more selective the hiring team can be, the greater the
probability that they will be able to hire an individual who will perform better.
For simplicity purposes, we will assume that all candidates who pass the assessment
process are hired. We will also examine $$ collected per hour as the performance
metric used to determine quality of hire.
Being selective enough to hire the top 50% of candidates rather than
the top 75% results in average new hire performance of $25.85 more
dollars collected per hour, or a 30% performance improvement.
Under Profile 1 more candidates pass the assessment process. This means that more
candidates who are potentially low performers are allowed into the talent pool for
consideration; however, the trade-off is that recruiting can recruit fewer candidates per
job opening because more will pass the process (making openings easier to fill).
However, under Profile 2, the average performance increases because those lower
performers are eliminated by the assessment process. The trade-off is that the
recruiting team needs to source 66 more candidates to reach 100 hires.
Assessment Process Pass Rate
Number of Candidates Needed to
Reach 100 Hires
Increase in $ Collected / Hour
compared to baseline*
% Improvement Profile 2 over Profile 1
* Baseline = $ Collected/Hour by employees hired without the use of pre-hire assessments.
In this example, the hiring team has two options to consider. Both options provide them
with a substantial improvement over the baseline performance of employees hired
without the use of assessments. However, if recruiting can maintain enough candidates
at a 50% rate to meet their fill rates, then they have positioned the business to benefit
from a potential 30% performance improvement in $ collected per hour.
Ways to improve recruiting
In the previous section, we demonstrated the impact of being more selective in the
recruiting process. With a lower pass rate, more low performing candidates are
eliminated from consideration. In order to be able to be more selective, though, we
need to be able to recruit as many candidates into the top of the funnel as possible.
In this section, we will highlight strategies and tactics that have enabled organizations to
improve their ability to recruit more candidates into their hiring funnel.
Strategy / Tactic
Right Sized Recruiting Team
Many recruiting teams have headcount reduced and administrative
tasks added to their workload making them ineffective at sourcing
Consider using number of hires per recruiter as a metric to
maintain the right sized recruiting team.
FurstPerson data indicates that between 150 hires and 200 hires
per recruiter is a target zone.
Create an incentive plan for
the recruiting team
Tie recruiter compensation to performance. Metrics to consider
include attrition and fill rate. Examples include credits for
employees that stay for 90 days and deductions for those that
term within 90 days. Another example is to establish a bonus
amount. For each new hire that terms, a debit is applied against
Make sure to have individual and team components.
The goal is to create a performance based compensation model
that is similar to third party recruiting firms.
Hire the right recruiting
Carefully determine each role on the recruiting team and hire
specifically to that role. Each recruiting team should have roles for
individuals that are masters in sourcing candidates. Making sure
the recruiting team is staffed for each role is critical for success.
Recruiting Processes for
Assuming you conduct hiring in multiple locations, determine what
processes can be centralized to reduce costs and allow for local
resources to be more flexible.
Move the Recruiting Process
Web-based tools make online hiring accessible and cost effective.
FurstPerson data shows that organizations can increase applicant
flow 1.5 to 2.5 times in-office applicant volume by moving the
Be prepared for “window” shoppers that start the process but do
Allow for adequate time to
Make sure to provide adequate notice to the recruiting team so
they have the appropriate time to fill each class. This is critical to
enabling recruiting teams to meet the sourcing requirements of
hiring profiles like profile 2 in the example above.
Focus on internet based
recruiting and employee
Internet based recruiting has proven to drive both candidate
volume and quality. Consider shifting efforts away from job fairs
and newspaper ads towards internet based sourcing.
Rethink your employee referral program to run it more like a sales
process (Leads / Qualified / Opportunity / Close). Ditch the
generic referral program where you offer the referral reward at the
end of the year if a referral stays. Instead, break-down the
program into milestones at point of referral, date of hire, first day
on job, 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days. Use each referral to
reinforce the program to the organization.
Strategy / Tactic
Hiring teams that maximize their quality of hire relentlessly focus
on linking recruiting sources to new hire performance data so that
they can optimize their recruitment spend.
Consider analyzing each recruiting source on the basis of number
of candidates generated, retention results at 30, 60, 90, and 180
days and overall performance based on scorecard, rating, and
review. Each source can then be assigned a ranking which can be
used to shift investment away from poor recruitment strategies to
better performing ones.
Talent acquisition is a key priority for human resource executives. Pre-employment
assessment tools enable hiring leaders to evaluate job candidates to determine how they
potentially fit a hiring profile for specific jobs. Being able to hire individuals that meet or
exceed these profiles enables the organization to improve quality of hire.
The ability to be selective based on job performance during the recruiting process allows
the organization to hire new employees that are potentially more capable. When we
compared profile 1 and profile 2, we saw that hiring at a 50% pass rate enabled the
organization to drive 30% higher performance compared to hiring at a 70% pass rate.
However, recruiting and sourcing can impact the ability of organizations to hire at a
profile 2 level compared to a profile 1 level. Organizations must rethink how their
recruiting teams are hired, structured, and compensated. In addition, using different
tactics to drive sourcing and analyzing the effectiveness and efficiency of the sourcing
tactics will remove the guesswork out of the recruiting process so that your recruiting
team is driving performance improvement.
1. Infusing a “Talent First” Culture Through Integrated Talent Management by Madeline Laurano, Aberdeen
Group, January 1, 2012; http://www.aberdeen.com/Aberdeen-Library/7474/RA-integrated-talent-
2. “HR Still Struggling to be Strategic,” by John Zappe, ERE.Net, January 25, 2012;
FurstPerson, based in Chicago, has been helping organizations solve hiring problems
through a consultative, technology enabled approach since 1997. FurstPerson focuses
on customer contact organizations that hire for contact center jobs, retail jobs, field
service jobs, and other customer facing jobs.
FurstPerson’s solutions incorporate pre-employment assessment tools with professional
services and expertise that help organizations discover hiring challenges, solve these
challenges, and advance the solution forward resulting in sustainable return on
investment. FurstPerson has been an innovator for customer contact hiring including the
use of simulation technology (CC Audition® call center simulator), contact center home
agent hiring models, and configurable technology to match your hiring workflows. You
can learn more at furstperson.com or call us at 888-626-3412.