Assessing Talent When Hiring Employees

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Hiring has always been a critical task for management professionals. A key part of the job lies in building the right team to handle tasks as you delegate them.

Assessing talent in potential new hires can give you insight into determining which employees are up to the job. Even the best management strategies can falter if you don’t have the right employees working with you. Use these tips to help ensure that you have the best possible applicants on your team:

Focus on Quantifiable Performance Measures
It’s difficult to accurately assess an individual’s personality or character traits from just one meeting. You may find it more valuable to keep your interview focused on quantifiable factors that you can collect and compare more reliably. Carefully consider the skills and accomplishments most relevant to the job, and structure your interview to include questions that will give you comparable benchmarks for judging these across multiple individuals.

If you’re hiring for a sales position, compare the size of an individual’s client list, the volume of sales, and their success with upselling. Ask information security professionals how many data breaches they’ve dealt with and what the response time was between detecting a breach and securing the system; ask for hard numbers rather than general judgements. This will give you more concrete data than what an approximation or opinionated statement might provide.

A potential employee fills out an application.

Implement Personality Testing

Personality tests can provide a more accurate representation of a prospective employee’s character than through an interview alone. Hiring managers aren’t necessarily skilled psychologists, and many job seekers arrive at an interview prepared to put forth their “best face,” which isn’t always an accurate representation of their daily demeanor.

Personality tests offer a more scientific basis for analysis, and they’re more easily compared across applicants. Using standardized tests will yield more quantifiable results than one’s own personal impression based on a few minutes of small talk.

Many prominent employers already rely on personality testing as part of their hiring process, including 89 Fortune 100 companies, the CIA, and the Department of State. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a popular personality test and can help assess whether someone is an introvert or extrovert and whether they rely more on thinking or feeling. There’s no standard personality type that’s best suited to each profession, but understanding an applicant’s personality can help you determine how they’d fit with the existing personalities on your team.

Remove Potential for Bias

Personal bias isn’t a personality quirk, but rather an undeniable part of the brain. The human mind receives far more information than it can process in a moment. To make the best use of the details that are pouring in, it makes associations. The brain naturally takes unknown elements and relates them to the closest recognizable thing. This can create biased thoughts and reactions through no intention of the interviewer.

Echoing this trend, data collected by Stanford and the Paris School of Economics showed that job applications with foreign-sounding names are less likely to get chosen than those without. In response to this trend, Stephanie Lampkin developed an app that hides a candidate’s name, photo, criminal background, age, and employment history, highlighting only qualifications. Whether you use this app or not, you can incorporate similar methods in your hiring process. Have an assistant scrub certain data from job applications before reviewing them so you’re not unconsciously swayed by the way a particular name rings in your head or other inconsequential factors.

Utilize Customized Skills Testing

Skills testing offers a valuable way to judge whether a job applicant has the necessary capabilities to competently do the job. Used correctly, this type of test can give you a more accurate assessment of how an employee will perform in a given role than their prior accomplishments would. There are numerous outside factors that can come into play when you’re assessing past accomplishments from different applicants such as their previous work environment, time period, and even pure luck. A skills test levels the playing field and gives all applicants the same tools and environment for an identical task. The American Management Association reports that nearly 90 percent of firms that use skills testing will not hire those who are deficient in these skills.

For the most accurate results, make sure that your test reliably measures the right metrics. Have your top employees take the test to demonstrate whether scores align appropriately with an individual’s skills and performance. If your top programmer can’t pass your programming test, it’s clearly ill-suited for screening new hires for the same job title. With the right test in place, however, you can gain another valuable piece of information for the hiring process.

Tackle the Social Aspect

CareerBuilder reports that 70 percent of employers use social media as part of the screening process for job applicants. Social media profiles offer a wealth of information that goes far beyond their daily habits and demeanor. Carefully analyzing a job applicant’s social presence can offer insight into his or her skill set, as well.

If a job applicant has an active presence on a professional social media site like LinkedIn, you can use their profile to assess how others perceive the individual’s skills and talents. Endorsements will quickly clue you in to key areas where the individual has impressed other employers, clients, or co-workers in the past. If an individual is active on a personal blog or has published guest posts online, you can use these pieces to assess their thought leadership in a particular area as well as their communication skills.

If you want to take an active role in the hiring process of a company, a Master of Science in Management degree can equip you for this responsibility. Strengthening your strategic thinking skills, interpersonal skills, and management skills will give you an edge as you’re navigating the hiring process and looking for the best job seekers to fill an essential role. Visit New England College – Master of Science in Management online degree program to learn more.