Customized Assessments Can Aid in Making Better Hiring Decisions
In 2012, a study by Robert Half international found that supervisors spent over 17 percent of their time – nearly one day in a week— just overseeing poorly performing employees. Additionally, 95 percent of the respondents of the study believed that a poor hiring decision impacted the overall morale of the entire team, with more than one-third saying that morale is greatly affected.
Clearly, a bad hiring decision has intangible costs that you didn’t consider. Which is why, perhaps, you were okay with the idea of hiring the individual in the first place. To be fair, there was that stellar resume, and oh, the interview – no one else spoke as lucidly, and confidently – how could you not hire him?
So what could go wrong? Let me explain with an analogy. You go to a store that sells shoes. The brand is of great repute, the shoes generally known to be good quality, and thus you pick up a pair – without trying them on. They’re a beautiful pair that you just knew, intuitively, would look great on you. You know what’s coming next, don’t you? Back home, you excitedly throw away the box, try on the pair and prepare to strut. But wait, do they fit? A size too small that hurts your feet? But how could it be, afterall, it looked like such a good fit. Also, there was that gut feeling of yours.
See where I’m going with this? Obviously, hiring works in pretty much the same way. Where an employment agency would be the store, the shoes would be the candidates who apply for a job, and in both instances, you would be the person having made a bad choice that could have been avoided. In the world of don’t-buy-if-it-doesn’t-fit philosophy, appearances don’t matter. Resumes are no measure for quality assurance. And a job interview, even in person, much less on a phone call, isn’t foolproof in identifying misrepresentations by candidates. The obvious answer to knowing for sure if a person is right for a job, is to see him/her perform on the job. But because in the civilized world things don’t actually work that way, the only option left with us is to turn to the next best thing, something that actually resembles a real-life situation – performance based assessments.
Not All Assessments Are Created Equal
At the turn of the decade, pre-employment assessments became an integral part of modern hiring practices. But as their popularity grew, so did the confusion over their interpretation and use of their results in making hiring decisions. Sure the candidate took a C++ exam with multiple-choice answers. But at best, the result generated will tell you that your candidate has clear concepts for the programming language—not whether the candidate can actually write a functional code in C++.
Thus, simulated assessments came into being. In putting candidates in almost life-like situations to perform a job-related task, simulated assessments empower recruiters to find out within minutes whether candidates do in fact possess the skills that they claim to have or not.
For example, at Mettl, we have a business-skills simulator that assesses analytical and decision-making skills by asking the candidate to solve a business problem, and generates an automated evaluation of assumptions, problem analysis, and business decision.
This way, you get a glimpse into the applicant’s abilities without having to go through several weeks of on-boarding and initial training, only to finally learn that he or she simply doesn’t possess the necessary skill set. It’s really quite simple; either candidates know the subject matter, or they don’t.
Turnover’s Hidden Costs
There are those that try and argue against the cost of customized assessments to screen candidates. It only takes a quick look at some numbers to dismiss any further consideration to that debate. First, looking at some studies conducted recently—a study done by New York’s William M. Mercer Inc., had 45 percent of employers report turnover costs of $10,000 per lost employee and 20 percent reported costs closer to $30,000. In another study, a U.S. Department of Labor estimate places the cost of bad hiring decisions at nearly 30 percent of the applicant’s first year salary. So if you didn’t select the right candidate for a job that offers $60,000 per year, you’ve cost your organization an additional $18,000. Just think of the financial ramifications over years and years of bad hires.
Compare this against the $200 you would spend in addition to your regular hiring costs in order to include a simulated programming assessment in your selection process. What would be your choice?
There’s a big difference between theorizing about hypothetical scenarios and actually performing real, hands-on work. And customized simulated assessments help recruiters bridge that gap to find the most suitable candidate that actually fits the requirement of your job.