What do you think is the most dreaded managerial task? Hiring and firing win this unpopularity contest, hands down, and for a good reason. Financially speaking, the costs of a bad hire are surprisingly high, ranging from $3,000 for entry level positions to hundreds of thousands for top-level positions. While there are people who enjoy firing as a little power trip, most managers consider dismissals to be a necessary evil at best. In fact, most managers find the process stressful, emotionally taxing, and downright unpleasant. In addition to the discomfort experienced by the manager and the unfortunate employee who gets their walking papers, the situation impacts the morale of the entire team, disrupts projects, and affects productivity.
What about hiring though? Why would people hate it? It should be an interesting experience right? Well, yes and no. It can be energizing to welcome a new team member, but it also creates a lot of pressure on the hiring manager. After all, he or she has to sift through hundreds of résumés that look similar, meet with complete strangers for a couple of hours at best, and based on such limited information, pick the person with whom the team will work for years to come.
And just to add another wild card to an already wild guess, most candidates are on their best behavior during interviews - very few fully display who they really are. So the potential for making a mistake when selecting candidates is substantial, even for hiring managers with lots of experience. If you are responsible for hiring or employee development (or both), psychological assessments can make the process much easier. In fact, they can become your ally and one of the best sources of information and insight, not only for hiring decisions, but also for training, development, and succession planning. In this Diamond in the Rough series, you will learn about all the potential uses of testing in managing, motivating, mentoring and nurturing talent in your organization.
The process of hiring has become a lot like our morning routine: predictable, boring, and uninspiring. You likely have a specific, step-by-step structure that you follow:
It's certainly a good foundation to work from. You need to have a structured approach to interviewing because each candidate needs to be treated in the same way. The problem is that there are several pitfalls to standard screening procedures. Here are some quick facts:
Most hiring managers look at résumés with an objective eye and a healthy level of skepticism. Extracting the right information from a résumé and reading between the lines is not an easy feat. Here are a few reasons why:
You might think at this point that you can easily catch the "spinners" with reference checks, but references aren't as reliable as they might seem either. There are many tricks in the job-seeker's toolbox, including:
In addition, some references will only provide confirmation of employment, either as part of company policy and/or fear of being sued. Now this is not to say that every candidate is a cheater or that everybody who applies for a job has a closet full of dark secrets. Nor do I want to suggest that you approach the recruiting process with à priori distrust. However, you need tools to spot the confabulators - and psychological assessments can deliver on that.