Posts tagged ‘hiring’

Understanding The Role of Assessments – 9 to 5 Guest Post

This is a complete re-post of my interview with Aimee Fahey on her Ecogrrl Consulting blog.  Thanks, Aimee for a great topic of discussion!

 

Today I’m excited to welcome back Pamela Moore of Compass Human Resources for another guest post.  You may remember her fantastic guest post last year onnegotiating pay.  This time around, I wanted to get her recommendations for those who are hiring managers, and want a little help in answering that age-old question, “but how will I KNOW if this person will fit with our team?”.  While we don’t have a crystal ball in the HR world, there are a number of great tools that can provide greater insight into your candidates that you are considering hiring, and I’ve asked Pam to tell us more.

Psst – to the job applicant…this is great insight into the hiring process!

Why should I consider using assessments during the interview process?
The best candidates know how to perform well in an interview.  They also know how to put together a great resume – or hire someone to do it for them.  Having an expert recruiter designing behavior-based interview questions can mitigate some of that.  However, interview questions simply can’t get to a few things:

  • How will the person react under stress?
  • What kinds of situations will cause them stress?
  • How emotionally stable are they?
  • What is their management style?  Not what they say – what they actually DO.
  • What values drive their choices?
  • Do they have issues with authority?

Assessments can be extremely helpful in getting to the things that are below the surface.

Are there any legal issues I should keep in mind?  Aren’t personality tests illegal?
Assessments aren’t illegal providing you can show that they are relevant to the position, are administered consistently, don’t inadvertently discriminate, and are administered by a professional who uses them in a variety of situations and can interpret them well.

Use a well-known assessment with scientific data behind it.  There are a lot of shady assessments out there that measure things not relevant to work.  Many of them have very little data compiled to support their results.  Do your research.

There are a ton of assessments out there – how do I know which one is the best?  What do you recommend?
Which assessment you use really depends on your needs.  I have used several:  Myers-Briggs, Personalysis, DiSC and Hogan. Each looks at slightly different things.

  • Myers-Briggs is a true personality assessment.  I find it works best in a clinical atmosphere.  It’s difficult for participants to apply to work situations.  Also the reports and output are structured differently depending on which consultant you work with.
  • Personalysis is used to assess communication styles.  This works great for teams because 90% of the issues I see in ineffective teams are caused by poor communication. The reports are very visual, which participants absorb well.  I probably wouldn’t use this for selection, though.
  • DiSC is a work style assessment.  It will vary slightly depending on the person’s role and how long they’ve been in the role.  The results you get at hire may not be the same in six months.  This tool is great for both individuals and teams.  It’s very visual and easy for participants to apply.  I’ve seen it create a common language for team members that makes it easy for them to talk about interactions.  Creating a team composite report is very easy and extremely useful.
  • Hogan is a personality and behavior assessment.  It measures some things that other assessments do not:  emotional stability, personal values, etc.  It provides a level of detail that is very useful when working with high-level employees.  Also, Hogan is one of the few legally defensible tools out there.  It has been scientifically proven to have predictive validity.  Hogan can be used for both individuals and teams, and they offer a report specifically for selection purposes.

In my business, I use DiSC for non-managers or first-time managers, and for teams.  I like Hogan for experienced managers and executives.  Because these tools can be used for so many related purposes, they give you high value for your money.

Should the rest of my team do the assessment?
If you’re building a new team, you might wait until the team is built to have the existing employees complete the assessment.  However, if it’s an established team, you may want to do it before the new hires come on board.  Then you have the ability to do a team facilitation that will help everyone come to a common understanding of styles, needs, and team dynamic.  This can prevent a lot of turmoil as the team grows and changes.

What is the best stage during the recruiting process to administer assessments to my candidates?
These assessments are not free.  You will pay for the assessment and the consultant’s time to analyze results.  Have a budget ahead of time.  In order to keep costs down and to avoid assessing people who may not truly be viable candidates, I recommend doing assessments before final interviews.  Assessing two or three candidates that you feel strongly about is most effective.

However, you should be sure to let candidates know at the beginning of the recruitment process that finalists will be asked to complete an assessment.  Normally, the recruiter tells me who the finalists are, and gives me their contact info.  I then send the assessment to them and the results come back to me.  I analyze the results, then meet with the hiring team to review them.  We talk about the pros and cons of each candidate’s profile in relation to the job description.  They can then construct final interview questions designed to delve into any areas of concern.

The assessment should be just one item used to make the hiring decision.  Interview questions, resumes, etc should also be used. Candidates should not get a copy of the assessment results.  That is part of the job file just like the interview questions and selection criteria.

I’ve never done these before – how hard is it to interpret the results?
Good question.  Some hiring managers think that because they have taken a particular assessment themselves, that they are qualified to interpret them too.  That is NOT the case.

In order for assessments to hold up as a legally acceptable part of the hiring process,they need to be administered by an expert – someone who uses them as part of their work, who has gone through the education process offered by the assessment organization, and who has experience using them in many different situations.

In the case of DiSC and Hogan, there are combinations of traits that indicate very specific behaviors/styles.  The average person would not be trained to recognize and interpret those subtleties.  Hogan actually requires consultants to be certified in order to administer their assessments.

Want more information, sample assessments, or help in choosing an assessment? Contact Pam directly at: pam@CompassHumanResources.com.

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January 28, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Recruiting – A Positive Experience, Or Just An “Experience”?

When was the last time you sat down and really considered the candidates’ points of view during your recruiting process?  Are they treated with courtesy and respect?  Is their time valued?  Do the people that DON’T get the job still have a positive opinion of your company?

I asked my recruiting guru/goddess, Aimee Fahey, to give me her perspective on making recruiting a positive experience for everyone.  And how that can really benefit the organization.

PAM:  Define “recruiting experience” from your point of view.

AIMEE: As a recruiter, I take ownership of facilitating the process from start to finish, and therefore I feel it is my responsibility to ensure a positive recruiting experience.  As a recruiter, I am the face of my company, and work with all parties to ensure the right people go into the right jobs at the right time. To me, the recruiting experience assesses satisfaction from three perspectives – that of the candidates, the hiring teams, and yes, the recruiter.  If one or more are dissatisfied, the process needs to be examined.  Everyone needs to be on board and feel good about the hiring process.

PAM:  How can the recruiting experience negatively affect employee retention?

AIMEE: The hiring process is all about (or should be all about) giving both the candidate and the hiring team a realistic preview of not only the job, but the working relationship as well.  If you’re not focusing on the right areas in your questions, not providing good service, you’ve already started off on the wrong foot.  I’ve been in jobs myself where it’s been a complete 180 from how the position was represented in the interview because the hiring manager was too busy selling the employee – it’s a disservice to everyone.  In addition, employees who are part of hiring teams dealing with poor organization, lack of communication, and/or dysfunctional relationships?  Well, they stop wanting to refer good people – and they start looking elsewhere.  Why?  Because hiring has to be an organization’s first priority.  The people make the product who make the company – people always have to (genuinely) come first.

PAM: How can it positively affect retention?
AIMEE:  A former mentor of mine used to say, “our employees are our best recruiters”.  Give them a great experience and they’ll have a greater trust in you as the employer because you were honest with them upfront about the job, the culture and the team, and because from day one they were justifiably excited.  In addition, as you can imagine, happy employees refer more applicants (because they love it there), and “pay it forward” – giving an honest picture of the environment and the job, as you had for them.

PAM: What do you feel are the top 3 success factors in a positive recruiting experience?
AIMEE:
1. Communication – Great communication among all members of the hiring team – everyone’s got to be on the same page not only with what their roles are, but understanding themselves what the job is, what’s expected of them, and a shared belief in how their company takes care of candidates.
2. Customer Service – Great customer service to ALL applicants from start to finish (I say applicants to include those who do not make it to interview status), from giving them the information they need about the job, the team, and the company; to handling the logistics efficiently; to selling the company throughout the process; to making them feel not just welcome, but respected for their time investment.
3. Content – The interviews have to give a realistic portrayal of the job, ask questions that are not only relevant but help interviewers get a stronger picture of their potential to succeed, and involve the people they’ll be interacting with both on their team and in a cross-functional capacity.

PAM: How have you constructed your business to ensure that candidates have a positive experience, and how does that reflect on your clients?

AIMEE:  For me, I’ve been around long enough as a recruiter and human resources professional to know what does and doesn’t work in hiring the right people (rather than “filling requisitions”).  My reputation is based on the candidate experience, and facilitating the hiring process from start to finish.  When I first meet with a client, we discuss our philosophies around hiring, what we each believe the recruiting experience should look like, and – if that’s a fit – then talk about how I can make their lives easier and get them the people they need more effectively and efficiently by allowing me to guide the process and trusting my expertise and experience.  I rely on them as the subject matter experts on the jobs we’re hiring for and the culture they’ve created, and they rely on me for my expertise when it comes to matching the right people with the jobs, where I find them, and how I partner with their team.  I am always clear about expectations from the beginning when it comes to turnaround time, customer service, interviewing dynamics, and other aspects I think are important in hiring.

Thanks, Aimee!  As always, your perspective is fresh and timely.

So everyone, how does your recruiting experience stack up?

August 29, 2012 at 10:00 am 1 comment

Free Tool for Successful Onboarding

How important is a good onboarding plan to your organization’s success?

According to the 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey, it’s critical.

Consider these statistics:

  • 25% of new employees leave in the first year
  •  Only 66% of employers include training in onboarding
  •  Only 41% have new hire workplace meetings
  •  Only 39% include milestones and goal setting

A comprehensive, well-constructed onboarding plan can make a huge impact on the success of your new employees.  That translates to increased productivity and retention.  When you weigh the cost of onboarding with the potential cost of replacing employees, it becomes an easy choice.  Replacing an employee can cost up to twice their annual salary.  Onboarding doesn’t have to be expensive – it just has to be well-planned and well-executed.

Our new Onboarding Worksheet provides you with a template for including all of the critical elements:  training, goal-setting and communication. It’s fully customizable to fit your specific program (but we’ve filled it with examples to get you started).  If you want added depth and strength in your plan, Compass offers Onboarding Services as well.

Additional Information:

Employee Turnover Caused by Bad Onboarding

How a Solid Onboarding Process Can Help You Improve Employee Retention

August 21, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Insider Tip: What I’m Looking for During an Interview

Today I am very happy to introduce you to my colleague Aimee Fahey.  She’s an HR professional specializing in talent acquisition.  She’s here today to give us some insight into what’s going on in her mind during the interview process…

There are soooo many articles out there about interviewing.  And yet there are soooo many people flubbing interviews in ways I think are so often preventable.  So, as someone who’s conducted hundreds and hundreds of interviews both by phone and in person, here are some insider tips on what drives us recruiters nuts, what makes our eyes light up in happiness, along with some other things to think about.

Remember, interviewing is a lot like dating.  You don’t need to be perfect but you do need to put your best foot forward.  Let us see who you are – this is not a trick (eventually we’ll find out who you are!).  Follow up without stalking.

Do your homework.  Hello…this does not mean just a quick scan through our website.  What stands out about our company to you?  Have you read articles about us? Bring your notepad with your prepared questions (oh, you better have questions at the end, folks), and feel free to take notes during the interview.  I love to know someone has paid attention and is interested in retaining what we talk about.

Understand our product/service.  Can you describe the product we are selling or the service we provide (or both)?  I’m amazed at how many people just apply for the job and even with time to prepare for an interview, often can’t tell me what my company’s product is that they’d be expected to sell/develop/operate/market.  If you applied for the job, you better have known what you were applying for.  Speaking of this, also understand the job. Do NOT ask the interviewer to “summarize the position” – you should already have this information!!  Instead, ask for clarification on something about the job – show you were paying attention when you applied, and are curious to know more.

Articulate your interests.  What are you passionate about and how does it tie in to this job, this company?  What in the job posting stood out and why?  Avoid cliches.  Don’t tell the interviewers that you heard we’re a great place to work if you can’t name that person who knows this for a fact, otherwise it actually comes across sounding artificial.

Know your strengths.  Be able to communicate why you think you’d be a good fit for the job (without being cocky).  What have former bosses and coworkers said they like about you?  This is a great precursor to the reference check.  (I’m thinking, is the candidate self aware?  Cool.)  PS – Remember, you can say you’re great without saying you’re the best.  Anyone who says they’re superior kinda freaks me out.

Be genuine.  I’ve got a pretty good BS detector.  Recruiting is matchmaking – I need to understand who you are so I can assess if this is a good fit.  And you’re not doing anyone any favors if you’re artificial in any way.  And guess what?  If you’re real, I’ll be real.  Try to develop a rapport with the recruiter, hiring manager, whoever is interviewing with you.  Be courteous to every single person you encounter during the process.  Be aware of stereotypes – i.e., salespeople, try not to sound too slick.  Techies, show you can talk to more than just technical people.  Don’t be fake, be self-aware.

Understand your own opportunities for growth.  While I’m not sure how many employers still ask the ‘weakness’ question directly, they’ll often try to get at it in a different way, where you know by the question they want to hear where you are not perfect.  So, with this, do NOT do a “negative that is really a positive”.  People, we’ve heard it all before and it’s, well, nauseating to listen to a candidate say “I just work too hard,” “I’m too hard on myself,” or “I’m a bit of a perfectionist.”  Instead, think about a great learning experience where you overcame a weakness – now That is cool.

Don’t waste your time or ours. This is not a Vegas poker game.  If someone asks you your salary requirements, don’t say “negotiable” or ask “what is your range?” Soooo passive aggressive.  Give them a range rather than a minimum, but do give them some numbers.  We all know that, duh, you’d be happy with a million bucks, but in the meantime, give us the range you can live with. If you have questions, ask them.  Express your concerns.  Be honest.

Under no circumstances are you to ask about benefits, paid time off, stock options, parking, etc.  If you are offered the job, you can ask those questions then.  In the meantime, as Archie Bunker would say, stifle it.  We want to know you’re interested in working for OUR company in THIS job, not when you can take your next vacation.  And along this tangent, while it’s OK to ask about the general career path about the job, please don’t ask me how soon you can be promoted. I’m here to fill This Job.

Don’t burn any bridges.  You never know who they know, or how they might cross your path in the future.  Be kind, be respectful, be considerate.  Treat the interviewer as you would like to be treated. Go for the good karma.  Thank them even if you withdraw or don’t get the job.  Ask for feedback if you don’t get the job.  If a candidate is cool, but not a fit for this role, I’ll often either keep them in mind for a different role, or refer them to companies who I think they might be a better culture &/or technical fit for.  A little goes a long way.

Got more questions?  Want to learn more?  I’d love to hear from you!

Aimee Fahey is an HR professional who loves bringing people and companies together through her work in recruiting, human resources management, career coaching and community partnerships.  Connect with her on LinkedIn or check out her “9-to-5” column on her blog, EcoGrrl.

June 13, 2012 at 11:25 am 2 comments

Unlimited Paid Time Off – Too Good To Be True?

What if your employer told you that you now have unlimited paid time off.  Meaning, if you need to take time, that’s fine and we’ll pay for it.  The only condition is that you must continue to meet your deliverables and the company’s expectations for performance.  Would that seem like a great deal to you?

There are quite a few companies that are beginning to institute just this kind of program.  The premise is that if you treat employees like the adults they are, they will perform well and your relationships will be more effective.  Most companies that have put this type of system into place have gotten outstanding results.  However, there are a few key success factors involved:

  • The organization must have a high-performing management team
  • Organizational objectives must be clear and quantifiable
  • Organization and personal deliverables must be well-defined
  • There must be a commitment to a trusting culture from highest level
  • There must be metrics for evaluating results
Dyn has put up a post explaining their time off system.  It’s one of the best I’ve seen at clarifying how unlimited time off should work.  The Starpress also has some nice coverage on the topic.
Will some employees take advantage of the system?  Yes.  And those employees are not a good fit for a culture of trust.  The recruitment process has to allow for that fit factor and focus on employees who can work in a trust-based environment.  Management will have to re-educate employees about how to meet expectations within the new system.
I do think that having a high-performing management team is the single most important factor in a successful system.  Managers must be on top of results and performance.  They must act on difficulties in a timely manner.  They must have strong relationships with their reports.

While a system of unlimited time off might be a bit much for employees to embrace at first, it embodies the work culture that our society is demanding – one of balance, flexible hours, and remote locations.  It allows employees to work how and when they need to, and still feel they are able to dedicate attention to family and personal issues.

What’s your take on unlimited paid time off – is it too good to be true?

June 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

Can Your Employer Access Your Facebook Account?

There has been a lot of media excitement this month about employers asking employees for their social media account passwords.  This has become such an issue that On April 27, 2012, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., introduced the Social Networking Online Protection Act (SNOPA).

I’m appalled that employers think this is an acceptable practice.  It seems like the modern-day equivalent of tapping your phone, or bugging your apartment.  Are employers really so paranoid that employees are going to say something bad about the company that they feel the need to invade their privacy?

Some employers would justify their actions by saying they need that access to investigate insider trading or harassment complaints.  There are other ways to accomplish those things.  Why not spend their energy making their organizations better places to work and avoid the problems that way?

Some states are even taking the initiative to introduce regulations at their level, and not wait for the federal act.  Maryland, New York, California, Illinois and New Jersey (although NJ postponed their vote) all have something passed or on the table.  So, protection for employees is coming.

In the meantime, employees should consider the following:

  • be sure their privacy settings are restricted to “friends only”
  • be especially careful about friending anyone they work with, or who works at a prospective employer
  • don’t take a job with an employer who requires you to give out your password – that says so much about the work environment
For more information, do a Google News search for “social media passwords”.  You’ll get enough articles to keep you busy for hours.

After you do your reading, tell me what you think about all this…

May 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm 1 comment

Pay For The Job or The Person?

One of my colleagues recently asked me whether it was appropriate to pay a new hire more money than existing employees in the same position because the new hire had more education/experience.  As with most human resource questions, the answer isn’t cut and dried.  Let’s follow a fictional example and see where it takes us.

I’m the CEO of Snail Mail Inc.  I employee stamp stickers and envelope stuffers.  Most of my employees have basic skills and education and do a fine job with those qualifications.  They get paid $10/hour.

Due to snail mail being in vogue, I need to hire another stamp sticker.  I’ve gone through the normal recruitment process, and have found a candidate that I want to hire.  The candidate will be performing the same work as the other stamp stickers.  However, this candidate has a Masters degree in Orchestral Composition from Julliard and 20 years of stamp sticking experience.  I decide to pay this person $20/hour because of these additional qualifications.

Before implementing this decision, I should ask myself these questions:

  • Are the candidate’s education and experience relevant to the job?
  • Will the candidate be using those skills and experience in the job they are being hired for?
  • Will I alter the scope of the position to leverage the candidate’s additional skills and experience?

If the answers to these questions are “yes”, then I may be able to pay them more than the other stamp stickers.

Here are a few cautionary notes to consider because, let’s face it, employees talk about their pay to each other:

  • When the other stamp stickers find out the new person gets paid more, how will that affect their morale?
  • Are the lesser paid people the same gender as the new hire?  The Equal Pay Act (EPA) requires that men and women performing similar work under similar conditions must receive similar pay.  You also don’t want it to appear that you are discriminating against the other employees because of their age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or other protected status.
  • Will paying the new person more give them an unwarranted sense of entitlement?

In the end, it’s best to pay a person for the work they are performing now, not what they might do, have the potential to do, or have done in the past.

May 22, 2012 at 10:00 am 2 comments

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