How can assessment and pre-employment tools be used to make recruiters more effective?

Assessments and pre-employment testing is kind of like the question "which is better, vanilla or chocolate?" One or the other or both? They are tools that are often effective in the eyes of the beholder. and often misunderstood or seen as a panacea to retention and hiring the right fit.

Can these tools make a recruiter more effective? Are they worth the time and expense? What tools have you found effective and which are the clunkers?

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Great topic Bill, I'm intersted to read the responses.
I saw this when I got it and have been thinking about my immediate reaction ever since.

It has not changed.

Very simply.. I would not think of hiring a prospective recruiter without using SPQ Gold by BSRPINC.com or CPQ who got bought recently and who don't pay me to help marlet them :-). I usually use both.

On the other hand, I can't think of a single placement that ever would have been easier to make if I had used some kind of testing/assessment device on the candidates beyond the job order qualifying questions.

I am not sure what that means. It's simply what we have done over the years.
Bill,

Thanks for your questions.

Every hiring manager hopes someone will develop a fail-safe, bullet proof hiring system. The best solution I have come up with is a 360-degree pre-hire evaluation that is inclusive of an excellent social/emotional assessment. Let's use an account representative as an example.

A preliminary phone screen is conducted to confirm their professional manner, explore motivation and goals, uncover salary expectations and availability, clarify any unclear information on the resume and understand where they are in the job search.

The first face-to-face is a carefully crafted behavioral interview based on a sales competency model created internally through discussions with the sales manager and two superstars. Each of the six individual competencies (such as Entrepreneurship, Achievement Orientation, Persuasion) has a menu of 3 to 4 primary questions that can be asked. Each primary behavior question has one or two probing secondary questions. The idea is to dive deep and peel away the onion and see what is at its core. Four or five minutes can be spent on any question, including the follow-up questions. Based on their answers, the candidate is scored using a Likert 5 point scale - ranging from "Exceeds" to "Far Below." Generally, it only takes 1 primary question and the associated follow-up probes to determine scoring.

The next step is a ride-along. The candidate spends three to four hours riding along with one of our superstars. Typically, the ride-along includes a client breakfast or lunch and visits to 5 to 8 other offices. The candidates gets a true sense of the position and we get a first hand look at how they interface with buyers. We watch for engagement and listen for insightful questions.

If things go as planned, the Bar-on EQ-i® assessment is emailed and an interview is scheduled with the two owners. The meeting with the owners is less of an interview and more of a sniff test. Rarely will they knock someone out. Somewhere along the way, a criminal background check and a couple of references are completed.

If everything is in order, a verbal offer is extended followed by a written offer requiring a 24 hour reply. We figure out a start date, and then they begin their 90-day mentoring process, which includes a 30-day and a 90-day formal review. The reviews recap their competencies as a checks and balances to our interviewing process. Results: About 80% of the time, things go swimmingly well. On occasion, we hire a dud.

The reason I go to the trouble of explaining the entire process is to emphasize the 360 degree nature of our hiring process. It parallels what stock brokers tell their clients - diversify to hedge your risk. We have to do the same - diversity to reduce our hiring risk. It is really not fair to the candidate or the hiring company to hire against just one set of criteria.

More about the Bar-on EQ-i® assessment. The assessment measures 15 specific area of emotional and social intelligence. Why is this important? Your EQ (Emotional quotient) captures your non-cognitive capabilities, or soft skills. These are the skills that help you succeed in coping with demanding pressures and awkward interpersonal predicaments.

EQ has been proven to be a powerful predictor of effective and successful performance in the workplace and other areas of life. Accumulated data on the ability of IQ to predict job performance suggests that cognitive intelligence (IQ) accounts for only 6 percent of one’s ability to succeed in the workplace. IQ is a rather poor predictor of occupational success. This is a big surprise to many managers, especially the really smart ones.

Our social and emotional intelligence has shown to be responsible for between 27 and 45 percent of job success, depending on which field was under study. Clearly, EQ is a better predictor of occupational and professional performance than IQ. Average to above average scores on the EQ-i indicate an emotionally and socially healthy, well-f
Bill and Thad, great interview. More and more recruiters need to and will begin to accept assessment into their operating practices. Using assessments can save recruiters 40% of their squandered time, not just on screening out the bad apples, but on selecting in the candidates that really do want to find the right opportunity.

Additionally using assessments or and targeted selection interviewing affords the recruiter a unique opportunity to brand themselves as a consultant committed to selection, retention and succession planning.

There are firms popping up all over that operate inside of the standard of using targeted selection, behavioral interviewing and assessments in their hiring and someday in the not too distant future it will become the norm.
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One more comment; is it worth the time.....yes, however choose the right assessment for your client, as not all assessments are created equal. In the beginning - there is a learning curve and the highly impatient High Dominant, High Influencer (DiSC) recruiter types might bag the whole process, however in a few short weeks, the entire process will get easier, and you will find yourself asking completely different questions while taking your clients requ. It is all about beginning with the end in mind. What does this person need to achieve...and how will they do that? And who do they need to be, naturally to achieve what we need in the least amount of time, with the least amount of angst.
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