The pandemic’s impact on businesses has caused many to reassess their talent needs. As needs change, talent identification, attraction and development must change as well.
But are companies changing fast enough?
Some crucial modifications to the hiring process could help.
Firstly, while a growing body of research shows that past experience is a poor predictor of future job performance, many employers continue to inordinately dwell on a candidate’s experience.
This is evident throughout the hiring process. Resumes, cover letters and interviews mainly showcase work history and past achievements. References testify about how well a candidate performed in previous roles. During interviews, hiring managers ask behavioural and situational questions related to candidates’ past experiences.
Experience is important insofar as it makes candidates’ learning curve less steep, but hiring mistakes as a result of placing too much emphasis on past experience are causing employers to move away from treating it as a primary deciding factor. This is especially relevant when assessing recent graduates who haven’t had time to build experience.
A focus on past experience not only increases the possibility of hiring mistakes, but could also cause companies to lose out on excellent talent.
HOW TO HIRE FOR POTENTIAL
As a whole, hiring managers need to begin by identifying relevant skills and qualities known to predict long-term success on the job. This will enable them to design a hiring process that more accurately identifies the right candidates.
Employers have become more aware of the importance of skills such as cognitive ability, communication, empathy, adaptability and agility. According to the American Psychological Association, cognitive ability and conscientiousness alone “appear to be relevant to performance in virtually every job studied. Measuring these two variables alone, it is often possible to account for 20 to 30 per cent of the variance in job performance, with even higher predictability in more complex jobs.”
Of course, in order to more accurately identify the skills and traits connected to future performance, employers should refer to research related to the particular types of positions they are looking to fill.
These skills and traits should be demonstrated. Companies shouldn’t simply accept candidates’ self-reports. In addition to putting candidates through work sample tests which require them to perform tasks that are similar to those performed on the job, a variety of robust and predictive pre-employment assessments are necessary. Take time to select the appropriate one for the job role.
TRAIN BEFORE HIRING
After identifying and shortlisting candidates, most employers would simply make a hiring decision, but to ensure success, they should consider another change to the process.
The rapidity of technological evolution has made skills shortages inevitable. Those who hire for potential are more than willing to train new hires.
However, a few are taking a completely different approach. Instead of hiring, then training, they are training before hiring.
Training and onboarding could reveal a lot about candidates such as whether they are really interested in the job or whether they have the ability to learn and excel.
As such, training before hiring can be mutually beneficial. Candidates can cultivate the skills needed and gauge their level of interest in the job and companies can identify and hire work-ready candidates.
Accessible interactive and adaptive software allow companies to train candidates at scale while collecting useful data to determine which candidates are most suitable for the job.
Companies such as Microsoft, Deloitte and GE have created micro-courses to help students learn and prepare for careers at their companies while generating a robust talent pool.
Google has introduced a Google Career Certificate programme which is designed to prepare candidates for in-demand jobs and offers them a chance to get their “foot in the door with top employers, through the Google employer consortium.”
As companies’ talent needs change, hiring practices and processes must logically change as well. This has become even more urgent amid prevailing skills gaps in a more demanding global business environment.