(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by our friends at Criteria Corp, a leading provider of pre-employment testing services. They recently launched an app called JobFlare (iOS, FREE) that allows users to play “brain games” that are scientifically created to test the cognitive abilities that are considered the key predictors of job success. Enjoy the post!)
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) report “The New Talent Landscape: Recruiting Difficulty and Skills Shortages”, 68 percent of HR professionals are having trouble recruiting candidates for full-time positions. In addition, more than half say that the reason is candidates don’t have the skills for the jobs they’re applying for.
This skills gap is causing businesses to turn down projects because they don’t have either 1) enough talent to do the work or 2) the right talent to make it happen. The Association for Talent Development (ATD) released a white paper on Bridging the Skills Gap and reported that 87 percent of organizations felt the skills gap was impacting customer service delivery and business growth.
At some point, organizations need to realize that they must make an investment in employee training and development to get the talent they’re looking for. Obviously, turning away business isn’t the answer. And waiting for someone to apply with the perfect resume is probably not feasible either.
Organizations Can Use a 3-Strategy Approach to Recruitment
We’ve talked before about using a 3-strategy approach to recruitment: Buy, Build, and Borrow.
BUY is where the company hires talent from the outside. The advantage to this approach is that the organization gets fresh perspectives and new ideas. The disadvantage is that it can be expensive to attract good talent from the outside.
BUILD is when the company develops talent from within. The upside is that this strategy is great for employee morale. The downside is that developing talent takes time. It also means having the training resources available.
BORROW is using freelancers or consultants when the need arises. Not every job is a full-time job, so the pro to this approach is getting the necessary talent at the moment it’s needed. The con is keeping freelancers engaged so when you need them, they’re available for you and ready to work.
While I’ve presented these strategies separately, organizations don’t have to utilize these three strategies that way. For example, an organization can “buy” the best talent then “build” their skills. But for organizations to successfully blend recruitment strategies, they should determine those skills that the candidate absolutely needs to have and the skills that can be developed once someone gets hired.
Use Assessments as Part of Your Recruitment Strategy
To help assess a candidate’s potential, organizations can use assessments. We’re not talking about tests that assess the skills that the candidate already has – like, does the candidate know how to create a pivot table in Microsoft Excel. Those tests are important but they are not the most predictive of on-the-job performance.
The most predictive tests, meaning the ones that evaluate a candidate’s potential, are cognitive aptitude and personality tests. Cognitive aptitude tests are used to determine pure cognitive potential to learn complex subjects. Personality tests measure how well someone’s personality fits with a type of role.
Combined, these two assessments help companies find productive employees who are more likely to be retained because they are better suited to the role. I realize that it might not seem exactly intuitive that these two types of tests, which at first glance, are testing abilities that don’t seem directly related to the role, are more predictive than skills tests, but there’s research to back it up.
Case Study: Cognitive Aptitude Tests Predict Success in Training Programs
I’m a fan of empirical research, but I asked our friends at Criteria Corp if they could share a couple of real-life case studies. I really wanted to see practical examples of how cognitive aptitude tests were used as effective predictors of learning potential. That way, organizations can consider using them during recruitment to determine if candidates have the potential to learn what’s necessary to be successful on the job. They shared with me two that I thought were very relatable:
- The company used the CCAT (Criteria Corp’s cognitive aptitude test) to help them predict who would make it through an intensive financial services training program. The results were impressive. Of the highest scorers on the test, 49 of 49 (100 percent) made it through training successfully. Of the lowest scorers, only 9 of 20 (45 percent) did. This supports how predictive of learning ability the CCAT is, and why aptitude tests can be a predictor of how likely a candidate would be to satisfactorily complete training and learn new things once they are on the job.
- A call center that used a personality test designed for sales positions to increase their revenue-per-day. The results showed that sales consultants who were recommended by the test earned significantly more revenue-per-day than those who were not recommended by the test. I know sometimes personality tests aren’t given the same level of attention as aptitude tests but they can play an important role. Criteria Corp shared with me that the Openness trait in the Five Factor Model of Personality (also known as Big Five or FFM) is commonly associated with intellectual curiosity, which has an impact on trainability.
Assessments Can Help Employers Close the Skills Gap
Employers who are willing to hire talent based on measurements of potential are more likely to be able to close the skills gap themselves through training. They can hire employees faster because they’re not waiting for the “perfect” candidate. They’ve found a very talented candidate that they can train.
In addition, organizations can engage new hires immediately because the company is demonstrating an immediate interest in the employee’s success. This results in faster time-to-productivity and a positive impact on the bottom-line. If you want to learn more about cognitive aptitude and personality assessments and the positive impact it can have on your recruitment strategy, download Criteria Corp’s Definitive Guide to Pre-Employment Testing. Trust me, this is a comprehensive guide that you will want to keep on the corner of your desk for reference.14