The rule of thumb is that as you move higher up the organisation into more complex roles, you also depend more and more on the higher levels of the success profile
what made an individual successful in a job or role in the past may not be what makes the individual successful in the present—or in the future
As organizations get more concerned on getting the right fit, they should focus not just on what the candidate “has done” or “can do” but also on that the candidate “will do” writes Smita Affinwalla, Head of Consulting, DDI India,
Ever heard of Marco Evaristti? Possibly not. Mr. Evaristti, who is an iceberg artist, does the job that HR professionals and People Managers the world over do every working day of their lives. And like them, of the raw material available to him, he is only able to work with 20% to get his job done.
It is an established fact that the best of development efforts can only impact 20% of the ‘whole’ person and it is the whole person that does a job effectively or otherwise. The other 80% is what lies within a person and is very difficult to change at all. Thus, selecting the right person for the job is one of the most critical and strategic things an organisation does. Would you depend on your “gut” to make such a critical decision? Or would you rather have as much of the best possible data to enable you to make a well informed decision? Are you willing to take a chance? Or would you rather reduce the margin for error as much as you can?
There are four quadrants of a person that that the organisation needs to evaluate to ensure the best possible chance of success in a particular role – the whole often called a “Success Profile.” The four quadrants are:
• What one knows – Technical skills
• What one has done- Experience
• What one can do – Competencies
• Who one is – Personal attributes
Each of these needs to be evaluated carefully to ensure success on the job, and each of these plays out in a different way at different levels of the Leadership Pipeline and in different roles. The rule of thumb is that as you move higher up the organisation into more complex roles, you also depend more and more on the higher levels of the success profile.
Equally, as one moves through the quadrants respectively, each becomes more and more difficult to evaluate, and the data more difficult to interpret. In today’s economy, finding and hiring the right talent is more challenging than ever before. Some of the challenges that employers face today, include accurately defining selection criteria in a changing work environment, effectively retaining newly hired talent, supporting a de-centralized and geographically dispersed selection system, cost efficiency, logistical simplicity, time and effort efficiency, and Adequacy of appropriate internal skills amongst others.
There are several good practices that organisations can follow, which allow them to explore the four quadrants adequately while also taking into account the challenges they face. Some of these are discussed below.
Focusing Not Just on “Can Do” but “Will Do”
A chief indicator of whether or not a new hire will excel in the organization is how well he or she “fits” with the job, the organizational culture, and the geographical location of the job. Identifying motivational fit is the key to selecting the individuals who are likely to stick with the organization, as well as identifying those who project a high likelihood of leaving in the near future. For example, a large call center found that their six-month turnover rates decreased nearly 20% by using motivational fit as a part of its screening interview.
Accurately Define Targets in a Changing Work Environment
As systems, products, and processes are changing faster now than ever before, a key challenge for organizations is ensuring that the targets required for success in various jobs keep up with these changes. In short, what made an individual successful in a job or role in the past may not be what makes the individual successful in the present—or in the future.
Create a Decentralized Selection System
As the human resources function continues to evolve, some internal HR staffs are becoming leaner while outsourcing is growing more prevalent. Accordingly, ownership of the selection process is falling more to hiring managers and recruiters. HR departments, therefore, must continually try to balance control over the hiring system for reasons of consistency and legal defensibility, and distribution of selection tools to the end-users.
Adequately Skill Recruiters
Ensure that all people participating in the selection process have adequate knowledge of the tools they will be using such as tests, inventories and interview techniques. Logistical challenges and cost considerations have driven many organizations to employ multiple training delivery methods for such skilling. Some options to consider would be whether the training is administered through web-based, self-study or classroom options.
Use the right tools for the right result
Screening and testing tools help objectively evaluate large applicant pools, which helps the manager quickly and accurately identify the most qualified candidates for further consideration. Traditional tests such as psychometric tests and cognitive tests are now being replaced by more blended tests which encompass both personality as well as competency evaluations through a simple cost effective methodology yet provide a much wider evaluation. These tests may also be role specific for more accurate results. Examples of these are Career Batteries. It is also at this stage that the less complex quadrants of the Success Profile such as technical skills and experience need to be evaluated.
Once this is done, they may be progressed to behaviourally-based, in-depth phases such as behavioural interviews, simulations and assessments. These may be applied differently for different roles depending on the criticality of the decision as well as the size of the role and other such parameters.
The results speak for themselves
Below two different examples from a well known Talent Management Consulting firm that shows the direct bottom line impact of good talent acquisition practices:
One Fortune 500 Telecommunications Company increased their closing rates by 69% by shifting to sales roles to a more consultative approach. They realised they needed sales representatives who could sit down with customers, understand their Internet, cable, and phone needs, and then recommend customized service options to meet those needs. The company used a blended Competency and Personality test to support the hiring process. The research found that compared to those scoring low, high scorers: Had 69% higher close rates, made 21% more sales calls, performed 15-29% higher on sales goal achievement and attained 8% higher customer satisfaction ratings.
Another example, a company that became one of the largest national financial institutions thanks to its emphasis on making clients feel special, delivering value, and building strong relationships. They wanted to find call center agents with a commitment to satisfying their customers’ financial needs and who would be satisfied and stay in their jobs. The company used a specialised Customer Service Career Battery. The research found that high scorers were: 144% more likely to excel at customer focus, 216% more likely to effectively manage work, 177% more likely to have strong communication skills, 90% more likely to be highly satisfied with their jobs and 36% more likely to have a faster ramp-up speed.