Recruiters: The Love Hate Relationship with Assessments
When recruiting new hires, everyone involved in the process (employer, employee, staffing agency) wants to see the right candidate placed into the right role and be positioned for long term success right? So, why then do many recruiting companies shy away from using assessments: the very tool that typically provides a great deal of information on the predicted success?
A good staffing, executive search or recruiting firm will obviously be able to network and source potential candidates based upon desired levels of skill and experience, but a great firm should be able to understand the employer’s specific environment and be able to intuitively know whether the right candidate on paper, is also the right candidate from a cultural fit.
So, here’s the rub (IMHO) … in this age of commoditization and candidates being found (and searching) across so many social media networks and niche websites, isn’t the last remaining piece of “special sauce” the ability to understand and predict the right culture fit? If this is taken away then isn’t the staffing firm diminished to a collection of activities that can be readily and cheaply interchanged?
Well, yes and no. In talking with some of the best recruiting agencies in the country, it’s clear that they have adopted the process of assessing candidates as a part of their methodology, but they have integrated it in a manner that provides supporting information to help the process, not to drive it explicitly. In fact, they would show they use the assessment information for onboarding candidates probably far more than for selecting them in the first place. Even so, very few use the process for every candidate, and it’s probably not something that is completely transparent to the client.
Lisa Thompson, director, professional services for Pearson Partners International says, “In recruiting assignments where the candidate will play a key role, we recommend using assessments as a part of the process to determine how the candidate matches up with the organization’s critical needs as well as how they will fit into the culture. The information gained from the assessment process is combined with interviews and references to get a more comprehensive picture of the likelihood of the candidate being successful in the new role. We believe the information can also be used to help facilitate the on-boarding process and ongoing development of the employee.”
Other executive search firms, staffing firms and recruiting companies worry the information gained in an assessment might prove that their prized candidate is, in fact, a terrible fit for the culture or team in which they will be working.
How can they explain to their client that the perfect person on paper is actually a time-bomb that will explode in their environment (and would the client even believe it)?
Actually, no matter how bad it seems, the above scenario is one that should be avoided for the benefit of all concerned, but whether we like it or not, hiring people is a very personal process and emotions and bias can often play a big part in the final decision.
Perhaps the haters need to take a step back and look objectively at the long-term goals and success of their candidates and not play the short game, and perhaps the lovers need make sure that they add their own secret sauce to the assessment process to “pull through” the information and provide value beyond the hiring event itself.