Select Perspectives | Employee Assessment & Interview Training Blog

Assessments Aren’t Perfect (But We Can Do Something About It)

Posted by Alissa Parr, Ph.D.

One of the situations a hiring manager will encounter at least once is when their impressions of the job candidate do not align with the assessment results.  This might occur after reviewing a resume or conducting an interview.  This may also occur in the situation of an internal promotion when the hiring manager is familiar with the candidate. 

There may be signs of success in the resume s465495943uch as long tenure at a company, a few rewards/recognitions at work, a higher education degree, etc.  Initially, this looks like an ideal candidate, but this candidate may not be the best for your job position in your company.  In the case of an internal candidate, hiring managers may have a general idea of how the employee performs.  However, assessments objectively measure specific competencies relevant for the target position.  Global impressions may overlook specific skills needed upon job entry.

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Topics: pre-employment assessments, hiring, Assessment, employee assessments

The Power of People in Your Organization

Posted by Danielle Desko

In late May, we talked about the incredible Great Pacific Race that kicked off on June 7th.   This race illustrated the power of people in a most unique way.   Select International supported the team Pacific Warriors – a four-person, mixed-gender team of rowers that powered across the Pacific Ocean from California to Honolulu.   After 57 days, 4 hours and 45 minutes of rowing, we are happy to report the team has made it!  During their 2,100 nautical mile journey, they encountered poor weather conditions, lack of sleep and food rationing – but through all that, they completed the task at hand and they all successfully made it.  We believe that the fact that they had such an excellent team in place was one of the most important factors in completing their trek.  This was an incredible example of people-powered success.  When you have the right people together, amazing things can happen.pacfic

While this is an extreme case of teamwork (idea for your next team-building event, anyone?), the concept of people-powered success is something HR managers know all too well, but it’s sometimes overlooked in the workplace. Hiring for a workplace team is not really that different from ‘hiring’ a people-powered team for an event such as the Great Pacific Race. The results achieved by your work teams are crucial to your overall business success. Having the right people working together to push each other to produce high-quality outcomes leads to success for everyone.

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What Can a Beer Company Teach Us About Hiring?

Posted by Mark Rogers

“Hire the right people, they’ll stay with you, and grow with you.” –Jim Koch

In a recent interview with Entrepreneur, Boston Beer Company founder, Jim Koch, stated that one of the main reasons for his company’s wild success was the employees he hired. Pretty surprising, right? It wasn’t just that they make a great product, it wasn’t that they advertised right, and it certainly wasn’t plain ol’ luck. It was the employees themselves. Seriously. Furthering that point, Koch said, “We were very careful about who we hired. We only hired people who we thought could fit in to the culture, and actually add to it.”480205019

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Reducing Turnover of Hourly Staff Starts with Supervisors & Managers

Posted by Paul Glatzhofer

Let me start by saying not all turnover is bad.  Organizations who effectively “manage out” underperformers and candidates who self select out of the job can open the door to backfill the position with a candidate who is a better fit.  However there are also forms of turnover that aren’t as good and need to be avoided as much as possible.  As many HR professionals have come to find out there are many reasons why employees exit the organization.  However some themes emerge over time and are fairly stable from one organization to the next.  Some of the most cited reasons are (1) pay/compensation (essentially this means employees are leaving for another opportunity that is offering more money) and (2) their relationship with their boss/manager, among many others. 174243094 

Each situation is different and various organizational interventions may help to reduce turnover.  However based on my experience with organizations who hire hourly employees there is typically one area that is overlooked the most.  Supervisors and managers have a huge impact on the morale of their staff.  It certainly makes sense given their function in the organization.  It also makes sense that effective leaders have the ability to improve morale, increase productivity, and generally make the workplace more pleasant for everyone involved, particularly their staff.  However they also have the ability to derail these outcomes if they are not effective.  More specifically they are one of the most commonly cited reason for employee turnover. 

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Topics: turnover, hiring, employee asssessments

Introversion vs. Extraversion and Job Performance

Posted by Alli Tenbrink

Outgoing, sociable, enthusiastic, assertive, these are all adjectives that employers often use to describe the type of individuals that they want to work for their company.  Traits like these comprise the personality dimension known as extraversion. Because extraverted individuals tend to have high energy levels and are often go-getters, extraversion has emerged as an influential predictor of job performance in many jobs, although not for all.  For example,  in a recent article discussing the selection of individuals for long-term space missions, such as missions to Mars, it is implied that extraversion may actually be a disadvantage for these types of roles.495150791

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Topics: hiring, interviewing, Job Analysis, employee performance

How to Define the Ideal Employee

Posted by Lindsey Burke

Have you ever been asked the question “how would you define the ideal person for this role?” or “what are you looking for in a candidate?” by a candidate you were interviewing? If so, how did you respond? What types of things did you list as being important, and what was the basis behind your response? Everyone wants to find the “ideal” employee, but how do we go about defining the ideal employee? The answer starts with and revolves around identifying the competencies that are critical for success on the job.451660107

Competencies are clusters of related job knowledge, skills, abilities, motivations, personality traits, and other requirements necessary for successful job performance. Competencies are the essential pieces and parts of the hiring process that we should be examining when looking for the ideal candidate for a particular role. When deciding what the ideal candidate would be, the following questions should be asked:

  • Job Knowledge: What on-the-job experience does the candidate need to have in order to perform the job successfully? Is it important that the candidate has worked in this type of position before?
  • Skills: What areas of expertise does the individual have? What certifications, credentials, trades, or other areas of knowledge does the candidate have that are required for the job?
  • Abilities: With or without reasonable accommodation, is the candidate able to perform all of the necessary requirements of the job? As examples, are there any physical requirements of the job or environmental factors that candidates must be able to work in?
  • Motivations: Is the candidate a good fit for the particular environment, culture, or organization of which they will be working in? Will the candidate like performing the specific task requirements of the job?
  • Personality Traits: Does the candidate display the right behaviors needed for success on the job? Does the candidate contain the traits and characteristics needed for successful job performance?
  • Other Requirements: What other requirements are needed for successful job performance?
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Topics: hiring, hiring assessment, hiring process

3 Things Marathon Runners Can Teach Us About Hiring

Posted by Paul Glatzhofer

Although I have never actually completed a full marathon (26.2 miles) I work with a number of individuals who have accomplished this amazing feat. During my discussions with them I have actually noticed many similarities between training for a marathon and setting up a consistent and predictive hiring process. Below I have outlined 5 of the more interesting similarities. 479108401

1. Start by understanding what it takes to be successful before you begin.

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How Can you Hire Quickly but Effectively?

Posted by Alissa Parr, Ph.D.

One of the challenges that companies may face is attrition of candidates in the hiring process.  Candidates may withdraw from the application process for multiple reasons, including disinterest in the company, another job offer, and feeling like the hiring process is unfair.  All of these reasons can be a result of a lengthy hiring process.  Candidates who are put in a “holding pattern” in certain stages of the hiring process may get the impression that the company is not valuing them as a candidate, and, as a result, withdraw from the process.  Additionally, it’s a reality that candidates are seeking other job alternatives and interviewing with several companies.  Other companies that are able to process candidates faster have the upper hand because they can make an offer to the candidate before other companies.  Overall, it makes sense to shorten time for the hiring process.  Or, said another way, it’s important to maximize the efficiency of the hiring process.186433356

One of the indicators we tend to focus on first is effectiveness.  This is very important because it can make the difference between a good and bad hire.  However, efficiency is also an important factor to consider in the selection process.  Usually there is a give-and-take between factors such as effectiveness and efficiency.  It’s like speed and accuracy.  If you increase your speed, your accuracy tends to decrease.  However, this does not always have to be the case for effectiveness and efficiency in a hiring process.  Below are a few tips to find the sweet spot that will maximize both effectiveness and efficiency. 

  1. Structure the process to minimize the resources needed during the first stages of the process.  The ultimate goal of any hiring system is to reduce a large pool of candidates to one or a few.  Essentially, the system should be set up like a funnel with each step removing unqualified candidates.  In the beginning stages when you have the most candidates with more variable skill levels, it’s best to use tools that are easy and cost effective to administer.  For example, you may start out with an application that asks about the basic qualifications for the job.  These are simple and cost effective solutions which can eliminate those not qualified for the position.  Additionally, you can include a short screen-out assessment that will identify your most risky candidates.  Having these candidates eliminated in the early stages will allow you to spend more time on the candidates who are better qualified.  This results in a lot of time and cost savings.  The later stages is when it’s better to have your more in-depth and resource-intensive tools (e.g., behavior-based interviews, in-depth assessments).
  2. Automate the process.  One of the best ways that you can make your hiring system more efficient is to move towards electronic applications and tools.  When you’re using an electronic platform, scoring can be built into the system so you automatically know whether the candidate passed or failed that step.  This creates more standardization, eliminates guesswork from the hiring team, and streamlines the process.  Automating the process reduces the resources needed, especially at the beginning stages.  For example, candidates could enter themselves into the system, fill out an initial electronic application, and then be invited to take a screen-out assessment automatically if they passed all the previous stages.
  3. Use tools that are predictive of success for your target position.  The final thing to mention is that you should never sacrifice quality over speed in the hiring process.  Make sure that you go through all the necessary steps in a job analysis to identify the most critical knowledge, skills, and abilities for the target position.  Then, select your tools that can accurately and reliably measure these competencies.  The shortest and cheapest assessment may not always be the best tool for your position and therefore you should be very critical when selecting tools to use.  By spending a little more time on the front-end, you can make sure that you are creating a system that is both effective and efficient.
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Topics: hiring, hiring systems, hiring process, hiring assessments

Is Experience Necessary?

Posted by Paul Glatzhofer

Let me start by saying that if I ever need to have brain surgery I would want it done by the best brain surgeon I could find.  By “best” I mean that the surgeon has proven time and again that he/she can do the job successfully with positive outcomes.  However, a brain surgeon is more the exception rather than the rule.  There are a significant percentage of jobs where past experience is not necessary.  For example, most entry-level retail job openings look for positive and motivated people who like working with customers.  You don’t actually need that experience.185609341

However, a review of in the Pittsburgh region had 21,185 job postings.  But, only 738 (or 3.4%) of those jobs were listed as “No Experience Necessary”.  Additionally, most of these jobs were entry-level type roles.  Why are all of these jobs requiring experience? 

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Topics: interview training, hiring, hiring process, interviewing

Employee Feedback 101

Posted by Alissa Parr, Ph.D.

One big myth of employee feedback systems is that all supervisors want to give feedback and all subordinates want to receive it. It’s often, if not always, the case that supervisors want their employees to grow and develop but apprehension grows when faced with the idea of providing negative feedback to employees. Similarly, subordinates want to improve their skills and performance but may be hesitant to hear this information from their supervisor. Therefore, it’s important to consider best practices of feedback giving so supervisors can be more confident in giving feedback and subordinates can be more willing to hear feedback and then take actionable steps to improve.460348883

1. Establish a feedback environment. A feedback environment should be one that promotes learning to achieve both organizational and individual goals. In such environments, feedback is easily accessible and salient. The less effort employees need to exert to receive feedback, the more likely they will be to obtain it. Essentially, feedback environments promote employees to actively seek feedback. Those who more actively seek feedback tend to have higher performance than those who do not seek feedback and, as a result, they are more likely to use the feedback to promote change. Providing an environment that is safe for inquiry and that minimizes effort on the part of the employee is important—especially since those who need it most might not be seeking it.

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Topics: 360-degree feedback, hiring, employee feedback

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