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Not everyone loves hiring. Does anyone love hiring? Does anyone like hiring? Some parts of it can be fun: the excitement of bringing in new people and new ideas, imagining the possibilities, the hilarious typos on the resumes. But it can be a slog. Especially right now, many job postings will lead to a flood of resumes and applications. That’s a good thing, right? Well, not exactly. According to Barry Schwartz, the author of The Paradox of Choice, having too many options makes us humans pretty unhappy. We suffer from fear of missing out and agonize over the best choice. Of course, having too many choices as a hiring manager means a LOT more work. You want to do it because you want to find the best person for your sales team, but you also have other things to do. 

What if you didn’t have to start from zero every time you hire? What if -- instead of dealing with job postings, sifting through the virtual stacks of resumes, making the calls, and struggling with the anxiety – you just picked up the phone and made a call to the right person, and a couple of weeks later, they just started? 

There is a way. Creating a talent pipeline can save yourself a lot of work, uncertainty, and, yes, even unhappiness!

What is this magical time saver? 

According to HR (Human Resources) Technologist, A talent pipeline is defined as a ready pool of potential candidates who are qualified and prepared to step up and fill relevant key roles within the organization as soon as they fall vacant.” 

In other words, you have a waiting and willing list of people you can call on as soon as you have an opening. Ideally, they would be clamoring to join your team, they will have been moderately vetted in advance, and they have the skills, experience, or attitude (or all three!) you want.

Here are 5 steps to building your very own talent pipeline.

  1. Identify your needs. There are always surprises in staffing – someone moves to a new field, a spouse is transferred, a production manager decides to start his own artisanal sourdough bread company, the usual – but not all job vacancies are unexpected. You can take stock now of where the positions are going to be in the future. These might include: 
    • In areas where you are planning to expand (new initiatives, departments, or branches). 
    • Replacements for excellent contributors who are on a divergent educational path. You love them, they do excellent work, but they’re in the final year of their degree in Almond Husbandry. 
    • Positions where there is a lot of lateral and upward movement. These are the roles that prepare your employees to move up in the company. 
    • In areas where you are always willing to hire the right person (commission sales is usually at the top of this list for many companies), even if you’re fully staffed. You can make room for someone who is going to take your sales revenue to the next level. 
  2. Prepare to sell the benefits of working for your company. You know it’s a great place to work, but what is your plan for letting other people know? This should go beyond a dry list of HR benefits. What are the benefits of working there? Why would you recommend it? Consider creating a marketing packet for attracting talent the same way you would attract sales prospects. 
  3. Scope out your people. 
    • Start in your own in your backyard. You probably have a few stellar employees in mind for your sales team. These people are gold because you know their work ethics, skill levels, and reputations. Of course, moving someone over to sales will leave an opening elsewhere, but it is easier and less risky to fill an entry-level position than a high-level one. 
    • Talk to the people you trust most. Maybe you don’t have a great fit within your current ranks, but what about the people they know? Referrals from your best employees are as good as selecting the employees themselves. 
    • Scope out external business contacts. Chances are you’ve built relationships with bright, motivated people outside the company, contacts from vendors or services you use, for example. It can’t hurt to feel around and see if they are interested in a change. 
    • LinkedIn, Indeed, and social networking. LinkedIn is always a great place to start because of its well-defined keywords and the ability to review people’s resumes and histories. Indeed.com also allows you to search resumes, although you will have to buy a subscription. Also, check out industry-specific social networks, such as GitHub (for software) and Moz (marketing) or industry subreddits, to find people who really know their stuff. 
    • Local business networks. Virtual and (eventually) in-person networking events offer a great opportunity to meet reputable people in your area seeking new opportunities. 
  4. Make sure they are a good match. You may like everything about the person, but they must be more than likable; they must be well suited to the job. Remember, a great salesperson is not necessarily going to be a great accountant (and vice-versa). 
  5. Make and maintain a connection. Reach out and find out if there is interest. Be open and honest about the timeline. Remember, this is not a solid offer of a position; it offers a mutual future opportunity. Find out the best way to reach this person and keep in touch. Provide updates as the possibility of a role comes nearer. 

There are steps you can take to start building your talent pipeline right now. The sooner, the better. Because let’s be honest, a lot of people have baked a lot of sourdough bread these past few months. There are going to be some award winners out there.

With an estimated 2.65 billion people using social media worldwide in 2018, the odds are good that anyone applying for a position at your organization has at least one social media profile. In fact, they probably have more than one, since the average person today has over eight accounts, more than double the average number in 2013. Given those numbers, it’s no surprise that so many organizations are turning to social media screening as a way to learn more about potential job candidates.

What is Social Media Screening?

Social media screening is a process by which employers view and evaluate information posted on a candidate’s social media profiles to determine their suitability for a position. As one might expect, the term “suitability” is doing some heavy lifting in this situation. It could mean assessing whether or not someone has a demonstrated history of using the skills that are essential to the job function in question. On the other hand, it could also mean identifying a pattern of risky or otherwise problematic behavior that could potentially create problems for an organization that hires them.

According to a 2018 CareerBuilder study, almost three-quarters of employers are using social media as a screening mechanism for new hires. Perhaps more importantly, 43 percent of them are also using it to monitor their current employees. Not every company is approaching screening in quite the same way, sometimes focusing narrowly on the candidate themselves and sometimes expanding out to look at broader aspects of their online presence (such as what other people have to say about them).

How Can You Use Social Media Screening in Your Hiring Process?

The idea of background screening is nothing new, of course. Companies have been conducting background and reference checks on candidates for quite some time, and there are many services available that make this process easier to conduct. There are cost and time considerations to background research, which is usually carried out by a third-party vendor. Social media screening, on the other hand, is much easier to conduct because the candidate’s information is publicly available on the internet.

A quick scan of a candidate’s LinkedIn or Facebook page will usually be sufficient to establish whether they possess the background and qualifications they claimed to possess on their application or resume. It can also provide a good idea of how the candidate conducts themselves publicly. Are they professional and respectful of others? Do they communicate effectively? Do they have a wide range of interests?

Although social media often blurs the line between a person’s private and professional life, many companies are understandably concerned that the same information will be available to their clients and customers. If a candidate is constantly posting about engaging in problematic (or even illegal) behavior or routinely sounding off about their employers or customers, most organizations will be understandably concerned about the implications of making that person a representative of their brand.

Problems with Social Media Screening

This ready availability of information creates some problems, however. Modern HR departments have carefully designed the hiring and candidate evaluation process to minimize the potential for discrimination and bias. There are many questions (especially where race and gender are concerned) companies are not even legally permitted to ask candidates. Organizations that fail to follow these strict guidelines open themselves up to serious liability problems.

Since social media information is freely provided by the candidate, employers sometimes think they can use it as a way of bypassing these restrictions. They may not be able to ask about a candidate’s age, marital status, or sexual orientation, but a quick scan of their Facebook profile may provide these answers (assuming the profile is truthful, which is a wholly separate issue). Unfortunately, simply knowing that information could expose the company to an accusation of hiring discrimination should they decide to not hire the candidate.

Even worse, social media screening can allow unconscious biases to influence hiring decisions. For instance, if a hiring manager learns that the candidate shares their interests, follows the same celebrities, or uses the same products, they could be unfairly predisposed to favoring them over other applicants. While there’s always a danger of this information finding its way into the interview process, it’s especially damaging when bias takes root during the initial screening before the applicant even has an opportunity to interview.

And that’s to say nothing of candidates who lack a social media presence to begin with. Eliminating a qualified applicant because they don’t have an Instagram profile, for instance, is hardly a sophisticated method of identifying a best-fit candidate.

The Do's and Don'ts of Leveraging Social Media Screening in Your Hiring Process

If your organization is going to use social media screening as part of its hiring process, it’s critical to have a few rules in place before doing so.

DO focus on professional details.

Depending on the social media platforms you’re looking at, there could be a strong temptation to plunge into the candidate’s personal life to learn everything about them. Unfortunately, digging for these details will result in far more trouble (potentially of the legal variety) than it’s worth. Looking for information about the candidate’s work experience and job performance can support details gathered throughout the interview and assessment process, which is usually far more valuable than knowing how someone likes to spend their free time on the weekends.

DON’T use it as the first step in screening.

Turning to social media as the first way to trim down the list of candidates is a bad place to start. First of all, it’s not based on any hard data or objective assessment methodology. Furthermore, unless the position you’re hiring for is focused on social media usage, there’s no reason to think there’s any correlation between a person’s social media profile and their ability to do the job in question. While some people are true “digital natives” who spend a lot of time cultivating their social media presence, others put little to no thought into their social media profiles. Eliminating people on this basis before the hiring process even starts is guaranteed to cost you some of your most capable candidates.

DO keep things in perspective.

Social media profiles are not necessarily an accurate depiction of reality. They are a carefully cultivated public image that someone has chosen to present to the world. It’s not uncommon for people to look far more interesting, capable, and engaging on social media than they are in their everyday lives. They may not be lying about details (although that’s always possible), but always remember that nothing you see should be taken for granted without corroborating evidence of some kind.

DON’T use just one platform.

If you’re going to look at a candidate’s social media presence, you should consider evaluating a number of different channels. Each platform offers a different experience and caters to different needs. A LinkedIn profile, for instance, is usually going to be more professional than a Snapchat account. Some people even cultivate very different online identities across platforms. A person with a perfectly boring Facebook profile might prove to be a confrontational firebrand on Twitter. If you’ve decided you want to use social media screening, you might as well be thorough to assemble a comprehensive picture.

DO familiarize yourself with the law.

Falling afoul of anti-discrimination laws at the state and federal level can put your company in an embarrassing and expensive situation. Make sure you understand what information you are not permitted to request from candidates and put controls in place to ensure your social media screening doesn’t circumvent those laws. It may be helpful if the screening is conducted by someone who has no involvement in the actual hiring process to keep the focus on specific, work-related details and reduce the potential for bias.

DON’T let it be the deciding factor.

Relying on social media screening to make your final hiring decisions is a recipe for disaster. While there’s nothing wrong with using it to create a more nuanced and complex view of a candidate, social media is not reliable enough as a hiring tool to justify using it for selection purposes. If something about a candidate’s profile strikes you as disqualifying even though nothing else in the hiring process supports that impression, you’re either making too much out of nothing or there’s a serious flaw in the way you’re assessing candidates. And if it’s the latter case, you’ve got bigger problems on your hands than just a social media screening issue.

Better Data Results in Better Hiring

Social media screening may not provide much in the way of objective data, but organizations looking for that data can find it through pre-hiring assessments. Unlike social media profiles, these tests are scientifically designed to generate meaningful results that tell you whether or not a candidate possesses the right skills for a position or will be a good cultural fit for your organization.

At the Omnia Group, we’re committed to providing companies with the right tools to make better hiring and employee development decisions. Our selection of cognitive and behavioral assessments are designed to provide you with actionable data that helps you hire best-fit candidates and ensure that your employees have the resources they need to reach their potential. To learn more about our assessment tools, contact us today and let us know about the unique challenges of your workforce.

Filling an open position is often a much more complicated process than organizations expect. Even if the hiring manager has a good description of the job, the responsibilities it entails, and a picture of what an ideal candidate would look like, they must still sort through applicants and find the candidates who seem best suited for the role. And that’s before the interview process even begins.

The pressure to expedite the hiring process has led many organizations to turn to pre-employment testing. Used properly, pre-hire assessments can make it easier to manage candidate pools and make the right hiring decisions.

What is a Pre-Employment Testing?

Organizations use various pre-employment testing types to quickly gather information from a candidate that might not otherwise be revealed in an interview situation or by reviewing a resume. The data collected from a pre-employment assessment makes it easier for hiring managers and organizations to decide which candidates would be best suited for a position. Used properly, pre-employment testing can help to reduce bias, identify qualities that might otherwise go unnoticed, and assess development potential.

Of course, it’s always worth mentioning that pre-hire assessments like a cognitive ability test or a personality test for jobs (instead of a more general personality test not designed for business applications) are most effective when supplementing a robust hiring process rather than replace one altogether. While they’re typically administered before the initial in-person interview, these assessments generate data that can be used at every stage of hiring and recruitment. 

How Can Pre-Employment Testing Expedite Your Hiring Process?

According to SHRM’s 2017 Talent Acquisition Benchmarking Report, the average organization takes 36 days to fill an open position. Every day a position remains open places more strain upon a company in one form or another. Productivity can suffer as the responsibilities associated with a position are distributed to other people, making it more difficult for them to do their jobs effectively. Key decisions can be drawn out, creating delays elsewhere in the organization. Furthermore, the uncertainty associated with not knowing who will be accountable for a specific role can take a toll upon employees and potentially threaten client relationships.

Pre-employment testing allows companies to streamline and expedite their hiring process in several ways. For example, hard skills and cognitive tests are often used as an initial screening tool for weeding out blatantly unqualified candidates. If someone is applying for a position that requires specific technical skills, it’s important to know whether they’ll be capable of doing the job. While their resume might indicate they have the right experience, that work history might not have prepared them adequately for the work they’d be responsible for (there’s also a possibility that they’re lying on their resume). Administering a pre-hire assessment will provide data-based evidence of whether or not they can actually do the job. If they can’t, there’s no sense in moving them along to the next hiring process phase.

Another advantage of pre-employment testing is its ability to generate data that hiring managers can use as the basis for questions throughout the interview process. In many instances, a comprehensive pre-hire assessment can serve the same purpose as an initial phone interview, which rarely produces meaningful insights other than confirming the information provided on a resume. When the hiring manager sits down to conduct a more thorough interview, they will already have specific topics they can focus on rather than wasting half of the interview asking questions to uncover the same information.

Many organizations understandably want to conduct multiple interviews involving different people within the company. Unfortunately, having to coordinate several schedules can complicate the hiring process. An unexpected cancellation can force an employee to wait for days or even weeks before another meeting can be scheduled, which means the company will have to get by shorthanded for even longer. Pre-employment testing can gather much of the information that could be obtained through a brief interview. Those results can be shared with the relevant personnel, potentially eliminating the need for multiple interviews and removing another obstacle between the candidate and the open position.

The Benefits of an Expedited Hiring Process

Eliminating candidates in the early stages is extremely helpful in expediting the hiring process as a whole. The faster organizations can narrow the field of potential hires down to a manageable list, the more quickly they can conduct the necessary interviews and background checks to make a final decision. This is especially important for companies that don’t have a strong succession pipeline to identify and prepare high-potential internal candidates to step into key roles should they become vacant unexpectedly.

While many organizations can “get by” when a key role goes unfilled if the position is left open for too long, the pressures of covering the gap can cause dissatisfaction among other employees. In a worst-case scenario, the company may end up hiring someone after a prolonged process only to find that another key contributor has decided to leave due to the frustration of being forced to do someone else’s work. By keeping the hiring process as short and efficient as possible, disruptions caused by vacancies can be kept to a minimum.

Streamline Your Hiring Process with Omnia!

Whether you’re looking to administer a personality test for jobs or cognitive ability tests as part of your hiring process, The Omnia Group has a scientifically proven pre-employment assessment that will fit your organization’s specific needs. While the Omnia Behavioral Assessment may be our most popular form of pre-hire testing, we also offer cognitive assessments, grammar assessments, and even development assessments that help give you an idea of what a candidate is looking for in career development.

With easy-to-read graphics and attentive support and guidance from our knowledgeable staff, each assessment report provides your organization with a wealth of information that makes it easier for you to make the right hire at the right time for the right reasons. To learn more about our customizable assessment solutions, contact our team, and transform your workforce today.

Hiring a new employee is one of the biggest challenges organizations face regularly. According to research by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it takes an average of 42 days to fill an open position at the sizable cost of $4,129 per hire. With the average turnover rate around 19 percent, developing strategies that streamline and improve the hiring process and reduce the turnover rate could translate into a sizeable competitive advantage.

That’s why many companies are turning to pre-employment testing. By improving the quality of information available to hiring managers, these assessments can help them make better hiring decisions driven by data and ensure that the leading candidates are aligned with their organizational needs.

What is a Pre-Employment Test?

A pre-employment test or pre-employment assessment can refer to any evaluation administered to a job candidate during the hiring process. These tests' purpose is to gain additional information that may not be apparent from a resume or interview. When used in conjunction with traditional evaluation criteria, they can help organizations make much more informed selection decisions when hiring candidates.

Depending upon an organization’s needs, pre-employment tests could take several forms that generate very different results, measuring areas like personality traits, cognitive ability, job knowledge, and technical proficiencies. The best assessments are developed by experienced testing professionals and independently validated to ensure both accuracy and replicability.

Benefits of Hiring Assessments

The insights drawn from pre-employment testing can benefit organizations in several ways. Not only does this information help to make better decisions about specific candidates, but it can also be used to streamline and enrich the entire hiring process. Implemented properly, pre-employment assessment can also significantly reduce costs, improve the candidate pool, and boost retention rates. Some of the key benefits of pre-employment testing include:

Pre-Employment Screening

Sometimes a candidate looks right on paper but lacks key behavioral or cognitive qualities necessary to excel in the position they’re applying for. While a 30-minute interview might reveal these deficiencies, by the time the candidate reaches that point, they’ve already taken up a large portion of time and potentially taken the place of another candidate better suited for the job.

With pre-employment testing, hiring managers can screen the candidate pool to ensure that they’re spending most of their valuable time with only the most high-potential candidates. This pre-screening not only generates a stronger candidate pool but also allows people who aren’t an ideal fit for a position to quickly move on to other opportunities rather than waiting around for a decision.

Improved Interviews

Certain types of pre-employment testing can generate insightful information about a candidate, revealing characteristics and tendencies that may not be evident just from reviewing their resume. This data is invaluable for interviewers, who can use it to create better, more targeted questions that really get at key issues related to the candidate’s potential to effectively do the job.

While a good interviewer can certainly develop effective questions based on a resume, having another source of information to draw upon helps them to identify inconsistencies or unique characteristics that are not evident on paper. The pre-employment assessment also saves interviewers time because it allows them to home in on specific topics they want to discuss rather than asking several probing or exploratory questions beforehand.

More Objectivity

Bias is always a challenging problem when it comes to the hiring process. Are you sure that you favor a candidate because they’re the most qualified and most likely to excel, or are they your preferred choice? After all, you like them personally? By contrast, you don’t want to miss out on an excellent candidate simply because they vaguely remind you of someone you don’t like. Unconscious bias, in particular, shows up in a variety of unexpected places.

One of the best benefits of well-designed pre-employment tests is that they provide an objective means of evaluating a candidate. That’s because the assessment only focuses on measuring specific skills or characteristics. Since technology makes it possible to administer tests anonymously, hiring managers can review candidates' results in a vacuum before meeting them or even reading their resume. This ensures that they won’t be influenced by any number of unconscious biases that often undermine the hiring process and discriminate against many minority applicants.

Fewer Poor Hires

Every employee is different. Each person learns in their own way and responds differently to various environments, organizational cultures, and management styles. Someone who seems like they would be an ideal fit based on their resume and a handful of interviews may lack the personality traits or skills needed to thrive in their new role. Since it takes time to adjust to a new position, it can often take months or even years before it becomes evident that a poor hire has been made. But by that point, the employee is likely so frustrated and disengaged that they’re ready to move on anyway.

By investing in pre-employment testing, it’s possible to gain a more comprehensive view of what motivates a candidate and what competencies they possess. These insights make it easier to select people who will be a good fit for a role in personality and skill. Better alignment means better retention rates over time, translating into significant savings, and minimizing organizational disruption.

Types of Pre-Employment Tests

Organizations utilize a wide variety of pre-employment tests and often use different names for them, even though they might be assessing the same basic criteria. Generally speaking; however, pre-employment assessments fall into one of three broad categories.

Aptitude Tests

Often referred to as cognitive assessments, these tests measure General Mental Ability (GMA), which has been strongly correlated with job performance.omniagroup aptitude test Some of the characteristics evaluated in these tests include the candidate’s ability to think abstractly, comprehend new concepts, learn from experience, apply new skills, adapt to new environments and situations, and find the most effective solutions to problems.

While these tests are most often used for low to mid-level professional positions, some organizations believe so strongly in their effectiveness that they require them for even their most senior executives. A candidate who scores well on cognitive ability tests is more likely to complete their training and adapt to changing circumstances and job demands more effectively. Most jobs require people to confront challenges they’ve never encountered before, which is why the ability to think critically and solve problems quickly is so important when it comes to job performance.

Personality Tests

Available in many different forms, personality tests perform a slightly different function than aptitude tests. While the cognitive assessments seek to measure innate ability quantitatively, personality tests aim to reveal a candidate’s unique personal qualities and characteristics. This could include motivations, preferences, and other behaviors that provide a sense of how someone will respond to being in a particular role.

The core traits revealed by a personality test do not typically change over time, which could be good information to have when planning to hire for a position that might conflict with a candidate’s behavioral tendencies (such as putting someone with an introverted, timid personality into a competitive and aggressive sales position).

Personality tests for jobs often take the form of behavioral assessments or emotional intelligence assessments. Based on psychometric research, these tests measure things like a candidate’s assertiveness, communication style, work pace, and need for structure through an adjective checklist or by asking a series of situational multiple-choice questions. Unlike cognitive tests, there are no right or wrong answers. Instead, the answers are used to gauge how much the candidate exhibits certain personality traits.

Skills Assessment Tests

Distinct from aptitude tests, which measure innate cognitive abilities, skills tests measure a candidate’s existing knowledge and current job readiness. Since they do not measure inherent and largely unchanging qualities, they are typically used to screen candidates rather than predict future performance. For instance, if a software developer position requires expertise in a particular coding language, a skill test may be administered to ensure that the candidate possesses the necessary proficiency.

Whereas aptitude and personality tests must be carefully designed to avoid bias and produce independently verifiable results, skills tests tend to be much easier to design and implement. In this sense, they function much like a job assessment test. They are also very effective tools for determining future development needs. There may be some instances where a candidate possesses many of the ideal competencies for a position, scores well on other pre-employment tests, and interviews well, but needs to improve some of their technical skills to excel in their new role.

The Validity of Pre-Employment Testing

The effectiveness of pre-employment testing depends on quite a bit on the design quality of the assessments themselves. There are many testing options available on the market today, ranging from comprehensive and scientifically rigorous assessments to more simplistic tests that often weren’t even designed to be used for hiring purposes in the first place. For example, many companies still use the popular Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator Test, which was never intended to inform hiring decisions. Poorly designed tests are generally easier for people to manipulate, especially when it comes to personality tests. They will often not answer honestly, answering they “think” they should give. Well-designed assessments can account for this problem, so it’s important to ensure that a pre-employment test is created using best practices from a methodology standpoint before implementing it.

Pre-employment testing is not a perfect indicator of future performance. Still, it is often far more accurate than a hiring process that relies upon “gut instinct” or straightforward interviews and resume reviews. They are especially effective when different tests are used in conjunction with one another and integrated into the hiring process as a whole. By providing additional information and data points, they improve the likelihood that you will make a sound hiring decision in the end.

The Legality of Pre-Employment Testing

Employers always have to be careful when implementing pre-employment testing of any kind. While it is legal for companies to administer tests and perform background checks, they must ensure that the tests are non-discriminatory and properly administered. Test results may not be used to discriminate based on race, sex, religion, disability, nationality, or age. Any test administered must also relate to the job in question. One exception to these legal standards is a polygraph or “lie detector” test against the law thanks to the Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) of 1988.

How to Implement Pre-Employment Testing in Your Organization

The first step in implementing pre-employment testing in the hiring process is determining which form of assessment to use. While any single test will provide helpful information, pairing cognitive and behavioral assessments together produces a much more comprehensive candidate view. Using more than one assessment is also recommended because it allows you to administer them at different points of the hiring cycle.

You will need to identify the minimum target score you need an ideal candidate to possess for cognitive assessments. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the test reports to understand what you’re looking at when evaluating a candidate. There may be some aspects of the test, for instance, that are more important than others, so simply looking at a raw score may not tell you the entire story.

When it comes to behavioral assessments, you must select the most necessary traits for success in a particular role. This is usually determined by evaluating your existing top performers to establish a baseline of sorts. Testing multiple people will also give you an idea of how different personality traits can thrive in those positions, which will prevent you from honing in on a single personality archetype when evaluating candidates.

Pre-employment testing can be a valuable tool for an organization looking to make more intelligent hiring decisions driven by data. Given the high costs of onboarding and turnover, companies are under immense pressure to hire the ideal candidate, the first time. With the insights derived from cognitive and behavioral assessments administered throughout the hiring process, you can better identify which candidates will be the best fit for a position in skill, personality, and ability.

As a hiring manager, you’ve probably seen it all… the no-shows, the ones who walk in late as if they are on time (no explanation, no apology), the ones who can’t answer a single question thoroughly, to the ones who spend a very, very long time answering your first question.

I once started an interview with my standard icebreaker – so tell me a little about yourself – and the candidate deep dove into his professional history from his first job at the DQ to every company thereafter. It was the director’s cut of his resume and lasted a full 40 minutes, the highlights punctuated by him rapping his knuckles loudly on the table. I’d never been bored and startled at the same time before. But you know the saying, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before one turns into your next A-player or something like that.

Some candidates are super helpful and tell you all you need to know with honesty to make a decision. I recently had someone tell me he’d always answer the phone at the end of the day unless it were a Friday before a three-day weekend, because why risk it. Who says that?! Of course, it did make my job easier. Here are 9 more tips your interview is going nowhere.

But some candidates are more … creative. Take these scenarios, for example.

"I work through problems collaboratively," which you later discover means the candidate will be spending lots of time discussing weekend plans in the break room.

How about?

"I build consensus through multiple organizational levels," and that turns out to be "I plan to stop in everyone’s office at least once a day to discuss Game of Thrones and how much I miss it."

Or,

"I have high customer satisfaction across many industries," which ends up being a nice way of saying, "I have yet to find what I’m good at, so I change jobs… A LOT."

And finally, you discover that the candidate’s eloquent discussion of their thoughtful due diligence and contemplative attitude means they will sit and ponder things like;

“Why do we call them cupcakes and not babycakes?”

The Best Hiring Process is Multi-Faceted

Interviewing is one way we get to know candidates so we can decide if they are the right fit for the job and our work culture. But a couple of hour-long meetings aren’t really enough time to peel back the layers and see the true person. As we all know, it’s easy to spin negatives into positives on a resume and even in person. Still, interviews are an essential selection tool and should represent about 30% of your overall hiring decision. But what about that other 70%?

Good question. That boils down to several other selection tools.

First, you examine the candidate’s work experience and skills, along with the potential for learning and growing in the job and organization. Some of that is done in the interview, but we also suggest testing for those hard skills that you require in the job. For example, if you are hiring an accountant, you might want to test some basic accounting tasks to be sure the candidate knows the difference between a debit and a credit. You might also consider a cognitive assessment – Omnia has a great one – to determine general mental aptitude.

Do they have the cognitive wherewithal to work through problems and take logical action? All of that should make up another 25% of your overall decision.

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A Good Personality Test is Icing on the Cake

Employment personality testing is a great way to complement the interview process. First, because it really does compliment the process; it doesn’t replace it. You want the icing and the cake. I’m all about getting my hands on as much data and insight as possible when hiring. When you’re dealing with people and human behavior, it’s complex, so the more you know, the better off you’ll be.

The Omnia assessment provides data insight into your candidate's innate behaviors, which you can use to determine the fit and future potential. For example, if you are hiring a salesperson, you want to make sure your candidate has the best innate talent for the job. Omnia’s pre-employment personality test can tell you the level of assertiveness your sales candidate has. A high level of assertiveness is the key behavioral trait found in most successful salespeople. Highly assertive people have the drive and competitive spirit of pushing past obstacles and closing deals repeatedly.

If you hire someone with a high level of caution, they might “go after” only the low-hanging fruit or take orders rather than make them. There is also a higher than average chance the employee will burn out quickly. It takes a lot of energy to work against your natural “grain.” Knowing in advance if your candidates have the basic competitiveness for sales is the first step towards hiring the best candidate.

Omnia’s personality assessment measures four behaviors – assertiveness, communication/thinking style, pace, and need for structure. Before the hire, you'll know if your candidate has the natural analytical aptitude to work as your bookkeeper or the strong attention to detail you want for your order entry CSR. Looking for a bold leader who can brush off criticism and make decisions with limited information? The Omnia assessment can give you that insight. And best of all, you can use this data for employee development throughout the employee’s entire professional journey within your organization. A behavioral assessment can be used for employee engagement, motivation, and workforce optimization.

Of course, there’s a catch. There’s always a catch. The candidate must be willing to use those innate talents for good (and not ignore that last phone call the Friday before a long weekend), which speaks to work ethic and integrity. The right candidate has all the right ingredients to be successful. By using a personality assessment, a cognitive aptitude test, skills tests, and a well-thought-out interview, you’ll have all the pieces you need to make the best decisions for your team, department, and company.

Using a variety of tools to help make your next hiring decision, you increase your hiring odds and zero in more easily on the best candidate. When deciding who you want to work with you, availing yourself of as many tools and as much information as possible is the best way to hire successfully.


omnia 10 step hiring process

What would happen if you introduced an employee cognitive assessment to your workforce? It might raise a few eyebrows. However, if you do it correctly, your workers might embrace it for pre-employment testing.

What an Employee Cognitive Assessment Achieves

The candidates look great on paper. You’re trying to test their soft skills by hosting an initial group interview. It lets you narrow down the number of professionals who would be good candidates to fill the open position. With pre-employment testing, you succeed in further narrowing down the field.

You might do so by providing scenarios the ideal candidate would have to handle on the job.

Problem-solving skills. You’re hiring a customer service manager. The scenario involves the sudden influx of a large group of customers that require service. The professional is short-handed and has to assist not only multiple employees but also customers. How will the candidate handle this scenario?

Abstract thinking. The candidate receives a situation scenario that includes the concept of changing product descriptions. They have to apply the new information to the old data that employees and customers had access to all this time. How will the individual explain the changes so that the conversations result in sales or upsells?

Adaptability to changing situations. Being able to adapt is a big deal. Frequently, you don’t know what a candidate is made off until everything goes wrong. In this test scenario, the candidate learns that they are training a group of employees on a new process. However, the computer system crashes. Therefore, the candidate now has to find solutions to this problem while continuing with the training session.

Someone who applies to be a customer service manager needs different technical skills and education than someone who wants to work for you as a registered nurse. Each profession has its own set of hard skills. However, every position requires a certain level of cognitive aptitude. And, while that level varies by position, the ability to reason, solve problems and comprehend situations is valuable across the board.

These tests give you something to go on as you narrow down your candidate pool to make the best decision for your organization and department. They will help you separate excellent candidates with high problem-solving and reasoning skills from those without it.

What an Employee Cognitive Ability Test Won’t Do

The testing is a fantastic asset for companies of any size. However, it doesn’t guarantee that the highest-scoring individual is also the best choice for the job. Therefore, you can’t skimp on the other aspects of vetting candidates.

Cases in point are behavioral assessment tests, factoring in job experience, and going through a structured interview process. Only when you combine the results of these disciplines will you be able to have an accurate picture of the individual you’re thinking of adding to your workforce.

Also Popular: Our Top 8 - Assessment Dos and Don'ts

What’s in it for Your Business?

So, why should you spend the money on an employee cognitive ability test? Can’t you just trust your hiring team’s best judgment? The answer is no. Because you need to avoid the revolving door of employee turnover, it’s essential to go through your candidate’s list with a fine-toothed comb. And your hiring managers will appreciate having objective tools to help them make the best final decision.

The cost you expend on attracting and interviewing qualified candidates is already high. Therefore, spend a little extra money on vetting the highest-qualified individuals to ensure that they’re not just a good fit but an excellent one. If you make the right choice here, you might find the candidate with a superb shot at taking advantage of the upward mobility your company offers.

Make a mistake, and you may have someone who’ll be stuck in a position they eventually come to resent. Most importantly, the new hire may leave quickly when it becomes evident that they’re not cut out for the job or moving up. An employee cognitive assessment can help prevent this problem from occurring in the first place.


brainpower the validity of cognitive ability

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