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Acquiring Top Talent - Best Practices

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

Acquiring Top Talent – Best Practices by Ann Getz, Ph.D.

Bad hiring decisions are the most expensive mistake hiring managers can make. There is nothing more disappointing than realizing the person you thought would be your next superstar isn't even a one-hit wonder. Deadlines come and go, clients begin asking questions about quality or timeliness and your already stretched-thin top performers are forced to step in and pick up the slack, coming one step closer to burnout and disengagement.

Stats Tell the Story. According to a 2018 survey, 46 percent of all new hires are deemed a failed hire by the 18-month mark. The cost of a bad hire can reach up to 30% of the employee’s first year earnings (US Department of Labor). Research indicates that improving the quality of assessment methods used in acquiring talent is three times more effective than increasing the candidate pool. A good talent assessment process yields more than a good candidate – it can actually improve the company’s bottom line and market value in a significant way. Assessing people for complex positions is inherently difficult – there are unique and changing characteristic of many jobs, the challenge of assessing intangible competencies and traits, and the time constraints of many candidates. Therefore, educating your key stakeholders, hiring managers, HR Business Partners and Talent Acquisition Professionals is foundational step. There are best practices to upgrade your talent acquisition process.

Upgrade your talent acquisition and get the right talent on board

1. Identify Key Competencies for Success According to Lyle M. Spencer and Signe Spencer authors of Competence at Work Models for Superior Performance, competencies are defined as the combination of knowledge, abilities, personal attributes and skills (KAPS) that contribute to individual and organizational performance. Competencies are demonstrated through observable and measurable behaviors, and outcomes. These competencies can be used as the blueprint for a specific role and helps to communicate the desire behaviors. Other considerations when selecting a candidate may include: • What specific capabilities will this job require over the next few years? • Will the focus be on growth or a turnaround? • Does it require someone who is fundamentally an innovator, a manager, or a leader? If this is a stretch opportunity, can the candidate grow into the job? • What are the next jobs he or she is likely to move into, and what capabilities may be required for those positions? • Does the candidate have the capabilities to lead his or her prospective team, and how do they overlap with other members’ skills? Have they led a team that is not co-located? • Will the individual need to hire additional people to build out the team? If so, can he or she bring in other talented executives? • How well will the candidate fit into the organizational culture? • If the person comes from a more resource-rich environment, can equivalent support be provided, or at least can the candidate be helped to adapt to less?

2. Educate Key Stakeholders on Talent Assessment Processes and Practices Research indicates that training on the talent acquisition process and practices are essential for anyone who interviews candidates. In many top performing companies, training for hiring managers and HR professionals is a mandatory, not only from a skill acquisition perspective but also to ensure consistency and a legally defensible interview process. Many companies conduct initial training through an outside vendor and provide the refresher courses online or internally. In addition, it is important that talent acquisition professionals, HR partners and hiring managers understand their role in the process and work collaboratively to hire the best possible talent.

3. Robust Assessments and Tools Many top companies recognize the value in employing a robust talent acquisition assessment process to hire top talent. Talent acquisition assessment best practices uses a combination of competency-based interviews, rigorous psychometric assessments, and deep expertise to help managers make the best hiring decisions. Two key components: Competency based interviews and psychometric assessments Competency-based Interviews. Competency based interviewing can give valuable insights into an individual's preferred style of working and helps to predict behaviors in future situations. Competency based interviews require candidates to respond with specific examples of past experiences rather than generalized or hypothetical responses. At the root of this structured interview approach past performance is the most accurate predictor of future performance. Typical behavior-based questions begin with, “Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example of…” and require candidates to provide a complete, four-part response in a format known as STAR: situation, task, action and result. While behavior-based interviewing is not a panacea for complex recruitment and retention challenges, it is a time-tested methodology for improving hiring results. It has been studied, evaluated and practiced for more than 30 years and is a foundational component of talent acquisition strategy at some of the world’s best-known companies.

Psychometric assessments. Psychometric testing can measure a number of attributes including intelligence, critical reasoning, motivation and personality profile. A psychometric test aims to provide measurable, objective data that can provide a better all-round view of a candidate’s fit with the culture. It is a fair and accurate way of assessing a candidate, as all applicants will be given a standardized test. Psychometric assessments in combination with competency-based interviews, significantly increase the possibility of hiring a star. Best performing companies approach talent acquisition from a rigorous, strategic, and objective point of view. These organizations develop and leverage best practices, educate their line managers so they can hire effectively and measure the benefits of employing these rigorous processes to raise the bar and cultivate a culture of high-performance. Find out more about TruDelta Consulting. TruDelta Consulting is a boutique, woman-owned executive coaching and human capital consulting firm working with clients in the private and non-profit sectors. We offer employee assessment and talent development consulting that uses rigorous psychometric science, leading-edge technology, and deep expertise to help organizations align talent with executing on their strategy, hire better talent and develop solid leaders, collaborative teams and foster a culture of high-performance. Assessments offered: Talent Acquisition -Talent Q, Watson Glaser Cognitive Ability Test, Workplace Inventory, Verbal Reasoning Assessment, Numerical Reasoning Assessment, 16PF, and many others. Executive Coaching and Leadership Development - Emotional and Social Competence Inventory, Inventory of Leadership Styles, DiSC, Productive Conflict, DiSC 363, Work of Leaders and many others.

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