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How to Source and Select the Best Hires

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  • 1. WHITEPAPERHow to Source andSelect the Best HiresSteven Hunt & Susan Van Klink
  • 2. SUCCESSFACTORS / WHITEPAPER How to Source and Select the Best HiresHow to Source and Select theBest HiresYou cannot hire the best candidates for the job if they never apply in the first place. Sourcing candidates isone of the key differentiators of a highly successful recruiting process. Companies that excel at finding andattracting the best candidate not only improve the productivity of their own workforce, they also deprivetheir competition from finding and securing top quality talent.This paper poses two questions that can form the basis for designing a process. No single individual or HRdepartment can answer these questions in isolation. They are intended to provide a starting point for a dialogthat should include senior management representing operations and finance, as well as HR.1. How will we source candidates?There are a wide variety of approaches for sourcing candidates. Table 1 lists several of these approaches andtheir relative strengths and weaknesses. A more detailed discussion of each method follows the table. Table 1. Approaches to Sourcing Sourcing Tends to be most Strengths Weaknesses Method effective when: • Impacts large numbers of • Takes a long time • Hiring large numbers of candidates candidates over many years • Marketing costs can be • Attracts candidates the company significant • Seeking to create awareness might not otherwise reach among certain candidate pools • Impact is hard to track; Employer Branding • Can integrate with and support does not tie to individual other company branding efforts hires • May attract large numbers of poorly qualified candidates • Critical for creating talent pipelines • Expensive to maintain • A tendency or preference for and shortening time to hire relationships over time hiring candidates from the same sources exists • Builds strong relationships with • May be difficult to key groups of candidates (internal pre-qualify candidates for • There is a strategic focus on Building Talent Pools or external) inclusion in talent pools hiring candidates with certain common characteristics (e.g. • Can be a challenge to demographics, educational maintain the quality of credentials) talent pools • Quick and easy way to reach large • Often some of the best • Hiring for jobs with very clearly number of candidates candidates are already defined qualifications and hiring employed and do not criteria • Jobs can be posted on sites look at job postings • Hiring for jobs in a certain visited by very specific types of specialized area where there are Job Posting candidates • Can be expensive career-specific, technical job depending on the site sites • May attract large numbers of poorly qualified candidates. Continued on next page... 2
  • 3. SUCCESSFACTORS / WHITEPAPER How to Source and Select the Best HiresContinued from previous page... Sourcing Tends to be most Strengths Weaknesses Method effective when: • Leverages seasoned professionals • Expensive • Hiring for specialized technical who may have extensive networks and leadership positions where Professional • Outside recruiters may be of candidates and strong candidates tend to be scarce Recruiting more focused on filling recruiting skills and/or already employed positions that hiring high elsewhere quality employees • Taps into professional networks • Only works if existing • Hiring for technical or maintained by current employees employees have contact industry-specific positions • Attractive because best hires often with the kinds of where the best candidates are Social Networking come from employee referrals candidates desired probably one or two degrees of separation from existing • Relatively inexpensive • Can be time consuming employees • Creates a talent flow within the • Best candidates may not • Hiring for positions where there organization necessarily be current are clear career paths within the • Usually less expensive and more employees company successful than external hires • Creates vacancies within • Hiring for positions where Career Pathing • Increases retention within the the organization due to familiarity with the company is company moving talent critical to job success • Requires investing time and resources into developing internal talentEmployer branding uses marketing techniques to build a company’s reputation as a good place to workamong a large segment of potential candidates. For example, companies interested in hiring engineers mightsponsor events at university engineering schools or place ads in engineering trade journals that reinforce thebenefits of working for the organization. There are many techniques for building an employer brand, but themost successful employer branding campaigns tend to have two things in common:1. The company has clearly defined the “brand” message it wants to convey based on the kinds of candidates it wants to attract. A good employer brand will uniquely differentiate why someone would want to work for one company vs. another that hires for the same types of jobs at the same basic salary.2. Careful thought has gone into which candidates to target with the branding message. The goal is not to encourage all job candidates to apply. It is to encourage qualified candidates with certain characteristics to apply, while possibly even actively discouraging candidates whose attributes might not be a good fit.Building talent pools involves maintaining relationships with groups of potential candidates for future jobs.Talent pools may consist of students, job seekers, and/or current employees who possess certain skills orexperience desired by the company. These pools serve as a first source of candidates when there is anopening. One of the major factors to consider when building talent pools is how much focus to place oninternal versus external candidates. Many companies overlook their existing employee population whensourcing talent, although internal employees are often the best source of candidates.Job postings are advertisements that communicate job opportunities via online job boards, websites, ornewspapers. There is usually a fee for posting jobs on specific sites.Professional recruiting refers to using full-time, professional recruiters to actively seek out potentialcandidates. Professional recruiting may be supported by in-house recruiters or external, contingency-basedrecruiting organizations. 3
  • 4. SUCCESSFACTORS / WHITEPAPER How to Source and Select the Best HiresSocial networking means finding candidates by leveraging people’s personal relationships. Networkingincreasingly uses technology such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook to communicate job opportunities to potentialcandidates, and it is rapidly becoming a dominant method for sourcing candidates. There are severaladvantages to this approach. First, most people in professional or specialized roles get hired into jobs based onpersonal referrals. Second, networking tends to result in the hiring of individuals who are already known andtrusted by people in the company. This helps create a stronger social bond within the company and tends todecrease turnover, since people like to work with colleagues whom they also consider to be friends.Career pathing refers to helping existing employees develop skills so they can assume jobs within thecompany that provide increasing levels of responsibility. This includes succession management, the process ofidentifying and developing high potential employees within the company to assume leadership positions.The sourcing strategies that make the most sense for any given situation varies depending on the type of jobsbeing filled, the size and location of the hiring organization, and the depth of the recruiting resources available.No single sourcing strategy is the “best.” The most effective recruiting processes leverage a mixture of sourcingmethods to maximize the probability that the right candidate will apply for the right job at the right time. Thatbeing said, it is important to consider the preferred communication medium of the candidates being targeted,which may differ significantly based on candidates’ ages. (See sidebar, “Generational Differences andRecruiting.”) It’s also important to consider how much emphasis will be placed on filling positions with internalvs. external candidates. Generational Differences and Recruiting: Saying the Same Things Differently Considerable energy has been spent discussing differences between generations and how this affects recruiting. This is not new. As long as there have been adults and children, one group has been emphasizing how “different” they are from the other. There are significant research challenges to figuring out whether generations truly are different when it comes to jobs. Apparent generational differences may simply be due to differences in the lifestyles people have at different ages. What people want from work when they are 20 and single tends to be different from what they want when they are 40 and married with two kids. Apparent generational differences could also be due to changing economic conditions. Employees currently in their 20’s may act differently from how older workers acted when they were in their 20s simply because when older workers were in their 20’s the labor market and the economy were much different. Some of the more rigorous research on generational differences and employee behaviors suggests that what people fundamentally want from a job has not changed much over the years. Regardless of generation, most workers are looking for jobs that provide some sense of challenge and career growth, fair compensation, a reasonable level of work-life balance, and some degree of stability. What does appear to change considerably across generations is how people communicate. In particular, there are big differences in candidates’ preferences and expectations for using the telephone, e-mail, social media, or some other method to interact with employers. Even if a company’s recruiting message remains constant across candidates from different generations, the way it is communicated may significantly influence how candidates from different generations interpret that message. 4
  • 5. SUCCESSFACTORS / WHITEPAPER How to Source and Select the Best Hires2. How will we select candidates?The staffing assessment methods used to determine who should receive a job offer are central to increasingquality of hire. Table 2 lists a variety of tools that can be used for candidate selection. Which methods shouldbe used will vary depending on the nature of the job and the depth of the hiring company’s resources. In mostcases, investments spent to improve the accuracy of selection decisions will generate significant ROI as aresult of increased post-hire productivity and retention. Even small increases in hiring accuracy can pay off inmajor rewards over time. Table 2. Types of Staffing Assessment Tools Physical Exams Use medical screening procedures to detect whether candidates have used illegal or controlled Drug screens substances (e.g. urinalysis, analysis of hair samples) Require candidates to perform physical tasks such as lifting weights, completing cardiovascular Physical Ability tests exercises, or demonstrating flexibility Background Investigations Search public records and private databases to determine if applicants have any prior criminal Criminal Record Checks convictions Social Security Verification Search online databases to ensure that a candidate’s social security number is valid Collect information from former employers or academic institutions to verify previous employment Reference Checks status (and possibly job performance) as well as educational credentials Credit Reports Contact credit reporting agencies to obtain information about a candidate’s financial history Resume Screens Search the web for qualified candidates based on keywords found in resumes posted on internal Electronic Recruiting Agents or external career boards Evaluate candidates based on the content of resumes they submit directly to the company or Resume Capture & Reviews resumes posted to web-based job boards Interviews Unstructured Interviews Evaluate candidates by having a discussion with them about topics that seem relevant to the job Structured Interviews: Evaluate candidates by asking pre-defined questions about interests, career goals, and plans Motivational Questions Structured Interviews: Evaluate candidates by asking how they would respond to hypothetical situations similar to those Situational Questions they may encounter on the job Structured Interviews: Evaluate candidates by asking them to describe experiences and accomplishment that relate to Behavioral Questions things they will have to do on the job Self-Report Measures Pre-Screening Ask very direct questions to candidates to determine if they possess specific skills, experiences, or Questionnaires/Weighted credentials needed to perform a job (e.g. “Are you willing to work weekends?” or “Have you ever Application Blanks used MS Excel”) Ask candidates a series of self-descriptive questions about their likes, preferences, behaviors, and Personality Questionnaires past experiences that reflect personality traits associated with job performance Ask candidates about beliefs, preferences, and experiences that reflect a propensity for Integrity & Reliability Tests counterproductive behavior Ask questions about previous life experiences and accomplishments that show statistical Biodata Inventories relationships to job performance Culture & Work Environment Ask questions about job preferences, values, beliefs, and desired work environment to predict Fit Inventories organizational commitment and job satisfaction with a specific job or company Continued on next page... 5
  • 6. SUCCESSFACTORS / WHITEPAPER How to Source and Select the Best HiresContinued from previous page... Knowledge, Skill & Ability Tests & Simulations Ability Tests and Measures of Predict ability to solve problems and interpret information by asking applicants to solve questions Problem Solving Aptitude that require processing information to arrive at logically based conclusions Knowledge & Skills Tests and Assess familiarity and mastery with regard to specific types of information or tasks (e.g. knowledge Measures of Past Learning of accounting rules, ability to use certain software programs, typing skills) Achievement Job Simulations, Assessment Use audio, video, computer simulations, and/or human actors to recreate actual job situations and Centers, and Work Samples then assess how candidates react to these scenariosOne selection method used in virtually every recruiting process is the interview. Given the prevalence ofinterviewing, companies can reap significant benefits by finding ways to maximize the efficiency andeffectiveness of the interview process. There are many ways to do this, ranging from designing pre-setinterview questions to providing manager training on how to conduct an effective interview. The following aretwo of the simplest and most impactful ways to improve the interview process: Support collaboration and coordination among multiple interviewers. Most candidates are inter- viewed by several people within the organization. It is important to coordinate interviews so candidates are not asked the same questions multiple times by multiple people. There should also be an efficient way to collect and collate interview results to ensure a fully informed final hiring decision. Structured interview guides. Considerable research demonstrates the benefits of using structured interview guides to systematically assess candidates. With this in mind, it is useful to create structured interview tools that ensure interviewers are asking the right questions about the right topics (and avoid questions that might put the company at legal risk).The last area to be addressed when designing selection methods is determining what data will be used toevaluate the accuracy of selection tools over time. Many companies assume the hiring process ends shortlyafter an employee accepts a job. A better practice is to extend the hiring process so it includes new employeetracking for a year or more after the hire. If an employee is fired or quits within the first year, it is usually not amatter of bad management. It is probably the result of hiring someone who never should have been given thejob in the first place. With this in mind, it is valuable to think through the following questions to ensure you havea method in place to steadily improve the accuracy of your hiring decisions.• What data will be collected on employees post-hire to ensure they are performing at or above an expected level?• How will retention of newly hired employees be tracked and used to improve hiring performance?• Will this tracking include noting whether these employees are ultimately promoted to position with greater levels of responsibility?ConclusionThere is no one right way to source and select candidates. Rather, there are a variety of techniques andprocesses available, and every company must choose those that contribute most to the execution of theirbusiness objectives. 6
  • 7. WHITEPAPERSuccessFactorsGlobal Headquarters 1500 Fashion Island Blvd. Suite 300 San Mateo, CA 94404, USATOLL FREE    800 809 9920PHONE    650 645 2000FAX    650 645 2099EMEA    +45 33 349 349APAC    +612 9238 6680 San Mateo, California London, United Kingdom Sao Paulo, Brazil Boston, Massachusetts Beijing, China Mexico City, Mexico San Francisco, California Hong Kong, China Dublin, Ireland Copenhagen, Denmark Tokyo, Japan Shanghai, China Paris, France Manila, Phillipines Bangalore, India Munich, Germany Singapore Brisbane, Australiasuccessfactors.com Zürich, Switzerland Seoul, South Korea Sydney, Australia