Change is Here, and Candidates Have the Power

Cornerstone Editors

Hiring top-performing employees can be a challenge, especially since many of the brilliant brains that companies are looking for are already employed. But part of talent acquisition is having the right processes and technologies in place, which often requires making changes to the status quo.

In a recent webinar titled "Improving the Candidate Experience with Prehire Assessments: A Formula for Success," Charles Handler, executive scientist at Logi-Serve, and Kim Lamoureux, vice president of leadership and succession research at Deloitte Consulting, shared insights about the importance of the recruiting experience and how companies can put the candidate first.

Talent acquisition is the fourth most critical HR issue, according to Bersin by Deloitte research, with 24 percent of respondents saying it’s urgent and 51 saying it’s important. But just because business leaders acknowledge that talent acquisition is an urgent issue doesn’t mean they’re equipped to address it. In fact, more often than not, there’s a huge gap between urgency and readiness. Part of that lies in the readiness of the C-suite to prepare for changes in HR. Tools like LinkedIn and Facebook allow recruiters to focus more on company branding, but they are demanding new skills for talent acquisition professionals, notes Lamoureux.

Go Social and Mobile, or Go Home

As more Americans use social networks on a daily basis and turn to their mobile phones for pretty much everything, talent acquisition professionals have new opportunities to reach candidates. Almost three in four adults use a social network, according to research cited in the webinar, and that number is only growing as Millennials and younger tech-savvy generations enter the workforce.

By 2025, 75 percent of the global workforce will be made up of Millennials, according to Deloitte research. Since candidates hold the power and many recruiters are seeking passive candidates, companies must adapt to what they want. Turns out that more than half of Millennials won’t accept jobs from firms that prohibit the use of social media in the office, according to Deloitte research.

Candidates Influence the Company's Reputation

In the old days, candidates had to know a current employee at the company to learn about the culture, but now with information available online, candidates carry a powerful voice. They can impact how others view a company, whether good or bad.

"The candidate experience should be thought of as a never-ending experience," says Lamoureux.

Candidates expect a good recruiting experience from an easy-to-use interface and clear communication process to a relevant, engaging interview. If a question makes them think, "What does this have to do with the job?", the company risks losing good candidates and ruining their corporate reputation.

"With social media today, the experience goes far beyond the experience you have with one candidate," notes Lamoureux. "That candidate is going to share the experience with more than one person, and when the experience is bad, usually they share it with more people."

Predict Job Performance the Right Way

Companies often evaluate candidates using standard assessments but forget to consider that every test isn’t applicable to every job position, says Handler. Predictive accuracy, using tests to predict how a candidate will perform on the job, can be a helpful tool in recruiting, but only when appropriate predictors are chosen. For example, when recruiting for a typist, GPA provides little correlation with a candidate’s typing ability. Previous administrative experience provides some information, but the predictor with highest validity and value is a typing test completed by the candidate.

"Assessment is all about predicting future performance, which is a multi-faceted approach," says Handler. It’s about what the candidate has done in the past, what he can do and what he wants to do.

Since candidates have so much power in today’s recruiting environment, it’s not a choice but a must that talent acquisition professionals put themselves in the candidate’s shoes. Aside from considering the whole application and interview process, be proactive about enhancing the experience by asking candidates for their input and feedback, suggests Handler.

Swearing by a handful of assessment tools may yield promising results, but technology and tests shouldn’t be the sole determinants of who gets hired and rejected, notes Lamoureux. Personality and human elements must be incorporated into the decision, and no technology — as sophisticated as it may be — can take that into account. Adds Handler, "We don’t want the technology to make the decisions for us, we want the human touch."

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