• Pre-hire assessments: pros and cons

    June 19, 2017 by

     

    Pre-hire assessments are becoming increasingly more common in the recruiting world — but that might not necessarily be a great idea for the HR space.

    The rise of pre-hire assessments

    Traditional hiring processes involved an HR-led screen of candidates, followed by phone screens, then in-person interviews, perhaps full-team meetings, and ultimately candidate selection.

    As recruiting increasingly became digital, though, there was a bit of a supply-demand problem here. For example, in 2012 7 million people applied for 260,000 British call center jobs. Companies in multiple industries began seeing a need for lower-cost, less-time-consuming hiring processes that yielded quality results. (Additionally, some statistics indicate 50% or more of candidates — it varies by country — embellish their resumes and reflect skills they don’t have.)

    Several hiring trends came from the low-cost/less-time-spent focus, and one of them was clearly pre-hire assessments.

    What are pre-hire assessments?

    Typically based on hiring/retention case studies and analyses of employee data, pre-hire assessments are tests (often short, web-based, and psychometric) designed to predict employee effectiveness (and ideally longevity) in a role.

    In recent years, large companies like Macy’s, PetSmart, Bloomingdale’s, Walmart, Burger King, Neiman Marcus, and Luxottica Retail Group, have begun using pre-hire assessments on top-of-funnel (early stage) job candidates.

    What are some examples of these tests?

    If you want to become a customer service rep at T-Mobile, for example, one test involves dealing with fictional customer James Easton. He’s cranky, he’s been on hold one hour, and he is livid about his bill going up. The job candidate must walk through a conversation with “James” — and ultimately decide whether he qualifies for a rebate.

    Marriott shows housekeeping applicants a photo of different landscaped areas, and they need to identify what’s wrong.

    The Dependability and Safety Instrument test is 18 questions long, conducted online, and used by a variety of (primarily British) companies to assess candidates for more blue-collar work; it’s designed to see if their rates of absenteeism or accidents might be high.

    Do these tests work?

    There is a mixed bag of research here.

    Consider the T-Mobile example above. Last year, they had 1 million applicants for 14,000 eventual hires. While they are careful to say that a variety of factors go into hiring, Jared Flynn (their head of HR) admits that most managers “go to the top of the barrel,” i.e. look for the best scores on the pre-hire assessments. Continue Reading

  • Programmatic advertising in recruitment: start paying attention

    March 15, 2017 by

     

    Programmatic advertising is alive and well in the present. However, many recruiters still think of it as a future strategy. Programmatic advertising will account for 50% of all digital ad sales by 2018, if not even sooner. That is only a year from now, so if you’re still not putting dollars into this method of recruitment, you should start paying attention. Despite this rapid scalability of programmatic advertising, it’s been slow to adapt to the recruiting and entry-level hiring space. Here we will explore how this new technology will look in the recruitment space.

    A primer on programmatic advertising

    The overall concept of programmatic advertising can be very nuanced. Essentially, it’s based on artificial intelligence (AI) and real-time bidding (RTB). It automates the decision-making process for where to place advertisements online. As digital and mobile technologies scaled, programmatic was a way to help maximize the ROI of advertising budgets. Consider this: there are more than 41,000 zip codes in the United States alone. To manually optimize and target campaign efforts is beyond the scope of most human beings. Here there was a natural space for programmatic advertising, which can automatically understand where to place advertisements based on a web user’s data patterns. As Digiday has summarized, albeit a bit flippant, “It’s using machines to buy ads.”

    Programmatic advertising kills “post and pray” in recruitment

    The standard recruiting approach for years has been “post and pray.” A company will create (or recycle) a job description and then mass-post to a variety of boards. Then, they just hope some ideal candidates roll in. The ROI on this process is suspect, and it’s even more suspect if you’re a company with high-volume hiring needs. While you need a lot of candidates, you also need to stay within budget — so there has to be a degree of strategy and targeting to the process. Unfortunately, there often is not.

    Programmatic advertising attempts to solve some of these issues. It proves a clearer ROI and makes sure that recruitment advertising budgets are slotted towards the most important vacancies. And, above all: the processes that used to give recruiters the most headaches are now almost entirely automated.

    A breakdown: What does this look like for recruiters?

    If you are a recruiter just trying out programmatic advertising, here’s how it breaks down at the ground level: Continue Reading