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How Rigorous Candidate Selection Correlates to Employee Satisfaction

By Ron Selewach, Founder and CEO of Human Resource Management Center, Inc. (HRMC)

Refined selection tools give organizations more than the ability to hire the best of the best—it allows them to build a culture of achievement and success. 
When Glassdoor.com announced its fourth annual Employee’s Choice Awards for Best Places to Work, it was striking how many of the companies listed are known for the rigor in their employee selection process (i.e., Google, Apple, Salesforce.com). Is there a correlation between the rigor of the interviewassessment process and employee satisfaction? 
A rigorous candidate selection process will, in most cases, ensure the hiring of a skilled employee; to what degree the skills tested are relevant to success in the position, or whether or not the rigor accounts for such things as cultural fit, however, we can’t in all instances know. Yet all candidates who pass the interview likely share an immediate, perhaps lasting bond based on a sense of shared achievement—tantamount to making the top team or getting into a prestigious college—and a respect that comes from knowing their co-workers have, by dint of talent and smarts, cleared the same high bar. Working alongside colleagues you respect, perhaps even admire, goes a long way in promoting the espirit de corps that makes a company a great place to work.
The question then becomes the following: What do we mean by rigor, and how do we apply it in finding candidates not only of high general aptitude, but also of good fit for the position and the company culture? No matter what your interview process ultimately becomes, rigor requires valid questions, consistency, and objectivity. Additionally, that rigor might require significant administrative oversight and babysitting, depending on the system and technology that human resources implements.
Three Principles to Achieve Rigor
Technology now exists that not only automates a range of candidate screening and assessment processes, but also tailors the solution to make decisions informed by your experiences, your particular needs, and your organizational culture. Organizations can now avail themselves of a new standard in candidate screening and assessment—one that offers a rigorous and holistic approach ensuring that the hiring process is valid, consistent, and objective. Most important, automation does not replace or diminish the primacy of human decisionmaking; it simply gives HR or the hiring manager the time, luxury and freedom to intervene in the process—i.e., the final face-to-face interview—when their expertise is most needed.
Three principles constitute the basis of a rigorous screening and assessment process:
  1. Validity: Selection assessments have been shown to be valid predictors of job performance, job satisfaction, commitment, turnover, career satisfaction, and career success across a wide variety of positions, organizations, industries, and countries. Embedded assessment tools address attitudes, competencies, and skills, revealing both whether a candidate can do the job and how well that person will perform within a particular environment or organizational culture. These assessments round out the 360-degree view of each candidate and complete each individual profile. Coupled with prior screening data, and the resume, these assessments then allow Human Resources or the hiring manager to easily identify the top candidates for the position and schedule final face-to-face interviews with select individuals.
  2. Consistency: A key component of this model is having a reliable process that provides repeatable results. Consider that every organization has star performers who hiring managers wish they could clone. Of course, they can't; by using a web-enabled job analysis tool, however, employers can quickly identify the requisite technical skills and salient behavioral characteristics that are shared by top performers in an organization. Once that web-enabled tool is integrated into the overall assessmentinterview process, hiring managers can consistently and repeatedly identify and hire those candidates who are more apt to succeed.
  3. Objectivity: In this new model, objectivity is achieved by deriving information from a direct, real-time interaction with the candidate—in contrast to conventional processes that begin by gleaning information from a resume, which by definition is subjective and carefully self-managed to present the candidate in the best light. Assessments (i.e., questioning processes) guide a “screening in” process that gleans applicant personality, ratings of applicant skill proficiency, and other relevant applicant data via a direct, interactive process that is natural and inviting.
The result for the employer is a complete and objective applicant profile—one that assimilates an applicant's experience, skill set, and behavioral characteristics, and provides a solid indicator of potential performance and success within the organization matched against objectively determined indicators of top performance.
View From the Other Side
A rigorous process must also be inviting and, in certain respects, “accommodating” if you’re to successfully—and comprehensively—engage candidates. 
Does your system promote a positive and/or meaningful user interaction? Is it disjointed and time-consuming? Does the candidate come away with a clear understanding of the corporate culture, work environment, or even the nature of the job beyond a description and list of requirements? Failing to account for the candidate experience within a rigorous process can have a negative effect and have the practical effect of placing barriers to applying. 
Flexible access options are also key components of a positive candidate experience; allowing candidates to enter the system via web, phone, kiosk, smart phone, or any combination thereof provides convenience, thus meeting the needs and lifestyle of today’s jobseeker. 
The Connection to Satisfaction
You’ve just been put through the paces of a rigorous challenge and are elated to have made the cut. You look around at your teammates—or colleagues—who've come through the same “baptism by fire.” There’s an immediate and lasting kinship and admiration as you are all part of an elite corps. ...
As the Glassdoor.com survey results indicate, there’s a clear connection between a rigorous selection process and employee satisfaction. The trick is in balancing rigor with a positive candidate experience. Also, consider that the recruiting system or process is the first point of contact a prospective employee has with an organization. Top candidates—including coveted “passive” candidates—evaluate prospective employers as much as employers evaluate them. It follows that top talent is more likely to be attracted to those companies that incorporate forward-thinking and innovative technology in their hiring process—technology that balances a positive candidate experience with rigorous assessment.
Hiring organizations with the most refined selection tools give organizations more than the ability to hire the best of the best—it allows them to build a culture of achievement and success. 
Ron Selewach is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the founder and CEO of Human Resource Management Center, Inc. (HRMC), a pioneer solutions provider of cutting-edge talent acquisition technology. For more information, visit www.hrmc.com, or contact Ron at rselewach@hrmc.com.
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