• Andrew Telburn

How to Win at Recruitment Roulette


What’s the difference between an interview panel and a roulette wheel? It sounds like a setup for a joke, but it’s also a viable question. The hiring process should be far more assured than any casino game. It should be informed by a reliable knowledge of the rules and parameters of the game.

Too often, though, HR teams and line managers are at the mercy of a spinning wheel. It’s far better to develop talent assessment capabilities that resemble the administration of the casino itself, and to benefit from the game with great consistency.

How bad are the numbers?

A growing body of research collected by the Saratoga Institute suggests that in most organisations, new hires can be divided into four categories:


  1. No way — 10% of hires should never have been hired at all. The process of hiring and interviewing failed to produce or select viable applicants.

  2. Easy way out — 45% of hires can do the job, but performance is average or minimal. Lacks the ability or motivation to do more.

  3. High potential, risk attached — 25% of hires have high potential with risk attached. Most of the risk is inherent to the organisation, not the employee. In other words, the manager or the organisation can’t (or won’t) invest in developing the employee’s knowledge, experience, and skills.

  4. Future leaders — 20% of hires are future leaders, meaning they will not only excel in the role for which they are being assessed, but have the potential to move into bigger roles over time.

Stack the odds in your favour

In order to improve these numbers, hiring and line managers need better resources to assess talent.

Talent assessment has been proven to reduce the costs of recruitment, ensure a pipeline of promotable talent, and increase length of tenure. It's all down to increasing the understanding of career fitness and cultural fit.

A formal talent assessment process is anchored by a reliable candidate assessment model. It includes skills development, succession planning, and talent attraction. Over time, it produces more hires that result in categories 3 and 4, above. The process of engaging with professional recruitment partners also helps teams to fortify good business cultures, and bring out the best in people you hire.

Advanced Interview Techniques (AIT) and Critical Success Factors (CIF)

AIT is a structured process increases consistency and allows for better candidate comparison. It looks for patterns from past performance (rather than isolated examples) to create strong predictors of future behaviour. It places emphasis on the development of rapport—an open atmosphere that allows candidates to “tell their story.”

It’s worth noting that AIT is difficult for candidates to study for, and can be used with any experience level for selection, development or assessment of potential. Results are filtered through a number of “Critical Success Factors” (CSF’s). These reflect the values and culture of the organisation, and are typically found in the organisation’s highest achievers.

Going deeper into talent assessment

Structured talent assessment allows hiring and line mangers to see leadership capacity and potential in bold detail. It highlights the overall strengths and weaknesses of an individual, and matches them with a cultural fit. It helps leaders understand what motivates people, what they want, and what their long-term career plans might be.

The aim of talent assessment is to develop a strong understanding of an individual’s true career direction and desires. It provides an overall read on mental skills, the ability to deal with complexity, and the capacity to learn. These data allow a skilled assessor to find patterns, and to predict how well the individual would perform in this and future roles. Very importantly, it helps to define individual retention strategies based on motivational patterns and past history. It gives important clues as to what strategies can fully realise in-house talent.

Recruit new talent with insight and consistency

The value of high-quality teams will only become more important in the economic landscape of 2020 and beyond.

Many HR professionals and Line Managers will continue look at the problem from their own area of expertise (i.e. the knowledge, experience, and skills required for any particular role). True assessment adds an extra dimension. It improves the number of right people hired for the right jobs. Increases the number internal promotions. Decreases the overall cost of hiring. Attracts more talented people to the organisation. Improves retention rates, and develops a longer pipeline of talent. In other words, structured talent assessment practices make the recruitment process far less like stepping up to the roulette wheel and throwing a couple of chips on the table, and far more like the casino administration, in which the odds reliably favour your success. There is, of course, one important difference: When the right person gets the job, everybody wins.



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