HR Management & Compliance, Recruiting

Finding the Best ‘Sorting Hat’ for Your Screening Process

In the movie, Harry Potter, an enchanted hat is used to sort the children into specific Hogwarts’ houses, this gadget is called the “Sorting Hat.” Wouldn’t it be nice to have your very own sorting hat to sift through all the different candidates you’re interviewing, to find the best fit for your company?


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Good news! While you can’t actually own a sorting hat, you can use something similar: screening assessments and predictive analytics. These magical tools offer valuable data that will help you determine what a candidate is like, what team he or she would be good for, and more.
In the RecruitCon 2019 session, Recruiter or Fortune Teller: Enhance Your Recruiting Practice with Predictive Behavior Analytics, RENGA CEO and Founder Crystyl Swanson covered all the various types of assessments and how you should be using them to find that purple squirrel. Here is a brief overview of this highly informative session.

What Are Predictive Analytics?

Predictive analytics is a form of advanced analytics that uses data to forecast activity, behavior, and trends. It involves applying statistical analysis techniques, analytical queries, and automated machine learning algorithms to data sets to create predictive models that place a numerical value—or score—on the likelihood of a particular event happening.
In the recruiting world, using predictive analytics will give you a sense of the candidate’s potential strengths and weaknesses, his or her opportunities for development, and his or her behavioral style—i.e. introverted vs. extroverted—among other things.
While the analytics you get from assessments are great for certain things, they ultimately don’t tell you what the candidate is passionate about, what the candidate’s favorite color is, and other deep insights. In a nutshell, you should be using assessments to test a candidate’s soft skills—such as behavioral, cultural, cognitive, situational judgment, and personality—as well as his or her hard skills, which are skills that can be learned, such as writing, typing, coding, etc.

When Should You Be Using Assessments?

Assessments are a great tool that can be utilized throughout an employees’ tenure with your company. Assessments should be used in the pre-hire stage, the post-hire stage, and for ongoing development.
Pre-hire assessments. In the pre-hire stage, Swanson suggests doing an assessment of your top performer first, then use that data to search for candidates that share similar traits. Just be mindful of how many people share the same traits, otherwise, you could end up with a workforce that is not diverse.
Swanson advises that if candidates are overqualified based off of the tests, don’t discount them; it’s silly. She says these candidates could bring a ton to the table; think diversity and inclusion. Swanson adds that a lot of the time overqualified candidates are passed over because of insecure managers that are worried about a new hire outshining them.
Post-hire assessments. After a candidate has officially been hired, you can use a post-hire assessment to determine which team the candidate would be a good fit for.
Assessments for ongoing development. Similar to post-hire assessments, you can use assessments throughout the employee’s tenure to help determine his or her needs for ongoing development and training opportunities. Using these assessments can also help you determine if the employee is a good fit for leadership positions later on in his or her career.

Which Assessments Should You Use?

When it comes to the types of assessments you should use, well, this is a loaded question. Swanson says there are 2,500 assessments available across the United States, so it really depends on what you’re looking to find out from these assessments.
For example, Myers Briggs Type Indicator is used to test candidates’ decision-making abilities, how the candidate’s behavior will show up in the workplace, whether he or she is an intro or extrovert, and more. The test is great at determining behavior, but it’s not good at showing what the candidate’s skill set is.
To determine a candidate’s specific skill set you should turn to the Caliper Profile assessment or the Wonderlic test. These two assessments are able to determine a candidate’s ability to perform a certain task. You can also use these assessments to see what hard skills a candidate has and where he or she needs to improve upon.
While Swanson only covered a handful of assessments in her session, she did offer this advice to attendees: administer one of these assessments after the second interview. This will help give you a broader picture of the candidate, however, keep the tests short because people have a short attention span and you don’t want to provide candidates with a terrible experience because the test took 4 hours.
Swanson adds that you should administer these tests to your entire workforce at least once in a 3-year span because employees grow and develop over time. By keeping up to date on your employees’ skills, you can better determine where they need to improve and more. To learn more about the various types of assessments, click here.

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