a meditation on productivity


Is it OK to Use a Personality Test for Empoyment?

It might feel a little weird to have computers decide if someone is good for a job or not, but that’s not what a personality test does. The purpose is to correctly identify whether or not a potential hire will fit into the company based on proven research. It doesn’t just measure someone’s ability to take constructive criticism or their happiness levels, it tells you how best the person would function under different types of scenarios.

No matter what kind of business you have, you likely know what it means to hire the wrong person for a role. It’s waste you can more easily avoid if you invest in the right software. Applicant Tracking Software helps wade through and monitor the applications for an often unfocused work force. Many people apply for jobs they’re not qualified to do, and if you want to review every resume you could conceivably spend hours on candidates who didn’t even read through your post.

You want to try to remain as flexible as possible when you consider these tests. You may find a diamond in the rough which is almost perfect, but may have a difficult time working within a structured setting. Of course, you don’t want to compromise on any of your requirements, but sometimes that’s impossible.

To optimize your profits, you want the best team members working for you. In some situations, it can make more sense to work with a smart and creative person rather than hire someone who can show up to work on time but can’t do the tasks that needs to be done. Again, mixing and matching is not ideal, but evaluating the skills of someone does take a little work. Using ATS means you have a select group of candidates to review so your comparisons are minimal.

Technology will continue to evolve to achieve better results for both employers and employees. Many who apply at your company may resent the idea of taking a test to determine what their skills are.

They already feel that they know themselves and how well they will perform, otherwise they wouldn’t have taken the time to apply. Or it’s possible it’s a desperate job seeker who will take anything. Either scenario could land you with someone who doesn’t pan out. You don’t need to upgrade all of your ATS software for each new release, but you should be aware of the major shifts in testing to stay efficient with your time and energy.


Don’t Let Machines Run Your Recruiting Process

Some companies that have excessively automated their recruiting and hiring processes are discovering something serious is going wrong. The over-reliance on automation has taken the humanity out of the process. The results are human resource departments are having a more difficult time filling open positions with qualified candidates.

There is always an overabundance of unqualified candidates for any particular job position. Settling for an unqualified candidate is a mistake, when there are qualified candidates out there, if only the company knew how to attract them and find them.

Once the job position goes up in responsibility, the candidates become more sophisticated. Some of the best candidates may already be employed elsewhere and looking to make a career move, rather than being desperate to find a job.

These highly qualified candidates are likely to find cold, automated, recruiting systems of no interest. What they want to know is what it is like for a person to work for the organization. In this regard, a human resources recruiter is like a goodwill ambassador as well as a diplomat. They are the “face” of the company to the outside world, and the in-between facilitator for the company’s management in the application and hiring processes.

Even when using automated technology, it does not have to have an impersonal feel. The best human resources recruiters are “people persons.” They enjoy contact with people, learning more about them, and gain much satisfaction from a successful placement of a person in a good position where they perform well.

Personalize the Communications

One way to improve automated systems is to personalize the communications. An article that appeared in Forbes about humanizing the recruiting processes recommends that the personnel in human resources departments identify themselves to all qualified candidates who have taken the time to communicate with the company and submit an application for a position.

Humanization may take the form of being as simple as changing the language of email communications from the cold, sterile, “Thank you for your application. If your qualifications match the position requirements, you will be contacted sometime in the future,” to “Hi. My name is Brenda. I am delighted to see you applied for a position. It is my job to match up highly qualified candidates, like you, with the open positions in our company… ”

The nicer more humane email communication sets the tone for encouraging the best candidates to become more involved in the discovery process of matching them to an open position that they qualify for in the organization. Pre-screening of applications can eliminate disqualified candidates who then receive a polite, yet friendly, “Unfortunately, we do not have any open positions that you are qualified for at this time.”


The compelling reason for humanization of the recruiting process is that it is more effective. It is not difficult to use the technology such as Applicant Tracking Systems in ways that are more personal and enthusiastic about the people who are candidates for job positions. This has become the new standard and companies applying humanization to recruiting efforts are more successful than others are.

Don’t Make These Three Hiring Mistakes!

Though it may appear to be a lot about pens being tapped on the desks of poker-faced judges who raise eyebrows at brief bouts of employment, hiring is so much more. It certainly isn’t easy for the men and women who are in charge of recruiting and vetting incoming personnel–you. As hiring managers, you are partly responsible for the cohesiveness of the staff and diversity in the workplace in addition to cherry-picking the kind of talent the collective personnel will hold. It’s a big job, indeed.

Huffington Post writer and entrepreneur John Rampton recently compiled a cautionary article entitled “When Hiring, What Problems Should I Avoid?”. John connected with Startup Grind chapters across the globe to interview eight founders about their hiring strategies. Based on those responses plus additional data, here are the hiring issues you’ll want to avoid.

Choosing Talent Over Personality
One of John’s respondents discussed the disadvantages of selecting new people on the basis of talent alone. Of course, it’s important to choose applicants that can meet the professional or creative requirements of the job. However, their skill-set shouldn’t be the only characteristic you vet them for. Applicant personality also determines how well they’ll work with others, how they problem-solve, and their likelihood to abandon the company the moment they’re offered a big salary by a competitor. Aim for applicants that meet the talent quota but also deliver a personality that will play well with others.

Rushing the Process
Many things can be done effectively with speed. Hiring isn’t one of them. Making good choices about the people who will represent the company and drive it’s future cannot be done hastily. One of John’s interviewees claims you run the risk of hiring second-rate personnel because you are rushing. Never fill a slot out of desperation. Taking the time to contemplate the fit of a new hire can spare you a great deal of heartache and having to redo the whole process six months down the line because of incompatibility. Having adequate technological software such as an applicant tracking system can help save you time by narrowing down individuals who meet the needs of the company. Your discerning eye can do the rest.

Failing to Forecast
This hiring mistake can piggyback off the previous one: not anticipating company needs may cause you to make impulsive and hasty recruiting decisions. Understanding where the organization currently is and where it’s headed can add value to your new-hire selections. Before recruiting new members to your team, consider how applicants may meet existing needs but also their potential for fulfilling future needs. Otherwise, you could end up having to hire double the staff over the long haul.

7 Hiring Problems You’ll Want to Avoid in 2015

Smart HR professionals understand hiring decisions are the ones with the greatest impact on the company’s bottom line. But, even armed with that knowledge, hiring managers can make missteps down the hiring path that can result in an unsatisfactory hire.

Let’s look at 7 detours hiring professionals may take that can cause the company to end up with a low performing employee.

#1: Operating with a vague job description outline. Conducting a hiring search without first outlining the particular skills needed to successfully navigate the position can only end badly. It’s like throwing darts without knowing the location of the dart board.

#2: Not asking the right questions. Hiring managers should pose in-depth questions about the person’s resume, work ethic, and initiative. Listen closely, and take note of the answers. Failing to ask the right questions will leave the hiring manager with inconclusive evidence of whether or not the person would be a positive hire.

#3: Allowing other priorities to encroach on hiring. In a perfect world, choosing who to hire would be the only task on a hiring manager’s plate. This isn’t reality. Even when more pressing items eat up the schedule, it’s critical to carve out proper time to devote to thoughtful hiring.

#4: Choosing candidates based on short-term vision. Selecting a candidate that will fill the position to satisfaction at this moment will be tempting. A good hiring manager will look instead down the road to the company’s initiatives and decide if the candidate will contribute to the bigger picture. If not, the applicant is the wrong choice.

#5: Failing victim to the exterior. A candidate’s nice suit and smooth words may present an enticing picture. Looking at their answers and assessing their initiative and work ethic are more important goals an interview should accomplish. Don’t simply take a job seeker at face value, it could bite you in the end.

#6: Believing the resume and interview. A recent survey revealed thirty-four precent of job seekers lied on their resumes. This dishonest trend makes it unacceptable to put much stock in the resume. Verify the applicant’s claims with a thorough background screening process.

#7: Failing to emphasize company culture. A person who doesn’t fit into the company’s culture will have difficulty being an effective employee. Be sure to share the company culture in the first interview, and gauge the candidate’s reaction. Think twice about hiring a person who does not seem to be a good fit.

Hiring employees who are a good fit for the position is an important task placed on hiring managers. By being aware of these faulty detours, the hiring process can go more smoothly and return higher ROI for the efforts.

Find An Employee Fit for 2015

inding the right employee stands as one of the most crucial tasks any employer tackles while on the job. Bringing in the wrong professional can cost the money often thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars in training and retraining, not to mention the wrong employee may lag behind in certain job skills that slows down the productivity of others in the company as well. While filling a current opening in the business is often necessary, it should not be rushed, as the wrong hire is more damaging to your company than no hire at all. So, you need to know how to find the right employee that fits this year, regardless of the position, line of work or kind of company you own.

The Right Combination

Finding the right candidate for a job usually requires you to hire someone with the right combination of skill sets, yet, according to Yahoo! Finance, only seven percent of HR departments and hiring managers actually bring on an employee who fits most or nearly all of the desired skills. When this sort of hire takes place, it usually results in additional training while on the job. You need to weight the consequences of particular forms of training. Now, certain aspects can be taught rather easily, so keep this in mind, but in general, you want to continually go over all job applicants until you do land a possible employee that fits the job title. While only seven percent of applicants have nearly all of the right combination of skills, it means that around one out of every 17 resumes you look at does fit. You just need to make sure and identify this one.

Applicant Tracking System

Of course, if you have a large business, or at least a very popular open position, you probably receive a good amount of applications and resumes in your inbox. This is great, as it shows interest in your company, but you need a way to siphon off the bad applicants and locate only those who fit that illusive seven percent. An application tracking system can assist you with this. With the help of this software, you can input specific keywords and skills your company looks for in an applicant. The software than scans through the received applications in order to find those who match your requirements. With the software help, you no longer need to spend valuable man hours digging through piles of resumes. You just need the software.

When using the applicant tracking system software in conjunction with job listing websites, you should have no problem coming up with a list of applicants who meet your right combination.

Avoid This Hiring Mistake Next Year

LinkedIn influencer and Business Insider contributor, Lou Adler recently published an article, “The One Hiring Mistake Everyone Makes and How to Avoid It”, which drives home the fact that many human resource professionals make decisions based on their first impressions during the interview, and they are wrong most of the time. In fact, Adler, a recruiting professional of 30 years, noticed that hiring manager’s initial assessment of the candidates, which he knew personally, was wrong 60% of the time.

Adler’s Strategy for Hiring the Right Talent

Adler determined that hiring managers have a tendency to allow their first impressions to guide their decisions to hire talent. However, he asserts that hiring managers can incorporate bias-reducing strategies into their recruiting policy in order to be more objective so that the organization can actually focus on attracting competent talent. His strategy for minimizing the tendency to subconsciously follow your prejudices, personal biases, and stereotypes include:

  • Take a 30 minute breather before making a judgment call about a candidate.
  • Incorporating preliminary phone interviews during screening.
  • Treat candidates as consultants.
  • Use reverse logic to neutralize biases.
  • Interview candidates as if you are a juror, not a judge.
  • Utilize panel interviews to decrease subjectivity.
  • Don’t use up/down voting; it’s ineffective.
  • Incorporate a human resource tools that help reduce biases beyond the aforementioned strategies, such as talent scorecards.

The strategy Adler suggests is refreshing, and it underscores the importance of integrating an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) into your recruiting process. With an ATS, managers are able to select from applicants who meet the qualifications they designate for each position-significantly reducing the potential for biased hiring managers to eliminate valuable talent the company needs. Utilizing an ATS and Adler’s strategy for recruiting helps your organization find the talent you need each time.

Why ATSs Give Your Business the Edge on Hiring

Deficiencies in the hiring and recruiting process don’t start during the interview; biases are laced throughout the recruiting process. For instance, posting the job requisition in certain places can limit exposure and reduce a company’s ability to recruit diverse talent. With an ATS you can eliminate this problem, and many more with ATS features such as:

  • Scouring the web for resumes that match the job description.
  • Searchable technology that allow you to choose from candidates that meet your specifications.
  • Matching resumes from prior applicants that are built in the database.
  • Alerts and schedule management features that help you streamline the process of hiring.
  • Reports and other tools that help managers track costs and determine the efficacy of the system and their processes.

Biases and prejudices can seriously stricken every effort you’ve made to recruit top talent for your organization. Fortunately, by incorporating Adler’s techniques to eliminate your tendency to hire candidates based on first impressions, not whether they are competent, and a robust ATS that matches candidates based on their qualifications, your organization will choose the best candidate for the job time after time.

How Does Your Company Hiring Measure Up?

For many companies, the lifeblood of the organization is its ability to find and hire talented individuals. However, the competition to find and hire new talent can leave some companies in the dust, while others bound ahead. In order to stay keep up with best practice recruiting and hiring methods, companies and recruiters need to utilize the latest technological advances and most proven platforms to find and cultivate talent. One such technology is the Applicant Tracking System, which is integral to determining the true success of your hiring practices. Below are five metrics that can be used in conjunction with an Applicant Tracking System to see how your hiring measures up.

  1. High-Potential Talent
    • Measuring for high-potential talent is synonymous with identifying what employees have the potential and aspiration to be successful leaders within your company. Once you have determined which employees meet your qualifications, it is important to determine how to best develop their talent.
  2. Candidate Reactions
    • Candidate reactions should be measured during and after the hiring process. A recent CEB report found that 20 percent of candidates who have a negative experience during a hiring process will turn to social media to vent about their frustrations. Using surveys to measure what hiring tactics worked and what questions evoked negative reactions, will help you to better understand how to attract the right candidates to your organization.
  3. Employee Engagement and Retention
    • In order to keep high retention percentages, employees must be engaged in their work. Focus groups, surveys, and one-on-one consultations with employees can help you to determine if your employees have a high level of engagement.
  4. External vs. Internal Hiring
    • Knowing where to look for talent is a key factor in measuring the success of your hiring practices. Two of the most important factors to consider are: the success rate of external vs. internal hires, and the success of hiring vs. internal promotions. According to a CEB study, only 30 percent of organizations have a formal leadership development process. A lack of leadership programs can negatively impact internal promotions, which can lead to a lack of employee engagement, lower retention ratings, and a reliance on external hiring practices.
  5. High-Performer Turnover Rate
    • A high turnover rate for a company’s top performers is bad for business. If an organization consistently loses its top talent, then hiring and company policy changes should probably be made. Asking the following questions can help you to determine if you are simply hiring the wrong type of individual or if their is something amiss with your current company policy. For example: what motivates top talent to leave; how long does top talent stay with your organization; do you have a leadership program; are there opportunities for advancement?

Measuring talent metrics, utilizing the latest recruiting technologies and platforms, and analyzing hiring data can help your organization achieve hiring success. Making informed talent acquisition decisions can lead to improved levels of employee engagement and retention, which can be used to improve your company’s performance management processes and lead to future successes.