What Can HR Learn From Online Dating?
by Angie Rupp
Pre-employment tests are the closest HR professionals get to having a hiring crystal ball. And yet, so few employers have them as a tool in their hiring toolkit. Why is that? If you’re like most of our clients, you fall somewhere on the fear spectrum relative to pre-employment testing. You feel fear regarding the initial financial investment, and also the fear that you’re somehow breaking some unseen compliance law from a discrimination standpoint. I understand the hesitation. Like most things in life that provoke fear, what we don’t understand causes a lot of unnecessary concern.
Pre-employment tests are the closest HR professionals get to having a hiring crystal ball.
Well, if you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you know that I think about hiring a lot. To the point of obsession, really. And one point I try to stress when educating HR professionals about building a strong talent pool is that now, more than ever, it’s vital to view the hiring process more like a mutual give/take relationship than the outdated “you need this job, so you have to work for it,” mentality.
If you start to think about hiring the right applicant along the same vein as nurturing or building a relationship, it’s easy to visualize some connections between pre-employment tests and online dating sites like eHarmony. We are going to use eHarmony as our example going forward. As a company that can boast more than half a million successful marriages since 2005, they are obviously doing something right. Using their own, patented, algorithm, they have been successfully paring people together for years now. What I like about eHarmony (and really any type of dating site) is that the platform relies on data to “match” potential dating candidates. This is similar to having members take “pre-employment tests” before joining.
The reason it depends on data is because it’s linking two people who don’t know each other together through patterns of compatibility. And for sites like eHarmony which boasts 438 marriages each day from couples who found a mate there, it has been very successful.
When you think about it, it’s the same process as matching potential employees with employers. The only difference, however is that most HR professionals try to create a match based on either “gut feelings” or whatever personal biases the individual possesses regarding what makes a qualified job candidate. The problem with this thinking is that it doesn’t yield hiring results any different than what you’ve always experienced because chances are, if you aren’t using pre-employment tests now, your organization has never used pre-employment tests.
Did you know that this method of hiring produces star employees only 25 percent of the time? Put another way, or from your CEO’s perspective, that means that you’re wasting your recruiting budget 75 percent of the time which helps neither you nor HR’s strategic credibility. Maybe it’s time for you to consider a different approach? One that applies some data through pre-employment tests to substantiate your processes and help your C-suite feel a little more comfortable with you hiring decisions. After all, it helped eHarmony.
To help ease you into this process, I thought I’d address the most common concern mentioned earlier that usually leads to discomfort surrounding pre-employment tests.
Pre-employment tests are too expensive.
This seems to be the biggest hurdle relative to pre-employment tests and it’s a valid concern. That is, until we revisit the 25 percent success rate driven by the “shooting from the hip” hiring method stated earlier. For whatever reason, an upfront or initial recruiting cost scares HR professionals because spending money isn’t really a comfortable conversation to have with one’s boss. And that’s true, unless you provide data to back it up.
It’s easy to see the appeal with a more data driven approach.
If you approach your supervisor with a request to spend money without data justification, then you’re essentially wanting something for nothing, which isn’t well-received in the business community. It would be the same as starting a dating website and offering members nothing to ease their dating struggle. In fact, it would yield the same success rate as an individual walking up to and asking every single person they come in contact with at the airport for a date. The chances of compatibility will be slim and there will be loads of wasted time.
It’s easy to see the appeal with a more data driven approach. At least there’s something to connect two strangers together. All you need to do is choose a reputable pre-employment tests provider and anchor your request in what your hiring success rate has been up to that point. What’s your turnover? Is it possible that if you took the time to understand what (or who) you need and then provided a pre-employment test that mapped out these behaviors you could increase both the efficiency of you process and how well the applicant fits within your culture?
Hiring change won’t magically happen without changing your process. Fortunately, our hiring consultants are masters at navigating the mysterious world of pre-employment tests.
Try a pre-employment test today for free, and see just how useful they can be.
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