We’ve all read hundreds of articles on how to hire candidates for culture fit, but it doesn’t seem like we are getting much better at it. That’s because assessing a candidate’s culture fit requires the full participation of a couple of team members and the hiring manager. Unfortunately, hiring is often viewed as an unwelcome distraction from our ‘real’ jobs. Interviewing is the primary vehicle for gathering information on a candidate’s potential fit at a company. But it is also very time-consuming.
We think of hiring for culture fit as looking for what makes a person who they are beyond their skills and experience. What do they value and prioritize, what motivates them? This is essential information for an employer to gather, but it is very difficult to do it well. Everyone has had the experience of conducting an interview during a particularly hectic day. You don’t have time to prep, you are distracted during the session, and you don’t have time to write your feedback down directly after. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that our ability to evaluate candidate fit is inconsistent.
The solution to this problem is part of a broader trend occurring in the HR and people management space. Much like marketing transformed in the last decade to become data-driven, the world of predictive analytics is now colliding with traditional recruiting. One of the most important areas for analytics to play a larger role is in assessing candidate fit. By allowing analytics to play a role in fit assessment, companies can make their recruiting process less time consuming, more efficient, and more accurate.
Why Assess Fit Before the Interview
At Pomello we’ve worked with companies that receive hundreds of applications for every job opening, and companies that work hard to get 10 applications for every job. Wherever you fall on this spectrum the goal of this stage in the recruiting process is to efficiently figure out which candidates you want to invest in by interviewing them.
The part of this process that is often overlooked is to try to assess fit before the interview stage. As the graphic above illustrates, using fit analytics throughout your recruiting funnel makes your evaluation process much more efficient.
Why haven’t we been doing this before?
For a long time, people preferred to only assess fit in person because a lot of the assessments out there were poor quality. The old generation of personality or fit assessments are flawed in a few critical ways.
First, they were easy to game and subject to social desirability bias (when someone answers a question based on what they think a company wants to hear). Imagine if someone asked you if listening to customers is important to you. Chances are you are going to say this is important to you regardless of whether that’s how you typically behave.
The second weakness of older generation assessments is that fit is defined on a generic job profile. Many assessments use Bureau of Labor Statistics data to define profiles for different jobs and assess fit based on these profiles which don’t distinguish between different companies unique environments. Think about how different Amazon and Google are in terms of their reported work environments. It doesn’t make much sense for them to use the same profiles to select candidates.
However as technology has enabled organizations to source a high number of candidates, it has become increasingly important to assess fit early in the application process. Thankfully, the new generation of fit assessments are a huge improvement over what we have traditionally seen. The are typically harder to game with questions that don’t lead the candidate to the right answer. In addition, many new assessments provide some level of customization for the specific company rather than just matching candidates to a generic profile.
Bake a great cake by starting with the best ingredients
The goal of using fit analytics in your recruiting process is to increase the quality of your candidate pool early, and avoid wasting time evaluating candidates who are a poor fit. This is the highest leverage point in your hiring process. By improving the inputs at the beginning of your process you are ensuring a much higher probability of a successful hiring outcome.
This is a guest post from Catherine Spence, co-founder and head of product at Pomello, software that helps you scale your company culture. For more on how Pomello can help you manage your culture, visit www.pomello.com.