Sep 10 2021

How to Accurately Hire Quality Candidates?

“When it comes to judging the success of your hiring practices, quality of hire should be the number one metric. ”

by  Sudhanshu Ahuja , CEO & Co-Founder, impress.ai

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.” – Lawrence Bossidy, former CEO of Honeywell International

Companies are constantly seeking to fill their recruitment funnel with the “best” employees. When it comes to judging the success of your hiring practices, quality of hire should be the number one metric. This is mostly because the cost of employing a candidate that doesn't meet the job requirements is high. Not just that, it also leads to lower work productivity, and the loss of time associated with hiring and training replacements.

So how do you improve the quality of your hiring process? To answer that, let’s understand four key areas that need to be taken into account to ensure that the recruitment process is effective and smooth.


1. Defining quality

Hiring based on quality is different from just filling positions. To achieve success, the recruiting team needs to track performance measures such as the “quality of hire”. However, quality of hire is a rather elusive metric, so defining it becomes challenging. This is primarily because companies have different priorities. Fortunately, some common denominators contribute to the success of identifying the right candidate for your company.

Quality can be broken down into skills, which can further be divided into soft skills and hard skills. They help define the strengths of individuals and teams as well as how projects get tackled.

● Hard skills are quantifiable, which means you can evaluate the work product based on the technical proficiency of the candidate.

● Soft skills on the other hand are personality traits that employees bring to the table. Knowing how to hire for either of these specific skills is essential to your company's success.

Knowledge is another important asset to factor in while assessing a person's skills. Abilities in terms of cognitive, mathematical, or learning can be important for many jobs as well. For evaluating these and other characteristics, large organizations invest in job analysis and validation studies to define what quality means for each job family in their organization. But that most often tends to be an expensive exercise. This is why it becomes practical and easier to start with the support from existing frameworks available from onetonline.org or country-wise equivalents of that. For example, Singapore has developed the Singapore Skills Framework, which is a very detailed framework that allows companies to readily use it as is or with minor changes, without investing much.

2. Defining methods to accurately identify quality

In order to meet the demands of the company and accurately define quality, having defined methods to aid you in the assessment of the candidate goes a long way. These methods are usually structured into pre-employment tests which help and identify the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate. They are also useful in generating insights into the organization's hiring process and in development training.

When pre-employment tests are properly calculated, employers can focus on specific sources of hiring problems that stem from recruitment before they impact the quality of hire.

This helps employers predict the quality of hire for any recruiting campaign 30-60 days before the people are actually hired.

Now let’s take a look at some pre-employment tests that can help employ a quality candidate.

a. Assessment: There are specific and reliable tests via which employees can assess their candidates based on the field of requirement.

i. Cognitive ability tests: These test your mental capacity to work in a particular position. These tests highlight your ability to use logical, verbal, and numeric reasoning to approach tasks.

ii. Knowledge tests: They measure a candidate's technical or theoretical expertise in a particular field. Knowledge tests are most useful for jobs that require specialized knowledge or high levels of expertise.

iii. Personality tests: These tests determine whether the candidate fits within the company's culture and if their personality leads to an increase in productivity for the particular role. They help measure their engagement level.

iv. Work Sample Assessment: These tests require the job candidate to perform tasks that mirror the tasks employees do on the job.

v. Case Studies: This type of assessment includes asking the candidate to present a solution/business proposal based on a set of fictional documents that mirror strategic problems that she/he is likely to encounter in your new role.

b. Structured interviews test the candidates with the same questions and evaluate them on the same scale. The STAR method is one of the most popular ones because it uses a structured manner of responding to a behavioral-based interview question by discussing the specific situation, task, action, and result of the situation that is being described. Structured interviews are found to be better than unstructured ones and offer a wide range of benefits such as effectiveness, fairness, consistency, and legal protection.

c. Background investigations and reference checks. Experience and qualifications are both considered proxies or heuristics for skills and knowledge, and pre-employment tests have revolutionized this part in the process of recruitment. Another important thing to do is to secure information about potential hires through reference checks to ensure that the employee will not be of any type of risk to you/your client or the workplace

3. Remove unstructured processes and bias

Resulting from mental shortcuts that cause recruiters to misinterpret candidates based on their personal experience, unconscious bias leads to inaccurate assessments. It can defeat the benefits of a diverse workforce and the overall productivity of a workplace. To resolve this and other unstructured processes, businesses should use training, teach the importance of a metrics-based, systematic approach, and make those involved in the recruitment process aware of the harms of unconscious bias.

4. Implement a system that delivers inclusiveness

Studies suggest that diverse teams are smarter and that including different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences improves the decision-making process in the workplace. In this regard, the organization should focus on making it easy to follow the above approach and ensure a good experience for everyone involved, especially the candidates. If the experience is not good, the system will not be used and that would defeat the entire purpose of this approach. To achieve successful hiring, the organization should make itself inclusive and accessible to candidates from diverse ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, and also people with disabilities.

Addressing these 4 areas will not just help you to hire quality candidates, but also retain them. impress.ai helps organizations resolve these problems by offering the following services:

Competency Evaluations: impress.ai’s candidate evaluations are based on competency frameworks built by Organizational Psychologists.

Skills Evaluation: impress.ai offers technical skills assessment solutions in partnership with professional assessment organizations

Conversational Chatbots: These autonomous interviews, engage, and shortlist candidates at scale 24/7. The impress.ai chatbot-led recruitment platform is fully customizable based on the recruiter’s needs. It can be designed to suit the requirements based on job families.

Thus, we see how an efficient recruitment process can enable an organization to hire top-quality candidates in an agreeable time frame. Through AI intervention, the recruitment process constantly evolves via quality checks, valid assessments and structured processes, and the elimination of hiring bias.

These ground-breaking upgrades only go to show that the world is full of opportunities for anyone with a dream- only this time it is fairer, more effective, and inclusive!

impress.ai on  hrtech.sg Marketplace & 2021 Singapore HRTech Marketmap.

Sudhanshu is the CEO and Co-Founder of impress.ai, a platform for enterprise recruitment teams to manage the hiring process using AI-powered chatbots. He spearheads all sales functions and fundraising initiatives, drives the business strategy and company vision, and leads the scaling of the company’s enterprise customer base.

Observing that large enterprises struggled with best practices in recruiting when evaluating job candidates at scale, Sudh co-founded Ideatory, a platform to discover and recruit technology talent, with Dr. Amrith Dhananjayan and Dr. Vaisagh Viswanathan.

Sudh’s experience in working with large enterprises and government organizations enabled him to identify their recruitment pain points and tailor the solution to optimize the process. In 2017, Ideatory evolved into impress.ai and now assists recruiters in large enterprises such as DBS, Singtel, ADB and government organizations in autonomously evaluating candidates for any role anywhere in the world.

Before co-founding impress.ai, Sudh was an Associate at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, where his team was responsible for the regulation of equity markets and the clearinghouses that were operating in Singapore.

Sudh holds a Certificate of Readiness in Business Administration and Management from the Harvard Business School in the US, as well as a Bachelor of Technology in Microelectronics from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. LinkedIn

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