A summary of hiring tips (or the lessons I have learnt the hard way)

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Companies are formed by people. People who perform tasks, people who give directions, people who define the procedures and organize others. Companies are the result of peoples’ actions.

In order for a firm to succeed, it takes too many factors, only a small portion of which can be predicted. Factors such as whether the product will be the next big hit are not so easy to be defined. But we can do our best to rule out the factors which will definitely have a negative effect for our firm. A major one is making the right choice when it comes to the people you will work with.

The particularity of recruiting is that you need to sell and buy at the same time. You need to be able to sell the vacant position in a way that you will attract the most suitable candidates and at the same way buy the services of the most promising candidate.

This is how you will be able to take the first steps in a successful pathway.

I will try to summarize my experience into a few must-follow advices:

 

1. Tools at your services

A number of tools have been designed in order to facilitate the HR Department. Most of them refer to the administrative procedures that can be undertaken easier with the help of technology.

 

2. Emphasize less on typical skills

I have witnessed hires that didn’t work out so well despite the bold degrees. I am to blame for hires that were based mostly on common sense that all these years of experience would mean that the person can perform his duties. I have been arrogant enough so as to look down on candidates that didn’t have the certifications I was looking for. But then I decided to give a chance to less typically skilled candidates and to my big surprise they were a good fit. They blended in with the rest of the team and soon I couldn’t tell the difference.

 

3. Hire for the future

Depending on the circumstances, hiring can be made in order to cover a position that emptied out of the blue or for a more strategic purpose, in order to find a potential catch. In other words, young people with little to none experience who have the potential of becoming first-class employees after some training and culture embracing

 

4. Screening without engaging

Technology has developed new tools that help save time and resources. Long gone are the days when we used to rely on tools that passively scan through the resumes for key-words. We now have the opportunity to test the candidate on actual working conditions at a fraction of cost, and know whether he is fit for the job. Using such a test before setting up the interview can save too many man-hours and act as a catalyst for a successful hiring.

 

5. Pay less attention to skills that can be easily acquired

Hiring someone just for the skills he already has may result in a big mistake. For the simple reason that the specific person has developed this set of skills with time. So, unless you are definitely and urgently trying to find a custom-made candidate to fit in the position, you may want to consider that a candidate who needs training before getting to work may turn out to be more beneficial for the firm. Today training can be inexpensive, efficient and to the point, that’s why turning down a candidate just because he lacks an easy-to-acquire skill may not be such a good idea.

 

Unfortunately there is no one who can guarantee that a hire will turn out beneficial or not. This is the most important advice that you need to keep in mind. No matter how hard you may try, you will make mistakes. Come to terms with it and go on.

Skills Assessment Software – 13 reasons to start using it now

skills-assessment-software-TEST4U

 

What are the Benefits of Employee Skills Assessment Software?

High employee turnover is one of the most expensive aspects of running a business. Finding, hiring and training a new employee is a major investment. A McKinsey research reports that the main problem is not the creation of new jobs, but the lack of skilled candidates. When things don’t work out, a business loses the money it invested and has to spend even more to engage in the process all over again. Even when qualified employees are hired and retained, gauging their skills and keeping them focused on ongoing improvement is costly and cumbersome too. In a recent conference, evidence was provided that the vast majority of employees do not even possess the computer operation skills required. More than 83% of the employees were unable to pass the basic level assessment (slide 9, video presentation 3:37). Through the use of well-designed skills assessment software, employers can more accurately identify qualified candidates and more effectively track the skills and progress of existing employees. And it’s not just about the soft skills. The hard skills are becoming increasingly important. A recent study performed by Elance-oDesk & Millennial Branding suggests that 55% of the recruiters focuses on hard skills, whereas only 21% on personality. Another 45% of the recruiters believes that in the future they will become even more hard-skilled focused.

What is Skills Assessment Software?

As the name implies, skills assessment software is software that assesses an individual’s skills in a specific area. In recent years, a vast array of such programs has become available. They span a huge range of topics and subjects, allowing employers to test employees’ and prospective employees’ skills in relevant areas. It goes without saying that the various Skills Assessment Software present many differences. They may focus on soft skills and personality assessments, on hard skills and try to verify them via multiple choice questions, or even test the candidate on actual working conditions, with the cooperation of the actual application, the so called in-application testing. Each of them is more suitable depending on the needs. For instance, the computer related skills are better evaluated by an in-application assessment software, rather than by a multiple-choice one. This becomes increasingly important for modern businesses, which tend to be particularly concerned about finding candidates who are proficient in a range of computer-related skills. Not surprisingly, many skills assessment programs test people’s skills at the use of Windows, the Microsoft Office suite, PHP, MySQL, JavaScript and a wide range of other types of software and programming languages.

Benefits of Pre-Employment Skills Assessment Software

By identifying and hiring the right employee the first time, a company can save huge amounts of time and money. It’s easy for someone to claim proficiency in a subject on a resume. By actually having them prove it, a business can zero in on truly qualified candidates and skip ahead in the hiring process more quickly. A few of the main advantages of using skills assessment software during the hiring process include:

1. Reduced Turnover – People tend to stretch the truth on their resumes, assuming they can figure things out once they are hired. This causes major headaches for employers, who are often forced to let go such employees and restart the hiring process from scratch. As noted by the Edward Lowe Foundation, this issue is largely eliminated through the use of skills assessment software, which doesn’t use multiple-choice questions but rather forces candidates to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in a meaningful way.

2. Increased Accuracy – When certain skills are essential for a particular position, it makes sense to ensure that the final contenders possess them. This type of software increases accuracy during the hiring process with very little extra effort on the part of the employer.

3. Reduced Costs – Having to constantly absorb the costs of identifying, hiring and training new employees is expensive. Skills assessment programs, whether they’re installed locally or provided online, help employers keep hiring costs in check.

4. Saved Time – Businesses don’t often have the luxury of taking their time while hiring new employees. In the mad dash to replace a former employee, mistakes are often made. Skills assessment software allows a business to make accurate hiring decisions quickly and efficiently.

5. A More Level Playing Field – By using skills assessment programs, employers can give all candidates a fairer shot at landing the position. All too often, a well-written resume will zoom to the top of the pile, and more qualified and skilled candidates are left in the dust. By including the results of skills assessments in the hiring process, employers can focus less on well-crafted resumes and more on real, concrete skills.

 

6. Improved Compliance – EEOC guidelines dictate that information culled from skills tests must be applied impartially. Well-designed skills assessment software adheres to such guidelines, helping employers maintain compliance.

7. A Competitive Advantage – Companies with the most skilled employees enjoy a significant competitive advantage. Skills assessment testing allows businesses to more easily pinpoint truly talented, skilled candidates and gives them a great edge over competitors who don’t use such tests.

 

 

 

skills-assessment-software-TEST4U_2

 

Benefits of Using Skills Assessment Software for Current Employees

Skills assessment software is a great investment not just because it helps a business identify the most qualified candidates but because it also helps to encourage the ongoing growth and improvement of current employees. A few advantages of having employees use this software include:

8. Identify Skills Gaps – Through skills assessment software, employers can zero in on skills gaps across personnel to identify areas that could use improvement. This is much easier and more efficient than waiting for issues to arise due to a lack of skills in a particular area.

9. Develop Training Curriculum – By regularly having employees complete skills assessment tests, businesses can identify training needs. This information can then be used to develop more effective training curriculum, helping employees stay on the leading edge of the latest developments.

10. Increase Productivity
 – Employers can often discover untapped skills by having employees complete assessment tests using skills assessment software. Based on the results of these tests, employees may be moved to different positions where they can more effectively and productively use their skills.

11. Track Progress
 – Skills assessment software helps to establish benchmarks in terms of employee skill levels. These benchmarks can then be referred to after training sessions and other development activities to track employees’ progress in various areas. In this way, a company can determine the effectiveness — or lack thereof — of its training methods as well as identify employees who just aren’t progressing as needed.

12. Improved Performance Reviews
 – When used in the performance review process, skills assessment software improves an employer’s ability to promote employees or to engage in other HR-related decision-making.

13. Confirmation of new-skills consolidation
 – When a business decides to take advantage of the distant learning method, along with the benefits, comes an important disadvantage: the fact that it is very difficult to rely on just the e-learning material and suppose that the new skills have been consolidated. The Skills Assessment Software can be used right after the e-learning course in order to shed light on any dark corners.

 

Thanks to the ready availability of skills assessment software, there’s no reason for employers to go it alone when hiring new employees or when determining the skills and progress of existing ones. There is software out there that tests employees’ skills across virtually every imaginable subject and topic, and some of the most popular ones focus on proficiency across various computer programs. By evaluating prospective and current personnel with skills assessment software, any business can make more effective hiring decisions and can make the most of its current workforce.

These ideas were discussed during the 4th HR in Action Conference, which was held in Athens on 30th June 2015 by Stelios Lambropoulos, the co-founder of Infolearn-TEST4U.

You can access the presentation slides here:http://www.slideshare.net/test4u_eu/recruit-retain-and-develop-talented-hard-skilled-staff-50208460?related=1

and the presentation video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQnsUEUT9vM

 

The new trends and tools at the disposal of HR Departments.

hr-in-action-2015-TEST4U

The recruiters focus more on hard skills.

A McKinsey research of 2012 mentions that the problem is not located at the creation of new jobs but at the lack of candidates’ skills.

The lack of hard skills at employees at a low hierarchical level means:

  • additional training cost
  • additional manhours of colleagues that will need to help the newly hired,
  • and in the case of replacement, additional cost at the HR department

All this leads to augmented operational cost of the company and minimize its competitiveness.

All of you have noted that:

  1. The candidates do not always have the hard skills that they mention at their CV’s and
  2. at positions at low hierarchical levels hard skills are more important than soft skills because most employees won’t need to lead a team or make important decisions. What they will need to be able to do is perform their duties precisely and in a timely manner, so that their managers can rely on their work.

A recent research (which was conducted by Elance-oDesk & Millennial Branding) shows that 55% of the recruiters focuses only on hard skills and a mere 21% on personality, while in the future, 45% expects that will become even more hard skills focused.

The new tools that the HR department has at its disposal do not include simple multiple choice questions but examine in depth the skills of the examinee at actual working conditions.

 

Hard skills during recruitment

Let’s say that you need to hire a web developer with php and MySQL knowledge or a data analyst with a good level at excel.

What most companies do the last years is that they submit the candidates to an initial ranking test along with the job announcement, so as to obtain a first screening of the candidates and later on to a second test for greater precision.

The advantage of the method with the automated tests is that that provides the opportunity to more candidates of remote areas to participate. Given the difficult economic situation at our country, it is highly unlikely that a candidate will travel from Thessaloniki to Athens just to take part at a first interview. If, however, the candidate knew that he was one of the e.g. 10 that the HR department has invited for an interview, then he would know that the chances to be hired are more.

Hard Skills during the assessment of the current employees

So, we come to the case where we need to assess the entire personnel. Either because we need to ascertain the level of the employees or in the case of an acquisition or merger so that we are in position to know with objective criteria who is in position to do what.

The trend in this case as well is to use tools that will evaluate in actual working conditions.

I will refer to data from an assessment that was performed with our software. Out of 615 employees of a certain company, 518 failed. This is a stunning 83%.

And I am talking about basic computer skills: Windows, Word, Excel.

Imagine having employees at your company who need more than 1 minute to send a simple e-mail with an attachment!

Hard Skills for employee development

Recently Linkedin has acquired Lynda.com, one of the largest videolessons suppliers. The benefits for a company of the use of e-learning are definitely important.

It would be preferable, however, if we could reassure that the employee has actually consolidated the video-lesson and didn’t leave it running while he went to get a cup of coffee.

A recent research of 2014 (GreenJobInterview’s) has shown that the most common reason why companies do not take advantage of all the options that the current technology allows for is that at a 36% they do not know enough about this software.

The software that we have developed allows you to train or evaluate with an automated test your candidates or your staff either at your place or at the candidates’ choice of place (even at home), for a multitude of applications at basic, advanced or specialized level.

Please pay attention to the basic level. It is not obvious. The basic level computer certificates prove almost nothing. I have been working at this sector for more than 15 years and I know very well the skills that such certificates represent.

I don’t mean to wrong everyone who has obtained a certificate. There are definitely very capable people among them. By assessing the skills with an automated test for each one, you will be able to know their actual level for each application and for each question.

Download the hr recruitment assessment and development candidate and employee test tool that we have created.

Thank you for your attention.

 

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