Finding the perfect fit
1 April 2005 | 0
Hiring the right person for the right position is at best a hit and miss affair. Although a candidate may have the perfect CV and be more than capable of winning over interviewers, it’s still potluck as to whether they’ll be able to do the work properly.
Most HR managers recognise that the hiring process is essentially flawed and that the costs involved in employing someone who is not cut out for the job, are immeasurable. Not surprisingly then, many are beginning to look for more effective ways to recruit staff.
One particular method that’s beginning to gain in popularity here in Ireland is profiling, a technique designed to measure candidate’s behavioural traits, thinking style and occupational interests. Used in conjunction with interviews and reference checks, profiling is essentially a benchmarking system that can quickly establish which person is most suitable for a particular job. Profiling succeeds because it compares the qualities of job candidates to the attributes of an individual company’s most productive employees.
According to Deiric McCann, CEO with Profiles Ireland, profiling is becoming increasingly common in Ireland, particularly during the downturn. ‘People are looking at everything they can do to ensure that when they hire they get the right person in the right job, and in the current climate it’s important to get every investment decision spot on,’ says McCann. ‘Research from the University of Manchester indicates that conventional hiring processes, which are very much dependent on interviews, are 14 per cent effective in identifying those who will be most suitable for a particular position. If you build in good reference checks, you can bring that up to 26 per cent. But when you add in ability assessment on top of traditional hiring methods, you have a 75 per cent chance of getting the right person.’
Profiling is usually carried out online with candidates undergoing a 50 minute assessment test. Once profiles have been completed, they are usually cross-referenced with profiles from top performers in a client’s company in order to establish shared characteristics. However, although profiling has primarily been used during the placement process, it can also be used to help companies address issues such as high turnover and low productivity. McCann says, ‘given the downturn, many companies are realising that they can’t afford to hire new employees and so they’re thinking about how they can help existing staff to do better. Profiling is invaluable here because we go in and assess the top performers in a particular department and can then see the attributes that make it possible for them to thrive in that environment. Profiling also allows us to see the areas where lesser performers are struggling so that they can be coached to overcome these’.
Irish Recruitment Consultants (IRC), which recently signed an exclusive partnership with Profiles Ireland to provide an online profiling centre for its clients, is convinced that this selection method is the best way to assess potential employees. ‘The reason we signed up with Profiles Ireland is that we wanted to widen our service offering to our clients and Profiling appealed to us because it has really established itself as the most reliable assessment tool,’ says Peter O’Neill, a senior IT recruitment consultant with IRC. ‘Due to the downturn in the market there are more CVs out there and more candidates with the technical level of competence required. This means that companies are taking longer to make decisions. We felt that our service would help them make up their minds quicker, would enable them to pick the right person and was something that would integrate seamlessly into their existing recruitment process.’
Ronnie Simpson, managing director of Simpson Financial & Technology Public Relations, is one employer who has seen the benefits of profiling. He says, ‘I would not consider hiring anyone ever again without running them through the profile. It helps to identify whether someone will get on with clients and with other people in your organisation. Profiling will also pick out areas where potential employees may need to get some coaching if taken on and will tell you whether a potential employee is likely to get bored of the job and want to leave within six months.
Since we started using profiling we’ve never made any mistakes in hiring and candidates have been more than willing to take the assessment. Candidates’ impression of a company that uses this type of technique is that it’s a very professional company and the process isn’t wasted on them because even if they don’t get the position they’ve applied for, they’ll have got a detailed report on themselves which outlines their strengths’.
Simpson continues. ‘I believe that anybody who hires someone without putting them through profiling is potentially going to cost their organisation a lot of money. Profiling saves you money because you’re more likely to get someone who’s going to fit into your organisation first time and I think that anybody that doesn’t use it is mad.’