Data + Psychology: The Case for Strategic Talent Management

Now that you have that job vacancy, this might be a good time to reflect and analyze what that particular position’s role is in the organization.  This is a timely opportunity for the organization where managers can self-reflect and ask some important questions about the position and about its fit to the overall mission.  When was the last time this position was filled?  How does this position add value to my organization?  What other skill sets do we need in our organization that we should look for in our candidate?  The job demands do change over time especially considering the rapidly changing business environment we now live in.  There is always new technology, new softwares, new rules and regulations, new kinds of certifications, etc., and job descriptions do get outdated.  This new job vacancy presents an opportunity for you and some subject matter experts (perhaps your other employees more familiar with the vacant position) to revisit the position description and revise as needed to match the current needs.  The organizational goals and strategies also do change so take those statements and crosswalk them with the job description to help ensure that there is a close alignment between the position and the organization’s mission.  This should help crystallize what knowledge, skills, and characteristics the hiring manager should be posting in the job ad to ensure that the right applicants are targeted.

Before jumping into the actual recruiting, take the time to develop a hiring strategy.  Use the information that was gathered from the review of the position.  Upon reviewing the nature and the demands of the position, you should now have information to help you develop some of your application screening and interview questions.  Questions that are based on real job scenarios should do at least a couple of things:

(1) give the candidates a realistic preview of what the job entails and

(2) give the hiring managers a more qualitative opportunity to assess the candidates.  

Giving the candidates a preview of what it is exactly they will be performing is very important in many ways.  It gives them the chance to make sure that they understand what they are getting into early on.  Candidates with the right knowledge and skills could easily breeze through the early stages of the selection process but only to realize later that the job is not a good fit.  Hiring managers should be wary of those candidates and try to catch those early.  By asking some of these real job scenario questions, you’re giving the candidates the opportunity to imagine themselves in the shoes that they are trying to fill.  

Use Psychology

Using real job scenarios to design questions serves as a good job simulation which can also give the hiring managers the opportunity to qualitatively assess the candidate’s responses.  Hiring managers can assess not only how the candidates use their competencies to respond to actual job situations but to also give hiring managers a preview of the candidate’s personality traits.  Not all traits can be equally applicable across jobs.  Each job is unique and there are certain traits that are a better fit for certain jobs.  When it comes to avoiding attrition, some personality traits are better predictors of retention in certain jobs.  

Software Advice recently released a study which used data and psychology to analyze retention at a call center showed that traits like curiosity, creativity, and ability to multitask strongly correlate with the length of stay at the job.  Personality traits, however, don’t often show up on resumes.  One would think that duration of past employments is a good enough predictor of retention but it is actually not the case according to Evolv’s research study.  Therefore, you as the hiring manager would have to find other indicators of whether the candidate has the traits that correlate with longer retention.  Ask open-ended questions that are more based on actual job scenarios to get that opportunity to assess your candidate’s personality traits and see if you have a match.

By using an analytical approach and a more psychology-based approach to hiring, this call center was able to transform its hiring process, reduce attrition, and reduce costs.  Such efforts should result not only in cost-savings but also in better customer service and more engaged employees.

Data + Psychology

Investing time and resources in using psychology and analysis of data is a wise and worthwhile approach to getting the right hire--not only getting the right hire but getting it right the first time.  Avoid getting in that cycle of attrition by using an analytical approach to hiring.  Know that there is a wealth of data available out there waiting to either be collected or analyzed.  Transaction data, HR databases, job satisfaction surveys, either internal surveys that your organization conducts or external surveys like the SHRM survey above, are excellent data sources that can provide useful insight into what’s coming ahead.  There’s also a wealth of psychological studies, case studies, and applied research available out there that can help you in making better hiring decisions.  If unsure, get an expert in psychology or a workforce scientist to help you get started.  Data analytics and the science of psychology, together, deliver promising results when it comes to hiring, retention, and becoming a high performing organization.

Still relying on gut decisions?  Companies who have been successful at making gut decisions all along can now make even stronger decisions with the addition of data analytics.  Gut decisions and data-driven decisions, together, can complement each other effectively.  

Read the full story here.


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Comment by Mike Kennedy on October 7, 2013 at 4:32am

Very good post, this is an interesting approach that works.

Evolv isn't the only firm looking at traits - Talent Analytics call center case study.

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