Make Every Part of Your Hiring Process More Strategic

By Ray Bixler, President and CEO, SkillSurvey Inc.

This is a special advertising section featuring white papers on trends that are currently shaping the HR profession.

The demand to find talent and fill more positions faster strains the resources of even the best-run talent acquisition teams. According to the Society for Human Resource Management's latest Human Capital Benchmarking Report, the average time to fill a position in 2015 was 42 days. In addition, it cost an average $4,129 to hire a new employee.

So, how do you achieve your strategic hiring goals and at the same time reduce costs, speed time-to-fill and ensure your organization is hiring the right people?

One fix: reference checking. Research conducted by SkillSurvey found that 85 percent of executives use reference checks for every job candidate, but the practice falls to 68 percent among talent professionals. That's because traditional reference checking can be a slow, ineffective and tedious process of phone tag. When you finally reach a reference, the feedback you receive is little more than verification of your candidates' employment.

Put the Web to Work

Online reference checking can give your talent acquisition teams new efficiencies. You can increase the number of the references you receive and the quality of information you need -- often delivered in less than two business days -- and, even faster if the solution is mobile-optimized. That fast turnaround time means you're more likely to fill a position while your competitors are still waiting for a call back.

Hard Data on Soft Skills

Resumes, work history and hiring tests can tell you whether a job candidate has the right hard skills for the job. However, references are uniquely positioned to provide the insight on whether a candidate has the soft skills -- the interpersonal and problem-solving abilities, professionalism or personal values -- that are needed to be successful. That's typically the information recruiters are making based on blind faith or their gut feeling obtained during interviews.

Use Predictive Data

Our formal, scientific studies have followed tens of thousands of new hires for an average of 21 months, and we've found that the reference response rate (how many of the references respond with feedback) and the overall average rating they provide on behavioral job-specific competencies are statistically predictive of first-year turnover for cause. In addition, our studies have confirmed that SkillSurvey's online reference checking does not show any bias against protected classes of individuals.

Empower Hiring Teams

Instead of chance conversations that may be inconsistent across job candidates, online solutions can deliver reference feedback through scientifically developed surveys that encompass 20 to 30 different behavioral competencies that are related to the job in question. Hiring managers can then see the specific areas rated by references in a clear, data-driven report that can be used to conduct more focused interviews.

Mine a Growing Talent Pipeline

Recruiters know how important it is to extend their talent networks, and if they're savvy, they are using every conversation to ask for a connection to a new contact.

Some of your best new talent will come from employee referrals. One benefit: It's faster to hire new talent from employee referrals, and once hired, they stay longer. Why not ask candidates for referrals and deliver a personal invitation to these potential candidates?

There's a great database of potential passive candidates to recruit already at your fingertips: your employees' references. Because you usually get contact information for three to five references for each job candidate, it's an exponentially growing passive candidate source that has up-to-date contact and job role information at your fingertips.

We've seen thousands of references turn into actual candidates themselves. On visits, we're often able to pull data for our clients showing hundreds of reference contacts who were later entered into the system as candidates. For organizations who engage with references and encourage them to opt-in to their talent networks, that number multiplies.

Shift the Focus of Onboarding

Did you know 20 percent of new hires quit within 45 days? That's what the 2016 Talent Pulse report, by Human Capital Institute, found. And organizations that invest in onboarding programs are twice as likely as those that don't to reduce the time it takes to bring new hires to proficiency, productivity or time to revenue for sales-generating employees. Onboarding at many companies is administrative versus focusing on giving new hires the right training needed to start performing.  When you have detailed, job-specific feedback from references that includes strengths and areas of improvement, you have a roadmap to focus onboarding training and ensure success.

By using technology to reduce the burden of time-consuming tasks and automating best practices, you can achieve a faster time-to-fill, speedier onboarding and reduced hiring costs.

Visit SkillSurvey.com to learn more.

Sep 19, 2016
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