Approximate reading time: 10m 23s
Recruitment methods have been studied since the 1920s. In this article, we will review the 15 most common methods of recruitment. We will also examine how good these prediction methods are - whether the candidate will be suitable or not based on the latest research.
One of the studies that we will often refer to in this article is Schmidt and Hunter's 1998 article on the validity of selection methods. This article summarizes "85 years of scientific results" in a meta-analysis (an analysis that combines data from multiple studies). We have also included a number of more recent studies on this topic.
1. IQ tests
Our first method of recruiting is the IQ test or the General Mental Ability (GMA) test.
The IQ test is perhaps the best-established concept in the social sciences. Whether we like it or not, your IQ is the best indicator of your academic success, your ability to learn, how successful you are at your job, and how much money you will earn in your life.
Because IQ is not specifically related to job knowledge, it can be used to hire any position, whether in IT or marketing, whether senior or junior.
Interestingly, IQ is indicative of two things when it comes to work. First, he predicts how quickly the candidate will get the job. This means that candidates with a higher IQ will have a shorter 'productivity time', an indicator that measures how long it takes for a new person to contribute to an organization. Second, he predicts how successful the candidate will be in the job.
Of course, IQ is not everything.
According to a meta-analysis by Schmidt & Hunter (1998), GMA predicts up to 26% of a candidate's work. This still leaves 74% open for interpretation!
Although GMAs are generally seen as an effective tool for predicting future success, there are a number of studies that also question the extent to which they are applicable based on job position/industry and the fairness of the tests themselves. In general, decisions should not be made solely on the basis of these results and should always be combined with other recruitment methods to balance potential shortcomings.
2. Unstructured job interviews
There is no doubt that you are probably already using interviews in the hiring process. But did you know that the way you structure your interviews can have a big impact on their effectiveness?
Many companies, especially start-ups, have little time to plan the interview process.
Instead, they let managers use their own questions and evaluation tools. But if you've used unstructured interviews so far, it's time to stop! When we look at the meta-analysis of Schmidt and Hunter, we can see a significant difference in the validity of the unstructured interview compared to the structured interview.
This means that unstructured interviews predict approximately 14% of the new employee's performance, while the result of those that are planned reaches 26%! This means that you will need about 3 unstructured interviews to be as confident in someone's skills as you would be if you conducted 1 structured interview.
Unstructured interviews lead to decisions based on personal opinion and instinct, not to a fair and equitable comparison. A significant number of studies have found that when interviews are unstructured, certain candidates are more likely to be preferred based on the interviewer's bias. Unconscious bias is more common than you might think, and can significantly impair your recruitment efforts. Instead, having a set of questions that each candidate must answer improves the chances of a fair assessment.
3. Structured job interviews
Combining structured interviews with a GMA test was the second result for future performance in a meta-analysis of Schmidt and Hunter. Precisely because structured interviews mean that candidates are evaluated on the basis of the same questions, they are considered to be significantly more valid in terms of predicting future results. Studies show that the comparison of candidates is based on the same criteria, which reduces the chances of a biased interview.
Moreover, taking the time to research the right questions for the interview process will help you make better decisions when hiring employees. Even the technology giant Google analyzes the data behind the previous ones and always strives to make its processes driven by previously accumulated data. Recently, the company decided to give up its scandalous puzzles after finding that the answers do not give any idea of future success in the work.
While face-to-face or telephone interviews can be a great way to see how a person expresses and presents their qualifications, they don't tell us everything. The fact is that some people are much better at selling themselves and their abilities than others. Are we going to lose a lot of talent just because they are not comfortable with interviews?
4. Trial tests
Setting a short assignment is a great way to see the potential skills of the hiring candidate in action. Typically, "event organizer" candidates are asked to devise a fake event strategy to demonstrate how much foresight they put into their planning. Content creators are usually given a short writing assignment to get an idea of their style. You can even conduct group sample job tests to see how different people are able to interact and get the job done.
But is this the ideal method?
According to Schmidt and Hunter, using a test task to perform the activity is one of the best ways to determine how well a candidate will do his job. This is just as effective as a structured interview!
One of the potential disadvantages, however, is that this method may not be effective in hiring candidates who have no previous experience. Today, people are constantly changing their career directions. Especially in new or difficult to fill jobs, it is necessary to be open to candidates who do not yet have the necessary skills, but have a desire to learn, which they need to grow, develop and adapt to the needs of the organization.
5. Tests for knowledge of work
Instead of focusing on just one aspect of the candidate's abilities, test his/her knowledge in the field of the job he/she is applying for. This will allow you to get a broader picture of his specific expert skills. Unlike the GMA, the candidate's training potential is not assessed here. Knowledge of the specific job can be used to inform the manager of what the candidate already knows. Knowledge tests in the field of the job position for which job seekers are sought have traditionally focused on procedural knowledge (if situation x arises, which procedure should be used in response?) A survey of 2005 points out that these tests have been better at predicting the effectiveness of military-related recruits who focus entirely on these procedures. The authors recently expanded their tests to include information on decision-making skills.
As a result, they found that the job test could actually provide a better prediction for future performance than cognition tests.
If you decide to use this method, think about the types of questions you ask and what role they require. Again, like the previous ones, the knowledge in the subject area of the job position is more difficult to test for employees who have no previous experience. However, this allows you to check if the candidates have a good understanding of the job they have applied for.
Some believe that methods such as IQ tests, interviews, and job knowledge tests do not go far enough to give us a true understanding of a candidate's character and ability to adapt and grow in the work environment. The following two methods provide testing that goes beyond knowledge and intelligence.
6. Integrity test
A GMA test, interview, or job screening will not show you the candidate's behavioral traits. Someone may be very intelligent and skilled in a particular field, but may not have the soft skills needed to work in a team, or may even have a tendency to toxic behavior. The integrity test identifies a person's propensity for honesty, reliability and independence.
Using this type of assessment, companies try to select talent who is more likely to behave positively in the workplace. And the results are positive.
In the Schmidt and Hunter study, the integrity test itself predicts 17% of future performance. In combination with the GMA test, it reaches 42%! Although this method is highly effective, it is good to be aware of the disadvantages.
One of them is the acceptability and fairness of the assessment.
The use of an integrity test leading to recruitment decisions raises ethical issues. Should we use such self-esteem to measure a person's honesty? How about the possibility of false positives? Moreover, those who are rejected on the basis of the test may feel that they are labeled as "unfair." Therefore, good communication of the test results is key to the good experience of the candidate.
This brings us to the second problem - the need for trained test administrators. Untrained recruiters can exacerbate the issue of fairness through misinterpretation or misclassification of results.
7. Tests of conscience
Like integrity tests, the conscience test measures a person's level of self-discipline and reliability through organizational skills and the ability to create long-term goals. Personality tests such as NEO-PI, Big Five and MBTI are some of the most popular methods.
Personality traits are indicative of work behavior. Of the Big Five, good faith is mostly about getting the job done. People who are conscientious are described as orderly, obedient, striving for achievement, self-disciplined and hardworking.
Because personality traits and IQ are two very different things, a combination of GMA testing and conscientiousness testing is able to predict 36% of work.
Of the other personality traits, only extraversion seems to be somewhat related to performance.
8. Evaluation by colleagues
Other ways that some recruiters use to find candidates who will be both good at joining the team and doing the job are peer evaluations. Today, more and more companies are using these reviews to evaluate performance. Unlike traditional performance checks, which the manager applies to his employees, the opinion of colleagues provides a good view of a person's abilities.
Unlike the test of integrity and consciousness, based only on self-esteem, these results allow us to get an idea of how the candidate is perceived directly by the people he works with.
Of course, this method can only be used for company employees who already have previous evaluations from colleagues. There are also concerns that peer reviews may be influenced by factors such as popularity.
9. Reference checks
Reference checks are one of the oldest methods of recruitment. And it makes sense. If you want to know more about a potential candidate, who will know better about him than his previous employer?
Schmidt and Hunter's research found that reference checks predicted only about 7%. There are a number of considerations that need to be considered when using this method.
As with interviews, when we use reports as a method of hiring employees, we must take into account the potential for bias. Studies show that 62% of evaluators' decisions are a reflection of themselves. In other words, the perception we have of another person and their performance will be changed by our own standards and values. References can be helpful, but be sure to use this method along with other, more predictive estimates.
So far, we've looked at the most popular and well-researched methods, but to find the right recruitment approach for your needs, we need to look at some of the current challenges that could affect your search.
10. Improving job postings
Improving diversity is a major challenge facing many human resource managers.
We must not only determine the methods by which candidates are to be evaluated, but we must first consider how to attract them. The advertising we use for a job or the organization itself can actually have a big impact on the people who apply.
The language we use is especially important.
A number of studies have found that the wording we use can sometimes prevent certain groups of candidates from targeting our company.
This can be based on gender, ethnicity, age, introverts, extroverts, parents, etc. One study found that when gender is not mentioned in job advertisements, there will be a 42% increase in candidates.
11. Referrals for employees
Your company actually has much broader connections than you think. Instead of focusing only on the candidates who contact you through the main source, use intermediaries to find the right person for you.
Studies show that employee recommendations reduce the cost and time of recruiting. A newcomer who is hired through this method is more likely to stay longer at work. A Deloitte survey found that 51% of organizations believe that employee recommendations are the best when it comes to hiring new staff. Some companies increase the potential of this method by offering bonuses to intermediaries with each new appointment they contribute.
As with all methods, there is a drawback.
Employee referrals can negatively affect the diversity of your organization, as they will identify people who are similar to them, whether they share the same social circle, live in the same neighborhood, or attend the same university. A recent BCG survey reported that organizations whose management teams have above-average employee diversity report 19 percent higher revenue from new products and services launched over the past three years.
Recruiting staff working in the technology industry is going through a particularly difficult time. The technically competent person is in great demand and traditional recruitment methods are often less effective for this group of candidates. Circles of interviews, tests and evaluations are not something that these potential employees, especially the younger ones, are ready to go through.
Instead, many companies have rethought how they can make the recruitment process more fun for candidates and more efficient for companies. Hackathons are a good example. Like situational group interviews, hackathons allow recruiters to see how developers interact with others, solve problems, and apply their skills in action.
Other applications include estimates obtained. Although some claim to be very good at predicting results, they are usually tested by the company itself, so the results should be interpreted with caution.
13. Video job postings, applications and interviews
In today's interconnected world, companies are not limited to local funds for competent persons. International employment is now becoming the norm. But it can also affect the effectiveness of some of the more traditional methods we've discussed.
In the digital world, video-based job postings, applications and interviews are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, job ads based on Facebook video receive 36% more applicants. After moving to a video-based selection process, Hilton was able to reduce their hiring time from six weeks to five days.
14. AI-based screening process
New advances in AI technology and automation are here to help recruiters so they don't have to sift through resumes indefinitely. In fact, you can lose 14 hours a week if you don't automate some of your tasks.
There are various intriguing AI recruitment applications, ranging from automated candidate search and rediscovery to matching, their pre-selection, and everything in between. Employment assessment tools often combine (elements of) GMA, job test and integrity in an online experience to predict the likelihood of the candidate succeeding in the job for which he or she is applying.
Simply put, AI works by analyzing historical data and using it in decision making. Sometimes, in the case of incompetent use of technology, this may mean that AI will copy the biases of the traditional recruitment system.
15. Hiring of freelancers and contractors
Finally, the rise of freelance provides more and more opportunities for recruiting companies. Survey by Deloitte found that the average time required to fill the position, actually increased. This means that more money is spent on the recruitment process and less money is generated while the position remains unfilled.
Hiring freelancers and contractors is a great cost alternative. Although in free practice they still need to pass an inspection, the costs associated with negotiating them are much lower. The consequences are also not so great if you accidentally hire someone who is not suitable.
Each organization will have different needs and challenges in the recruitment process that it must overcome. We hope that with this list you will be able to get a better idea of the opportunities available and how effective they can be in achieving your recruitment goals.
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