More and more companies are turning to people analytics for candidate selection…with good reason! 

Let’s face it: the traditional recruiting process is far from perfect. 

In fact, I would argue it’s unacceptable! 

It’s hard to generalize recruiting results from every third-party team or in-house shop. Some are clearly better than others. 

However, the statistics on recruiting at large are dreadful. 

Consider these figures compiled by Dr. John Sullivan, an HR expert and professor of management at San Francisco State University: 

  • 46% of all new hires fail within 18 months 
  • 40-60% of all management hires fail within 18 months 
  • Nearly 50% of executive hires fail within 18 months 
  • Only 19% of new hires can be declared an “unequivocal success” 

In a nutshell, roughly 50% of all new hires fail! It’s clear that something needs to change here. Before we talk about the value of people analytics, we need to make sure we understand the root of the problem. 

The Problem with Traditional Candidate Selection Processes

For decades we’ve relied on resumes and the gut feel of interviews to make hiring decisions. Unfortunately, neither is a very strong predictor of success. Let me break down why. 

Think about the data we get from a resume. It certainly provides us with some useful information on the candidate. However, a resume should only be used to determine whether someone is generally qualified for a position. It’s no good for predicting whether someone is truly a good fit for long-term success. 

The critical points are typically their years of experience in a related role or field, their skills, and their education. 

Let’s start with the easiest: education holds virtually no correlation to job performance. Aside from positions where education is crucial, like doctors or lawyers, it doesn’t predict whether someone will succeed in a role. 

Years of experience may seem more relevant. However, when you think about it, experience doesn’t indicate whether someone has a record of genuine success. We all know individuals who have “coasted” in professional capacities, doing just enough to avoid negative consequences without ever delivering considerable results.  

It’s a step in the right direction, but given the failure rates we see above, it’s clear we can’t rely solely on experience either. If the candidate with the most experience was always the best pick, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article! 

That brings us to skills, which are arguably the most important item on a resume. After all, we need to know whether someone can do the job. We shouldn’t hire anyone without the right skills. However, I’d like to point to Mark Murphy’s research on 20,000 new hires and their later performance. He noted that of the individuals who were fired, only 11% were fired for their lack of skills! 

It reiterates my earlier point: resumes should be used as a baseline, but we must dig deeper to find out whether someone is truly going to succeed in a role. 

Interviews Are Often Based on Intuition Alone

Obviously, no one is making hiring decisions based on resumes alone. We also rely on interviews to guide our decision process here. 

Done correctly, a structured interview can offer us valuable insight into a candidate and how they might fit into our team. They help us compare candidates and get further details on their work experience and skills. 

Unfortunately, we still need more information to predict success. Interviews are a useful tool, but we need something more objective to guide our candidate selection process. 

In the age of big data, it’s astonishing that we don’t leverage data more in the recruiting process. That’s where people analytics come in – they give us objective, scientifically validated data points to guide our decisions. 

How People Analytics Improve Candidate Selection

People analytics offer a lot of benefits for candidate selection, but it all starts with objective data points. Behavioral assessments are one example of this. These are short assessments that provide insight into how a person will behave in different situations. 

In an interview, it can be hard to determine whether someone really is a detail-oriented individual or whether they prefer working alone or with teams. Candidates may fib their answers to get an offer, and often don’t have the self-awareness to answer truthfully. Scientifically validated behavioral assessments give us objective answers about these questions, providing keen insights into how a candidate fits a role. 

However, the data offered by behavioral assessments goes much deeper than that. Behavioral assessments let us gain an in-depth analysis of how an individual will mesh with our team. These tools allow us to understand the nuanced dynamics of your team and how a new team member would fit in. They provide personalized recommendations on challenges you can expect while managing the team, as well as areas where the team will excel. 

These recommendations also extend to the personal level, letting you know where an individual will succeed and where they may need extra help. 

Behavioral Assessments: The Future of Candidate Selection

Behavioral assessments will never make your hiring decisions for you – nor should they. Behavioral assessments and other people analytics tools serve only to guide and inform us through the decision-making process. Furthermore, they’re scientifically validated to improve our odds of picking the right candidate. 

Our candidate selection process has an oversized influence on the success or failure of the company. It determines whether we build teams that crush their goals, or teams that fall into infighting and spin their wheels. It’s high time that we leveraged cutting edge tools to make better hires. After all, the recruiting process hasn’t been updated in over 50 years! 

If you want to try a behavioral assessment for yourself and see how it works, click the button below. It’s a quick way to get some insights into your drivers and strengths in the workplace. 

The right people, empowered to perform.