Assessing the Perfect Hire
By Jason Hamilton, [email protected]
On the job hunt, experience matters.
Or, does it? Maybe not as much as many job seekers and hourly employers might think.
According to hourly hiring managers surveyed by hourly employment network Snagajob earlier this year, experience is not the No.1 trait that managers desire in a potential candidate. Instead, experience ranked third, behind schedule and a positive attitude, signaling that previous experience is still important, but it’s not the driving force of every hire.
In a job market with relatively high unemployment, one might think that it should be easy enough to find that perfect hourly candidate, someone who might possess a combination of a flexible schedule, a positive attitude and even previous experience. But, that hasn’t been the case, necessarily.
A Manpower survey released this spring showed that nearly half of U.S. employers reported difficulty filling positions. Some of the most difficult positions to fill are within the hourly workforce – sales representatives and drivers among them.
What can managers do to find the types of employees they desire with the skill set they need? One answer lies in assessments.
Assessments are screener questions asked as part of a candidate’s application process designed to give employers an indication of how a candidate will perform once they are hired. They also help to weed out unqualified candidates before they can even advance to the interview stage. Assessments can get to both the skills of the applicant and to the applicant’s behaviors that will impact their performance in specific working environments.
Think of it this way: an applicant who possesses strong math skills may do well as a cashier, but if that same applicant doesn’t have a service attitude or doesn’t work well in customer-service environments, that applicant may not be a fit for a job.
Applications deliver information about experience, availability and references, but only assessments can get to the applicant’s preferred working environment where he or she will be engaged, will excel and will stick around.
You might be wondering if adding assessment questions to your hiring process will make it too complicated. Nope, not a problem. Most online assessments are completed by job seekers in about 15 minutes. And frankly, if your prospective candidate isn’t willing to spend 15 minutes thinking specifically about joining your company, you probably don’t want them on your team, a screening tool in itself.
In addition to solving the big goal of landing right-fit employees, screening is a worthwhile endeavor in a number of measurable ways, according to the Aberdeen Group, a research company. Their data shows businesses using assessments during the application process experience:
- 64% improvement in the quality of a hire
- 28% higher employee engagement
- 7% reduction in turnover rates
- More than two times an improvement in cost per hire
The way we see it, you have two choices: Continue to use a general application that will tell you a person’s name, address and maybe years of experience. And be prepared that your odds of hiring the right person are probably against you – and you won’t know until you’ve rolled the dice and brought a candidate on board. Or, take the time to understand what a star employee is for your company, and by breaking out those qualities, you can then use assessment questions to identify your shining stars among job candidates. In this case, it’s as much your experience that matters – put your company knowledge to the test and use assessments to make better hires.
Now, previous experience does matter.
Jason Hamilton is senior VP marketing for Snagajob, the largest hourly employment network for job seekers and employers and the only company to provide both sourcing and talent management solutions to the hourly industry. Contact him at [email protected].
Asda distribution deal major win for Polaroid brand
The Polaroid company may have went through its share of financial difficulties, but there is plenty of equity left in the brand name and Walmart’s Asda unit is looking to capitalize on it this month with a new line of consumer electronics.
Asda this week began offering an exclusive range of CE items including televisions, media players and audio equipment under the Polaroid brand.
“We’re extremely proud to be stocking this exciting new range of products from Polaroid,” said Michael Arnott, Asda’s technology expert. “It is a brand synonymous with high quality, instant entertainment and value and therefore a perfect fit for our customers.”
Polaroid is synonymous with the instant camera, but the company’s founder, Edwin H. Land, was quite the technology innovator. Sort of the Steve Jobs of his era.
Unfortunately, Polaroid never monetized its technological innovations the way Jobs did at Apple, and the company fell on hard times in the 90s and eventually filed for bankruptcy.
The Polaroid brand lived on though and after changing hands a few times the current ownership group, PLR IP Holdings, has sought to leverage a high degree of brand equity by apply the name to an expanded offer of technology items.
Nielsen: CPG sales continue to decline
NEW YORK — Volume sales for U.S. consumer packaged goods have fallen since last year due to higher prices, less promotional support and soaring temperatures, according to Nielsen SVP consumer and shopper insights Todd Hale.
Hale said that between late September 2011 and mid-April 2012, 50 of 64 major food and nonalcoholic beverage categories experienced declining unit sales. Among the declining categories, 16 of them accounted for 71% of the losses, while eight were typical cold weather categories. Hale noted that people took advantage of unseasonably warm weather and avoided preparation of traditional hot meals, noting the categories that beared the brunt of this trend included canned vegetables, soup and frozen prepared foods.
Despite these declines, Hale also noted that 14 edible categories saw unit gains, eight of which being categories historically popular in warm weather months. These included fresh produce, bottled water and ice.
"Given the challenges, more than ever, CPG food manufacturers and retailers must collaborate on consumer and shopper solutions," Hale said. "Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacking solutions that cross fresh and center-store departments and deliver value beyond low prices must take on increasing focus in stores and retailer ads. Easy recipes and tips for left-over food management go a long way with consumers. In lieu of making shoppers walk the entire store to assemble meals, finding secondary locations for center-store and fresh products can promote impulse purchases and make a meal occasion more complete."
Additional factors that CPG retailers and manufacturers may not be taking into consideration when developing a turnaround sales strategy: the rise of alternative channels (club, dollar, online); prepared-meals focus from retailers; an aging population; gas prices; and sales for the top 150 fast casual restaurants up 8.4% to $21.5 billion in 2011 – near pre-recession levels.
Looking ahead, Hale said that that those hoping for improved sales in the second half of 2012 into 2013 "may be disappointed."
"Record-breaking temperatures and wide-spread drought conditions this summer are expected to put added pressure on crop, feed and commodity prices for CPG products for the months ahead," Hale said.
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