So you want to cut down your turnover? Me too. And Workforce has an article out this week about a NJ based real estate services org that is using testing to cut employee turnover. It's a good read. And I love that the company just isn't accepting that high turnover is the "norm" for their industry. I also love that they aren't just looking at skills alone and looking at candidate attitudes and motivation to help ensure they are hiring people who are going to be a great fit. I'm all about good fit. And who doesn't like a feel good story like theirs?
But you wanna know a little secret? You don't need a test to assess attitude or a candidate's motivational fit. You just need to ask questions, and listen. And do some more listening. And do some more listening. But do tests? I just don't know about that…
Maybe I'm cheap – and part of my beef with testing are the costs to develop and administer valid tests. Or maybe it's that I get a little irritated when we try to make HR and recruiting more scientific and more complicated than it really is. But the other issue? Whether it's a test used for recruiting to assess attitude or motivation, or a test to evaluate your work/leadership/management style… there are pre-conceived notions for what the "right" answer is, or what the best "type" is. And as a result? People, me included, answer questions based on what's "right." And so anyone can ace a test.
You want to test me to see if I've got the right attitude for your organization's culture? I can probably pass your test because I'm going to answer the questions in the most flattering way possible – even if they aren't true answers. I know, I know – I'm supposed to answer truthfully and honestly and really dig deep to give a realistic portrayal of who I am. But especially when it comes to the job search process, I think a lot of folks kinda think they know what employers want to hear – and they answer accordingly. Or, think about it this way – how many times you have interviewed someone and though, "He said all the right things… BUT…" But then you dug a little deeper on the next interview, or through reference checks. But then you asked some other folks who were involved in the interview process and they validated that nagging feeling you may have had.
Test are good for getting at hard skills. Can you do math? Can you write? Do you have good grammar? Can you create a formula in Excel? That's black and white. Does someone have the right attitude and motivation? Not so much, at least in this gal's book. Hiring for motivation and attitude? Good. Great. But I just don't think you need a test for that. Arm your recruiters and hiring managers with smart interview questions. Encourage them to dig deep with candidates with lots of follow up questions. And then tell them to sit back and listen. Really, really listen.
Jessica Lee is a VP of TA at Marriott International where she leads a team that enables the company to think big, broad and boldly about all things talent acquisition and in effect, keeps them relevant and ahead of the curve in how they attract and acquire top talent. Don’t be fooled by that fancy pants title and description though, she’s still an everyday HR gal in the trenches at the core. SPHR certified, a decade and a half into trench HR life… she can whip up a corrective action plan or source for your purple squirrel in a heartbeat.