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Why it’s Time to Reinvent Talent Assessment

Recruiting teams will need to up their game in the next few years if they’re going to provide sufficient support; three steps will help

Ask any manager that has been involved in looking for new staff across the past few years, and they’ll probably complain that there is a dearth of good candidates to fill any position. Some would argue that there’s a crisis looming, and many HR teams would say that they’re already having to work through one.

As technology transforms both customer expectations and the opportunity for companies to adjust how they fulfill those expectations, senior executives are making an almost constant stream of large-scale changes to their operations.

All this change, plus a demand for roles that can cope with all the new technology companies are using, means that labor markets have undergone more change than the companies that shop in them. For example, only 21 roles account for 40% of all jobs posted by S&P 100 firms in 2015, according to CEB data. Demand is high and supply is scarce.

With Change Comes Opportunity

It might be a business cliché, but it’s still true that anything which causes managers problems also offers a great opportunity for the teams and the companies that can overcome those problems. And so those firms that are able to identify the next generation of talent will have an edge over the competition and set themselves up for success.

Unfortunately, more firms are getting this wrong than right at the moment. Corporate recruiting teams are failing to attract the right kind of candidates with 72% of applicants considered low-to-average quality. Poor performance by unsatisfactory new hires, and the subsequent turnover it causes, can cost the average large company $28 million a year.

Finding the Right People

In many companies, the process of identifying talent consumes substantial time and resources but there is often there no clear impact on business results. At the same time, the average time to fill a role has increased by 50% over the past five years (from 42 business days in 2010 to 63 business days in 2015), without meaningful improvement in the quality of hire – manager ratings of new hires today average 8.02 (out of 10 points) compared to essentially the same score of 7.97 five years ago.

Traditional recruitment programs focus on finding the most qualified candidate to fill a role without considering how they fit in the new work environment.  Companies’ expectations of what recruitment programs can deliver have evolved as they recognize the influence HR exerts on overall employer brand and long-term growth strategy. Despite this, only half of HR leaders collect metrics to show the value of talent investments when making business decisions.

What companies need is an integrated framework for talent identification – one that uses competency frameworks as a common language for assessing the value of HR initiatives and integrates HR systems and data. For this to happen, the role of HR professionals needs to shift from “process owner” to “talent advisor.”

Essentially there are three steps that HR teams need to take if they want to ensure they have the right people in seat, and get hold of those people before their competitors do. This series of posts will cover each of these steps in turn.

  1. Learn some simple best practices for establishing an assessment function.
  2. Help HR professionals move away from process, and towards becoming a “talent advisor.”
  3. Learn how to make use of assessment innovations.


More On…

  • Talent Assessment

    Learn more about CEB's work on building a talent assessment function.

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