The importance of a good recruitment process in staff retention
Sometimes when people leave a job, it’s simply because you hired the wrong person, which can result from errors in your recruitment process.
Having a strong, research-backed recruitment process can reduce the chances of hiring someone who’s not a good fit for the job, the team or the organisation.
And there are a number of key factors – that you can test for – that will help you determine whether someone is likely to turn out to be a good hire, including integrity, personality, values and more.
How to hire well to reduce employee turnover
Watch the video to understand how a strong recruitment process can reduce your staff turnover.
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How to hire well for staff retention
Hi, Andrew from SACS.
And welcome to video number three in our six video series on staff turnover, which is entitled Why Do People Leave Their Jobs?
In the previous two videos, we talked about how to measure staff turnover and also to make sure that prospective hires know what they’re letting themselves in for when they join you.
This video is focused particularly on the question of whether the people were a good hire or not.
And that’s really a question about recruitment accuracy.
Recruitment accuracy is something that’s really important in recruitment practise to ensure that you’re able to achieve the objectives of your organisation.
But good recruitment practise does have a massive impact on staff turnover.
Two common recruitment errors
Now, we can make errors in making recruitment decisions. And here’s a couple of really common types.
Type number one is what’s called a type one error.
And a type one error is where you hire the wrong person.
Now, everybody gets that because that person sitting in that office down the hall from you is doing a terrible job and you hired them. That’s spectacular.
The other type is a type two error and type two errors are where we reject the wrong people.
Now, we never know about type two errors because people apply to us.
We think that we’ve got a good process, we reject them, they disappear, and then they go and do a great job for our competitors.
So type two errors are, in a sense, equally, or perhaps even in a sense, more malevolent than type one errors, because we all know that it’s really hard to find good talent and type two errors we will never see.
So this is why it’s good idea to embrace some science in your recruitment practises.
So the right people are people who can do it and could do the job that you’re hiring for.
They like it. They like the job team and leader that they’re working with. And they fit in. In other words, people like them.
The League Ladder of Recruitment Predictiveness
So let’s talk about some of the things that we know about what causes people to be like that.
Now this diagram (refer to the video), it’s an infographic, which is I call it the League Ladder of Recruitment Predictiveness.
Or sometimes, if you’re in Sydney, the League Table of Recruitment Predictiveness.
In a sense, it’s a ranking of the most predictive things to the least predictive things in recruitment practise.
Now, if you look right at the bottom, those of you who are my age will be pleased to see that age is a shocking predictor of success at work.
These figures here are correlation coefficients, and the smaller they are, the less accurate it is.
What it means is that there’s no relationship between this measure and work performance. So the closer it gets to zero, the worse the relationship.
By the way, you see, graphology is not good either. Graphology is handwriting analysis and the zodiac doesn’t work very well.
Those kind of eye colour doesn’t work, sadly. So there are a bunch of things that don’t work.
But what does work?
Why you should be using integrity testing
I must say we’re doing our best to try and change that because integrity testing is a brilliantly effective thing to do.
But integrity testing is measurement of whether the person is likely to do bad things to their colleagues or to the organisation.
And the instrument, the measurement instrument, is a set of questions that relate to whether people have done bad things in the past.
It always astonishes people, by the way, that people will confess to doing bad things when they’re completing a questionnaire.
But trust me, they do.
In other videos, we explain why that is.
But certainly you see that an integrity test by itself has a validity of over 0.4, and it would not have a validity of over 0.4 if everybody was faking them successfully.
The best recruitment practices
Cognitive ability and integrity, cognitive ability and structured interviews.
So this is not a symposium on recruitment methods, it’s a symposium on staff turnover.
But a structured interview is an interview which has been constructed using behavioural interview questions based on an outcome-based job description.
And see the previous video if you’re interested in what an outcome-based job description is.
But if you define a job in terms of the outcomes that it needs to achieve, and then ask behavioural interview questions about those outcomes, and in the previous video, I used the example of a human resources manager and how they need to achieve internal customer service.
So an outcome of the job is internal customer satisfaction and the behavioural interview question that can get at that, please give an example of where you’ve made customers happy in the past.
By the way, the best behavioural interview questions are simple like that.
Cognitive ability and work sampling, work sample tests, cognitive ability tests, structured interviews, personality tests, et cetera.
The importance of algorithm-based decisions
So I guess one of the things that we’re seeing at the top here (refer to the video) is that in virtually all of the combinations of the most predictive measures, psychometric testing is involved.
Now, why? Well, it’s what’s called algorithm-based decision making.
Human beings without a structure don’t tend to make very good decisions. Read the famous book Thinking Fast and Slow to get an understanding of that.
Humans are not good at making decisions impressionistically.
They make them and they feel confident about them, but they’re often wrong.
And using psych tests, particularly validated psych tests that have been properly developed through research, increases the accuracy of recruitment methods markedly.
So let’s look at some examples of all of this.
SACS does work for an extremely wide range of sectors – manufacturing, mining, government, not-for-profit sector.
Staff characteristics example: The disability sector
But I was giving a symposium recently to the disability sector and we picked out some data from thousands of people who worked in the disability sector and I thought that that would be a good example of how personality profiles and values profiles can cause you to recruit people who fit better.
This is an example using the HEXACO Personality Inventory. Now, SACS recommends the HEXACO Personality Inventory (refer to the video).
It’s one of the most accurate measurement instruments to predict work performance that’s been developed in personality to date.
And I guess one of the things that I encourage you to do is if you look at this profile, you see that kind of brownish, taupeish kind of line at 50, that’s population average.
And this is a sample based on thousands of people who work in the disability sector.
Now the first thing that hits your eye is that if you think of this in a purely statistical sense, if these people were exactly population average, the blue line would be corresponding perfectly to the brown line.
The brown line is the population average from professionals in Australia.
The blue line is what we find in the disability sector.
Personality differences across the disability sector
So the first thing that hits your eye is that the disability people are very different from population average.
In other words, there’s something that’s attracting people to that sector that is different from population average.
And also what it means is that the people who remain in that sector are people who are different from population average.
So there are certain characteristics that incline them to that sector.
And whatever sector you’re in, that would be the same. Sectors are not identical in terms of personality characteristics that fit in.
Mind you, there are some that are general. So I’ll talk about a couple of those as we go through.
The first thing I want to talk about is honesty/humility and honesty/humility is the characteristic of being truthful and not arrogant.
And look at the scores here. So these scores, just to explain them, 50 is population average, but this is a type of standard score called the T-score.
So ten is a standard deviation. So these scores that are approaching a standard deviation away from population average, that’s a long way from population average.
So this in comparison with the normative sample, it’s certainly in the top, say 15% or 20% of the Australian professional workforce.
So what that tells you straight away is that people who work in the disability sector, for some reason, are honest, straightforward, truthful and not arrogant, which is great news for the disability sector.
Then we look at emotionality. And what we see is that the emotionality scores in general, these three fearfulness, dependence and sentimentality almost exactly population average.
But look at this, anxiety is quite a long way below population average.
So what that says is that people who work best in the disability sector are low in anxiety.
Then we have the question of extroversion. And what we see is that most people in the disability sector are a bit extroverted.
In other words, if you’ve got a big sample like this, we haven’t bothered to do statistical tests, but this would be significantly different from population average.
But when you get more than half a standard deviation away from population average, people would say, okay, that’s a genuinely higher score.
So slight or modest extroverts work in the sector.
But look at agreeableness. Agreeableness is the degree to which people are approachable and not angry.
So the sector is populated very heavily by people who are nice people, they don’t get angry, they’re kind of approachable.
People would describe them as easy to get along with. So, again, that’s good news for the sector.
And then we get to conscientiousness and we find that the average person who works in the disability sector is an organised person.
They’re probably around about population average in terms of diligence, which is hardworking, and perfectionism, which is being detail-minded.
But they’re highly prudent. And prudence is the characteristic of being thoughtful, not impulsive about things, making your decisions wisely.
That’s a really marked personality characteristic of people who work in the disability sector.
And then relatively open-minded, well, let’s say population average in that respect.
So openness to experience is all about how much I like new and different things, and about population average is what we’re talking about here.
That’s an interesting characteristic. This is an important clue for the disability sector, isn’t it?
If you want people to fit in and you want people to not turn over quickly, recruit people who are kind of in this category from a personality point of view, people who are not markedly different.
Wouldn’t want to hire, for instance, people who are low in honesty/humility.
Mind you, that’s a good idea anyway, because people who are low in honesty/ humility go to jail more often than people who are high in honesty/humility.
Agreeableness – recruit people who are agreeable and easy to get along with.
And in fact, if you look at this profile overall, it suggests that people are kind of people-orientated people, they’re kind, honest, people-orientated people, which, again, is great news for the disability sector.
Now, personality is heavily genetically determined, so it tends not to change much in the course of life.
So if you recruit people who have personalities that are suited for your sector, they’re likely to be like that forever.
On the other hand, if you recruit people who are not suited, it’s almost impossible to coach them into being suited.
Typical personal values in the disability sector
Now, I want to talk about values, because values are not genetic, they’re largely learned, and every individual has a value set that they have acquired mainly from interacting with what sociologists would call significant others, people that we trust and believe.
And so this is the values profile of people who work in the disability sector (refer to the video).
We actually overlaid three sectors that are kind of community-care sectors.
And so the red one is the aged care sector, the green one is the disability sector, and the blue one is the general not-for-profit sector. And once more, this is population average.
Now, these scores are not standard scores any more. These are what are called percentiles.
And look, I know it’s confusing in psychology we tend to have preferred measures for certain things.
Personality seems always to use standard scores. Other things often use percentiles.
Percentile really says if you’re at the 50th percentile, your score is higher than 50% of anybody who’s done this test before.
If you’re at the 80th percentile, you’re in the top 20% of the population, that kind of thing.
But the first thing that hits your eye is that this not-for-profit sector is very different from population average. Look at how different they are.
I mean, there’s really only a couple of these that come close to average.
The second thing that should hit your eye is how similar all these not-for-profit sector profiles are.
So the values of people who work in the not-for-profit sector are relatively similar.
People who like to do kind things for other people tend to have similar value sets and they gravitate towards the sector and they stay there because of the fact that they have these value sets.
Shalom Schwartz, who’s probably the world’s number one researcher in values, identified the fact that values are really about fitting in.
If you have learned values and those values are in accordance with a group that you belong to, then they will like you and you will like them, you will fit in and you won’t seem unusual to them.
So just looking at the value set, well, low in power.
So people who are in the disability sector or in the not-for-profit sector generally tend to be not very domineering.
Achievement, that’s about a sense of ambition, relatively low, so not very driven in terms of self-progression.
Hedonism is about having fun. Let’s call that around about population average or a little bit below.
Stimulation is about how much do you like to do new and different things, very low scores in self-direction.
And I’ve often commented in conferences that this is one of the reasons that these sectors can sometimes struggle to find people who are keen to lead.
Because if people are low in self-direction, what that means is they believe it’s quite alright to be supervised by other people.
So that can make it more difficult to find large numbers of leaders.
Then we see universalism, and not surprisingly, that’s high. If we explain what universalism is – universalism is all about wanting to make the world a better place.
And after all, what was the not-for-profit sector invented for?
And then we see benevolence, is all about wanting to help people. So a little bit above population average tradition.
What that means is that people respect the way that things have been done so far.
So a little above population average there, but very high in conformity.
And what that means is that people in the sector generally are the sorts of people who don’t want to break rules, they don’t want to be mavericks.
Now if you’re trying to undertake radical change in these not-for-profit sectors, that may be one of the reasons why we get a lot of reports from leaders in that sector that it can be difficult to do, because there’s not high levels of that radical thinking.
There’s more a conformity kind of a mindset.
And finally what we have here is high scores in security and security is I want people to be safe, I want people to be protected, I want people to be looked after and again, that’s a good thing perhaps for the sector.
Using staff profiling to hire well
So if you look at these profiles (refer to the video), the personality profiles and the values profiles, what you’re seeing is that people in the sectors are really different from population average but they have very common features.
Now if you’re recruiting using this kind of guidance your chances of having staff turnover is reduced by virtue of the fact that you are avoiding the issues associated with people not matching.
But as well as that, I don’t care what sector you’re talking about recruit people who are honest, recruit people who are emotionally stable, recruit people who are hardworking, you’re much more likely to have lower staff turnover.
I’ll just pick up that emotionality characteristic for a moment.
There have been many studies in the world of organisational psychology that have shown when you recruit people who have high levels of emotionality they get upset quickly, they get stressed quickly and of course that contributes to staff turnover as part of the entire profile that I’ve just described.
So there are some considerations about how to hire people in such a way that you reduce your staff turnover.
In the next video we’re going to be talking about why people leave their jobs, push factors and pull factors, and explaining exactly what push factors and pull factors are.
So when people leave an organisation they’re doing it either because they’ve been pushed out by something that’s negative or pulled towards something else that’s attractive click on the link below to follow the sequence of videos.
Watch the next video in this series to find out more about managing staff turnover:
And watch the previous video here: