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Biodata: How to score job applications

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How to use biodata scoring to streamline recruitment

What is Biodata Scoring?

When inundated with CV’s the best way to sort through all the applications is to develop a method for scoring them. Biodata Scoring, which is reading resumes in a planned structured fashion is a highly accurate recruitment technique.

To reduce the risk of errors when using the Biodata Scoring method it is important to obtain consensus from stakeholders as to what outcomes the job needs to achieve and how they will identify these competencies within the candidate’s resume.

Let’s explore the concept of Biodata Scoring further.

Use structured biodata scoring to simplify applicant screening

Watch the video to understand how you can use a structured scoring approach, using applicant biodata based on agreed criteria, to quickly narrow your pool of talent and focus your recruitment efforts.

Part 6 – What is Behavioural Interviewing

And watch the previous video here:

Part 4 – What Are the Most Effective Recruitment Methods

And if you know of anyone who would benefit from this video, please share it with them.

Video Transcript

Hi, Andrew from SACS, and welcome to video Number 5 in our sequence on candidate attraction and candidate evaluation.

So we’ve dealt with the candidate attraction sequence in earlier videos, and we’ve started off by talking about the fact that there is good science to rank the accuracy of different recruitment techniques, interviews, reference checks, psych testing, those kinds of things, and we are getting into specific recruitment techniques now.

I think we’re on biodata scoring, that’s what this video is about.

In the next video we’ll be talking about behavioural interviewing and so on through the various forms of candidate evaluation.

Now, in any recruitment process, you end up with a pile of candidates, it might be a big pile like 150, or it might be a little pile like 5, 10, 15.

Biodata scoring is a method by which you can take the person’s CV, and before you receive any applications you can decide what you are looking for and you can develop a scoring system for doing this. When we look at the ranking of accuracy of recruitment techniques, you’ll find that this is actually a very effective way of improving your accuracy. And in fact, biodata scoring, in other words, reading the CV in a planned and structured fashion can be as accurate as many interviews.

Real World Outcomes

Firstly, you’ll have to identify the competencies required to achieve the real world outcomes.

In other words, in an earlier video I explained this concept called outcome based job definition and how that’s changing the world of job definition and improving it markedly, defining jobs in terms of outcomes rather than tasks.

So to build a good biodata scoring process you need to have thought through the outcomes that the job needs to achieve.

And then what you’ll do, is you’ll evaluate the CV to see whether the experience that the person has had so far makes it likely that they will be able to undertake the competencies to deliver the outcomes in your job.

Now, this goes back to a really simple but an absolutely crucial rule of recruitment, which is, the best predictor of the future is the past.

So if you are asking somebody to do something that they have never done in their life before, well they may be able to do it, but the risk that they won’t is much increased.

So if you’re asking somebody to do something on a larger scale that they’ve actually done before, the probability that they’ll be able to do that is quite strong.

Similarly, if you’re going to ask somebody to do something which is similar to what they’ve done in the past but more complex, then that’s feasible as well.

But if you’re asking somebody to achieve an outcome that they’ve never achieved in their life before then don’t be surprised if they can’t do it.

Get consensus from stakeholders

One of the things that you might do is getting the decision and makers in the room at one time to agree this.

In other words, when you are hiring somebody, you might have a line manager, you might have HR, you might have the line manager’s boss, you might have various stakeholders, if you’re going to build this kind of a thing, it’s a really good idea to do it in a collaborative form.

Get everybody in the room so that you have a shared view about the outcomes that the job needs to achieve and what you’re going to favour in their CV.

Now, if you do this, the probability of ending up with errors is much reduced and this is a smart way of going about it.

Develop a scoring method

What you can then do is identify as a group what are the most important things to look for in the CV and develop a simple scoring method for background, simple as ABC.

At SACS, when we are evaluating these candidates in this way, A means somebody who’s got all of the competencies that we’re looking for as evidenced by their CV, B means maybe, and C means definitely not. And we reject the Cs straight away, and we go back to the B’s to try to clarify whether they actually have delivered the outcomes that we’re looking for in this job previously.

And the As, well, it’s just obvious that they’re the ones that we should proceed with. Predictiveness of 0.35.

That’s not a percentage but it can be converted into a percentage by squaring it, and what it means is that you’ll get about 12% accuracy purely and simply out of building a bio data scoring method, so that’s worth having.

Biodata scoring example

Now here’s an example, here, what we’re talking about is we are looking for certain activities in their CV today, so the job needs to deliver a budget outcome.

So the first item here is evidence of having managed the budget.

Another outcome that the job needs to deliver is growing the business, and so evidence of having managed growth.

The third criteria is having led teams in multiple locations.

And as you read the CV you’ve got the opportunity to rate the person’s capabilities or rate the person’s experience to date out of 10. 10 means extremely strong, zero means as weak as possible, five would be neither good nor bad.

And so by scoring these things, it allows you to come up with a numerical score overall for the candidate.

Now, I would suggest that you really shouldn’t have more than, let’s say, a maximum of five, six, maybe seven.

Five is a good number for this at a maximum, and certainly if you’ve got a simple scoring system this can be very helpful for having due diligence in the process of how you’re deciding to interview certain candidates.

But do you understand why I’m saying it’s a good idea to come up with these ideas collaboratively before setting off and reading the CVS, because I’m sure many people in the recruitment business in house or commercial recruiters have had the experience where they’ve presented candidates and the client saying, “Well, why is this person here?” Well, if you’ve gone through this process it reduces the probability of that happening.

We’ve talked about ranking the accuracy of recruitment methods, we’ve shown you the idea of bio data scoring and developing a simple scoring system, we’re going to give you a crash course on the absolute crucial components of behavioural interviewing.

Now, there are many extensive courses on behavioural interviewing, but from a research point of view, there are certain really crucial vitamins that makes behavioural interviewing work well and how to build behavioural interviewing questions.

Join me for the next video to get the inside knowledge on how to build really strong behavioural interview questions simply.

Watch the next video in this series to find out more about Candidate attraction & Evaluation:

Part 6 – What is Behavioural Interviewing

And watch the previous video here:

Part 4 – What Are the Most Effective Recruitment Methods

And if you’d like some help evaluating your next hire, contact us about our Psychometric Assessment Tools.

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