Talent Acquisition – Today’s best practices in recruitment, assessment, selection and onboarding

The executives at this session assembled to discuss talent acquisition best practices for recruitment, assessment, selection and onboarding. During introductions, it was determined that of the four talent acquisition topics, the topic of most interest was onboarding, followed by assessment. Participants believed their recruitment and selection practices were meeting their needs more than onboarding and assessment. Several attendees expressed challenges or difficulties with assimilating new hires and acquired businesses into the culture of their organizations. The discussion surfaced the following best practices.
To ensure retention of new employees and provide them with all the tools necessary for success in their new roles, various talent acquisition best practices were shared for onboarding:

  • Show a video about the history of the organization
  • Hold orientation session on a consistent day for all new hires, such as every Monday
  • Have executives visit each session to speak about the company and their career history from a personal perspective and give a feel for the “promote from within” culture
  • Create a “Passport” book for managers and employees to use to facilitate the process over the first year of employment
  • Consider the onboarding process to be the first full year and use this time to talk about culture / people / development – focus on what makes the company different
  • Offer yoga, therapy puppies, wellness spa
  • Provide hiring managers with guidance and tools for the employee’s first 30-60-90 days
  • Use “Red Carpet / Silk Road” technology as onboarding product
  • Focus on remote employee orientation using technology
  • Hold individual company tours designed around each position
  • Create a paperless onboarding process and orientation
  • Make senior management job offers to the candidate, and include their spouse/partner, usually over dinner
  • Hold a week of transactional training – for example, work in a retail store
  • HR should schedule out the first three weeks of orientation individually for each senior management hire, including key 1:1 meetings, lunches, and other activities to assimilate them
  • Create camaraderie by having each week’s new hire class be a formal “cohort,” and survey new hires by cohort at 6 months and 12 months to determine if process is effective
  • Have executives call each new hire at home with a personal welcome
  • Create a company university 101 class teaching all about the company. Have all current employees attend it as well
  • To assist in communicating company mission and purpose, train each employee to be able to say what the company does in two minutes or less
  • Conduct a virtual (electronic) orientation once per week – using web-based virtual training helped to “shrink” the feeling of the size of the company
  • Utilize a buddy / mentor program by having existing high performing, longer-tenured employees paired up with new hires
  • Define success factors and smart goals, what to do and how they’ll be measured in a formal way during the first few weeks of employment
  • Use CEO to establish presence in the onboarding process – CEO speaks at each orientation

After this rich discussion, the executives discussed their experiences and suggestions for Pre-Hire Assessment. Most organizations do use some form of testing, ranging from structured interview to a full battery of skill and fit measures. The group agreed that such tests should only be a weighted part of the hiring decision (failing the tests did not exclude the candidate from being hired).
Federal contractors shared that OFCCP compliance requirements often made it difficult to conduct or defend pre-employment tests. Some organizations had not found any correlation between the testing and success rates on the job and could not justify the expense or effort. Subjectivity remains a big piece of the selection process.
The trend is for employers to closely examine the effectiveness of such assessments. It was suggested that a thorough job analysis and validation process needed to occur to implement an effective assessment. Where assessments were removed, it may have been from having an assessment that was an “off the shelf test” that may not have a proven link to success in the position. This is because the job had changed or the test was never initially validated for the particular role.
Some assessments currently being used include:

  • Bennet Mechanical test
  • Talent Fit
  • Wonderlic
  • Caliper
  • Polaris Test Systems
  • Targeted Selection
  • PCI
  • HR Challey
  • Interview Architect

To summarize our talent acquisition best practices, when there was a concern it seemed to come from a poor understanding of the position. Some were abandoning assessments in favor of a more structured, well-designed behavioral interviewing process and pre-application screening questionnaire.