Friday, 22 February 2013

Assessing Recruitment Candidates

Having participated on ‘both sides’ of an independent assessment process (as a recruitment candidate as well as a manager assessing candidates) I fully recommend it as a means of identifying the most appropriate candidate for the role. I say this there are a number of benefits of using an independent process over the traditional interview for both the employer as well as the candidate. Firstly, the process provides a wider range of information about a candidate than just an interview and therefore as an employer you are more likely to make the right decision. Secondly, the process is transparent and independent which is a comfort to both the organisation and candidates. It avoids any ‘halos or horns’ effect of managers assessing internal candidates ensuring that all candidates (both internal and external) are assessed on equal and fair terms. Lastly, (and if done properly!)the feedback to candidates following the assessment can be invaluable in helping them develop in their new role (if they are recruited) or learn new skills that will help them to land their next job. Personally I found the last point invaluable following the first assessment centre I attended many years ago. So what are the keys to making an assessment process successful? The following are my observations and recommendations. 1. To ensure independence, use an external organisation who have fully trained and competent assessors and can tailor their assessment tools for your organisation. 2. Be clear about the success criteria for the role. For example, what level of leadership skill is needed, does the role require strategic thinking and/or analytical skills? What type of communication skills and behaviours are important too? 3. Use a range of assessment tools to identify the key skills and behaviours you wish to measure. These might include a personality profile, attainment tests as well as a number of tools designed around the business and job role (e.g. business case scenarios, role plays, presentations etc.). 4. Use a simple scoring system. I recommend that at least three pieces of evidence are used to provide an assessment of each criteria. 5. Once scored the candidates can be ranked in terms of closest fit for the role as well as their potential to fulfil other roles. In my experience assessing potential is just as important as assessing job fit because it provides valuable information about candidates who can fulfil other roles in the business or alternatively be a successor to the person recruited. 6. Once the decision is made and communicated on who to appoint I recommend each candidate receives 1:1 feedback from the assessor(s) on how they performed at the assessment centre. It is important to remember that the feedback is not about the candidate’s ability to fulfil their current role but for the role advertised. My view is that the feedback should focus on the candidate’s strengths and development needs and what they can do to get themselves in a position to be successful. In this way the feedback is more likely to be motivating for the candidate. As I mentioned at the start, having participated on ‘both sides’ of an independent assessment centre I fully recommend it as a means of fairly and equitably identifying the most appropriate candidate(s) for the role and hopefully my experiences will provide you with a useful start to running an assessment process for your organisation.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Leading Change

I have witnessed many changes fail, from poorly implemented CRM systems that have compromised the organisation’s ability to service their customers effectively to inadequately executed acquisitions where the full business benefits were never realised. So why do so many large scale changes fail to live up to management’s expectations? I believe there are a number of pre-requisites for successful change. Some of these have been well documented over the years and a few are from my own observations and experience. Successful change happens when: 1. There is a compelling need (i.e. ‘we have to do this because….’) for the change and a clear vision for it. If change is simply a ‘good idea’ or a ‘nice thing to do’ it is likely to fail. 2. Leaders in the business demonstrate their commitment to change by regularly ‘walking the table’. So if the change involves restructuring and cost cutting, it’s probably best if senior managers don’t travel first class! 3. Employees understand what the changes mean for them personally and what they will be expected to do differently. 4. Managers and their staff are involved in and can help shape the changes in the areas that they are responsible for. Dictating change is rarely a recipe for success! 5. People involved in the change are regularly communicated to, they are listened to and their concerns are managed and dealt with promptly and effectively. 6. Individuals have the skills, capability and confidence to manage the reaction to change both in themselves and their teams. 7. Everyone is encouraged to behave in line with the changes and consequential actions taken if they don’t. 8. People are given the time and space to implement change as well as doing their day job. Staff need to be given time away from their day job to make changes happen. As I mentioned previously, I have seen many changes fail, mainly due to management not taking cognisance of one or more of the points above, and as a consequence not getting the engagement and commitment of their people to change too.