How ‘Hiring for Potential’ Can Help You Recruit Top-Tier Recent Graduates

Although universities provide large talent pools for companies to draw upon, campus recruiting of graduates can be a challenging process. Intense competition, the limited experience of recent graduates, and rigid time constraints all conspire to make it difficult for recruiters to identify and hire the most promising candidates. These challenges are all the more daunting in a tight labor market, when candidates have more choices than ever before.

Hiring managers need to be capable of efficiently evaluating candidates in a way that will predict their future performance, reduce bias and increase diversity, and deliver results at scale. One strategy that meets all these demands is “hiring for potential,” an approach that relies on cognitive and personality assessments to deliver predictive insights on candidates, expand the talent pool available to companies, and keep applicants engaged. This strategy doesn’t just streamline campus recruiting – it also helps companies reduce turnover, improve their culture, and build workforces that are equipped for a rapidly evolving global economy.

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Companies have never been under more pressure to find, onboard, and retain high-quality candidates.

While universities can help hiring managers build a stronger workforce as quickly as possible, traditional hiring methods aren’t up to the task. This is why employers should deploy powerful resources like pre-employment assessments to gain an edge over their competitors, prioritize diversity in the hiring process, and ultimately ensure that they’re only considering candidates who are likely to succeed in their new roles.

Your Graduate Hiring Process Has to Be Predictive

Over the past century, cognitive and personality assessments have consistently proven to be among the most reliable predictors of success on the job. According to an article published by the American Psychological Association, general cognitive ability and conscientiousness “appear to be relevant to performance in virtually every job studied.” The best cognitive assessments measure general intelligence with a brief multifaceted test to determine verbal, numeric, and spatial reasoning, and these assessments can be delivered to a mobile phone in just a few minutes.

Personality assessments complement cognitive assessments by providing invaluable information about how a candidate is likely to behave on the job. Mobile personality assessments can measure traits such as work ethic, drive, resilience, and integrity, as well as job-specific characteristics. This can control for high scores on cognitive tests, which tend to skew toward candidates from top-tier schools, reducing the diversity of your talent pool. As the APA article notes, there tends to be a synergistic effect when candidates have high cognitive ability as well as promising personality traits like conscientiousness.

While pre-employment assessments help companies make informed decisions on candidates regardless of the talent pool they’re exploring, these assessments are particularly useful on campus. Students and recent graduates rarely have much relevant job experience, so reliance on resumes and interviews can leave hiring managers with a lack of critical information. By assessing all candidates on a set of objective criteria, companies will level the playing field while simultaneously ensuring that their new hires are in the best possible position to succeed.

Building a Diverse Workforce

Diversity is becoming more and more integral to modern workforces. According to a 2020 McKinsey report, “greater diversity, in terms of both gender and ethnicity, is correlated with a significantly greater likelihood of outperformance.” Candidates are increasingly reporting that they want to work for companies that prioritize diversity – a 2020 Glassdoor survey found that more than three-quarters of job-seekers “report a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.” Meanwhile, 79 percent of recent graduates regard diversity as “very important” in a company’s workforce.

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There are several ways hiring for potential can help companies find and hire more diverse candidates. First, pre-employment assessments cut down on the biases that distort traditional hiring methods and marginalize many qualified candidates. Second, because these assessments reduce the administrative burden on companies and allow hiring managers to screen more candidates for follow-ups, they increase the volume of pre-vetted candidates who meet their demands (rather than relying on the inefficient and subjective processes of resume review and interviewing). And third, assessments can be administered via mobile devices, which is helpful for candidates who may not have access to laptops and other equipment (such candidates are disproportionately members of marginalized groups).

At a time when companies are increasingly recognizing the business value of diversity, it’s vital for employers to orient their campus recruiting efforts toward identifying candidates with a broader range of backgrounds, experiences, and capacities.

Focusing on Candidate Engagement

Candidates have never had more access to information about your company’s workforce, culture, and hiring process. Resources like Glassdoor and LinkedIn provide platforms for job-seekers to share experiences and tips, and recent college graduates are more likely than older candidates to use these resources. Considering the fact that 86 percent of candidates research company reviews when deciding where to apply, it’s essential that you focus on engagement at every level – including during the hiring process.

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One way to make the recruiting experience as engaging and enjoyable as possible is by using game-based assessments. Games can increase candidates’ interest in your selection process (and your company more broadly), improve application completion rates, and create a positive image of your brand. Game-based assessments are also a reliable way to determine whether candidates have the aptitude and temperament for the job, from testing their ability to solve problems creatively to revealing how they react to failure.

Countless companies descend on campuses every year in search of talent, and yours can set itself apart with resources like game-based assessments and other tests that make the hiring process frictionless, fair, and engaging. But these resources won’t just attract candidates and give them a positive impression of your brand – they’ll also help you accurately identify the best prospective employees for your company, reduce the logistical burden of the hiring process, and improve time-to-hire and onboarding. This is an immensely difficult time for hiring professionals – the tight labor market, increasing demands from candidates, and persistent hyper-turnover will continue to force companies to fight harder and harder for high-quality candidates. While campuses provide a huge reservoir of talent, companies will need to have robust and engaging hiring strategies if they want to remain competitive.

Candidate EngagementGraduatesHiring TrendsInterviews
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