The tight job market is feeling even tighter to some applicants being bounced out by screening software. Where one used to be able to get a “survival” type job while you looked for something in your field, that door may be closing. Where one used to be able to sidestep into a related field that used your transferable skills, that door may or may not be open depending on whatever profile the employer has decided on.
The economy leaves smaller margins of error when it comes to the cost of hiring employees who do not work out for whatever reasons. And so recruiting software and screening software has become more popular to select the right person the first time. Examples of such software include Sage or People Answers. Big companies that have turned to screening software include Reebok and Michaels.
Recruiting software is not “one size fits all.” The software company allows the client to choose criteria that it feels is critical. An example is if the job requires car travel, then the software can eliminate applicants who do not have a car. The software allows the client to add different requirements for different positions; for example one set for sales people and another set for customer service.
Sage or People Answers will start by analyzing the top talent at the client company – looking for characteristics such as “success, discipline, cultural insights and performance on the job.” The actual interview questions or application questions may be designed around the profile created by this process. That these programs work is reflected in increased retention rates and reduced turnover – by anywhere from 28 percent to 59 percent. (Although I have to question whether anyone can possibly deal with applications that try to gauge one’s “cultural insights” – a nebulous quality at best.
The selection process can get more stringent over time with the use of intelligent software. The client may have selected its criteria at the beginning, but over time the software applies analytics to refine the profiles and to learn the best sources of successful candidates.
Two of the top three factors that employers felt made for a bad hire – not working well with coworkers, and negative attitude – were personality based. So one software exec stated that their recommendation is “to hire for attitude and train for skills.” (Makes you feel silly for going back to school, tho, doesn’t it?)
Recruiting software can help companies deal with the burden of reporting affirmative action data, in cases where they have a government contract. One company stated that they used to spend as much as 80 hours reporting affirmative action data; with Sage recruiting software, this data was auto-compiled. The company says it avoids re-interviewing applicants that they decided were not a good fit, as the software allows them to view both previous and current information.
CareerBuilder gathered data on the costs of making a bad hire. Forty-one percent estimated that a bad hiring decision cost them more than $25,000; almost a quarter said that a bad hiring decision cost them over $50,000. It costs the company in terms of less productivity; the cost of recruiting
/ training a new employee as well as the lost time to do so; lowered employee morale; and negative impact on client solutions – the latter must mean when the bad hire really ticked off a customer…
The upshot for those of us who are looking for a job is that we have to work even harder to zone in on the right companies where we would fit in. You might have to read up on executive profiles at the prospective employer, to find whether you share any characteristics with them – such as alma mater, favorite hobbies, personality, etc.
SOURCES for CareerBuilder data and quotes: "Hiring Managers Turn to Software," by Kathleen Koster, Employee Benefit News, August 2012.