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Four Turnover Triggers That Could Be Hurting Your Bottom Line

It’s normal to have employees leave your business on occasion. People often need to leave due to relocation, familial responsibilities, and other life events that may be completely unrelated to your business. However, if your employee turnover rate (calculated as the percentage of employees who leave in a given time frame) has begun to skyrocket, you likely have a problem.

The financial cost of a high turnover rate can be substantial, with some estimates exceeding $4,100 per hourly employee or as many as 9 months of a salaried employee’s pay. Worse, you’ll need to spend additional time focused on hiring and your employees often wind up shouldering the additional responsibilities and stress of fewer employees. To combat high turnover, however, you’ll need to find out why so many of your employees are leaving.

Why Do Employees Leave?

A high turnover rate can be indicative of a number of issues within your organization. Though these issues can – and do – vary by industry, there are multiple common factors most businesses with high turnover rates share. We’ve compiled a list of the top major causes of employee loss and what you can do to remedy them:

  1. Employees feel burned out. A recent survey by Asana found 82% of employees felt overworked and burned out. Even if these employees don’t choose to leave your organization, overwork can lead to increased absenteeism and declining productivity. To fix it, pinpoint the cause of overwork, whether it’s understaffing, poor training, or volume; then, determine if you need to increase hiring efforts or simply offer help to struggling employees.
  2. Employees feel unengaged or unchallenged. Sometimes, employees experience the opposite effect – a lack of challenging work or even a disconnect with the purpose behind their work. If your employees don’t feel their work has meaning for your organization or feel their skill set is underused, they may seek employment somewhere that engages and appreciates them more. Check-in with employees frequently to assess their level of engagement with their current duties and recognize achievements as they occur.
  3. Negative workplace culture. While culture can be a difficult aspect to nail down, it’s at its most apparent when it’s driving your employees away. If your culture doesn’t fit your employees, morale will dip, current talent will leave, and new hires won’t last. Actively address signs that your workplace culture is veering toward the negative, re-evaluate the way you and other managers engage with staff, and endeavor to truly listen to each and every employee and their concerns.
  4. Hiring ill-fitting employees. Poorly matched employees can come in many forms – sometimes they just don’t mesh with your existing culture. Sometimes, employees don’t have the skills, drive, or personality fit necessary to be successful on the job. If your employee selection process doesn’t include fully validated measurement tools customized for each job, you are missing an opportunity to maximize employee fit for each role.

Turnover rates don’t have to damage your bottom line. Making changes to the way you handle your current employees as well as search for and screen for qualified hires can help you find and retain employees who will do their best work for your business. On many occasions we have seen motivated clients reduce turnover by 75% or more in a matter of months. It’s not easy, but it’s well worth the effort.

Resources:
https://www.shrm.org/about-shrm/press-room/press-releases/pages/human-capital-benchmarking-report.aspx
https://www.dailypay.com/business-resources/employee-retention-rate/
https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/how-to-guides/pages/determineturnoverrate.aspx
https://smallbiztrends.com/2019/08/small-business-burnout.html

By |2020-07-13T11:04:28+00:00July 13th, 2020|Careers, Research|0 Comments

Why You Should Ignore the Resume

The digital age has disrupted virtually every industry. HR and hiring has been similarly vulnerable – the industry has, in recent years, experienced a seismic shift.

Research shows that resumes, traditionally the first-line approach to “getting your foot in the door,” are no longer the most popular form of currency in the hiring process.

In their place are a combination of online application and assessment processes that provide up to four times the information, and a better experience for both the applicant and the hiring team.

Before you lament the demise of the resume, consider these reasons why resumes are becoming obsolete in the first place.

1. They Value Experience, Not Skills

By virtue of their design, resumes focus on a person’s work experience, not necessarily their skill set. Is this such a bad thing? In today’s talent economy, yes. A candidate is, and should be, offered employment based on their ability to fulfill a job description and perform essential job duties.

Focusing on the potential results that a person can generate requires a full understanding of their capabilities, which doesn’t necessarily translate on a resume.

2. They’re Static Documents

In a technology-driven age, workers must continually acquire new skills to stay current and provide value to employers. Since technology – and how we use it – is always changing, job seekers across industries must frequently update their resumes to reflect new skills in new formats.

Resumes become outdated quickly and become too cumbersome to continually update.

3. Resumes Are Too Much Work

A close friend recently took a day off of work to create a new resume for her dream job. While she may be more of a perfectionist than most, consider the time people spend (waste!) making a document perfectly reflect an image that may or may not be accurate.

New hires who have gone through the HireScore (no resume required) process often say, “I was happily employed elsewhere and I wouldn’t have applied for this job if I was required to make a resume.” In essence, resumes are asking for too much, too soon in the hiring relationship.

4. Resume Sorters Miss Out on Valuable Talent

The act of requiring a resume also screens out a portion of the workforce that could provide talent to your organization. For example, many people have valuable work skills, but they lack the knowledge of how to write a resume, let alone optimize it for hiring managers.

This approach naturally caters to people who have a talent for writing resumes, not necessarily to those people who have the necessary skills to efficiently execute their work duties.

5. Resumes Invite Unintentional Bias

Lastly, the resume has the unintended consequence of inviting bias into the workplace. Research from Harvard Business School showed that minorities who “whitened” their names got more callbacks and interviews, despite no changes in skill sets or experience. The legal consequences to these research findings have yet to play out but resume defenders are unlikely to be happy with the final outcome.

Resumes may be on their way out, but what’s a job candidate or hiring manager to do in the meantime? Even LinkedIn sorts applicants by their job experience.

The bottom line is that you need to use tools that are customized exactly to your jobs and diligently collect assessment data you need to best predict future job performance. Combined with broad recruiting and intelligent algorithms, there is no better way to rank a world of potential candidates.

Most importantly, employers would do well to leverage technology and tools to find the right candidate for the job – not the candidate capable of producing the best resume.

By |2019-12-02T10:34:31+00:00December 2nd, 2019|Careers, Research|0 Comments

Got diversity? Trusting talent science is key.

As someone who has spent many years in a private sector global staffing company and in the public workforce system, I know how challenging it can be to help people who need jobs find jobs.

Even during times when we are all hearing about the “war for talent” and that it’s an “employee market,” there are talented, hard-working people who have difficulties finding their fit in the world of work. I’m not talking about the “unemployable”, those with little desire to work or major barriers which need to be addressed before they can do a great job – I’m talking about people with excellent skills, experience, and work ethic. People with abilities, and the desire to work. Veterans. Skilled factory workers or miners who lost their job due to a cutback or company closure. People wanting to change careers without knowing how to best translate their transferable skills to their resumes.

At the same time, I work with companies every day that struggle to find people to fill their jobs. Some companies rush to post a job with little preparation and make offers to find they have hired a talented person who does not fit with their culture. Some rely on systems which use keyword searches for specific skills and GPA cutoffs and then they wonder why their pool of candidates is so small.

As someone who sees both sides, there is much common ground. What it takes for different groups to see common ground is communication and education. A common need which is filled for both sides. Simple, right?

Companies want and need to increase their diversity. It gives them greater perspective, enhanced innovation and increased productivity. It brings a stronger culture, and builds a talent brand which, in turn, attracts more and better candidates.

Diverse groups of people (meaning all types of diversity including age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, work experience, etc.) want to offer their talents in a place they feel they fit. They want to grow on the job and in their careers.

How do we make the match? In part we need to have better communication and better data. By describing the job requirements more accurately we can broaden our pool and attract people who are more likely to fit the role. By following the data we may learn that instead of demanding a specific master’s degree for a job, the company might get a great fit with someone who’s done something completely different, but has demonstrated the character, intelligence, and work ethic to be successful. In other words, looking beyond the one to one fit that so often defines the recruitment strategy.

In addition to better communication between the organization and the candidate, we also need better communication about the candidate. Specifically, we need a comprehensive profile of the candidate’s personality, skills, knowledge and experience, and we need insights into where and how to coach them if we want them to grow into the position.

When looking to increase your diversity, realize that if you post widely, use a broad range of predictors, and combine the results of your assessments in a statistically optimal manner, you will naturally end up selecting people with a wide array of backgrounds without having to “force it.”

Included in your group will be people with interesting stories and life experience that will bring diversity, retention and higher productivity to your team.

By |2018-03-07T16:37:20+00:00August 15th, 2017|Careers, Updates|0 Comments

Job Descriptions – how do they fit in the changing talent picture?

“Bill D. is retiring, finally. He kept talking about it but we never thought he’d make the decision. Such a great department manager, he will be missed! Oh…right…I guess we need to look for a replacement! Can you ask Sally in HR to give me a copy of the job description?”

This may be simplified, and yes, widget company leader should have had a succession plan in place. That’s for another blog post. However, this scene plays out in companies all over the country, and all over the world, on a daily basis. Whether it’s a retirement, unfortunate illness, poor performance, or resignation (gasp!) for another job…we all know that moment where we have to think about filling a vacancy. If it’s been held by the incumbent for any length of time, we probably haven’t updated the job description. If we have annual reviews, they may be tied to the job description, but that is not a given.

How does the job description translate to the job posting? The search criteria? If handled properly, a search will include assessing for skills, knowledge, and experience as well as personality, behaviors and aptitude. Simply listing a set of “required” and “minimum” qualifications does not ensure a well-matched applicant pool. What if there were science behind the job description? Science that helped your company not only recruit for a great fit, but measure performance and offer training gap analysis on a regular basis?

There is hard evidence based on long-standing research on which facets of personality and behavior traits best fit certain types of jobs. When you customize for work environment and industry, as well as variances in each job’s responsibilities and duties, you make a big difference in being able to be more specific up front (in recruiting and onboarding) and being better able to communicate and coach more clearly all along the way.

Hmmm… coaching, communication, training – have you heard those words thrown around lately regarding “what matters to the next generations of employees”? Your employees are tired of standard issue tools and performance evaluations of times past. They want someone to see them. To really notice them as individuals. To want them for the job for who they really are, and to help them develop their strengths and overcome their challenges to make a difference in their job and their career.

Still want to photocopy the old job description, send it to HR, and then hand it to the new hire? Be prepared to keep it handy, you might have a vacancy again fairly soon!

To try a new idea, which is actually even simpler, work with a firm that has done the research and can lead you through to customized job searches and descriptions. We’d be happy to talk with you in a confidential consultation, free of charge. We enjoy seeing the relief in using a more accurate process lead to happy companies and employees!

By |2018-03-07T16:37:20+00:00June 6th, 2017|Careers, News, Research|0 Comments

Should you be hiring transformers?

Here you are, in need of help. Someone left a key role to move to another position elsewhere, there was an unfortunate sickness, or you earned a big new client. Or, you may have become aware of a gap or opportunity, and you want to find just the right person—or people—to join the team.

When the decision to search for new employees is made, or made for you, you probably don’t want to spend a lot of time or effort on HOW you hire; you just plain want to HIRE!

However, you do know that the cost of a “wrong” hire is huge. Each “failed” employee search costs tangible major dollars in training, lost productivity, and time to fill…not to mention intangible costs such as low morale, lost opportunities, and the toll on your employer brand. It’s scary when a new employee “transforms” into an adversary soon after you put in the effort to find and train them to be in your world. So, what can you do to find a better match right away? That person who, in all of their forms, is just right for the job? Do you have to learn and apply new terms and buzz phrases to find your new “heroes?”

One term we intuitively use at SDS and help our clients use by working with us is “transferable skills.” Sometimes you’ll hear “transformative skills.”

These are “buzz phrases”…but a buzz often starts when something has impact. There are many interpretations and definitions out there for transferable skills. Here’s one simple definition I like from www.businessdictionary.com:

“Aptitude and knowledge acquired through personal experience such as schooling, jobs, classes, hobbies, sports etc. Basically, any talent developed and able to be used in future employment.”

Most hiring managers agonize when thinking they should consider these skills as they’re searching for that “needle in a haystack” perfect new employee who can do anything. They build lists of potential transferable skills, look online, research endless job descriptions, and honestly, go in circles. If you Google the phrase, you’ll see career coaching lists helping people build transferable skills, lists of military to civilian transferable skills, and countless ways to help people understand how to better search for a match which leverages a potential employee’s different work and life experiences.

Sounds difficult and exhausting, doesn’t it? To think of, and figure out how to search for, the transferable skills which might work for your crucial role can be time consuming, inexact, and worrisome.

Another way to consider and cover transferable skills is through customized talent science. If you work with a system, like ours at SDS, which has been capturing and leveraging transferable skills for over 15 years, you’re all set.

The concept of transferable skills allows for a person’s aptitude, behaviors, and outlook to factor in to their probability of being successful in certain jobs. It’s a little bit like that phrase “wherever you go, there you are.”

By including transferable skills, you are able to cast a much wider net when recruiting, which dramatically increases your odds of finding the right person. It widens your candidate pool! One of the problems we often encounter at SDS is companies getting too focused on finding a person with the exact experience they are seeking, and, as a result, they end up excluding many people who actually have the ability to do a great job for them. They actually narrow their pool and miss out on high potential candidates, simply because some work histories don’t precisely fit what they were expecting to see.

At SDS, we have many examples of helping companies hire people who, at first glance, appear to have no business even applying…but after assessing for their specific transferrable skills, we learned that these individuals could succeed in the jobs. Some of the most successful operators our oil refinery clients have hired actually had their main work experience in surprising areas such as the fast food industry.

The takeaway here is that many terms in the world of talent seem more complicated than they really are. Transferable skills are assets almost any applicant will possess—if you customize how you look for and understand them. We take care of that by working closely with you on what you DO know—your business—and using what we know to apply the talent science which “highlights the human” in human resources, and applying the full-spectrum talent fit that includes transferable skills.

Cars that turn into warriors, or villains, need not apply.

By |2018-03-07T16:37:20+00:00August 3rd, 2016|Careers, Research|2 Comments

6 Signs Your Employee Selection Process is Broken

In this blog series, Spencer Stang, PhD, discusses why organizations fail to hire better employees, and gives insight into what companies can do to make better hiring decisions.

Occasionally, conflicts arise between being honest and making somebody upset, or not being honest and keeping people happy. My rule of thumb in these cases is that truth trumps tact. I would rather have somebody tell me the truth rudely than to have him or her pass along a polite lie.

I’ll try not to be rude, but the truth is that your employee selection process is almost surely broken. You may have put a great deal of time and effort into your process, and you also, most likely, know that it still isn’t where it should be. Here are six of the most common reasons your process is broken, and what you can do to correct them. As with all generalizations, some exceptions apply.

1. You Require Resumes

For most openings your best candidates aren’t in job hunt mode. Many of the people you would want to hire don’t have a resume and won’t bother making a resume based on a job posting–no matter how enticing. The first step of the selection process needs to be so easy that the curious candidate just falls into it. People always tell us, “I wasn’t really looking for a job when I saw the posting.” These are the people you want to attract!

Clients will sometimes say they want the application process to be challenging (e.g. send resume to apply) because it eliminates people who are too lazy to make a resume. There is some truth in this notion, but it is misplaced at the beginning of the process. The employee selection process is a two-sided relationship, and before you ask anything significant of a candidate, you first need to prove yourself to him or her.

In other words, show the applicant that the job is real, the company is real, the opportunity is real, and demonstrate that he or she will be treated with respect. Once you have established yourself, then it’s okay to ask applicants to do any number of assessments as part of your due diligence, and the applicants will understand and respect the process. Bottom line, you don’t want to ask too much, too soon, and you always want to treat candidates as you would want to be treated yourself.

2. You Immediately Make Candidates Create a Username and Password

Imagine that I tell you that I hold the secret to success and happiness. I go on to say that by following three straightforward rules, you are statistically guaranteed to be more successful and happy than the average person. All you have to do to learn these rules is create an account with a username and password . . . and the username is your private email. You can imagine that only a small percentage of people are going to create the account, because it is likely to be a waste of time. What if instead of making an account, you only had to scroll down the page to read the rules to happiness and success?

In this case, most people would scroll down–if nothing else for the sake of curiosity. Furthermore, after you read the rules, if they actually made sense, and they had a basis in research, the credibility of the source would go up significantly. Essentially, the more you prove yourself, the more credibility you build, the more information, time, and money a person will trade with you.

Respect must be earned, and immediately asking a person to create an account is not a way to earn respect. To see this in your current process, look up the number of people who click on your job posting and compare it to the number of people who actually apply. Most companies get fewer than one in ten people, and half of that loss is due to the “create an account” initiation process.

3. You Don’t Communicate Consistently and Honestly 

Starting with the basics, if a person applies for a job with your organization, you should tell that person if he or she is no longer under consideration, and/or if the job is filled. If you don’t have the time to do this, then you don’t have the time to run a hiring process.

Note that in your communication process, it’s okay to tell candidates that the process is taking longer than expected, or that it has been put on pause for a time. Research suggests that when you don’t say anything, most people will actually assume that something is worse than the truth–so lean towards honest disclosure without getting into the gory details.

Finally, unless you work for the CIA, never lie. Don’t lie to make a candidate feel better or to cover for a mistake made by somebody on your staff. Don’t lie to keep your company from being sued. When you lie, it leads to a culture of lying that will ultimate hurt your HR team and organization.

4. You Collect Data on Candidates Who Have No Chance of Being Hired

In the era of Google and Facebook, data has never been more valuable. It’s so valuable that many organizations use morally questionable methods to get people to provide them with their personal information. Once you know that a person will not be hired, you should stop collecting data on that person as soon as it’s reasonably possible. Do NOT use the hiring process as an excuse to collect data that you or your applicant tracking system vendor thinks may be useful or valuable later. This is a creepy practice that is used by far too many organizations.

Most organizations with applicant tracking systems ask knockout-type questions as part of the process (e.g. are you at least 18 years old? Can you work in the U.S.? etc.). Some of these processes ask these questions after candidates have already provided an extensive amount of personal information (which is bad). Some ask these questions first, but then go on to collect personal information even if the applicant doesn’t meet the minimum qualifications (also bad).

By asking the knockout questions first and then eliminating people who don’t meet minimum requirements, we can respect each applicant’s time and personal information, and improve the legal defensibility of the entire process. The only thing that doesn’t happen by using a more respectful process is you don’t get to store gigabytes of personal data on unqualified applicants, that you are probably never going to use anyway (unless you actually are Google or Facebook).

5. Your Process is Not Customized to the Job

This is an easy one to spot. If you use the same selection process across your organization, then your process is definitely broken. To state the obvious, accountants, programmers, machinists, and programmers are all different. Asking applicants for different types of jobs to go through the same process either because it’s simpler, or because “corporate wants a standard process,” is not going to get you the accuracy rate your organization deserves.

It will also feel generic to applicants, who then may not take it as seriously. Your application process should ask different questions based on the job. If you use personality assessments (and you should), then you need to match the personality profile to the job. Additional assessments, including job knowledge testing and basic ability testing (math/reading) as well as the interview also need to match to the role.

Furthermore, the intensity of the process should vary based on the consequences tied to a bad hire. If you are hiring a maintenance supervisor at a refinery, the consequences of a bad hire could literally be life or death. In this case, it makes sense to put more time and effort into your process than you would if you were hiring a ticket taker at the local theater.

6. You Think Hiring is More an Art Than a Science

Over the course of my career, I’ve had many people tell me that hiring is “more art than science.” Typically, this happens when a person is about to hire somebody who has a relatively low probability of success on the job. In other words, it’s a catch-all excuse for not following decision science. I know this well because I’ve made the mistake myself. The very first person I ever assessed for a client interviewed extremely well, had a perfect background for the job, but tested very poorly (i.e., big red flag!). The client dismissed the test results and I went along with their assessment noting, “the tests aren’t perfect.”

Within six months, the new hire crashed and burned, and cost the organization a great deal of money. In hindsight, I should have known better, but I got caught up in the “art” of the process. My gut told me that this person was going to be great in spite of his test scores. I knew that statistically the tests were just as accurate as the interview process, and yet I put unwarranted weight on my own observations. Had I factored the test results appropriately, I would have made a different recommendation–the right recommendation.

This, of course, is just an anecdote, and anecdotes make for bad science. After having the opportunity to track hiring “exceptions” on a much larger scale, we have solid evidence that when it comes to predicting future job performance, science trumps art. When you hire someone who goes against the science, you are four times more likely to be hiring someone who is going to fail than if you hire someone recommended by the process (science).

In other words, you shouldn’t ignore your gut, but you also shouldn’t trust it. If you want to put probability on your side, your process should include properly validated and weighted measures of education, experience, soft skills, technical skills, aptitude, character, and personality fit. If you “feel lucky,” you can skip all that and opt for short cuts and trusting your gut. But I’m guessing that’s not a risk most organizations would knowingly want to take.

If your organization is already following the recommendations made in this post, then you are off to a great start. Next month we will focus on “Problem Seven” which gets into a more advanced diagnosis allowing you to optimize a process that is already working well.

By |2018-03-07T16:37:21+00:00June 14th, 2016|Careers, Research, Updates|0 Comments

Achieving the “Sweet Spot” for Talent Science

In keeping with the theme of answering the questions I often receive when sharing our tools with companies and human resource professionals, I’d like to put the “Where does SDS work best?” question to rest. Usually people ask if we are best at finding high-level candidates for executive positions, or big numbers of entry level, volume, production workers. The answer is yes. To both—and everything in between.

It’s human nature to have the urge to quickly throw a new concept or idea into a familiar category, in order to understand it more easily and move forward more quickly. In our fast-paced world and overloaded minds, we want to say to someone “Oh, it’s like X,” so that we can cut to the chase and take action.

It’s understandable for that conversation to happen when someone first hears about Stang Decision Systems. I hear “Oh, you’re head hunters…you’re an applicant tracking system…etc.” That’s when a few well-known industry names come up. “We already use X, so we’re set, thanks.” However, I have to reply, “SDS is not like X.” That’s the point where some learning must begin, and to be honest, it’s not easy for many busy people to make a decision to create a new spot in their mind.

Sometimes it’s harder to NOT have direct competitors, because you have to spend a lot more time breaking ground educating clients. I’d like to think it’s lonely at the top. At SDS we do a lot of knowledge sharing, which ends up great when the light bulbs turn on for people and they start getting excited about something new, which can help them do their own job better. They become like excited prospectors who’ve struck gold. That’s the fun part…getting to see customers start becoming champions of what we do because they enjoy it and see the benefits to their bottom line and their culture.

So, to answer the “sweet spot” question, SDS does not fit into one category. What we do may seem too good to be true, but it’s true that our tools work for one hire or one-thousand hires—in nonprofits or for the manufacturing sector. We don’t simply track (why just track when you can rank?) We don’t “head hunt”–we look at the whole person. We integrate layers of proven methodologies and data-based tools with the human element of structured interviews and great communication.

The best part is that it’s been streamlined into an easy-to-use portal…much like an intuitive driver’s seat for a fun sports car or a pilot’s high-tech interface. The work happens in the background after we customize on both sides – the job analysis and the candidate application. The client can use as many or as few of the features available to them as they prefer, and the outcome is the same 95% hit rate on a great match for the job.

Since our process at SDS is to customize for the exact job, and then customize the application process, you can understand why we work for any hire. You need every hire to work best for you. Is YOUR sweet spot finding the right people for each of your open jobs? That’s where we fit in.

By |2018-03-07T16:37:21+00:00May 9th, 2016|Careers, Uncategorized, Updates|0 Comments

Is Experience Overrated?

Companies routinely use “prior work experience” as a significant factor when recruiting and hiring new employees. A look at any job posting board will no doubt show that most jobs require candidates to possess a minimum number of “years of experience” to even be considered for employment.

Recently, however, this practice has come under fire. Many are now suggesting that experience is overrated, and that companies place too much weight on experience when searching for job candidates.

These folks often point to the fact that many of today’s most successful companies were started by individuals who had little to no experience at the time of start-up (e.g. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, to name a few). They also suggest that advantages of not relying on “experience” when hiring includes: (a) the need for diversity on teams, (b) experienced hires often need to unlearn the bad habits that they might have acquired over the years, (c) it is not as expensive to hire people who have less experience, and (d) experience from one company doesn’t always generalize to other companies.

At some level, I agree with these points. I would argue, however, that for most jobs, experience plays a role in who is likely to succeed. The problem is that by only looking at someone’s basic job history you are not likely to gain much insight into how that experience translates to on-the-job success. You need to dig a lot deeper than that.

JOB TENURE DOES NOT EQUAL JOB SKILLS

Just because someone has spent many years working in a job, it does not necessarily mean that that individual has acquired the skills and work habits that you might expect. Consider two candidates applying for a maintenance mechanic job. Candidate A has seven years of experience working at a manufacturing plant. Candidate B has two years of experience working at a chemical processing plant. An initial review of these candidates’ qualifications might very well assume that Candidate A is more qualified for the job than Candidate B, based on the fact that Candidate A has more years of experience in the maintenance mechanic field.

However, “years of experience” is often an inaccurate measure of relevant experience. Instead, you need to consider multiple factors when evaluating these candidates. Some of these factors might include:

Breadth of Experience

Number of years in a job does not always equate to breadth of experience. For example, let’s assume that even though Candidate A has been a maintenance mechanic for seven years, he has spent nearly all of his time rebuilding valves that are specific to his manufacturing industry. Candidate B, on the other hand, has worked in all areas of his facility exposing himself to hundreds of pieces of equipment. Clearly, Candidate B has a wider breadth of experience than Candidate A.

Complexity Level of Experience

Certain tasks are much more difficult to learn than others. For example, as a maintenance mechanic, troubleshooting equipment is likely to be much more difficult than performing tasks that are the same or nearly the same every time (such as rebuilding a valve). A Candidate who has experience performing tasks that are complex or performed in a challenging situation (such as responding to an emergency) is likely to be more valuable to an organization.

Quality of Work

Finally, just because someone has substantial experience performing a job, does not mean that the person has performed that job at a level that your organization would expect. With our maintenance mechanic example, let’s assume that Candidate A, over the years, has learned “shortcuts” to doing his job that lead to poor quality of work. These shortcuts might allow him to get by on his current job, but would not be acceptable in a different job.

The bottom line is that in order truly evaluate someone’s experience–“years of experience”–isn’t what is important. What is important are the skills and work habits that a person has acquired throughout his or her career. The answer to that question requires a more thoughtful assessment than simply asking for “years of experience.”

By |2018-03-07T16:37:21+00:00April 11th, 2016|Careers, Research|0 Comments
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