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Recruiting Reality Check, Part III: Solving the Problem of New Hire Retention

by Joseph Murphy

Finding and keeping the best talent is as difficult as ever. As detailed in Parts I and II of this series, factors like lack of clarity in hiring criteria and pressures to fill positions quickly are just a few of the obstacles recruiters must overcome.

Alongside the effort of identifying and hiring the best candidates is a piece of the hiring puzzle too often overlooked: who is going to remain on the job after the recruiting process is over?

Problem 3: Maximizing Retention

A whopping one-third of new hires quit their jobs within the first six months. After the investment of so much time and money to convert a candidate into a new hire, watching an employee leave your organization so soon after starting is distressing. Whether they leave because the job isn’t what they thought it would be, or they are otherwise unable to achieve proficiency, recurrent early turnover is a clear signal of deficiency in your recruiting process.

When a resume isn’t enough

You performed an extensive candidate search, interviewed exhaustively, evaluated credentials closely, checked references thoroughly. So why did your new hire leave so soon? Typical recruiting processes too often focus too much on only whether a candidate is capable of doing the job. Evaluating abilities alone doesn’t complete the candidate picture. You must also measure their willingness to commit to the job. Without an intelligent appraisal of how likely they are to stay on the job, you are going to continue to watch new hires walk away from your organization.

How can commitment be measured? Evaluate a candidate’s history of career stability and make it a material factor in what you define as their overall likelihood of success. Most candidates have a verifiable past of stability and performance, evidence of how they have demonstrated commitment in previous positions. But the information you need may not always be within your line of sight. For instance, if a candidate left a previous job after fewer than 30 days, they’re not likely to list that position on their resume. You need a different method of discovery.

Spotlight the insight you need

Using a structured evaluation process, as delivered by Shaker’s Virtual Job Tryout®, recruiters can draw out more—and more candid—responses from candidates about their work history. A work history or biodata questionnaire can reveal evidence of an inability to commit. An insightful candidate evaluation should include an extensive and objective discovery process that goes beyond enumerating the skills and experience needed to perform the job. Rigorous work-history evaluation can provide recruiting teams with deep insight into a candidate’s career stability characteristics, including their level of commitment and corporate citizenship.

How can such factors be uncovered? Virtual Job Tryout technology captures more than 300 usable data points from applicant responses. Insights needed to differentiate candidates according to career stability are backed by validation studies and talent analytics from millions of applicants and hires. Two candidates may have similar work backgrounds on paper, but your ability to look beyond the resume to identify career stability and commitment will help you choose who is more likely to stay for the long term.

Data and insights from in-depth candidate evaluations provide recruiting teams with a wealth of information to better predict not only on-the-job performance but also career stability. A thoughtful whole-person evaluation tool like the Virtual Job Tryout can provide the evidence-based decision support companies need to improve their quality of hire and increase retention. 

Give candidates greater insight

While hiring team need accurate candidate information to make hiring decisions, ensuring the candidate knows as much as possible about the job and the company is equally crucial to reducing turnover. Virtual Job Tryout technology gives an accurate view of what the candidate can expect on the job, helping them determine if the job is right for them. If, while taking the assessment, they discover they aren’t a good match for the job, they can opt out. Treating candidates as decision makers requires providing them with the clear, specific, and objective information about the company and job responsibilities they need to make an informed choice. The use of realistic job preview, testimonials, and performance expectations gives candidates more information to decide if they want to continue the application process or opt out of consideration. Recruiters can then focus on those candidates who want and believe they are a good fit for the job, further improving retention.

Retention continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing recruiters. A mere 7 percent of employers rate themselves as excelling in measuring, driving, and improving employee engagement and retention. Understanding which candidates show the highest probability of remaining in their positions is a crucial part of making the best hiring decisions. Leveraging the right technology will help you look below the surface to find the right fit.

To learn more about improving retention, read our white paper, Is Your Assessment Working?

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