Employee retention is an issue that plagues many employers, and often the knee jerk reaction is to focus on two things.  Rehiring.  Fast.  And analysing leaver data.  Neither strategy is necessarily wrong.  But smart employers take a more holistic view, and manage the turnover crisis at all points of the employee journey, starting with the way in, and going full circle (where necessary) to the way out. 

‘Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?’ So corny is the question, and so trite the answer, that one wonders on the point of even asking this of interview candidates.  But the point is this: as the employer you are trying to establish how much mileage you will get out of this potential hire.  Are their ambitions aligned with the opportunities your organisation can provide, or wildly adrift? Do they perceive this as a stopgap, marginally better than claiming benefit, until their dream job comes along?  Or is this, in fact, the crowning moment of their career and a role they intend to give everything to succeed in?  And even if that is the case, can you provide the resources and tools they need (training, support, etc) to make that possible for this particular candidate? What we are talking about is candidate ‘fit’, and it is as important a part of making the right hiring decision as evidence of job relevant skills.

In fact, the interview process is heavily centred around assessing fit, but as anyone who has experience of interviewing candidates will tell you, it is the hardest part of the decision to make.  Not least because any candidate vaguely worth their salt will be well practised at giving you answers that lie somewhere between the actual truth (‘Accepting this role is marginally better than staying at home watching Loose Women, until the job I actually want comes along’) and the downright over enthusiastic (‘I’ll be your next CEO … watch this space’). And the assessment of ‘fit’ goes on in other ways throughout the interview process.  Both candidate and employer dance around each other to present the best image possible, carefully avoiding reference to any off putting details regarding teamwork / the team, work style / corporate culture, and so on. So, no wonder it can be hard to predict just how well an individual will perform, how well they will integrate into the team, and how loyal and engaged they will become as an employee.  No wonder that 70% of HR Directors admit they’ve hired someone who didn’t measure up in reality to the profile they were expecting.  And no wonder that one in ten new recruits are regarded as a poor hire. (Robert Half, March 2015).  To look at it from the other side, it can be a tough call for candidates too.  If their decision to accept the position is based purely on the glossy image presented of the company at interview, but the reality falls far short, they can’t be blamed for voting with their feet fairly quickly.

No recruitment process can ever be 100% predictive, but there are steps you can adopt to get as close to this as possible.  And for employers who’ve identified employee retention as a growing concern, the point of hire is a great place to start.  Ask yourself as an employer whether the problem starts with your recruitment process, the candidates you attract, your employer brand, the vision you are selling versus the reality, or all of the above.  Because, guaranteed, if you’re getting some or most of that wrong, all the exit interviews and engagement strategies in the world won’t make those square pegs fit any better into your round holes.

So, if the interview process is fundamentally flawed as a standalone tool, how can you add value and validity to your process?  Above all, how do you solve the problem of selling an honest (yet attractive) picture of your business, and gaining a realistic view of your candidate’s profile and likelihood of ‘fitting in’.

The answer lies in shoring up your process with a well-rounded suite of personality and ability tests.  Whether you are looking to assess skills such as numeracy and literacy, or establish work style profiles, engagement drivers and preferred team roles, such tests and questionnaires are designed to supplement your interview findings and allow you to make as well informed a hiring decision as possible.  Beyond this, there’s the potential for using the insight gained from resulting reports and analysis for ongoing development and business succession planning.  Regardless, knowing as much as possible about your potential employees can only help you to identify and address known weaknesses and exploit key strengths, putting you firmly on the front foot before their staff access pass has even been printed.

The use of such assessment in recruitment and development provides organisations with real competitive advantage – this has been proven many times through independent research over the last 50 years. At great{with}talent, our raison d’être is in helping employers to perform better through improved employee retention and we believe passionately that ‘person – organisation – fit’ is central to this philosophy.  That’s why we have built a suite of tools that starts at the beginning; hiring.  It starts with ability tests, situational judgement tests, personality questionnaires, candidate “fit” evaluation, sifting questionnaires, 360’s, and a unique individual engagement questionnaire. It ends with a great hire, a true investment, and a marked difference not only in your employee engagement levels, but also your bottom line.

For more information on how we can help you to find the best potential for your business, read more on our website www.findingpotential.com and test run our products via our 30 day free trial. 


If you’re interested in hearing more, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.