What changes in your organisation would create the greatest advantage for you?


The cost of getting the selection wrong could be as high as seven times the annual salary, if not more

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What skills do your people need to make the greatest sustainable improvement?

What are the most accurate recruitment screening methods?

What are the most accurate recruitment screening methods?

The accuracy of recruitment screening methods is best measured by either:

  • the correlation between the screening method and success in the job. Or,
  • by comparing the screening method to turnover rates within the first twelve months.

According to a report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 2021, the average voluntary turnover rate for all industries in the United States was 15% in 2020. The Work Institute's 2021 Retention Report mentions the overall turnover rate for new employees of 33% specifically for employees in their first year. Several organisations in the UK quote a 20% churn in the first six – twelve months.

Interview remains the most commonly used selection method and yet Professor Mike Smith at Manchester University put the typical interview only just above analysing handwriting in his study. Well-crafted Structured Applications Forms were also considered more accurate than CV-Screening in his study and yet few companies use them.

At Be More Effective we recommend three key approaches to screening new hires.

  1. The Birkman Method, which is a behaviour-based career assessment tool
  2. An Assessment Centre, which combines a number of screening tools
  3. Verbal References from previous Bosses.


1. The Birkman Method

This is often considered as one of the useful in recruitment screening for several reasons:

It is a Comprehensive Behavioural Assessment: The Birkman Method provides a comprehensive assessment of an individual's personality, interests, needs, and behaviours. It offers insights into various aspects of a candidate's personality, including their work style, communication preferences, leadership approach, and stress behaviours.

Job Role Fit: Birkman produces analysis comparing a candidate's traits and interests with success in over 250 Job Titles. This identifies scientifically the extent to which a candidate's natural tendencies align with the requirements and expectations of the position, contributing to better job-person fit.

Predictive Validity: Research has shown that the Birkman Method has predictive validity for job performance and workplace success. By understanding a candidate's underlying motivations and behaviours, recruiters can make more informed predictions about how well the candidate will perform in the role and integrate into the team. If your goal is to identify the top 10% to 25% of people in any specific role a Birkman Report would be hugely insightful.

Insights into Team Dynamics: The Birkman Method can provide insights into how a candidate's personality and communication style may interact with those of existing team members. This understanding allows recruiters to assess potential team dynamics and identify candidates who can contribute positively to team cohesion and collaboration.

Personalized Development Plans: In addition to recruitment screening, the Birkman Method can be used for ongoing employee development. A-Players expect their development to be part of your plan for them from Day-One so the Birkman can provide immediate insights into a candidate's strengths, areas for growth, and potential career paths even before their appointment and induction.

Overall, the Birkman Method offers a structured and scientifically validated approach to assessing candidates' personality traits and workplace preferences, making it a valuable tool in recruitment screening for organizations seeking to improve job-person fit and overall hiring success.


2. Assessment Centres: As previously mentioned, assessment centres utilize a variety of assessment tools and exercises to evaluate candidates' skills, competencies, and behaviours.

Assessment centres are considered a highly accurate screening method due to their comprehensive observer-led multifaceted approach. Often included are group discussions, presentations, role-plays, business simulation, case studies, competency-based structured interviews and psychometric tests. This multifaceted approach with observers gathering comprehensive data on candidates' skills, competencies, and behaviours as well as scoring them against a set of pre-determined behavioural criteria.

Realistic Simulations: Many assessment centre activities are designed to simulate real work scenarios. Employers can observe how candidates perform under conditions similar to those they would encounter in the actual job role. Such simulations provide valuable insights into candidates' problem-solving abilities, communication skills, and leadership potential.

Objective Evaluation: Assessment centres typically involve multiple assessors who independently evaluate candidates' performance based on predefined criteria. This helps reduce bias in the evaluation process and ensures that decisions are based on observable behaviours rather than subjective impressions.

Predictive Validity: Research has shown that assessment centre scores have high predictive validity for job performance across various industries and job roles. Candidates who perform well in assessment centers are more likely to succeed in the job they are being considered for.

Candidate Experience: Assessment centres often provide candidates with a more immersive and engaging recruitment experience compared to traditional interviews. Candidates have the opportunity to interact with potential colleagues, gain insights into the organization's culture, and showcase their skills in a dynamic setting.

Developmental Feedback: Assessment centres not only serve as a selection tool but also offer candidates valuable feedback on their strengths and areas for improvement. This feedback can help candidates better understand their capabilities and areas needing development, contributing to their professional growth regardless of the outcome of the recruitment process.

Cost-Effectiveness: While assessment centres may require initial investment in terms of time and resources to design and implement, they can ultimately lead to more informed hiring decisions, reducing turnover costs associated with poor hires in the long run.

Overall, assessment centres provide a robust and holistic approach to recruitment, allowing organizations to identify top talent effectively while providing candidates with a fair and insightful assessment experience.


3. Verbal references from previous employers are considered a useful screening method for several reasons. Most importantly only top-quality candidates who have left solid relationships behind in previous roles along with a solid track record with previous employers are going to be able to reach back to previous bosses and ask they to help by talking to the potential new employer. In addition, they help with

Validation of Candidate Claims and Employment Histroy: Verbal references allow employers to validate the information provided by candidates in their resumes or during interviews. This includes confirming details about past job responsibilities, accomplishments, and qualifications.

Insights into Work Ethic and Performance: Speaking directly with a candidate's previous employer can provide valuable insights into the candidate's work ethic, performance, and behaviour in the workplace. Employers can learn about the candidate's strengths, areas for improvement, and overall suitability for the role.

Confirmation of Cultural Fit: Verbal references can help assess whether a candidate is a good fit for the organisation's culture. Employers can inquire about how the candidate interacted with colleagues, handled challenges, and aligned with the company's values and norms.

Personal Insights: Unlike written references or online reviews, verbal references enable employers to engage in a direct conversation with the candidate's former supervisor or colleague. This allows for a more personalized and nuanced understanding of the candidate's capabilities and suitability for the role.

Overall, verbal references from previous employers serve as a valuable tool for employers to gather firsthand insights into a candidate's professional background, performance, and fit within the organisation. While they are just one aspect of the screening process, they can provide valuable information that complements other assessment methods. When mentioned that you will be asking for each candidate to help set up those previous boss phone calls some people may decide to remove themself from the screening process early as they know they cannot get the support they would want. It reduces your time, efforts, and costs screening someone who is very unlikely to have worked out in the end.

In Summary

As the costs of hiring the wrong person, including the 20%+ who leave within twelve months is huge. Probably between three and seven times the annual salary for the role in question. There are broader implications for organisational performance, culture, and reputation to consider also. So, investing in effective recruitment screening processes, including thorough screening with structured application forms, psychometrics, especially The Birkman Method and ideally an Assessment Centre Approach will help mitigate the risks associated with wrong hires and improve the likelihood of successful A-Player hires in the future.

For more information please send a message via the Contact Us Page. Or you can register for an upcoming webinar.

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