Why You Need Applicant Tracking Software that Integrates with Employee Assessments

In the Human Resources profession, what happens when you’re strapped for time, working in software silos and unclear about which fire to put out next? In my experience, work culture suffers. Those tasked with traditional HR responsibilities, including some smaller business owners, are all too often drowning in administrative drudgery instead of working on strategic workforce initiatives and championing culture.

It’s not that you don’t appreciate the critical role that employee assessments play in the hiring and succession planning processes, but it can be one more hurdle to overcome when assessment technology lives outside of your applicant tracking software (ATS). What if you could streamline your talent acquisition process with hiring software that seamlessly integrates with a proven, well-respected and validated assessment tool?

In this blog, we’ll focus on the The Predictive Index® (PI) assessment and discuss some scenarios in which you may consider an applicant tracking system that integrates with PI, specifically. I’ll guide you through how the integration works within our hiring platform, HireCentric ATS, and introduce you to our PI Partner, ADVISA. We work with ADVISA to combine our recruiting technology with their expertise in interpreting and using The Predictive Index® to automate and improve the hiring process.

Watch assessment integration webinar

Overcoming HR Obstacles

Whether you are an HR department of one or a relatively small team, like it or not the business of human resources is often accompanied by unexpected fires. Time is at a premium…which means you need to move candidates through the hiring process efficiently.

In the age of “Big Data,” studying desirable behavioral traits for individuals in the same job category over time is essential to making sound hiring decisions in the future. Hopefully that isn’t news to you, but it is easier said than done when your candidates’ assessment results aren’t easily visible within your other recruiting tools. Plus, it’s even more challenging when business growth outpaces your organization’s prioritization of implementing smart technology.

If you’re like many of ExactHire’s clients, you wear many different hats in your human resources or recruiting role. While you’d love to have the time to scour every software application’s Knowledge Base to find answers, you don’t have time to do so. You need recruitment solutions that are easy to learn and intuitive.

Why Consider ATS Integration with The Predictive Index®?

As you likely already know, there are many applicant tracking solutions on the market, but what makes ExactHire’s HireCentric applicant tracking software appealing is that it fully integrates with an employer’s Predictive Index® portal.

In our experience, PI assessment users are attracted to HireCentric ATS thanks to the ability to streamline the assessment invitation process from right within the ATS. Recruiters may invite job candidates to complete an assessment at the point of application or later in the process from the applicant record.

Employers are also pleased with the availability of integrated assessment launch options. HireCentric allows you to customize the delivery of the assessment invitation in two distinct ways:

  • Candidates may be invited to complete an assessment during the employment application process. HireCentric allows employers to have multiple application versions to accommodate different geographic locations, job levels and/or job categories. This level of customization offers employers a great deal of flexibility when it comes to crafting applications that are suited for different circumstances and built for conversion optimization.
  • Additionally, assessments may be reserved for use later in the hiring process. HireCentric allows employers to launch email invitations to invite select candidates to take the PI.

Employers also appreciate the simple way in which candidate assessment results are visible from within the HireCentric applicant tracking system. While a deeper dive is always an option from within the PI portal, it’s convenient to pull up a candidate’s PI placard directly from the applicant profile in HireCentric.

Assessment Integration Options and Considerations

Let’s dig into the options available to you for using HireCentric to invite candidates to take the PI. In this blog, I’m going to refer to the PI “Enterprise Plan,” as it is the only plan with open API access which allows candidate results to flow back into HireCentric ATS and be visible on the applicant record.

There are two primary options for inviting candidates to complete the PI. In the first method, you may include a link to begin the PI at the point of application. This occurs immediately after the candidate completes the HireCentric employment application questions, and it can be done with either a traditional one-step application or HireCentric’s popular two-step application option. This point of application approach is ideal if you want to assess all applicants as part of the initial screening process.

The other approach is to wait and manually invite only a portion of job candidates to complete the PI later in the hiring process.This may occur after the initial pre-screen, but before any in-person interviews. This option is worth consideration if you prefer to be selective and only ask final candidates to undergo the assessment process; or, if your employment application is already quite lengthy at the beginning of the hiring process.

The Predictive Index® only allows one assessment per user per company. Once an assessment is sent to an applicant in your ATS, then all job applications by that applicant will share the same assessment status and results.

How Does the HireCentric ATS and PI Assessment Integration Work?

Employment Application

Let’s take a closer look at what your applicants experience if you utilize the point of application option to present an invitation at the end of your employment application questions. In the following image, you see a glimpse of the mobile-responsive employment application that job applicants would complete just prior to starting the PI assessment.

Submit Application HireCentric | ExactHire

As you can see, questions are organized by category and navigable via the ribbon down the left side of the application. Question sections may be customized per organization and per job category within an organization. HireCentric applicant tracking software also has an option for a two-step application. Since this applicant has already completed all sections of the application, the next step is to select the “Submit” button.

Then, the applicant is presented with confirmation that the application questions are complete. The text at the top of the following image may be customized.

Start Predictive Index Assessment | HireCentric

The next step for the candidate is to start the assessment by clicking the button on the lower half of the screen. Once the applicant clicks the “Start” button, a new window will prompt the applicant to follow a link at the completion of an application.

PI Login Screen HireCentric | ExactHire

In the above image, you can see that the applicant’s name and email have “followed” him to The Predictive Index® site from the HireCentric ATS employment application. This means your candidate won’t have to re-enter this information to take the assessment–creating a more streamlined and positive application experience.

Manual Email Invitation

Now, take a look at the workflow for the other assessment invitation option. An Administrator or Manager-level user may easily manually send an assessment later in the hiring process by accessing an applicant’s record within HireCentric and clicking on the “Integrations” tab.

Integration Tab HireCentric Applicant Tracking

Within the Integrations tab, you may click on the view button, and then a new tab will open within the browser to reveal this dashboard, where you may manually launch the assessment email invitation to the candidate by clicking the “Send Assessment” button.

View Button HireCentric Applicant TrackingSend Assessment from HireCentric ATS

Then, you may view the status of an applicant’s assessment by visiting the PI dashboard within HireCentric. This is located in an applicant’s profile in the “Integrations” tab.
In this image, note that the assessment has already been sent (as in the case of a manual invitation), but is not yet complete.

Pending Assessment HireCentric ATS | ExactHire

Once a candidate’s results are in, you may view them in the PI Dashboard within HireCentric. PI Patterns and Placards can be viewed within the ATS using the buttons indicated in this screenshot. For a deeper dive, the “View Report” and “View Profile” links will open a new tab and take you to the login page of your own PI portal.

Result Buttons PI ExactHire ATS

What Do Assessment Results Look Like Within the ATS?

Here’s a look at how the PI patterns populate within the dashboard area within the HireCentric applicant tracking system when you select one of the buttons.

PI Results Within HireCentric ATS

At the bottom of each pattern, a link allows you to open a pattern in a new tab where you may print or save the pattern. HireCentric’s integration with PI saves you the time it would otherwise take to log into a separate portal to review assessment results. This is critical when you have many jobs open and are screening multiple candidates. Plus, HireCentric’s interface is easy to understand, so you can find the results for various applicants in a cinch.

PI Plan Considerations

There are two plan options available from The Predictive Index®–Enterprise and Professional. While both plans offer unlimited usage of the assessment tool, in order to take advantage of the full integration between PI and HireCentric, your organization needs to use the Enterprise plan. This more flexible option allows the candidate’s results to flow back into the applicant tracking software thanks to the open API access which supports full software integration.

However, if your organization currently uses the Professional Plan instead, you may still include a link to invite candidates to complete the PI on the thank you page of your employment application. However, the results will not be visible within HireCentric. Additionally, the invitation link would have to be present on every application on every job listing. Unlike the Enterprise plan option, you cannot turn it on or off per job listing or application version.

You may also still use the manual email invitation option on the Professional plan. But again, results will not flow back into the applicant tracking system. Results would have to be reviewed within the PI portal only.

A Return on Your Investment

Take advantage of the integration between HireCentric applicant tracking system and PI to mitigate pain inflamed by

  • narrow staff bandwidth,
  • software application silos, and
  • no time to learn complex user interfaces.

HireCentric streamlines the invitation process for multiple job candidates, allows information to flow to and from the PI portal, and is easy to learn and use. And, HireCentric ATS is priced just right for small- and medium-sized employers with access fees starting at $120/month. The exact pricing for your organization would be determined by your number of current employees and how many employees you hire each year.

Explore Assessments

To learn more about assessments available from The Predictive Index®, contact our partner, ADVISA; or, connect with ExactHire and we’ll be happy to make an introduction.

Watch Assessment Integration Webinar | ExactHire

Minimize Business Risk with HR Technology that Streamlines Recruiting

A clean work space is just one of the advantages HR technology can provide. Other goals of technology in business are to reduce costs by streamlining workflows, eliminating manual tasks, increasing accuracy and reducing labor. These concepts can apply to any employer and any discipline within that organization. Operations, accounting, human resources, etc. can all benefit from the advantages of technology.

Like most technology systems the concept of “garbage in, garbage out” applies. There is nothing automatic about technology. Solutions will only work well if the person inputting the data is doing a good job. Most technology in the workplace aims to either house data for quick reference, perform complex calculations and analysis, report on data, or eliminate transactional tasks. However, it still takes the human touch to leverage technology to its fullest.

HR Technology Solutions

In the world of human resources, enterprise-level technology often comes in the form of Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS), used to house and track large stores of information traditionally placed in a personnel file. On the other end of the spectrum, stand-alone software platforms that specialize in a specific aspect of human resources management (e.g. applicant tracking, employee onboarding, payroll, time and attendance, performance management and/or learning and development, etc.) will often cater to small- and medium-sized employers. Most HRIS solutions will boast an integrated approach that may meet all of an employer’s needs. However, there’s mixed opinions on any one solution providing all your needs–in a robust enough manner–and in an integrated fashion.

Another benefit of HR technology is that it can help you with compliance, record keeping and holding you true to certain processes that will ultimately reduce your risk of error. Human error in the HR world can lead to both compliance issues and poor decision making. This is especially true when it comes to hiring, as decisions are usually made on limited data that must be analyzed from multiple sources.

Fortunately, there are a number of HR technology solutions available that can reduce risk and streamline the recruiting effort. Luckily, using some of these technologies can result in quicker time-to-hire, better decision making and more accurate outcomes.

Applicant Tracking Systems

Application Tracking Systems are powerful tools that can both reduce risk and make the talent acquisition process more efficient and effective. As with any powerful technology solution, they are only as good as the user. The features a standard applicant tracking system can provide can sometimes be overwhelming if your technology partner is not focused on customized training and ongoing customer service. A seasoned recruiter with working experience of applicant tracking systems should be able to take advantage of these features fairly easily.

Easy application management

For starters, applicant tracking systems can streamline the hiring process by collating and storing applicant data in an easy to access and recall fashion. Often, an applicant tracking system will also allow you to search and filter applicants based on specific objective data. This can help with compliance as you take subjectivity out of the equation and base more of your decision on criteria being applied objectively to all applicants.

Compliant employment data

Other basic compliance assistance comes in the form of collecting EEO data and providing for the appropriate disclosures and releases to the applicant that may be required in your hiring process. The data from these forms and documents can be hidden from a hiring manager’s view while still maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements.

The ability to store and recall information in an applicant tracking system is one of the biggest benefits. No need to worry about retaining applicant records for a statutory length of time. Nor do you need to worry about printing all this information and keeping it in a file. Most applicant tracking systems will even allow you to purge applicant information of a certain age to keep your database clean.


There are a number of online assessments you can utilize in the hiring process to increase your odds of a successful hire and reduce your chances of a failed hire. These assessments can look at a number of things from identifying certain skills, the application of required knowledge as well as an overall personality inventory. Combining and using the results of these assessments can dramatically increase your ability to hire more effectively.

Personality assessments are one of the most useful tools in helping to identify information about a candidate that you may not be able to identify in a standard interview. Some of the benefits of personality assessments include the identification of work behaviors, personality traits and competencies. They can also provide an overall picture of how an individual may perform in your work environment and what type of conflict may ensue. When used correctly, assessments can paint a pretty good picture of an inevitable outcome.

You can reduce hiring risk by actually paying attention to the results of these assessments. Now, they aren’t an all inclusive decision making tool–and the law would agree. However, they are another set of valuable data that should be combined with all the other information you have gathered and used to make a more informed and accurate hiring decision.

Some of the more useful features of assessments are the ability for you to benchmark the results of an applicant against the results of some of your top performers in similar positions. After all, one of the main objectives of recruiting is to find people that are like your top performers so you can replicate that performance. Background and experience are only part of the equation.

Skill-based assessments are usually used in more technical roles and are structured as interactive tools aimed at identifying if an individual has the correct level of technical ability to perform successfully in the role. The best example of these types of assessments would be for software developers, graphic designers, etc. You would choose a solution that gives individuals a project that tracks certain metrics and results as they complete the project.

Another type of assessment, a knowledge assessment, can measure not only if an individual possesses a certain base of knowledge that you require, but can also apply it. Some employers who require a license or registration of some sort will use the fact that a candidate possesses the credentials as evidence enough that they can apply the knowledge. The trouble, is most credentialing programs do not test application of knowledge. As such, employers should seek solutions that measure an individual’s ability to actually apply this knowledge.

Assessments and applicant tracking systems are just two of the many HR technologies available to you, but they are two of the most commonly used in both reducing risk and improving results. ExactHire provides both solutions in an integrated fashion to help you achieve your compliance requirements and recruiting needs.

Applicant Tracking + Employee Assessments = HireCentric ATS

Looking for both solutions in one platform? Contact ExactHire to schedule a live demo of our HireCentric applicant tracking system with embedded employee assessments.


Photo Credit: Kelly Britto

Rethink Customer Service to Create Exceptional Employee Experiences

Customer service is commonly understood as how an organization interacts with–or serves– its customers (those individuals who buy its product or service). A key tenet of customer service is that an organization should have the goal of providing an exceptional experience by anticipating and meeting customer needs before the customer even asks. Imagine if the employees of an organization did the same for each other. Well, businesses with a strong employer brand do.

If we go back to the definition of brand, we are reminded that brand is not smoke and mirrors, it is the core of what you are as a business. To extend that concept to employer brand, an organization cannot expect an “employee appreciation day”, company swag, and an annual “employee satisfaction survey” to be the drivers of its employment brand. Those are nice expressions, but to truly possess a strong employment brand, an organization must offer an exceptional experience on the other days of the year too.

Every week, and indeed, every day will bring its own ups and downs–this is true inside and outside the workplace. When we talk about providing an exceptional experience for employees, our goal is not to create a workplace utopia. Rather, a business should seek to foster a culture that respects the dignity of the individual and affirms their contribution to the business on a daily basis. By doing this, employees feel supported and confident in their work, and thus, are more likely to collaborate with each other in an open and honest way.

5 Ways to Foster an Exceptional Employer Brand Experience

  1. Set realistic expectations of your work culture during the application process
  2. Provide new hires with a “culture book” that summarizes your work culture
  3. Announce milestone achievements, while also affirming the work and small wins that helped the organization get there
  4. Provide monthly or quarterly group incentives for valuable, collaborative objectives
  5. Develop a continual improvement plan that engages employees

ExactHire provides hiring technology for small to medium-sized organizations. Our SaaS solutions include HireCentric ATS and OnboardCentric which can streamline your hiring and onboarding processes, while providing an exceptional experience for new employees. To learn more about how you can enhance your hiring process through the use of our software, contact us today!

Image credit: People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile – Lee Mildon by rohit gowaikar (contact)

Cut Out Negativity, Find Talent That Fits

We (the royal we) spend tons of time making sure people know when we’ve encountered a terrible experience or product. But how often do we make sure people know about our great, wonderful experiences? We often use our words to share our sorrows. But I challenge you, for just this week, to use your words as swords to cut through negativity and blaze a positive path. I’ll start.

I have been on the hunt for a pair of jeans for months. All women know how dreadful this experience can be. Here’s what factors into my normal experience:

  • I’m short.
  • I have earned thighs that can hold a wall-squat longer than anyone should ever need to hold a wall-squat.
  • I’m thankful for the Kardashians (gasp!) because only they could make my booty look like a joke.

Those are all facts. I own them–just like the lady at GAP who owned her body and those pair of GAP jeans that she was wearing. So guess who ended up buying GAP jeans in one of her best shopping experiences in a long time? Me. And it was a fantastic experience!

What made my experience at GAP great?

  • The clothes? They were cute and seemed to fit well in the dressing room, but that didn’t make the experience great.
  • The prices? I did have a few coupons, but I didn’t feel like I was spending birthday money someone else had given me.

“THE” thing that made my experience great was the customer service lady. Period.

Finding Talent That Fits

We encounter many customer service people throughout the week. Why is it that when we find someone who is exceptional talent in this type of position, we feel like we have found a chunk of gold after panning in a creek for days? A great customer service person should NOT be a rarity.

People are what set your company apart. Spend time finding people who are the right fit. Find the all-stars–the ones who will proudly and positively carry your company’s banner. Your bottom line will thank you.

Need assistance finding out if the people on your team are great? Or if your potential new hires will be great? Check out ExactHire’s Employee Assessment Offerings.

Image credit: 46 by Clara T (contact)

Colts Vs. Patriots–Background Check

Big game in Foxborough this weekend. And while the matchup features two teams–106 men total–much of the discussion is around just two: Andrew Luck and Tom Brady.

These two quarterbacks differ in many ways, most obviously their age: Brady is 37 (frequently the age when an elite QB’s production drops off) and Luck is 25 (frequently the age when elite QBs start earning the title “elite”). So you don’t need John Clayton to tell you that Brady has the advantage of experience, and Luck the advantage of youth.

But that simple comparison–and the countless, more nuanced ones–will mean nothing come Sunday. The best TEAM will win, and these two franchises know a lot about winning.

A Little Background Check

It’s no accident that the Colts and Patriots are playing for the right to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 49. The ownerships expect excellence, and they’ve brought in the right people to make that happen. Imagine what would happen if these teams  handled personnel differently…say, like the Browns.

Actually, you don’t have to imagine that. Here’s what it would look like:

Cleveland Browns Past 15 Years


Ouch. Note that the past two seasons are not even listed on the team website. Yeah, it’s that bad. But why?

Is it bad luck? Is it the “Cleveland Curse”? Perhaps, but successful organizations like the Colts and Patriots don’t operate at the mercy of superstition. They take control of their situation, do the work, and are prepared to make the critical hiring (signing) decisions that will ensure continued success.

It’s the difference between: Drafting Peyton Manning or picking Ryan Leaf; Drafting Tom Brady in the sixth round or choosing Tim Rattay; Making Brady your franchise player or sticking with Drew Bledsoe; Handing over the reins to Andrew Luck or hanging on to a five-time League MVP.

It’s the difference between drafting “Johnny Football” or choosing character over celebrity.

The Colts and Patriots have sustained success over the past decade because they possess a clear vision for their organization. But more importantly, they have effectively vetted their “job candidates” to maximize the number of players who fit in with their vision. And when faced with critical personnel matters, they gather the best information, perform thorough analysis, and remain true to their vision in making the right hiring decisions.

Sunday’s Game

Back to the matter at hand: big game in Foxborough. I’ve listened to a lot of talk. I’ve heard from the experts and from less-than objective fans. A cold, wet night will make things interesting. Everything indicates that this should be a fantastic game to watch. But who will win?

As an Indianapolis native, I am certainly biased. But I’ll not let that keep me from making the right pick…

Colts 24 – Patriots 20

Note: This prediction takes into account that Luck’s beard has grown much more powerful since Week 11. Now gimme 2 claps and a Rick Flair!


ExactHire provides SaaS solutions that optimize the hiring process for organizations who seek excellence. Our HireCentric ATS includes background check integration and, when paired with other pre-employment screening programs like reference checking and behavioral assessments, supports smart hiring based on job fit.

Learn how your organization can improve your hiring process with HireCentric. Contact us today!


Image credit: Go Colts…Go Colts…Go Colts! by Steve Baker (contact)

How to Assess Your Small Business’s Pre-Employment Screening Maturity

A turnkey, effective pre-employment screening process is critical for today’s small business. We rely on pre-employment screening efforts to alert us of red flags with a candidate, verify the accuracy of one’s employment records, ensure the safety of existing employees, and explore whether one may thrive despite the demands of a position. And don’t forget the importance of saving time for busy HR Directors by reducing the chance of expensive turnover later.

There is a wide spectrum onto which companies may fall when it comes to pre-employment screening process maturity. Identify your small business’s place on this Bell curve as a first step toward improving your new hire screening, background checking, and reference checking methods.

Your Pre-Employment Screening Process Maturity Level

It’s time to get real. How do your company’s resources impact your placement on the maturity curve? Into which category does your company fall on the image below?

Pre-Employment Screening Process Maturity Curve


Companies lagging behind in this phase are resistant to technology in most areas of talent management. They are focused on manual activities such as using hard copy paper employment applications, collecting printed resumes at job fairs, and promoting the ability to apply in person (despite the absence of an on-site kiosk for electronic submission of applications). Businesses in this bucket may not even be doing background checks or reference checks on candidates who have received a conditional offer of employment. If the company has started to grow more quickly recently, putting these methods in place can be further delayed if nepotism is present and new hires frequently come from existing employee referrals.  Additionally, it is unlikely that the standard employment application offers the opportunity to incorporate well-planned screening questions that flesh out whether candidates meet at least the basic qualifications for a position. Lastly, you can assume that any web presence on behalf of human resources is completely managed by the IT department.


Companies in this bucket are often plagued by a lack of staff bandwidth (often an HR department of one trying to support too many employees) and poor buy-in from upper management. They launch isolated efforts to supplement the pre-employment screening process, but do not execute a universal, organization-wide strategy. For example, they utilize employee assessments for only some positions; use inconsistent techniques for reference checking and/or fail to train all hiring managers to follow the same protocol; inconsistently use social media to screen applicants (potentially a big liability); job-specific screening questions are underutilized and ultimately depend on the attentiveness of the hiring manager involved; and there is no automated way to group job candidates based on whether they satisfied basic qualifications. Additionally, these companies may still be collecting background check-related information (such as previous residences and Social Security number) on the employment application (without a compelling industry-related reason) because it is easier for them…neglecting the fact that it can disengage applicants and raise a red flag when the solicitation of that information is not connected with a conditional offer of employment.

Organizing & Conforming

Companies in this stage have the right structure in place for optimizing the pre-employment screening process – including an applicant tracking system and a means to collect employment references and electronic employment applications from applicants. While the integration of technology has advanced these companies into the “late majority” part of the cycle, activities such as reference checking are likely still handled inconsistently and may eat up the HR staff’s time. Though they probably have a go-to background checking vendor in place, they still may be collecting disclosures to run these checks in a cumbersome way (i.e. emailing candidates later in the process with a separate request form and then not having an automatic way for results for the check to flow back into an applicant tracking system). Upper management supports HR initiatives as it recognizes the need to put sound practices in place as the company grows, but the pace of growth is still outpacing the ability to get the right HR resources in place quickly enough. The HR department has a lot on its plate and needs to become even more efficient and strategic as pre-employment screening efforts have covered the tactical bases like background checking and reference checking, but still haven’t touched screening question development on a consistent basis.

Embracing & Engaging

For these companies, a strategic process is in place so that consistent screening techniques are used for every position in the organization and thoughtful job evaluation is used to create relevant and results-oriented job-specific screening questions. The right applicant tracking software technology is in place to allow human resource administrators the ability to quickly and easily view applicants that meet basic qualifications based on answers to questions…and those applicants that score particularly well are highlighted, accordingly. Success in hiring leads to further engagement from hiring managers to help develop job questions, respond about candidates quickly and utilize pre-employment testing tools. This partnership with hiring managers leads to opportunities to continuously re-evaluate and repeat success in the future.

Performance & Scaling

Scalability is of central concern for companies in this stage. They seek to further optimize their pre-screening efforts and are intimately attune with promoting a positive employment brand to both applicants and current employees. By regularly tracking key performance indicators such as time to hire and cost per hire, among others, HR personnel have already proven the business case for using technology to their CFO and company ownership. Many of these companies have undergone a significant spike in hiring recently, and have sought additional ways to leverage technology to avoid taking on more staff unnecessarily. Examples include bi-directional integration with background checking, behavioral and cognitive employee assessment tools and automated reference checking software in which the applicant is especially engaged to impact the responsiveness of his/her references. The HR department, whether comprised of one person or many individuals at this near-mastery level, is very agile, uses practical, easy-to-learn HR technology software and likely has enviable statistics when it comes to number of offers extended to accepted and turnover.

Talent Leader

These companies are completely passionate about attracting and hiring top talent…having employment brand ambassadors from entry-level employees all the way up to the CEO. The return on investment for pre-employment screening efforts has repeatedly been proven as well as scaled as the business expands (and expansion for small business can often mean a pretty drastic percentage increase in growth)…thanks in part to savvy reporting tools available in hiring software such as applicant tracking systems and online reference checking software. Other companies will look to this organization to mimic its hiring techniques and try to steal talent…but the latter attempt will often fail as the leading company has done a great job of pre-screening talent and engaging candidates and employees in the process. The talent leader will have little trouble fielding applicants for most job postings due to its reputation as a choice employer.

Does your business fall into your preferred category when it comes pre-employment screening maturity? What resources can help you move ahead on the pre-employment screening process maturity curve? To find out, visit our ExactHire resources section or contact us today.

SMB Pre-Employment Screening Guide Ebook

Image credit: Curve of Droplets by Andreas. (contact)

Insurance for Your Hiring Process

Insurance companies have become an advertising staple across all media platforms. Whether you’re looking for a “good neighbor” (State Farm), enjoy the exploits of Flo (Progressive) or follow the gecko (Geico) — many of these companies have almost become part of pop culture with their clever and catchy ads.

Everyone thinks about insuring traditional things — your health, your home, your life, etc. But what about insuring your company’s hiring efforts? While there isn’t technically an insurance policy you can purchase for this, there are services and strategies you can put in place to mitigate your risk. What is insurance, after all? A way to mitigate risk.

Let’s look at some things below that can help “insure” better hiring…

Hiring Process Insurance for Your Business

  • Applicant Recordkeeping – It’s important to be able to see if an applicant has applied for openings with your organization previously. If he/she did, what did others think of the candidate? Why was that applicant not hired before? Having tools, such as an applicant tracking system, in place to readily see this type of history is helpful.
  • Background Checks – While most larger organizations do this as a standard part of their hiring process, many smaller companies don’t. Not only can this type of information prevent a bad hire, but not performing due diligence creates considerable risk for a company. Let’s say your new hire assaults/harasses someone or injures someone while driving a company vehicle under the influence of alcohol. If a criminal background check would have exposed prior tendencies like these and you didn’t bother to run that check, your company’s liability has the potential to increase significantly.
  • Reference Checks – For many hiring managers and recruiters, reference checks have become a very painful (and often unproductive) part of the hiring process. Many prior employers will only share basic information like dates of employment or job title — no meaningful information. Usually, this is a reaction to perceived liability for poor references that may lead to a former employee not being hired. However, there are now tools available to automate the reference checking process for organizations and allow references to be much more anonymous with feedback. Don’t skip this valuable opportunity for information — prior performance is one of the better indicators of future performance.
  • Employee Assessments – There are lots of tools in the market that call themselves assessments. If you’ve been exposed to some of the poorer pre-employment testing options out there, they can appear to have little value. However, using tools that are well-validated and allow you to profile your current good performers is an excellent way to “look under the hood” to better understand someone’s key traits and characteristics before hiring them. Otherwise, you may not see certain aspects of a person until well after he or she has started working for you.

Just like insurance can’t protect you and your assets from all risks, the items listed above can’t protect you completely from making hiring mistakes. On the other hand, using a consistent process and taking advantage of technology to help automate that process where possible is a great way to dramatically reduce your hiring risk.

To learn more about ExactHire’s many different hiring software solutions, please visit our resources section or contact us today.

Image credit: Insurance umbrella by liftarn

Succeed as a Leader With Performance Evaluations

Take a look at the team you are leading. How are they performing?

I am sure you have a rough idea of who is meeting performance expectations, exceeding them, and–sadly–not quite meeting them. But do these team members know how you view their performance? If you only “think” they know, then it is time to start the performance evaluation process.

As leaders, we are obligated to provide professional insight and direction to all members of our team. Whether they are “shining stars” or subpar performers, all employees deserve an opportunity to learn more about their performance strengths and areas for improvement. And when we invest in our team, we also invest in ourselves. This investment will yield tremendous dividends–figuratively and literally.

I know. Your plate is already full of daily tasks. Adding the dreaded PERFORMANCE EVALUATION to your to-do list could seem overwhelming. And you may be uncertain. But if your team is unaware of how well they are performing, they run the risk of underachieving. Why should they go through each workday just to survive when they could actually thrive?

If you are just beginning performance evaluations or looking to enhance your current process, here are a few considerations.

360-Degree Evaluation

“Do I have enough data to back up my evaluation?”

To help you prepare, I encourage you to consider using employee assessments as a way to collect data.  360 degree evaluations from peers, managers, and the evaluee him/herself produce quantitative data that can provide direction when creating goals between a leader and a teammate. Getting manager and peer feedback is informative, and receiving a self-evaluation can be enlightening as well. Cross-referencing leadership, peer, and individual feedback can often identify where some of the biggest performance gaps exist.

Performance Evaluation Approach

“How do I start this conversation?” 

Performance evaluations should include an open and honest conversation with each member of your team. This is an opportunity to share your objective evaluation of his/her performance, invite the team member’s perspective, and then formulate a growth plan that ensures both you and your team member will thrive.

By starting a performance evaluation with openness and positivity, you will be setting a foundation of “give-and-take” communication. As the leader, share your views with supportive data, but give your teammate a chance to process these in order to create his/her response. Perhaps surprisingly, you will find that subpar performers do not realize that they are failing to meet expectations. Your openness and honesty will help them adjust in order to meet the goals that you and your organization have set.

Evaluation Anxiety

“What if it doesn’t go well?”

A performance evaluation meeting with your “shining star” teammate can be a simple task–good news and praise are easy to convey. Providing constructive feedback that some could consider to be negative? That is not so easy.

Quite often it is fear of the evaluee’s response that leads to the greatest apprehension for performance evaluators; most people do not enjoy conflict. Face-to-face verbal communication can be a scary thought–especially in these days of email, texting, and  “sharing” our feelings via social media (I might have to say something negative. Oh no!) Feelings of apprehension and hesitation must be overcome when you are leading a team.  Hard conversations are never easy, but effective verbal communication and candor is a skill that improves through practice.

Effective Performance Evaluations

A Key to Successful Leadership

Performance evaluations are a great way to strengthen the bond between leader and teammate.  Most employees want to know what they are doing well, what they are not doing well, and how to get better at their roles. During performance evaluation meetings, you have the opportunity to mentor your teammate and learn their vision for meeting long-term goals within the organization. Performance evaluations provide your organization with a way to strengthen your team and continue to invest in your human capital.

To enhance professional growth, performance, and morale among your team members, consider implementing a performance evaluation process. If you would like to learn more about ExactHire’s recommended assessment options, contact us today.

What is a Mentor and How do we Find One?

A mentor, according to Webster’s Dictionary is:

  1. experienced adviser and supporter: somebody, usually older and more experienced, who advises and guides a younger, less experienced person; or,
  2. trainer: a senior or experienced person in a company or organization who gives guidance and training to a junior colleague

In the HR world, having a mentor at work can be beneficial for all employees: new hires and those that have been with the organization for years. Building these types of relationships can be a positive for both the mentor and the person being mentored.

Most mentor relationships happen organically, you have a manager that you look up to or they take you “under their wing” and train you in the organization’s culture and job requirements.  You are able to witness firsthand what the more experienced colleague has to offer and then learn from an example. This is a very natural way to be successful at work. It also helps to have similar thinking behaviors to make this relationship fully beneficial. If your organization is willing to help “Assign” mentors, consider using an assessment program (such as PXT employee assessments available from ExactHire) to help match up similar thinking and behavioral styles. Management can use these assessments to help guide mentor programs within their organizations.

But what do you do if you do not have a mentor at your organization? This could be because you are in upper management yourself; or, because it’s a small company and there is not a good fit for this type of relationship. Whatever the reason, there are other options for finding a mentor. (Regardless of your age or work experience, everyone can benefit from a mentor because there is always something new we can each learn!)  Think outside the box! Or in this case, outside the company!  Check for local groups that meet based on industry or interest. Use your networking skills to meet more people from other organizations, bigger or smaller. You will be surprised how quickly you will find someone who would be a suitable mentor. In some cases, you may even be able to help mentor each other, since you will each have unique things to offer in terms of past experience and training capabilities .

A mentor can be important in all aspects of our lives, when we are 6 or 60, whether work related or personal. Having a mentor can keep you focused and on track to achieving many successes in life. To find out more about our employee assessment products, please contact us today.

Image credit: Overcoming obstacles by The U.S. Army (contact)

Portfolio Items