Use Motivation Traits Data to Improve Hiring Outcomes

BY C. Lee Smith
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When we talk with organizations about the importance of using pre-​employment assessments, we sometimes hear they don’t have time for that step in the hiring process. They’re worried candidates will ghost them if they are asked to take an assessment. And the last thing they want to do is slow down the process when they have a huge need to fill. Too often, managers stress out about meeting production deadlines or keeping the doors open to their business, and they take a chance on the candidate who is immediately available, regardless of motivation traits.

Motivation Traits

After being whipsawed during the pandemic, employers are making emotional hiring decisions. They convince themselves the shortage of candidates can’t get much worse. Unfortunately, onboarding a bad hire can and does make things worse, ranging from operational failure to a collapse of company culture to an ugly and expensive employee exit. All this could have been avoided if they used pre-​hire assessments to determine motivation traits before making an offer.

The Hiring Process

Employers have built multiple steps into the hiring process. Our research shows that it takes at least four months to find a replacement for a departing sales professional. The typical pre-​COVID-​19 hiring process required phone screens, resume screens, background checks, drug tests, and interviews. Despite putting candidates through weeks, and sometimes months, of hiring-​related activity, many employers ceased making contact once they decided to hire someone else.

Who can blame candidates for ghosting employers after those kinds of experiences? Employers are now feeling the burn of coming up short in their recruiting process. So, they’re streamlining their hiring process, accord to a Wonderlic survey. About 30% of employers have cut down on the number of phone screens and in-​person interviews.

Have these changes improved hiring outcomes?  About 67% of the Wonderlic survey respondents say they use at least four hiring milestones, such as interviews, with great results. And about 57% of businesses that use three hiring steps say the same. Wonderlic analysts report, “Despite the high volume of activity around removing milestones, our data shows a strong relationship between a high number of milestones and a high quality of hire—but only for non-​specialized roles.”

While companies may have previously emphasized fair hiring practices, more hiring managers are now paying attention to the candidate experience during the process. In fact, they are treating candidates like highly valued customers. And in doing so, they believe their hiring outcomes will be more successful.

The Right Kind of Assessment Data

Psychometric assessments have emerged as a key tool in hiring the right candidates. Over 70% of hiring managers use some form of assessments, according to Wonderlic analysts. Our research, focusing on the sales profession, reveals that nearly 50% of managers use a sales knowledge or acumen assessment when hiring. They also use personality assessments (41%), psychometric assessments (30%) and communication skills testing, (43%).

Nearly all, 87%, of hiring managers surveyed by Wonderlic believe the use of assessment results in a higher quality hire. The concept of motivation traits deserves a closer look by hiring managers. If you want to know what the candidate is looking for in a position, their scores with respect to motivators will give you a clue. If a candidate’s need to make a lot of money is the primary motivator, and your open position is in the nonprofit sector, you may not have a good match. On the other hand, if the position you want to fill requires the employee to think on their and to come up with flexible solutions, the candidate who has a high need to be self-​reliant will make a good fit.

Hiring Outlook

Few people believe the hiring process will be easy this year. In fact, more than 60% of the hiring sales managers we interviewed said they have been onboarding candidates they wouldn’t have hired a year or two ago. It easy to panic when you’re faced with a minimal talent pool. But you can increase your chances of hiring an employee who will fit into your company and with your client base when you use assessments and consider motivation traits.

Don’t worry too much about whether the candidates possess your hoped-​for academic or experience credentials. Use the assessment results to determine which candidates possess the right mindset to succeed and the right motivation. It may take a while longer to get these employees up and running, but they will be thankful for the investment you made in them and remain loyal.

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels