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The Talent Acquisition Fit Challenge

Authored by: Managing Partner, Roger Pearman

Here are some numbers that will make your head head hurt when considering what is on the line with our talent acquisition practices:

  • The average turnover rate among US businesses between 2021 and 2022 was 24.7%.
  • Voluntary turnover due to employee resignation (17.8%) was much higher than involuntary turnover (6.7%), where the company terminated the employee.
  • Cost per hire is averaging $4700 and the equivalent of 33% of salary loss when high performers leave.

It is expensive to find and hire, to lose, and to replace talent.

As is true in many things, the “ending is contained in the beginning.”  If the talent acquisition process to identify, select, and confirm or verify the talent being brought on board is flawed, then only loss follows.  Of course, finding the right fit is part of the retention solution.  Other factors include onboarding, having a good boss, feedback for growth, opportunities for career expansion, and having a sense of purpose. All are important to keeping the hard-won talent that you bring in the door.

But if the initial fit is off, then it is almost impossible to recover the talent for long term commitments.  Obviously, the individual needs to have the prerequisite skills and knowledge to do the job, but this is rarely adequate information to make an informed hiring decision. If those in a company have a clear sense of the priorities of the roles/responsibilities and behavioral practices needed for success, then it becomes important to ascertain how close the candidates’ knowledge, skills, and attributes (KSAs) align with those mission critical behaviors or success elements.

Sound Success Profiles + Self-Perception

To successfully select the best candidate, you need a sound and relevant success profile on a given job. These get built based on role responsibilities and on objectively defined behavioral practices that directly support effectiveness in the role. Research and experience informs these elements. Candidates, without knowing the profile that has been created, need to be asked to report on their behaviors and preferences in terms of what is most essential for their success as they see it.  We know they will NOT report their weaknesses or indifferences as mission critical, nor do they easily prioritize among a range of behavioral requirements, yet you must take them there. Once they share their personal success profile, however, it is easy to see how close their self-perceptions are to the success profile for the role. They will also, with proper behavior-based questions and probes, verify degrees of alignment.

We know that an individual’s self-image is critical to their motivation. It gives us a very good start on understanding how they see themselves and if that image fits with what is needed in a role.  A strong fit between self-image and a stakeholder-verified success profile means that the individual is likely to feel as though they belong, and have been both invited to the party and asked to dance. 

What’s Different

It is tempting to think of this process as similar to the use of self-report tools in which an individual indicates how often they engage in a particular set of behaviors. Those responses are compared to another group of people who have been successful in the role (or one similar) and, based on statistical correlations, estimations are made as to how similar the person is to the previous contributors. What is suggested in the paragraphs above is significantly different in very important ways.  First, a success profile is the basis of comparison.  Second, the individual is indicating the relative strength of their behaviors directly related to the job. Third, there is a comparison of the self-image to the success profile. Finally, very directed questions are provided to verify how accurate the self-portrayal may be.

Our process creates fit indices which are based directly on job behaviors, not on some unrelated factors that estimate relationships between the job requirements and the behaviors of previous contributors. And, because we do not have to depend on the correlations nor the predictive validity of these, we get a more direct line of evidence without the risk inherent in many selection processes. Now that’s different!

Fit Appraisal Graphic
Learn more about the TalentTelligent Fit Appraisal!

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