Failing grade: Why hiring managers lose out when focusing on GPA

Questions Hiring Managers Should Ask

How do you evaluate candidates for a job? Is college grade point average (GPA) an important metric that you integrate in your decision? In an era when analytics have become a key part of almost every business decision, GPA seems like an obvious number to rely on. It’s time to realize, however, that not all metrics are created equal. Many human capital experts agree that GPA has little or no predictive value for the performance of a student in their eventual job. In fact, according to Laszlo Bock, the SVP of People Operations at Google, their hiring managers have stopped this approach: “One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that GPAs are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless — no correlation at all except for brand-new college grads, where there’s a slight correlation,” Bock said.

Because college students typically enter their undergraduate studies as teenagers, there are countless reasons why they might have sub-optimal performance in the classroom. At that age, students are only beginning to navigate the world as independent adults. We’re all aware that some of the deepest life lessons are acquired outside the classroom, and often those lessons involve learning from painful mistakes. If those experiences show up as low grades, then GPA will not attest to the true learning that took place.

If you collect this uninformative data, you won’t be able to avoid relying on it; it’s just human nature to be biased in favor of a candidate with a 3.9 GPA over one with a 3.0. A numerical bias of this kind can prevent you from finding the best candidates, or from comparing applicants on the basis of qualities that really make a difference. For example, one key quality that reliably correlates with workplace success is employee engagement. If your new hires are a good cultural fit for your workplace and their personal ambitions are aligned with the values of your company, they’re more likely to be motivated, productive, and successful.

It’s true that hiring managers should consider many factors when vetting a candidate, but be careful not to cloud your judgement by gathering irrelevant information. The questions hiring managers should ask should focus instead on behavioral interview questions that determine a candidate’s thought processes, problem-solving skills, experiences, motivations, and personality. Your understanding of which candidates are a better fit is, in the end, far more relevant than a number on a transcript from long ago.

4 things you need to understand before hiring a new college grad

Hiring Millennials with Graduate RecruitmentThese days, many companies are clamoring for college grads; each year brings a fresh pool of talent for you to tap. The great news about graduates is that if they’re intelligent and adaptable, they can work in almost any sector of your business. But what’s the best way to compete against all the other organizations trying to recruit the same candidates?

Keep in mind that new graduate recruitment and hiring millennials requires a different approach than recruiting seasoned professionals.

Demonstrate your company’s mission and meaning

Most college students want to feel like they’re a part of something meaningful and something that has a positive impact on the world. If you want to attract this growth-oriented group, you need to demonstrate how your company makes a difference in your industry, your community, or the world.

If your company offers unique values, culture, or growth opportunities, don’t be afraid to highlight them. Are you performing work that has a big impact on society? Do you have a creative and innovative atmosphere in your workplace? Do you emphasize a collaborative team-based environment? Illustrate why your company is unique and innovative, and you’ll attract innovative young employees.

Understand where grads are coming from

Candidates that have just graduated present a much different recruiting challenge than other candidates. Most of them don’t have experience with the interview process, contract negotiations, and other professional norms.

Understand that recent grads are still a work in progress and that training and guidance are necessary at the start to build on the talents your candidates naturally possess. This will ensure your investment in a recent grad pays off with big dividends down the road.

Use the right recruiting tactics

Millennials have grown up almost entirely in the digital age, which means they are used to constant communication, using digital tools to achieve their goals, and plenty of flexibility. You can showcase your company’s strengths in these areas by using the following tactics:

  • Set up a peer interview to allow a recent grad to connect with other young employees in your organization who can answer their questions.
  • Explain how a grad’s skills will help a company or organization succeed. This will help a millennial candidate gain a clear vision of how they will gel with your company’s culture.
  • Consider offering flexible job hours or the future opportunity for remote work for certain grads that can complete the required tasks on their own schedules.

Retain employees the right way

After you recruit a millennial, it’s important to keep them engaged and satisfied with their job. Providing millennials with regular feedback on their job performance and recognizing them for the work they put in is key. That means routine employee engagement surveys are vital to keeping millennials happy.

It’s also necessary for you to reward millennials that are performing well. Recent grads aren’t the types who will put in years of work to gain seniority, and they will often change companies in pursuit of their ambitions. If you can demonstrate that advancement is based on results, you’ll be in a much better position to retain millennial employees.

What’s a Talent Community?

Guest post by Jeff Waldman, Founder & Social HR Strategist of Stratify and SocialHRCamp

modern-workplaceV3Talent pool, talent network or talent community—semantics shemantics. We in the HR industry appear to be having some difficulties wrapping our heads around all of this. For starters, we can’t seem to agree on the definitions for each of these terms, let alone understand what the core purposes of each are. The so-called ‘industry influencers’ are struggling with this as well. If the thought-leaders and influencers are struggling, how can the industry at large have a clear understanding?

Part of the problem with understanding talent communities, lies in our attempts to define it. While we could sit around and debate the meaning of specific words, concepts and ideas, a simple definition just doesn’t capture the essence of what a talent community really is at its core.

Instead, what if we equate the core purpose of a talent community to the practice of relationship building? Take a marketer for example. Why are successful marketers successful? Is it because they create more appealing advertisements? Is it because they have a way with words? Or is it because they are the loudest on social networks? No, not really, and probably not.

A marketer’s success hinges on their ability to build strong relationships based on value, respect, credibility, honesty, and reciprocity. They have the ability to effectively tap into the emotional core of their target audience. They’re engaging and conversational, always discovering and sharing, and asking questions. Their success is directly correlated to their engagement with their audience.

This is exactly what a talent community is all about. The final desired outcome is a rich community of top talent that loves and promotes the brand.

Yet, to date, the approach that the majority of the HR industry has taken is what I call an “old school sales” approach. The industry has this notion that employers hold all the power, and that simply offering an open position is all the effort needed to attract top talent. With this approach, dialogue between a prospect and the organization is limited and one-sided, not to mention inconsistent. Oh, and it’s terribly boring—for everyone involved. How in the world can this practice differentiate you from your competitors, promote brand awareness, and ultimately build strong relationships? Tactics like these only seek to define a position, not create a community.

Appropriately, the answer here isn’t easy. Simply stating the desired qualities of your ideal employees won’t magically draw them to you. Instead, seek out the best talent you know, and ask them how they build relationships with their target audiences. Then begin to cultivate the type of community that attracts the caliber of colleague you’re looking for.

Like any good community, your talent community is only as good as its members. Dedicate the time and effort to understand yours, and you’ll find your success far surpasses a simple definition.

 

 

Jeff Headshot SHRMJeff Waldman, Founder & Social HR Strategist of Stratify and SocialHRCamp is leading the way in a growing niche that brings together HR, employer branding, social media, marketing and business. With a diverse career since 2000, spanning all facets of HR Jeff founded SocialHRCamp in 2012; a growing global interactive learning platform that helps the HR Community adopt social media and emerging HR technology in the workplace. Jeff consults and advises HR and Recruitment software companies on content market strategy, business development and product development, and with corporate HR teams across multiple industries to strategically integrate social media and emerging HR technology into HR and Employer Branding strategy.

Jeff is an avid speaker, blogger and volunteer with diverse organizations such as the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition, HR Technology Conference, HR Metrics Conference Canada, Illinois State SHRM Conference, Louisiana State SHRM Conference and many other events in Canada and the U.S.. Recently named one of the Top 100 Most Social Human Resources Experts on Twitter by the Huffington Post he also served as a judge for the 2013 Achievers Top 50 Most Engaged Workplaces Awards.

You can find Jeff on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.

Ask Achievers: How do I get started with employee referrals?

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This week’s reader question goes to Kate Pope, our Manager of Talent Acquisition. As our resident expert on all things recruitment, she shares her advice for getting the most out of employee referrals.

Dear Achievers,

I really want to encourage employee referrals at my company, but I’m not sure where to start. What’s the first step? Is it going to be a lot of work (and if so, is it really worth the effort)? It seems intuitively like a good idea, but I need metrics to convince my boss. Help!

– Really Excited For Employee Referrals

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The Class of 2013: What the findings mean for employment branding and Millennial recruiting

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Guest Post by Kristen Dooley

On the heels of each comprehensive “Class of” survey with Achievers, one of the most common questions we receive here at ConnectEDU is “What does this mean for recruiters?” Millennials are poised to become half of the workforce in the United States and companies are increasingly interested in recruiting the right members of each graduating cohort. Naturally, we’re attuned to what those new graduates are looking for, and this year’s survey of 10,000 students is a useful tool for extrapolating effective tactics for recruiting from and branding for this group.

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5 ways to assess workplace culture fit

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Guest Post by: Meghan M. Biro

Recruiting the best talent and culture can be a heartbreaking process. While there’s nothing more exciting and fulfilling than finding the right person for a job, there are those times when – on paper or digital at least – the candidate seems a perfect fit, only to crash and burn within months of being hired. The tangible recruitment and training costs of these mis-hires can be high, and they also drain morale and energy from a team and company.

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Big Data: Can you tell the signal from the noise?

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Last month, Google’s SVP of people operations Laszlo Bock gave a much-discussed interview to the New York Times on the role of Big Data in the recruitment process. On the one hand, he says, hard data can help you separate your feelings from the facts. While almost everyone thinks they’re leadership material, for instance, few people actually are.

That’s where Big Data can come in handy:

If you go back to somebody and say, “Look, you’re an eighth-percentile people manager at Google. This is what people say.” They might say, “Well, you know, I’m actually better than that.” And then I’ll say, “That’s how you feel. But these are the facts that people are reporting about how they experience you.” You don’t actually have to do that much more. Because for most people, just knowing that information causes them to change their conduct. One of the applications of Big Data is giving people the facts, and getting them to understand that their own decision-making is not perfect. And that in itself causes them to change their behavior.

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[Infographic] Anatomy of an employee referral

How much do you know about employee referrals?

Did you know they can be 18 times cheaper to hire than traditionally-recruited candidates? Or that they work better, smarter, and stick around longer? If not, don’t worry—we’re here to break down the anatomy of an employee referral for you, so you can see what makes these superstars tick (and how you can get them to work for you).

Check it out:

Antomy of employee referral

Need more insight? You’ll love the stats, testimonials, and best practices in our new e-book, The ultimate guide to employee referrals: How to engage employees, save millions, and drive Employee Success™.

The 5-step plan to build your own employee referral program

recruitmentEmployee referral programs consistently produce the best candidates in the shortest time and at the lowest cost. But if you’re like most companies, referrals comprise only 6.9 percent of applicants. What a waste!

Fortunately, that’s not a fixed maximum; with a little effort, you can boost those numbers. According to Gerry Crispin, a principal at CareerXroads, “companies where recruiters place greater emphasis on referral-related hiring” are able to increase the percentage of referrals by 7-15%. By following the following best practices, you too can start saving thousands of dollars (and countless hours) per employee.

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Ask Amelia: Tips for recruiting A-players?

ask_achieversWe want to fill our open positions with people who will really move the business forward, a.k.a. A-players, but it seems you can only learn so much in the interview process. What tips do you have for recruiting the right candidates?

Great question! We all want to move the business forward and need the most capable talent to do it. First, ask yourself what business are you in and what does moving forward really look like?

For instance, if you need a change agent, then you are looking for someone that exhibits behaviors that can drive results AND influence people. This combination works well for creating and delivering change. If you need top line growth, then you need someone that exhibits an action orientation and can show self-motivation.

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