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Escaping the Experience Trap: a guide to potential-based hiring

Wednesday 31st May

Escaping the Experience Trap: a guide to potential-based hiring

At the recent #IHRLeaders23, our very own Chief Customer Officer Estelle McCartney, took to the stage to showcase how hiring for potential can help organisations to escape the experience trap.

‘The digitisation of work has meant we're in the midst of a skills crisis even at a time when jobs are being shed. As a result, the narrow talent pool is causing spiralling salaries and exacerbating the diversity divide, yet the vast majority of organisations continue to recruit as they've always done - screening candidates based on a lack of digital or other skilled experience, rather than screening in those with the capabilities to be trained’.

Watch the whole session to learn:

  • Why we have no option but to rely less on experience in the hiring process if we really want to access the best talent
  • How to use potential-based hiring to overcome the skills shortage, increase the size of your talent pool and reach more diverse, higher quality candidates
  • How to move from experience-centric hiring to hiring for potential
  • How to identify the right talent in broadening talent pools
  • How Siemens moved from experience-centric hiring to hiring-for-potential, saving 242 hours of recruiter time in the process

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At the event, we had lots of great questions about hiring for potential and our team have responded to all of these questions below:

When hiring for potential did Siemens need to invest in additional development for new joiners without experience? If so can you share an estimate per new hire that was budgeted.

Siemens invest in learning and development and robust onboarding as standard (regardless of the recruitment approach utilised). There was no extra spend on L&D for this role, the candidates as part of the 'Hiring for Potential' initiative went through the standard onboarding and L&D at Siemens.

As with all roles, it is best practice to provide onboarding and some level of L&D whether this is on the job or professional training, the Arctic Shores assessment isn't dependent on a robust L&D programme set up by the employer it simply depends on what the challenges are and what you are trying to measure and achieve in the longer term.


How did you manage to filter down from 63 candidates to just 8 candidates?

Siemens were able to fairly assess candidates and sift at the 80th percentile on the Arctic Shores assessment without any bias creeping in, meaning 63 candidates scored above the pass mark for the assessment. The candidates were then asked to answer questions that delved into their motivations, not experience and these responses, combined with their assessment scores were used to screen candidates to interview.

Hiring Managers were so convinced by the approach that out of the 8 short-listed candidates they felt they could hire all 8 of them (that's how strong a fit to the job criteria they were). 

By taking this potential-based approach, it also allowed Siemens to shorten their recruitment process and the overall time to hire was reduced from 80 days to 41 days.


What was the size of the team screening candidates, and did the team need training on the new approach?

For the Project Engineering role, it was a small team of Hiring Managers used to review the written questions, just two people.

Less resource was needed as more of the process was automated and didn't require time-consuming CV sifts. Two Hiring Managers were involved in assessing answers to short written questions and conducting eight final round interviews; they were given full training in the new approach including the new interview questions and scoring criteria in order to feel confident to assess candidates. 

The Hiring Managers at Siemens are complete advocates of the new approach and were so impressed by the quality of candidates that they would have hired the 8 candidates at the final stage if they had more than 2 vacancies available.


Was the KFC, Aldi or internal applicant one of the hires?
The candidate from Aldi was one of the successful candidates. 


How did the quality of hire get assessed (in either the short or long term)? Are these individuals performing better than their colleagues who joined with the previously required experience?

The quality of candidates were assessed at the following stages during the recruitment process (in the short term and long term below:

  • Candidate experience
  •  Time to hire
  • Candidate quality (measured by fit against success criteria or competencies important for the role)
  • Increase the talent pool & number of applications
  • Decrease number of hours spent on recruitment
  • Ensure fairness / no bias in the process across protected groups
  • On the job performance measured by Hiring Manager ratings (ongoing but measurement so far at 30 and 60 days has produced exceptional scores for the hired individuals using line manager performance ratings - i.e. ratings by Siemens Engineers). 






How does your technology support the assessment/ screening of candidate tasks?
The Arctic Shores assessment is mobile and desktop enabled for ease of access and completion by candidates. The assessment (and employers / recruiters) are supported by our platform UNA which allows easy and fast set up of candidates on the assessment (including invitations, automatic feedback issued etc.). The technology our teams have developed allows you to set up your campaign, choose your success criteria important for your role (or use a template) within about 10 minutes of accessing the platform. You will receive scores back from candidates instantaneously as soon as they complete the assessment. The candidate also receives their individual feedback report within 30 seconds of completing the assessment if you so wish. The assessment and platform can also be integrated with an ATS (such as Teamtailor or Tribepad) and / or video interview platforms (such as Willo).



How dependent is this tool on L&D. If you hire for potential you surely have to have a strong capability in the business to reach that potential?
The Arctic Shores assessment measures a wide range of 34 behaviours and cognitive attributes shown to be important for successful performance at work. These behaviours include areas that are difficult to measure with other assessments or via interview such as resilience, learning agility, innovation potential, core cognition (such as ability to solve problems), ability to deliver results, plan and organise as well as many other areas. As with all roles, it is best practice to provide onboarding and some level of L&D whether this is on the job or professional training, the Arctic Shores assessment isn't dependent on a robust L&D programme set up by the employer it simply depends on what the challenges are and what you are trying to measure and achieve in the longer term.


How does this approach work for mid-senior level hiring, such as for skilled Engineer roles?

Understanding if someone's natural level of resilience or innovation potential (or any of the 34 areas Arctic Shores measure) can be useful for any level of role. In fact, this Project Engineer role was an experienced hire not an entry-level role. Many of Arctic Shores customers utilise the assessment to understand an individual's strengths and development areas beyond Early Career roles.

The assessment is useful to any level of role because it gives you a measure of a broad range of behaviours and cognitions important for success at work (regardless of the role or level). You can then utilise this information to understand where an individual's natural strengths and development areas are / who will have significant gaps in criteria important for the role beyond technical capability such as Engineering capability. For example, the role of a Senior Engineer not only requires the individual to possess Engineering knowledge but also strong problem-solving skills, resilience, learning ability, innovation potential, ability to influence or work in a team, ability to plan. It is important to gain a holistic assessment of all of these areas to support an individual in a role.



Get in touch with our team to find out how Hiring for Potential can help you to expand talent pools and bring down hiring costs.

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