[IPAC-List] Would you rather.....?

Blair, Michael D[EQ] Michael.D.Blair at Embarq.com
Tue Apr 7 14:49:41 EDT 2009

Mark -

I would rather select a candidate using a robust and valid assessment battery than a temp to hire model, especially if I had good local data showing moderate to strong correlation with performance and/or accepted business metrics (e.g., sales). Why? Several reasons including:

(1) As already mentioned, some sort of process is going to be used to select a candidate for the temp to perm position. As such, it makes sense to use a good assessment process that will identify top talent.

(2) The cost, especially in the private sector, of a poor hiring decision (temp or perm) is high. For an entry-level customer care & sales job, a bad hire for 8 months would cost us in excess of $45,000 and this does not include training costs or costs associated with losing customers due to a poor experience with a rep. For a mid-level, professional, or supervisory position, the cost would be dramatically higher.

(3) Legally, using a non-validated process to select the temp just doesn't make sense. If challenged, you still have to defend the process.

(4) The candidate pool for temporary positions is different from the candidate pool for regular permanent positions. In the event you find top talent willing to take a temporary position, he/she will only stick around as long as it takes to find a permanent role.

(5) In the public sector, getting rid a bad hire can be next to impossible. The 8-month temporary period could easily turn into 8, 18, or 28 years of poor or sub-par performance. Not a good scenario.

Dennis, Elizabeth, & RP provided some additional reasons as well.

Michael D. Blair
Manager, Recruitment, Selection & Assessment
Voice: 913-345-6334 | Cell: 913-832-6130 | Fax: 913-345-6417
Email: Michael.D.Blair at embarq.com

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-----Original Message-----
From: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org [mailto:ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org] On Behalf Of Mark Hammer
Sent: Tuesday, April 07, 2009 8:56 AM
To: ipac-list at ipacweb.org
Subject: [IPAC-List] Would you rather.....?

Select a candidate using a half dozen of the crème de la crème of relevant tools out there, or get to hire them as temps for 8 months and see what they can do before making a decision?

Where do you place your faith *more*, in well-developed tools or in what you think you see with your own eyes?

I add the following caveats:

1) This obviously assumes that the position *permits* this kind of choice to exist. I doubt many would want to "try out" people as temporary incumbents in public safety/protection or emergency positions.

2) This also assumes that performance is actually observable by the hiring manager. I understand that jobs, and work contexts, vary in the likelihood that 6, 8, or even 18 months provides adequate opportunity to get a clear and confident sense of whether the incumbent meets, and possibly exceeds, the requirements for the position.

3) In some respects, "good" tools serve as a proxy for on-the-job observation. I.E., "If I can't try them out for real, I can at least see what they do in a simulated situation, or what I can expect in such situations".

4) I have a definite bias towards a monitoring perspective. In other words, merit is great, but I have to be in a position to count it and argue its existence (or reduction) before legislators and senior officials. So, **common sense** says that if you hire someone permanently that you've had on contract for 18 months already, that 18 months probably predicts future performance at least as well, or perhaps better than, a handful of scores. But the monitoring imperative says that I cannot simply ask 2000 managers "Are you happy with the person you hired?", then turn around and present that to senior officials as "proof" of merit. Similarly, if you get someone on a casual/contract (and non-competitive) basis to fill a short-term need, is it reasonable and guided by merit to appoint them eventually because, after all, "they can do the job"? Or is there something missing?

5) People WILL use testing, and people WILL attempt to convert short-term contracts into long-term or permanent ones, simply because it is more expedient than running a competition. Can all of that (formal competitions, try-before-you-buy, "well, they're doing the job already", sham competitions, etc.) peacefully co-exist?

So that's the challenge: Do we absolutely NEED testing to be assured of merit, or are there dependable substitutes?

Mark Hammer
IPAC-List at ipacweb.org

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