Three important benefits can be achieved by integrating your recruitment, HR and talent systems, and allowing data to flow between them, says Dr Achim Preuss.
Recruitment generates a mass of information. Selection decisions are often based on a candidate’s experience, qualifications, aptitude and personality assessment results, and their performance in video and face-to-face interviews. Somehow, all of the resultant data about your candidates has to be collected, processed, organised and presented – at the right time and in the right format – to help you decide who will perform best in the role.
“Integration” is the underlying process that not only connects your different systems so they can work together and applicant details can move seamlessly between them, but gathers all the decision-relevant information about your candidates into one place, in a way that’s highly automated. Allowing data to flow across different systems requires complex functionality. For example, you may have an applicant tracking system, a candidate management system and a video interviewing system. You may also have an HR information system, a performance management process and a talent management platform.
Getting systems to talk to each other
Essentially, each system has an application programme interface (API) that acts as a doorway. So, with the right know-how, you can configure or enhance your systems to securely extract, translate and use data from each other. It’s the software equivalent of “my people will call your people to make this happen”. But we are more concerned with the benefits of integration than the technical aspects. Integration warrants your attention because it offers three notable advantages:
1. It improves the candidate experience
Instead of asking candidates to log into different systems, to take a range of assessments or a video interview, integration allows you to have a single sign-in procedure. Behind the scenes, each candidate will be “moved” across different systems, but they won’t be aware of this because, to them, the whole process will appear completely seamless. Also, their details are stored, so if they want to apply for another position, the system will not only retain their biographical details, it will keep their assessment results too. They can then choose either to re-sit the tests or to re-use their existing scores. Confidentiality is ensured because the identity of candidates remains anonymous. The data that flows between systems has only a candidate ID number. Candidates can also order feedback reports through the system, highlighting their performance in the assessments. Making your application process simple, smooth and straightforward for candidates can enhance your employer brand.
2. It makes recruiters’ lives easier
By amalgamating the data from the different aspects of your application process into a candidate record, integration puts all the information you need to make the right selection decision at your fingertips. In other words, it makes it as easy and efficient as possible to recruit new employees. You can create an interview guide for hiring managers that dynamically generates relevant and probing questions for each candidate, based on their assessment results.
Integration can also help recruiters to set up new recruitment projects more easily, using pre-populated test regimes (combinations of assessments that are stored on the system and which have already proved to be effective for different job types). You can define the competencies and specification of the role and automatically see the best tests to use and the “pass score” and personality characteristics that are required for each job.
3. You can analyse talent data
A candidate’s assessment results used to “sit in a drawer” once he or she had been appointed. With integration, it’s now easy to mine, compare and use data in ways that weren’t possible before and this opens the door to a wealth of new analytics. For example, you can compare candidate scores in your aptitude tests against their final interview pass rates. You can share a candidate’s assessment results with your L&D team, so they can create an individual learning plan for each new recruit from day one, that takes account of their strengths and weakness against the competences required in the role. You can also combine pre-hire and post-hire performance and development data to gain fresh insights into your talent and a better understanding of what actually makes people successful in your organisation. By making better use of the information that’s already on your different systems, you can more easily spot and enhance potential, create talent pools and undertake succession planning. You can also improve your future recruitment, enhance your onboarding and development processes, and externally benchmark your performance and development data against great global brands. This will help you to demonstrate the link between your talent initiatives and the success of the business.
However, achieving successful data integration is not without its challenges. Firstly, you need a clear understanding of what you’re hoping to achieve. For example, do you want to capture and integrate the data from pre-application assessments, such as realistic job previews, situational judgement questionnaires and gamified assessments? This is an option but some clients prefer to keep this “attraction data” separate from their application process.
Secondly, choose the right partners. Successful integration requires expertise in the technical aspects of interfacing systems and transferring data, psychometric experience, IT, HR and project management expertise, as well as an in-depth knowledge of the issues around data security and data protection. Choose suppliers who can partner with other multinational and local vendors and who will adapt their approach to suit your workflow (not someone who wants to change your workflow to suit their system). Ultimately, integration is a means to an end. It will enhance your ability to recruit the right people, provide a seamless candidate experience and improve the way you manage your talent.
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