I’m finally back in Scotland after a summer of much travelling, so normal service is now resumed, and the podcast is back into its regular rhythm of two new shows a week.
Assessment and selection continue to be an area of debate, investment and technological innovation. So what has been happening in the space over the last 12 months, and more importantly, what is working?
It is my great pleasure to welcome Netherlands-based consultant Bas van de Haterd back to the show as my guest this week. Bas has been on the podcast a few times discussing new thinking in assessment and runs an awards program for innovation in assessment. His 2022 awards have just been judged, and he joins us to update us on what is working and discuss the different approaches the shortlisted organisations have taken.
In the interview, we discuss:
• The current state of the market
• Innovation in assessment and selection
• Increasing diversity by selecting on quality
• Engagement, motivation and stress resilience
• Cynicism and the importance of results and ROI
• Open hiring – innovating by having no assessment
• Neuroscience and brain-based assessment
• Reducing attrition
• Skills versus experience
• The importance of using the right tools
• How will assessment techniques and technologies develop in the future?
Support for this podcast comes from Clevry, the leading soft skills platform for matching and recruiting. Backed by 30 years of scientific research and assessment development, Clevry helps you to predict job performance and hire the right talent to build a winning team, grow faster by focusing on what matters most, soft skills. Visit www.clevry.com, and Clevry spelled C-L-E-V-R-Y, to discover how companies like British Gas, Asda, and Marks & Spencer hire better with Clevry and schedule your demo today.
Matt Alder (58s):
Hi everyone. This is Matt Alder. Welcome to episode 452 of the Recruiting Future Podcast. I’m finally back in Scotland after a summer of much traveling. So normal service is now resumed and the podcast is back into its regular rhythm of two new shows a week. Assessment and selection continue to be an area of debate, investment, and technological innovation. So, what’s been happening in this space over the last 12 months, and more importantly, what is working? It’s my great pleasure to welcome Netherlands-based consultant Bas van de Haterd back to the show as my guest this week.
Matt Alder (1m 41s):
Bas has been on the podcast a few times discussing new thinking and assessment and runs an awards program for innovation in assessment. His 2022 awards have just been judged and he joins us to update us on what is working and discuss the different approaches the shortlisted organizations have taken. Hi, Bas, and welcome back to the podcast.
Bas van de Haterd (2m 5s):
It’s great to be back again, Matt.
Matt Alder (2m 7s):
Always a pleasure to have you on the show. Before we start, though, for people who may not have heard your previous episodes or may not have come across the brilliant work that you do, could you just introduce yourself and tell everyone what you do?
Bas van de Haterd (2m 19s):
All right. My name is Bas van de Haterd. I am based in the Netherlands and I help companies recruit smarter. And one of the topics we’ve talked a lot about in the past was corporate career sites. I’m still very active on those, but actually, once you fix the problems with the attraction and mainly the conversion piece, sometimes you go to the selection piece and that’s one of the things I’ve been helping companies with for the past, I don’t know, decade almost in how do you actually select on talent. And one of the great things which I’ve been noticing everywhere is as soon as you select on actual quality, labor market discrimination disappears.
Bas van de Haterd (3m 1s):
So increase diversity by selecting on quality. And that’s one of the things I’m very passionate about, Matt.
Matt Alder (3m 8s):
Absolutely. And you’ve been on the podcast three or four times just talking about assessment. And for the last few years, you’ve come on and given us an update in terms of what’s happening in the market. There’s, you know, been some innovative stuff around selection for a number of years. And it’s great to have you back to really give us an update on what’s going on. Before we dive into that though, I just wanna ask you very quickly. I’m sort of asking this to everyone who comes on the show at the moment. What’s your view on the state of the labor market from your angle? Obviously, you know, things are very volatile, very different from different people’s positions. What are you seeing in the market at the moment?
Bas van de Haterd (3m 48s):
Well, in the Netherlands, we don’t really have the great resignation, as in not that many people are quitting their jobs, but we have actually, we have laws, which basically your boss cannot deny if you wanna work a day or half a day in the week less. You know, they have to have really, really big reasons not to allow that. And what we’ve seen is like a part-time resignation. So everybody started working even less and we already had the least working labor market in the Netherlands. So right now, we are really struggling also to find people because, let’s be– To give you a perfect example.
Bas van de Haterd (4m 28s):
In my general practitioner’s practice, there is not a single person working more than four days a week and most work two or three days a week. So basically, six people are doing the work, which could have been done by three, which basically means that there are three less general practitioner’s working other practices.
Matt Alder (4m 47s):
Interesting. Yeah, that is quite different from other countries. So, yeah, really interesting to get your view on that.
Bas van de Haterd (4m 53s):
And it has to do, to be honest, sorry to interrupt you there, Matt, but it has to do with also the way we structure funds and the fiscal system in the Netherlands, which makes it really financially unpleasant to work, to start working more hours. So, yeah, our government can really intervene there.
Matt Alder (5m 13s):
Interesting. So let’s dive into selection assessment. Now this year, you’ve actually been running awards around assessment products, haven’t you? Tell us a bit more about them.
Bas van de Haterd (5m 23s):
It’s the second year. Last year, we talked about all five nominees as well on the podcast if I remember correctly. We had also an assessment award. It’s the innovation in selection award I call it and what we’ll look at the innovative component, the ROI, the DEI component of it. And, of course, the actual candidate experience of the selection process. So basically, all points are taken in there. And then we’ve got a couple of nominees and we’ve got a group of judges, which I’m not a part of, by the way, who will get the winner out of it.
Bas van de Haterd (6m 3s):
And everybody who’s innovated, anything in selection is allowed to join. And, oh, yeah, we also look at the signs, of course, but that’s more of, you know, if it’s scientifically invalid, one won’t get nominated.
Matt Alder (6m 17s):
And we’re gonna talk through the four shortlisted entries and, you know, obviously within that is your winner. Before we go into the detail, just sort of tell us generally, what trends are you seeing? What’s changed since you did the awards last year?
Bas van de Haterd (6m 34s):
Well, the nominees are completely different from last year or at least most of them are. And I think that’s because the trends are going is very sideways just like the economy might be. What we actually see is that a lot of organizations and our thinking isn’t innovation in selection, less selection. So one of the nominees is actually on open hiring. Why should we even select because basically everybody can do this job? And we see also a lot of what I call giving-opportunity-where-there-was-none type of selections by not looking at resumes anymore. Still a very tough selection, but beyond the privilege of being able to get an education or finishing that education.
Matt Alder (7m 22s):
Okay. So talk us through some of the companies that entered and what their product was and how they sort of matched up to the criteria you were judging on.
Bas van de Haterd (7m 29s):
Well, the first organization which was nominated was Pricewaterhouse Coopers and they used a tool called Neurolytics. The interesting thing is Neurolytics works basically on facial expressions, which is very controversial yet the signs behind this is really cool. And what I mainly look at is things like engagement. They’re able to look at how actually engaged are you on the job you’re actually applying for? I think you’ve done some genius academic research on that a while ago with the University of Utrecht and the University of Kent in Belgium.
Bas van de Haterd (8m 11s):
And they’re also looking at stress resilience and working basically under stressful conditions. And they do that by actually measuring your heart rate, which they can measure with the cameras. So what they’re doing is they’re giving you really difficult cognitive tasks, you know, cognitive tests, which also play a part in it, but they also look at both your motivation as well as your stress resilience while doing those tasks on the camera and the signs behind it is just amazing. Every six months they evaluate how accurate our algorithm is with actually having people doing the tests, measuring them on a camera with a heart monitor on them.
Bas van de Haterd (9m 3s):
So they know the actual heart rates. Apparently, we have a vein in our face somewhere, which is really a great indicator of your heart rate.
Matt Alder (9m 13s):
Wow. I mean, that is amazing. And as I say, the science sounds fascinating there. I suppose that the thing with the scientific innovation that is going on in assessment is so fascinating. There is a lot of cynicism towards it in terms of, you know, people not necessarily, as you say, it’s a controversial area, not necessarily believing that it’s giving them the data that they need, or that’s useful. As part of the awards, you know, with this entry, is there proof in terms of ROI or how the results panned out just to kind of address those questions that people might have?
Bas van de Haterd (9m 46s):
And that’s actually the reason they didn’t win it because they’re still analyzing the quality to higher ratio. And the recruiters are saying, listen, we’ve got better and more objective behavioral assessments to the individual employees because the entire team did it. We’re now able to better build a diverse team made of cognitive diversity and of different levels of stress resilience, et cetera, which come to different character traits, but they don’t have any hard data yet. They scored really high on the innovative component, really low on the ROI, which is basically why they were a nominee and not the winner.
Matt Alder (10m 35s):
Cool. Okay. So we’ll wait to hear from them in the future in terms of how it’s working. Tell us about the next one.
Bas van de Haterd (10m 41s):
Next one is called A.S. Watson, who basically run the biggest drugstore chain in the Netherlands, sort of like the Boots I guess of my country and what they did was actually open hiring. So for their warehouse employees, they literally said these are open hiring days, always on a Saturday. Show up between 11 and four. We’ll show you around the warehouse. We’ll tell you the job and we’ll only ask you one question, do you want it? And if it is, you can start within a week. And they did two open hiring days and they got in 56 people who would’ve of which 80 percent said they would’ve never applied if there was any selection process because they’ve only been rejected for the past years.
Bas van de Haterd (11m 36s):
So it was so successful that there are now rolling it out towards shops actually.
Matt Alder (11m 42s):
That’s amazing. I had the Body Shop on a few weeks ago on the show who were also doing some open hiring programs and the results just sound amazing. And it’s so interesting that an entry for innovation in selection is innovative because it has actually has no selection. That’s amazing.
Bas van de Haterd (11m 59s):
Yeah. And I was very happy that they actually were willing to submit the case because, for me, innovation in selection is selecting on criteria, which actually matter. And in their case, basically, the only thing which mattered is are you willing to show up and that’s what they actually said. If you’re willing to show up at an open hiring, you’re willing to show up on the next Monday and that’s all we care about. And I actually asked them if they saw more ghosting from candidates, but the percentage people not showing up at their first day of work was exactly the average, which they were used to basically about 10 percent.
Matt Alder (12m 41s):
No, that’s really interesting. And, yeah, one extreme from the other from cutting edge potentially, you know, unproven science to literally nothing. What an amazing contrast. Tell us about the next entry.
Bas van de Haterd (12m 54s):
Yeah. Well, the next entry is called
Bas van de Haterd (13m 35s):
And what they saw was that they actually have been increasing diversity and in their case, that meant that they’ve actually been hiring men because for some reason they always hire five trainees every year. And it’s always been either five women or four women and one men. And since they’ve been using this, it’s always been a three-two measurement, either three men or three women. And what’s mainly very interesting in this is the fact that a lot of the candidates, even the ones who didn’t get a job are now very happy because they get the feedback on these are your strengths.
Bas van de Haterd (14m 15s):
These are your weaknesses. Well, here’s basically who you are and what you’re good at.
Matt Alder (14m 21s):
And does everyone who applies get that feedback?
Bas van de Haterd (14m 25s):
Yes, they get everybody, 100 percent of the candidates get the candidate report.
Matt Alder (14m 33s):
That’s so important as well because that just doesn’t happen everywhere and it just absolutely should. And BrainsFirst really interesting company, as you say. I spoke to them a while ago on the podcast. Again, really interesting science looking very much at the way that people’s brains are structured, but science has been proven in elite football. So it’s interesting that they’ve been able to move from elite sport into other areas and, you know, presumably are still getting really great results.
Bas van de Haterd (15m 3s):
Yeah. And that’s one of the reasons they also were nominated but didn’t win is because basically, the time is too short to actually measure if the new hires with the new technology are better than the old hires. I mean, they increased diversity, but we don’t know if they increased quality of hire. So that’s actually the reason that the fourth company won the award, which is also based on BrainsFirst technology. They’re called Building Heroes and they do construction traineeships. And what they’ve actually been able to prove is basically they hire people, also have them do the brain test and, but they also use those cognitive traits and to coach them during the entire process.
Bas van de Haterd (15m 55s):
So the traineeship, you get different opportunities. It’s a three-year traineeship. You do one year at one of their clients, for example, as a calculator, one year as a foreman, one year maybe as a construction analyst, or whatever jobs are not that well versed in the construction industry, to be honest myself, and everybody has a different brain profile. And what they’ve been able to do is set people on better traineeships, get a better match, a better fit with the type of jobs they’re doing as trainees. And they’ve been able to reduce the number of people actually quitting during the traineeship with 60 percent.
Bas van de Haterd (16m 37s):
And, yeah, that’s just an amazing number. I mean, 60 percent less attrition is so great. And one of the things they’re currently trying to get, but as I said, they have clients, they’re basically staffing firm, is to say why do you even need a degree from a college on construction because if you’ve got brains for it, we know you’re good for it and you can learn it.
Matt Alder (17m 5s):
I mean, fascinating stuff. And that does sound like a really compelling mix of science and innovation, but also, you know, very strong ROI and, you know, the results that come through it, doesn’t it?
Bas van de Haterd (17m 19s):
Yeah. And it’s also, again, everybody who’s rejected now that is practically law in the Netherlands. Basically, the Dutch Institute of Psychologists say that every candidate has the right to the same report as the company gets. So every serious assessment agency in the world, in the Netherlands who signed up to the Dutch Institute of Psychologist, which is basically every serious assessment company will demand that you as a company provide that report. That’s something I’m always surprised at when I come to the UK and or the US that it’s a question will we give the candidate a report?
Bas van de Haterd (17m 59s):
I’m like, wait, isn’t that in your, you know–? Doesn’t your Institute of Psychologist demand that because for me, it’s been so normal, but apparently other countries aren’t that far.
Matt Alder (18m 10s):
Yeah, they certainly should. And if they don’t then, you know, employers should 100 percent feel that they have the obligation to absolutely do that. So, yeah, no, I agree with you. The question from, I suppose, your wider work around assessment and selection. So here, we obviously have, you know, companies who are in innovating and in three cases using pretty advanced technology, in one case actually, you know, going against the, you know, being contrarian and not using anything, not using anything at all, but innovating in their process and how they work. What does the general market look like? Is there more adoption of these sort of innovative assessment processes that’s being driven by market circumstances?
Matt Alder (18m 54s):
What are you seeing that’s different from say 12 or 18 months ago?
Bas van de Haterd (18m 59s):
What I actually see is that for the first time we’re actually thinking about the skills required to do a job. And we’re actually haven’t conversations about what’s more important. Is it experience? Is it skills or is it maybe organizational fit, value fit, you know? And those conversations are finally happening, Matt. And that’s what I love, you know. What’s more important is it who you are? And do you fit with the values of this organization, which is now something I’m discussing with one of my governmental clients or is it job fit, or is it a job potential?
Bas van de Haterd (19m 42s):
And that’s also where the open hiring, of course, comes from. We are finally looking at what really matters and in their case showing up really matters. And that’s the only thing what matters. So it’s really innovating by looking at what should we be looking at. And that’s a trend which I really see taken off also because, of course, the labor market shortages and all of a sudden we need to open new talent pools. And the cool thing is the more you look at what do we actually need and there’s so much more talent out there, which we’re not getting to because we never looked at what we actually needed. We looked at did you finish a college degree or did you have previous work experience.
Matt Alder (20m 27s):
Absolutely. And it is great to see employers finally shifting their thinking along those lines. As a last question, you know, how do you think this is gonna develop in the future? So, you know, if we are talking about assessment again in a year’s time or even two years’ time, how do you think things are gonna develop further from here?
Bas van de Haterd (20m 48s):
Well, to be honest, I have a sort of a grim outlook because I see so many assessments going wrong because in part they are not, people are using tools which are not fit for them. They’ll listen to the salespeople. They do not have the knowledge themselves. They do not have the knowledge internally. They do not have the budget to hire somebody like, well, to be honest, me or some of my other people who are independent, who can actually help you select the right tool to select with. And I’ve seen in the past year as well so many people saying assessments do not work.
Bas van de Haterd (21m 29s):
And every time I’m like, well, that wasn’t the scientifically validated assessment you were using. Or I literally recently had a company complaining about a crap quality of the assessment, even though I advised them that it was like the worst assessment for their specific cohort they were trying to get to apply because it was very linguistic based. It was a high level questionnaire assessment. And most of them have Dutch as a second language. And all of a sudden they’re like, well, the results don’t come out well. No, of course not. These people don’t understand the questions. You bought the wrong assessment tool. And I see that happening so often.
Bas van de Haterd (22m 10s):
I see mainly a couple of really big vendors, really pushing, pushing, pushing their tools and not thinking about the quality of the implementation. So to be honest, in 12 to 24 months, I expect that we’ll mainly be talking about all the screw-ups and we gotta start over again with actually saying, “No, good assessments really do work. You just bought the wrong one.”
Matt Alder (22m 36s):
The path to innovation and adoption of new ways of working is never a straight and clear one, is it? There’s always these ups and downs in the journey. So lastly, just tell us how people can find you and tell us about your podcast.
Bas van de Haterd (22m 53s):
Of course. You can find me on LinkedIn or every week I am one of the co-hosts of the Talent Savvy podcast with a lot of other practitioners. We talk about all things talent, all things, recruitment, assessments as well.
Matt Alder (23m 8s):
Bas, thank you very much for joining me.
Bas van de Haterd (23m 10s):
Always a pleasure, Matt.
Matt Alder (23m 13s):
My thanks to Bas. You can subscribe to this podcast in Apple podcasts, on Spotify, or via your podcasting app of choice. Please also follow the show on Instagram. You can find us by searching for Recruiting Feature. You can search all the past episodes at recruitingfeature.com. On that site, you can also subscribe to the mailing list to get the inside track about everything that’s coming up on the show. Thanks very much for listening. I’ll be back next time and I hope you’ll join me.
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