Don’t Stop Strategic Talent Acquisition, Even When Hiring is Slow

September 17th, 2011 by Michael Page

Is your organization thinking short-term, or planning for the big picture? Some organizations hunker down and take shortsighted measures such as hiring freezes and training and team development delays. Consider this – when talent is available and affordable, progressive organizations will take advantage of the opportunity to upgrade talent, shore-up their talent pipeline, and as a result, be more competitive. Take a look at September’s feature article for more insight and access to Five Lessons for Upgrading Talent with Outside Superstars.

This month’s feature product is not just our flagship tool, the ProfileXT®, but a valuable tool to make sure you get the most out of your hiring interviews. The ProfileXT – Interview Guide allows you to get the information you need to make the best possible decision about each candidate and each position in your organization.

We are excited to feature Concord Hospitality as our September Case Study. In the hospitality industry, great customer service is critical for success. Concord’s approach to using assessments in order to manage their turnover rates saved the organization an estimated $345,000, reduced manager turnover by 12% and hourly turnover by 32% and reduced hourly associate turnover cost by over $1.4 million. Remarkable results! Download the full case study below.

Lastly, watch for Profiles release next month of the latest industry research and actionable data to help your organization be Best-in-Class in hiring, productivity, and engagement. We have a sneak preview below.

As fall approaches and we forecast 2012 budgets and strategize for the future, don’t be tempted to slow down. Now is the time to upgrade your team and build your bench strength to drive success in your company.

Featured Article

Don’t Stop Strategic Talent Acquisition, Even When Hiring is Slow

The time for organizations to focus on strategic talent acquisition is now. When talent is available and affordable, progressive organizations will seize the opportunity to upgrade talent, shore-up their talent pipeline, and be more competitive.

In recent months, the economic news has been unsettling. Global financial strains and government fiscal austerity will hurt U.S. growth, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The US economy is projected to expand at an average 2.3 percent annual rate in the second half of the year, according to the median forecast of 53 economists polled from Aug. 2 to Aug. 10. Gross domestic product will grow 2.4 percent next year and 2.8 percent in 2013, also less than previously estimated.

This news will influence some organizations to hunker down and take short sighted measures such as freezing hiring. In the short term, the announcement of a hiring freeze signals to your workforce that your organization is not healthy. This causes anxiety and motivates your top performers to start looking for other opportunities, and your low performers to look busy so they don’t get called out. In the long term, it starves the organizations of the talent they will need to compete in the future.

Strategic talent acquisition takes a long-term view of not only filling positions today, but also filling similar positions in the future. These future positions may be identifiable today by looking at the succession management plan, or by analyzing the history of attrition for certain positions. In the most enlightened cases of Strategic Talent Acquisition, organizations will recruit today for positions that do not even exist today but are expected to become available in the future.

Organizations that continually seek out the best talent to meet their current and future needs get better people faster and at a lower cost. Scientifically valid assessments, such as the ProfileXT®, are inexpensive and highly effective tools to help you quickly determine how well a candidate fits job that you need to fill today or in the future. Never stop your strategic talent acquisition efforts.

For additional information on this topic, Call your Profiles Strategic Partner and ask for Profiles International’s study, Five Lessons for Upgrading Talent with Outside Superstars. This report examines five key lessons to help optimize the upgrading process.

Featured Product

This month we feature not only our flagship tool, the ProfileXT, but also a highly valuable by-product of the PXT – The Interview Guide

The interview is an important part of the selection process; however, studies show that most interviews are poorly done. Using a stock list of interview questions to ask every candidate will not lead the interviewer to the important areas necessary for the effective placement of each individual. Profiles’ Interview Guide, coupled with the ProfileXT Performance Model Comparison, will help make each interview a valuable tool.

The scientifically developed Performance Model for a specific position reflects a solid understanding of what the job requires. The Total Person information related to this model allows us to create interview questions that will allow you to get the information you need to make the best possible decision about each candidate.

Want to see a sample of the PXT Interview Guide? Click Here.

Featured Case Study

How Concord Hospitality Reduced Management Turnover and Saved $345K

Hiring should never be as complicated as crime scene investigating. So when the largest owner of Applebee’s franchises reduced management turnover and saved $345,000, (with the help of the ProfileXT) the HR director was pleased to see another sudden benefit: simplicity.

“It’s not CSI – it’s ABC,” says Frank Romano about the ProfileXT. Romano is the executive director of HR at Concord Hospitality in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The company, which operates 50 restaurants and similar properties across the Midwest, has a stated mission to be the destination of choice for all guests.

While the business as a whole was successful, one location was facing serious issues. Despite their best efforts, turnover among managers was becoming increasingly higher and stuck at 41.1%, a figure that is 20% higher than the industry average. This one issue in turn resulted in a ripple effect, increasing turnover among hourly staff and eventually affecting service and sales.

An experienced HR executive, Romano knew he needed an assessment tool to help better analyze future candidates for the available jobs.

The fast-paced culture of the restaurant business is not for everyone; it can be a very high-stress position with managers often dealing with thousands of customers and complaints each week.

Therefore, Romano needed to identify a certain type of person for the manager positions. His first step was to identify the five characteristics that were most important for this position, which are:

  1. Flexibility – being able to change directions quickly and with ease.
  2. A strong personality – owners want their restaurant managers to be outgoing and have the ability to make appropriate decisions.
  3. Perseverance – staying strong during difficult times.
  4. The ability to develop others – a key factor in the success of a restaurant is the managers’ ability to develop their teams.
  5. Strong goal-setting skills – the ability to set and achieve goals on a short- and long-term basis.

It may be obvious that managers of restaurants must have these qualities; however, finding out if a candidate truly possesses them is the tricky part. A person can look and seem like a good fit on paper, but in reality lack these critical qualities.

In 2008, the company began using Profiles’ assessments to analyze their people with the end goal of reducing turnover to at least the industry average. Here’s a list of products that Concord used:


The beauty of this product is that it is so easy for the layperson to read. The hiring manager can quickly review important information about the candidate. Another aspect that makes this product attractive is that the interview questions directly correlate to the candidates answers on the assessment, therefore helping to connect the dots for the interviewer.

This assessment is great to use as a first step to identify whether or not to go further with the hiring process of a certain candidate.

“If they are within the range of our top people and we see quality markers that we like, we are happy to move forward,” says Romano.

Step One Survey II

Background checks reveal what a candidate has been caught doing and paid time for, but how close are your candidates to questionable behavior without having been caught?

Honesty and integrity are serious issues in hiring today. The Step One Survey II (SOS) allows Concord to understand these levels in an individual. It also determines if a candidate is a hard worker, and their attitude to work, drug and alcohol use, criminal activity, and theft. Once completed, the results will also automatically flag anything that would be of concern to the hiring manager.

Customer Service Profile

Within the hospitality industry, great customer service is crucial for success. The Customer Service Profile (CSP) identifies how a person would act working in this area and how well they would connect with guests. And just like the PXT, it is known for being extremely simple to use.

Concord’s approach to using assessments in order to manage their turnover rates have yielded staggering results to date:

  • Estimated savings of $345,000
  • 687% ROI at the end of 2010
  • 5.1% reduction in turnover in year one
  • 5.6% reduction in turnover in year two
  • 2011 turnover reached 31.9%
  • $1,480,000 reduction in hourly associate turnover costs
  • 2nd place in comp sales for 2010 out of all corporate and franchise companies

“None of our other systems for manager hiring, training, and retention changed over this time frame,” says Romano. “The only change was switching to Profiles, which has given us greater feedback to better determine the success potential of candidates. I believe it has caused us to hire managers that fit the casual dining restaurant industry standard.”

Finally, Romano relates that the assessments provided leaders at the hospitality organization with an “A ha!” moment. “We found that we were able to tailor the assessments to our company’s top performers. We know who they are; once we identify them, we then look at reasons they are top performers and put that into the assessment. So you are matching up to top performers if you are going to be a general manager with us. It’s a great way to hone in on success by using the assessment. That is very exciting.” Concord Hospitality partners with Profiles and their Strategic Business Partner, Leadership Resources. Together, they provide a team approach to service and support for Concord Hospitality.

Click here to see the full Case Study.

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