Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Et tu, HR?

It's easy to give out advice. HR does it all the time.

But how well does HR practice what it preaches?

In the most recent issue of the U.S. Merit System Protection Board's (MSPB) newsletter, Issues of Merit, in an article titled "Taking our own advice", the author describes attempts by MSPB to ensure they are walking the walk when it comes to hiring procedures.

So what did they find?

1) Their job announcements weren't all that attractive. They contained jargon and too much information. Perhaps more importantly, they didn't "sell" the job.

Solutions: Job description was refined and rewritten so qualifications were easier to understand, got rid of excess information, and made easier to read. In addition, they added a job preview component that helps applicants decide if the job is a good fit.

2) They were using questionnaires as an initial screen that had low validity.

Solution: Questionnaires were replaced with an accomplishment record, which they hope (and research suggests) will better predict who will succeed in the job.

3) They were using the "rule of three" for external hires which limited their ability to consider a broad candidate group.

Solution: "Rule of three" replaced with category rating, which allows them to consider more candidates.

4) Recruitment methods weren't as broad as they could be.

Solution: MSPB worked with OPM to feature their jobs prominently through USAJOBS, the federal government's online job posting site. In addition they made greater efforts to actively seek out qualified candidates whose resumes were in USAJOBS. Finally, they used professional organizations to help advertise their opportunities.

An honest review of recruitment and assessment procedures in any organization will undoubtedly result in areas for improvement. Kudos to MSPB for following their own advice.

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