Friday 22 April 2016


The function of Human Resource Management is the integral part of most employers’ efforts that enable them to identify, hire and retain the people for their organization to execute its strategy and achieve its goals.  However, HR compliance remains as critical as any other functions of HR within any organization.

There are a range of rules and regulations governing the employee-employer relationship that HR professionals must understand and navigate in order to ensure their organizations avoid any potential harm to the organization’s reputation. Hence, compliance of these rules and regulations stand as an essential component for any organization to be successful in today’s business environment.

Accomplishing compliance can be elusive goal for most of the organizations and should be treated as a process of defining employee’s behavioral aspect while organizations focus on hiring best candidates to achieve growth, turnover and competitive advantage. There is however, a very limited emphasis on knowing the prospective employee’s background and determining the true identity of the person.

Many a times, such the background screening helps the organization to weed out inefficient workforce and retain quality human resource. A non-existence or non-compliance of background verification or screening program may not only allow a misfit hiring but may also cause more serious issues resulting in financial and reputation loss. Additionally, organization incurs the overall cost to company. Consider a serious offence being done by such an employee, there is significant reputation damage as well as loss of morale of other employees. Compliance to verification process can substantially mitigate these risks and resultant losses.

Research by various background verification companies indicate that at an average 35-40% candidates submit falsified information on their resumes ranging from job titles, responsibilities at given position, educational background, compensation etc. This ends up for an honest candidate to lose out on the opportunity while a dishonest incumbent may be selected as reliance is primarily placed on the resume.

There may also be a backdrop of the candidate having a criminal or an offensive record that may harm organization’s reputation; therefore, it is critical for an organization to have proper screening process in place.

The pre-screening process also helps in complying with specific regulations and laws in some countries.

In today’s hustle bustle, the management of organizations is primarily focused towards finding the resource fitting their job description and is involved in conducting technical interviews while Human Resource Departments are checking if the candidate will culturally fit their requirement and discussing their remuneration etc. Background verification, in general, are conducted before offering the position. The complete screening is concluded after the appointment letter is issued of after the successful candidate has joined the organization. The correct hiring procedure however suggests for the verification process to be carried right before offering the position. It is therefore essential for organizations to establish the system of background screening as integral part of their recruitment procedure.

Following aspects must be considered while conducting background verification:

a)    Candidate’s proof of identify
b)    Current and mailing addresses
c)    Copies of academic records
d)    Copies of service letters from previous employers
e)    Work visa, permit, tax certifications, where applicable
f)    Criminal background certification, where applicable (endorsed through union council)
g)    Bank/ credit rating (to identify whether candidate is regular or defaulter with payments)

It is also essential for organizations to check the integrity of candidate from the last two employers or if required, full employment history should be verified.  It is the responsibility of HR department to ensure proper authorization from candidate for conducting verification as it requires accessing candidate’s personal information.

Based on the information received, a decision making mechanism should be established for any discrepancies or inaccuracies between the information provided by the candidate against the information received as part of screening process ranging from falsified identity to the submission of forged academic records.

As a principle, the candidate should be informed of the discrepancy. In case of criminal or offensive record, management must determine if law enforcement authorities are required to be involved.

In this modern era, there are number of highly capable employee background screening software applications available in market. Organizations may choose the one that will suite their organization structure and employee strength. These applications come with a full range of tools and features enabling to collect, store and organize all employee records with greater speed and efficiency. These applications also help in keeping a track of vendor identifications and all their compliance records. They also facilitate in sending out timely reminders whenever a certificate nears expiry and has to be renewed.

Selecting the right candidate with affirmative background for the job is the first step towards developing an efficient organization. Great stress should therefore be laid on ensuring that the recruitment procedure is highly competitive and all successful applicants undergo pre-screening process.

It is the organization’s responsibility to hire candidates with high ethics, integrity and personal values. A thorough compliance of screening policy safeguards the organization from incorrect, fraudulent and criminal hiring, thereby mitigating the operational and reputation risks.

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Hiring for Google; Manager Human Resources

Hiring for Google; Manager Human Resources
Alyzae Feroze, MPS

Employers take a huge risk every time they hire employees and must be extremely meticulous during the pre-employment process, partly because of the cost associated with training and replacing unfit workers. In order to minimize this risk, assessment tools are used during pre-employment with the goal of measuring whether or not an employee truly possess the aptitude for the position. Although pre-employment assessment tools are not perfect, they still have some degree of validity that can be useful in determining if a candidate is good fit for the position in question.

This article will explore three different validated assessment tools that include, The Wonderlic Test for cognitive ability, The Big Five for personality testing, and the Situational Judgment Testing which is customized for each organization and position. These assessment tools were chosen with a specific organization and position in mind: Google Inc., HR Manager. The Five Factor Test will also be used to address leadership, which is a critical skill required for an HR manager’s success.

            Cognitive ability assessments are used to test candidate’s general mental abilities, this includes mathematical/verbal reasoning, logic, and perceptual abilities. The Wonderlic test in particular consists of 50 questions and is to be completed within 12 minutes. This test is great for measuring problem solving skills as well as team building abilities. The score is calculated based on the number of correct answers within the given time frame. For our purposes the average score of an executive is 28 and this should be considered when scoring the potential HR manager at Google. An advantage to this type of assessment is that it is one of the most valid selection methods, it is easy to use, and is good for predicting performance for more complex jobs, such as HR Manager. There are also 700 job profiles available and can be custom created for specific jobs if need be.In terms of disadvantages, the results of this test are more likely to differ based on gender and race compared to other tests and it can be time-consuming to create if not purchased.

            This test is important tool for this particular role because it targets a candidate’s ability to use logic, reasoning, and learn quickly. All of these attributes are essential for an individual in an HR position because they constantly have adapt to new situations depending on how they need to interact with various departments. For example, the Wonderlic is great for assessing mathematical ability, to have an HR manager who is proficient in math would mean they can understand and relate better to employees in the finance and accounting departments of the organization.

    Personality assessments are another great way to evaluate potential employees. Typically, these types of tests have moderate validity but when created to match specific job criteria their validity increases. The Big Five or 5-factor personality test usually consists of fifty statements and each must be rated based on much the candidate agrees with the statement. The five factors are, extraversion, conscientiousness, emotional stability, agreeableness and openness to experience.  Google is huge proponent of personality tests because it “realized that its use of university GPA and interview performance was not as predicative of employee success as it had thought, it asked all employees who had been here for at least five months to complete a (personality) survey.” (Phillips, 2009)They then compared results to 25 measures of employee performance and figured out algorithms in order to assess a candidate’slevel of success for roles such as human resources. An advantage of personality tests is that they are less likely to differ by gender and age, they are cost efficient, and do not require skilled administrators. In terms of disadvantages, they may consist of questions that seem intrusive and not very job related. Another criticism is that individuals are often inclined to respond a way that produces a positive decision outcome rather than speaking the truth.

            This type of assessment test is important for an HR manager candidate at Google because having a likeable personality is essential for a person in HR who will inevitably have to deal with a variety of different people in a variety of different situations. For example, it is important for the HR Manager to score high on a factor such as extraversion because extraversion predicts performance in jobs that require interacting and influencing other people. Agreeableness is also a relevant factor for this role because it predicts success in interpersonal interaction, such as nurturing, helping, and cooperating with others. Clearly, these are key qualities that an HR Manager must use and implement regularly in their position.

            Situational judgment tests are another great assessment tool because they capture a candidate’s non-cognitive skills.  This test can consist of scenarios that are presented in writing, verbally, videos, or a combination of these. It is the candidate’s job to respond with what they believe the most appropriate and effective course of action would be. Advantages of this type of assessment are that they are commonly accepted by candidates because they are relatable to the job, the tests are less like likely to produce “fake responses,” and they provide a realistic preview of the position and what to expect. In terms of disadvantages, this type of testing may be time consuming and expensive to administer.

            It is important for an HR manager to perform well in this type of assessment because HR often requires one to adapt quickly and think on their feet due to the sheer variety of different situations they must deal with. A candidate, who is able to come up with appropriate solutions in a reasonable amount of time, shows hiring managersthat they truly possess the aptitude to perform well when faced with tricky or adverse situations. Also, the questions and scenarios presented are extremely job specific and therefore make it easier for candidates to perform their skills, as well as for evaluators to rate their abilities.

            The Five Factor tool is great way of addressing leadership, which is a critical skill required for an HR Managers success. According to the Five Factor Model, there is actually a profile of what an ideal leader would look like. Based of the acronym for the factors, NEOAC, a good leader would have the following personality traits; Resilient, Energetic, Outgoing/Persuasive, Visionary, Competitive, and Dedicated to a Goal.

            Scoring high within these specific areas of the Five Factor test would indicate that the candidate possesses the personality traits of an ideal leader. It is also important to note that it is impossible to have the same traits simultaneously. For example, drive for achieving and leading is contrary to traits for interpersonal sensitivity. Therefore if Google needs an HR Manager with a strong leadership drive, they may have to give up some interpersonal sensitivity in this person. In summation, although these assessment tools are not perfect, they are still excellent ways for predicting performance success and are a great resource for narrowing down the best candidates.
What does your pre-employment assessment look like?

1.     Phillips, J., & Gully, S. (2009). Strategic staffing. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.
2.     What is I-O? (n.d.). Retrieved October 11, 2015, from testing/testtypes.aspx
3.     Working Resources - Leadership Personality: Do You Have the Right Big Five Traits? (n.d.). Retrieved October 11, 2015, from