What Is the Best Predictor of Job Performance?

Featuring: Bas van de Haterd

What is the best predictor of job performance?

If you’re still relying on getting resumes from the same old places, you’re placing arbitrary limits on your talent pool ⏤ which is preventing you from hiring better people and undermining your efforts to increase diversity.

In this episode of Science 4-Hire, I’m speaking with Bas van de Haterd, a self-proclaimed “professional snoop” at Van de Haterd Consultancy, about the problems he’s observed with traditional attraction and selection practices.

“I saw that we were discarding so much talent based on very questionable selection methods,” he says. After all, resumes and degrees aren’t the best predictors of performance.

Bas works with companies to add assessments to their selection process ⏤ resulting in creative strategies to expand talent pools of qualified candidates and increase diversity. Listen in as he shares how he’s seen assessments improve fairness and accuracy in hiring practices

Listen to “The Power of Assessments in a Tight Labor Market with Bas van de Haterd” on Spreaker.

Work With the Oddballs

Many enterprise employers have traditionally focused on hiring from the same pools every year ⏤ the same type of people from the same schools, with the same majors, with the same career trajectory.

But there is nothing like a talent shortage to force employers out of this mindset for recruiting and hiring. Business is survival of the fittest, and companies that can tap into new sources of talent definitely have a leg up. When it comes to recruiting, looking to new and untapped talent pools is a huge competitive advantage. The difference is what makes them so valuable.

One company Bas worked with decided to open up its hiring process to be more inclusive, regardless of background or credentials. Within six minutes of promoting their openings to these new communities, they received 150 applications ⏤ leading them to shut their job posting down!

The lesson here? Don’t arbitrarily constrict your talent pool by looking at requirements that don’t actually predict future job performance.

Get to the Heart of Performance Drivers

Pivoting from a traditional mindset is a big leap, especially if that’s how your company has sourced and selected talent for decades. But degree and experience requirements don’t predict performance in a dynamic workplace. Personality traits and aptitudes are better performance predictors and offer the added advantage of increasing diversity and reducing bias.

Bas shares a story from the Dutch Air Traffic Control ministry, which began integrating pre-hire assessments to screen for stress resilience ⏤ a vital trait in the field. Traditionally, the ministry sought out only candidates from a narrow selection of schools.

“They found out that there’s absolutely no correlation between having an academic degree from an Ivy League [-level school] and being stress-resilient,” Bas says. Most students at top-level schools come from relatively stable socioeconomic backgrounds. They may not have experienced the level of stress that candidates from less stable backgrounds have, which means they are actually less likely to succeed at the job.

Since this ah-ha moment, the ministry only requires a high school diploma to apply. This change to their recruitment process significantly opened up their talent pool by focusing on true indicators of strong job performance and assessing those traits.

Adopt Validated Assessments to Help Fight Bias

In focusing on more appropriate indicators of job performance, you can also fight back against unfair bias.

Over the past decade, the accounting company Grant Thornton has replaced educational requirements for internships and trainees with aptitude testing. The company realized that failing a course isn’t always a reflection on abilities. “You could have a low math grade because you had to work three jobs to get through school,” Bas says.

Bas highlights another important lesson here — don’t judge a candidate by their transcript. An applicant could have a great aptitude for math, but score poorly in school due to environmental factors. Well-designed assessments offer a true picture of someone’s traits and aptitudes now, regardless of their background or educational credentials.

Grant Thornton opened up their process to talent from a wider range of socioeconomic backgrounds and evaluated them on a more even playing field using validated assessments. Employees hired under the new program have longer tenure and work more billable hours than those with degrees from prestigious universities.

People in This Episode

Catch Bas van de Haterd on LinkedIn

Full Transcript

Announcer

Welcome to Science 4-Hire, with your host Dr. Charles Handler. Hiring is hard. Pre-hire talent assessments can help you ease the pain. Whether you don’t know where to start or you just want to stay on top of the trends, Science 4-Hire provides 30 minutes of enlightenment on best practices and news from the frontlines of the employment testing universe. So get ready to learn as Dr. Charles Handler and his all-star guests lend old school knowledge with new wave technology to educate and inform about all things talent assessment.

Charles Handler

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Science 4-Hire. I have another international guest today, all the way from the Netherlands, Mr. Bas. And can you pronounce your last name for me, please, Sir?

Bas van de Haterd

van de Haterd.

Charles Handler

There you go. I don’t think I could’ve done that. I would like to try but I would have messed it up. We would be here for a long time while I was trying to get that right. So, thank you so much. Bas is someone I’ve corresponded with quite a bit. I think he does a lot of interesting things and we’ll find out a little bit about that now and we’re going to talk about assessments and the global use of assessments.

I could say that from the market study we’ve done, there is a lot of activity in the Netherlands around testing companies, some with some very novel approaches. And so, it’d be very interesting to get Bas’s input and we’re going to look at some differences and similarities in testing across the globe. So, welcome, Bas. And as I always do, please introduce yourself. Nobody can do it better than you.

Bas van de Haterd

Thank you for having me, Charles, quite an honor. I’ve listened to each and every one of your episodes in this podcast from the moment you’ve started, so it’s great to be here. My name is Bas van de Haterd. I am a Dutchman.

I’ve been in the talent acquisition realm for just over 20 years and in the past 10 years, I’ve been focusing mainly on selection because I saw that we were discarding so much talent based on very questionable selection methods which we call the resume and an unstructured interview. And I then run into a gaming company, a game-based assessment company, and they showed me what they were doing and I was like, “This is so much cooler than the questionnaires which I knew.”

And one of the reasons I really went in deep is because I was talking about this … Because I’m a professional speaker as well and I was talking about this on a small event in The Hague and the head of recruitment from — actually, she was the head of HR from a healthcare organization in The Hague — came up to me and told me, “Are you telling me you can’t game a game-based assessment?” I’m like, “No, I’m not telling you can’t do it. I’m just telling you it’s a lot harder than with a questionnaire.”

She said, “Listen, we use questionnaire selection for a long time, but we also… As soon as we hire somebody, we give them a personal development plan. We give you your first two years of training development based on your assessment.” She says, “One-third of all the people, after that probation period, come up to me and ask me, ‘Can I do the assessment again? Because now I have to develop on things I’m actually already quite good at but I actually over exaggerated how good I am at this thing and I would like some more training.'”

Charles Handler

Ah.

Bas van de Haterd

And that’s when I was thinking, okay, we can now move away from the more traditional questionnaire and maybe add some other specifics. And that’s why I loved the development and it’s only… You’ve been in this realm for a lot longer, Charles, but it’s only since then the modern tooling started coming around that I’ve started looking really deeply into it.

Charles Handler

Mm-hmm (affirmative). There’s a lot to look at now. I mean, there’s a crazy amount of stuff.

Bas van de Haterd

Yeah, and there’s a crazy amount of stuff and there’s a lot of crap out there which you know and there’s some really excellent ones, there’s some really innovative ones. And basically, I speak about it at events. I consult with, among others, with Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands where we’re now implementing selection and game-based assessments all the way upfront. I’m talking to a local government. I’m talking to startup or consulting with them. I mean, we’re talking too.

Charles Handler

Yeah. One of the things I’ve enjoyed as we got to know each other is always kind of throwing back and forth. “Have you heard of these people? What are they doing? What do you think?” We seem to be pretty aligned. You have a really good pulse on what’s going on over there. Again, as I’ve done my work, I’m just seeing so many new firms. So, I think we’ll get to that.

I just wrote in my notes. I always take notes when we’re talking. As a framework here, I believe, the core foundation of how you use a psychometric assessment, it doesn’t matter if you’re in Timbuktu, it doesn’t matter if you’re in the Netherlands or the US, the core foundational elements of understanding what it takes to do job and measuring those reliably and accurately, and supporting good decision-making, and collecting the metrics, and reviewing how well things are working, getting some business outcomes, that’s all the same.

We do have differences, I think, in our point we were talking about a little earlier in law and regulations. I think that’s a big difference maker and also culture and labor markets. Those are the things I’m thinking that cause some differences.

So, tell me a little bit about the state, or not just me but all of our listeners too, about the state of the art in selection and assessment in the Netherlands. As I typically do, let’s back up one. Tell me about the labor market there. What’s going on in the labor market? And then, you can segue right into why selection tools are valuable, but I think it’s important for everybody to understand how much the labor market matters when you’re talking about hiring.

Bas van de Haterd

Well, the first thing I have to tell you, of course, Europe is a whole bunch of countries.

Charles Handler

Yes, it is, I know.

Bas van de Haterd

And it’s really difficult to talk about the European labor market as… Spain, Portugal, Greece have pretty high youth unemployment, even in technical jobs, because their level of English on primary, secondary, and actually even university level isn’t that great. They have difficulty getting work outside of their own country, especially Spain and Portugal. But, for example, in the Netherlands, we have a really tight labor market but we do have also, not as extreme as America, but a really divided labor market.

Charles Handler

Right. Divided how so?

Bas van de Haterd

Divided basically into upper class and in underclass.

Charles Handler

Oh, okay.

Bas van de Haterd

We have people who are being treated like… well, you might say Amazon employees, replaceable at every level and we’ve got a lot of really well coveted people especially in the technical firms who just can go anywhere they want to.

Charles Handler

Right, got you.

Bas van de Haterd

So, we have a decent social system here. Like most countries, I think, if you actually look at written… It’s the least of social security within most of Europe… or actually, that’s just counting Eastern Europe.

Charles Handler

Right. Like Scandinavia I know is very strong in those areas and that makes a difference too, right?

Bas van de Haterd

That makes a difference. France is actually probably the most robust labor market when it comes to not being able to fire anybody.

Charles Handler

Right, yeah.

Bas van de Haterd

Which is interesting. France and Sweden score highest on not being able to fire anybody and, I think, hence also highest on labor market discrimination.

Charles Handler

Interesting.

Bas van de Haterd

Those are actually… To give you an example, the labor market… Everybody thinks Sweden is this really cuddly and everybody’s welcome country. But if you look at the meta study done by American university, Northwestern University, it turns out that Swedish labor market discrimination is about 70% worse than American.

Charles Handler

Wow. Do they even have minorities as much there, though?

Bas van de Haterd

Oh, yeah.

Charles Handler

I mean, I think that’s the interesting part is what’s the makeup of their actual population?

Bas van de Haterd

Well, they have probably a little less minorities but they have a lot of minorities, but they put them out of sight.

Charles Handler

Yeah, interesting.

Bas van de Haterd

Northwestern looked with a meta study at all studies done applying with the same resume just different names to a certain job. I can tell you in the Netherlands, it matters about 30, 35% of [inaudible 00:09:19] if you have a Muslim name or Dutch name.

Charles Handler

Same kind of things here. Again, these are global problems. Human judgment, decision-making is global. The context, culturally, can definitely make somewhat of a difference. So, in the Netherlands, is it standard? I think I’ve seen global numbers. We reported them in our study and then I’ve got kind of my own gut feeling. But in the US, I’d say, you’re lucky if half the hiring decisions use some kind of assessment and I would say that’s probably pretty accurate globally. You have pockets. It is an increasingly global thing that more and more local folks. I think global multinationals have always made strong use especially when you’re based in the US and all the policy comes out of the US, or even based in Germany and the policy comes out of the Germany, you tend to see more assessment. I’m looking more even at more localized companies. There’s still a lot of big localized companies.

Charles Handler

So, what do you see in your travels? I mean, is assessment something that’s well understood? Is it something that’s used commonly? I know you’ve got some really interesting examples that we’ve discussed. So, maybe some of the more interesting things. Just tell our audience what is it like over there when it comes to the use of assessment?

Bas van de Haterd

Well, when you look at… I’m thinking of the Dutch market because I know it best.

Charles Handler

Yeah, that’s great.

Bas van de Haterd

With the use of assessments, all the major firms use them but usually they just send the last candidate who they already basically hired just to check-box. Right? Oh, we did an assessment. There’s been an insane amount of money but it actually doesn’t really have any place in the selection process except for being okayed by an external party that this was a good hire or this is going to be a good hire. With one of my clients, we found out they were spending an insane six-figure amount on assessments a year and they weren’t even hiring that many people. They sent every last candidate to the assessment center. About 90% got to check-box, so basically it didn’t add any value. They just said, “Yeah, you’re right.” Of those 10% who didn’t get the checkbox, over half were still hired because, yeah, we already decided this guy or girl is going to be good and we’ll make an educational thing about the things that the assessment agency just said where she needs to develop on. So, it is used a lot, just not very useful.

Charles Handler

Yeah, interesting. And even at, say, high volume, if you have somebody for manufacturing, customer service where they have to hire a lot of people…

Bas van de Haterd

No, no, no. Up till a few years ago, it was never used in any form of high volume.

Charles Handler

Right, got you.

Bas van de Haterd

So, this was only for people sitting in the office behind the desk. Basically, usually 50,000 euros and up a year which is-

Charles Handler

Right. About a 75…

Bas van de Haterd

… above average.

Charles Handler

Yeah. I think here in the US, it’s kind of a two-humped kind of thing here in the US. You got a very heavy use in hourly and everybody uses it for executives. It’s kind of that managerial place in the middle. And people come into those roles with a lot of job experience, so you have an idea maybe a little bit more about what they can do, skills-wise or accomplishments-wise. It doesn’t mean assessments aren’t good, of course. So, that’s interesting.

Charles Handler

So then, you can tell me, then with that being said, why are there so many of the new firms popping up based in the Netherlands? Because I see that and especially you and I have been collaborating on list to add to my 250 vendors already, which is crazy that we even have that many and I probably got 50 or 60 more I’m trying to grind through profiling, but a lot of them from the Netherlands, a lot on your list that I didn’t know about. And so, tell me why is it so popular there to be starting companies?

Bas van de Haterd

Well, I think one of the big ones, and they’re actually big in the US now too, is Harver.

Charles Handler

Yeah, just acquired.

Bas van de Haterd

They recently did the Series B and they’re Dutch.

Charles Handler

Yeah.

Bas van de Haterd

I’ve known them since they were seven people in all. They [inaudible 00:13:51]. They did a great job on, first of all, taking the selection and the assessment to the hourly workers, the volume hirers. They were excellent at everything volume. I mean, I’ve seen results of what they managed to do. They’ve taken down attrition from a hundred, sometimes 200%, a year to less than 20% a year at a lot of their contact centers which was really, really great. And I think, first of all, their success led other people to think they’re only doing what they call customer facing jobs at first. So, let’s try to figure out a different market where we can make this work. The other part, I think, is we have a pretty decent startup ecosystem. I mean, our King’s brother is the head of the Dutch startup ecosystem and that just opens doors. I mean, let’s be very honest, Charles.

Charles Handler

Yeah.

Bas van de Haterd

If the Prince of the Netherlands wants to be on your podcast, you’d really probably say, even if you doesn’t know that much, “I can have a Prince on my podcast.”

Charles Handler

Yeah.

Bas van de Haterd

That kind of just opens doors. And fortunately for us, he’s not dumb. He’s actually quite smart.

Charles Handler

I wouldn’t expect him to be dumb.

Bas van de Haterd

No. You obviously haven’t seen the Prince of… Now, I’m not going to go there.

Charles Handler

I don’t know anything about it, no.

Bas van de Haterd

We have some countries where they are less than fond of their royalty.

Charles Handler

Oh, right. We have no royalty, so…

Bas van de Haterd

Basically, we have a decent startup scene and we are also pretty good at data analytics, I think.

Charles Handler

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bas van de Haterd

Crunchr is one of the data analytics companies which came out of Netherlands and they’ve been used. And then, all of a sudden, people are seeing their actual attrition and they’re seeing why their people are leaving and then they’re like, “Oh, that might be a selection problem.”

Charles Handler

Yeah.

Bas van de Haterd

So, because people are looking more at the analytics of their hiring. And to be honest, people like me and a few other loudmouths are talking like, “We can do this better.” At some point, in some HR director’s minds, it’s like, “Wait a moment. I’m seeing too much attrition. I’ve read a story about this guy who said it can be done better,” and “You fix this.”

Charles Handler

Right. Well, that’s good. The market really drives the uptake of this stuff. Here in the US, it is probably a lot more in people’s frame of preference, but I’ve seen that globally it’s growing. I remember I did a big project of some standardized testing in India probably 15 years ago at this point, maybe a little more. And at that point, we were looking for a psychometric company to partner with in India. I looked high and low, there was nobody, not a single one. And now, I think India, more than the Netherlands, of course, it’s like a thousand times the size of the Netherlands.

Bas van de Haterd

At least.

Charles Handler

But they have a decent number and more and more popping up. So, you can just look at things like that and then I start looking at my senses. There’s three companies in Greece and there’s companies in Singapore.

Things are really starting to percolate globally and I bet your story is probably repeated in other places as well because you are seeing that global market. And there’s a lot less restrictions in some ways and more restrictions in others and there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the laws between different countries. I don’t know all the laws in every country about using hiring tools. I do feel like, in the EU, you got way more strictness on the privacy side of things, which I think is a good thing.

Bas van de Haterd

Yeah, there’s actually coming a new EU law probably in effect somewhere in 2022, 2023 which will limit the possibility of using automated hiring tools even more.

Charles Handler

Right, uh-huh (affirmative).

Bas van de Haterd

It’s currently in draft. We call it the Draft Law and now everybody can critique it. It’s part of the new AI law that the EU is going to make and they have specific section on AI and selection.

Charles Handler

Can’t wait to see that. That will be really interesting for a lot of firms. And that’s a whole another reel. That’s eight more podcast or whatever, I feel like.

Charles Handler

So, let’s talk about it this way. Tight labor market there, same here in some pockets, not so much in others, and we get a lot of pushback here, especially post-pandemic… or I think that’s probably a little ambitious for me to say post-pandemic.

But as we hopefully get this thing under control and things get back to normal, whenever that is, I think foundational structural changes in the labor market as people discover they have other opportunities to live their dreams or whatever they have done to adapt, maybe something that sticks for them which is great, assuming that’s a good move for them. But you still got a lot of people saying, “Well, I’m not going to use an assessment because I don’t have enough people. Why would I want to weed out more people?” And of course, I’ve got plenty of counterarguments to that. Is that happening where you are and how are you counseling people to help see that that is a flawed mindset, if you believe that?

Bas van de Haterd

I completely see the same thing happening here, Charles. It’s amazing people believe that it’s… in a tight labor market even more people will drop out. The interesting thing is I always ask them how many people drop out on their application form, uploading a resume. And from what I’ve seen from every assessment tool, the percentages are about the same.

Charles Handler

Yup.

Bas van de Haterd

What I usually is, “Okay, but if you have a problem finding them, isn’t there possibility that those people are out there, just they don’t have the right credentials?” So, one of my clients, actually, they hired me because they said, “Well, we’re looking at credentials and we actually figured out that we can’t figure anything out from a resume.” They were hiring trainees and they said, “For this specific type of trainee, we want people who are the odd balls.” Because you’ve got to work with the odd balls, basically.

Charles Handler

Yeah.

Bas van de Haterd

It was at the local city which was about improving local communities and its really cool if you actually live in the local community and you actually know why people aren’t getting vaccinated or why people aren’t getting to the gym more, stuff like that. So, if we want to improve local communities, we might need to hire people from those communities. But does this really mean that they need any form of education. So, they opened it up to everybody and then they got 150 applicants in six minutes and they had to close it down because they couldn’t… They actually gave everybody, which was an interesting form of assessment, a case study to do and they had to deny them the opportunity to send it in because their team wasn’t able to go through so many case studies.

Charles Handler

Right, right, right, interesting.

Bas van de Haterd

So, now we’re looking at a pre-screening assessment tool based on the… They do say, “Okay, you need this psychometric trait. You need these traits.” So, let’s put everybody through the traits. One of them, for example, is teamwork, one of them is learning agility, stuff like that. Let’s put the people through the assessment but they tried it with a questionnaire. And what they found was, which is very interesting because the supplier swore high and low that it was unbiased as it can possibly be, that nobody with a bi-cultural background was selected.

Charles Handler

Oh, interesting.

Bas van de Haterd

Yeah.

Charles Handler

Was there a cognitive component to it at all?

Bas van de Haterd

No.

Charles Handler

Is it all… Interesting.

Bas van de Haterd

It was 100% psychometric. And I can tell you the reason for that, Charles.

Charles Handler

Okay.

Bas van de Haterd

Every questionnaire is, in basics, unbiased because we look at it for Americans applying in America and for Western Europeans applying in Western Europe and we correct it.

Charles Handler

Right.

Bas van de Haterd

I was talking to one of my best friends and he’s married to an American woman. And while we, Europeans, on a five-point scale will always choose Option 2 or 4, she will still having lived in the Netherlands for 20 years say it’s awesome or it’s correct. We’ll say it’s decent or it was not [inaudible 00:22:46].

Charles Handler

That is really interesting. I’ve never thought about how people look at the response modality kind of an instrument culturally. That’s pretty cool. I’m sure there’s some research out there, but that’s a first one that really, at least in my recent memory, maybe back in the corner, some grad school…

Bas van de Haterd

Interesting thing is all the science I found was done on specific cohorts. And then, they’re changing it for the cohorts, but we have a law which tells you you cannot ask somebody how he or she identifies racially. So, we cannot correct it for the fact that you are a Chinese Dutchman or a Turkish Dutchman or an American Dutchman.

Charles Handler

Interesting.

Bas van de Haterd

And that’s where it goes wrong. So, this one-

Charles Handler

Right, interesting.

Bas van de Haterd

And that’s why they told me, “We’re not using questionnaires for this psychometric.” So, basically we went to situational judgment test because as far as I’ve seen, this don’t have it.

Charles Handler

Right, and they work really well. Those tests work really well.

Bas van de Haterd

Exactly.

Charles Handler

You’re just saying how much does this thing kind of… That’s very interesting. When you think about, and I’ve thought about this a lot, as cultural differences and assessment, and we do a lot of global work, I think that it’s really becomes almost like what I call a last mile problem, right? The assessment methodology of work, the traits and characteristics are generally the same. I mean, in some… In Asian culture’s more collectivist or whatever. But I don’t know how much those things truly, truly relate to structural differences in the assessment. But you do need to account for things, like you just talked about in that last mile about the response scale or about how a culture might actually have people see things differently. But in work like SHLs, OPQ, and some of these other global personality measures that you find, I think they have some adjustments but generally the content and everything is the same.

Charles Handler

One of the things you said which is a big point I make too is when you start looking at who you’re trying to hire, broaden your concept of where you might want to take people from. So, you’re point of not necessarily looking at a resume, looking at skills, interests, abilities, in a raw way, is one thing, and also understanding where are some… What type of people do in different work on a daily basis might have attributes that would be a fit here and let’s go recruit those people. So, if you expand your thinking which is almost like a necessity, the mother of invention, right. You have to do that if you want to get people in the seat. So, I think that’s one point and the other…

Bas van de Haterd

If I can tell a beautiful case study on this, Charles.

Charles Handler

No, go ahead.

Bas van de Haterd

Dutch Air Traffic Control started using pre-selection assessments a couple years ago. They already had a lot of selection assessments but they now put it all the way upfront.

Charles Handler

Okay.

Bas van de Haterd

They’re using a cognitive assessment, a tool called [inaudible 00:26:08] which is, I think, really next generation cognitive but it doesn’t measure cognitive like IQ. It measures 16 different levels of cognitive traits.

Charles Handler

Uh-huh (affirmative), interesting.

Bas van de Haterd

From inhibition, from anticipation… but also, which is the most important trait that a traffic controller must have, stress resilience.

Charles Handler

Uh-huh (affirmative), I know that well. There’s a lot of literature in the US about… I studied in grad school, about air traffic controller selection, Kanfer and Ackerman.

Bas van de Haterd

Yeah. First they said, “We only want academically schooled,” basically, the Dutch version of Ivy League schools. Then, they said, “Let’s open it up for all college grads.” And right now, they’re saying, “If you finish your high school, that’s okay.” So, they opened up the talent pool and they found out that there’s absolutely no correlation between having an academic degree from an Ivy League and being stress resilient.

Charles Handler

That makes sense to me.

Bas van de Haterd

Yeah.

Charles Handler

You don’t have to fight typically, if you’re getting into those schools.

Bas van de Haterd

Exactly.

Charles Handler

You usually have a good socio-economic background.

Bas van de Haterd

Yeah, and what they managed was that the air traffic control did away with all educational demands. And then, they found out that the people who were stress resilient enough might not be able to learn the entire manual by heart, which is of course another thing which you do need. That’s why they’re now saying, “High school grads, you need some learning ability. You need to memorize some stuff.,” and they actually managed. They used to start with 10 people training for air traffic control to end up with two. And what I’ve gathered is now they’re starting with 10 to end up with eight. From a completely different selection where they were. And they opened up the market basically for everybody with a high school degree.

Charles Handler

Right. That’s great. I mean, that’s a great…

Bas van de Haterd

Which is 98% of the Netherlands. We don’t have many high school dropouts.

Charles Handler

Yeah, right. That’s a great example. And you see that a lot. I’m starting to really study and culture and kind of how culture fit as a way to assess is kind of evolving because culture fit can actually be very narrow-minded. There’s other ways to look at how people can contribute in a more dynamic way or even saying, “What does this person have that we don’t have that we need?” as oppose to carbon copying every single person. But anyway, in that regard, as you think about that, that’s another thing that I think you find people doing when you look from people from other places or other backgrounds or other work experience or other study… bodies of knowledge they know, they bring a completely different perspective to the table a lot of times which is also very good. Accounting for that in a rigid assessment process, that’s something I’m working on right now. I have to describe that.

Bas van de Haterd

Can I share another case study from the UK on this subject matter?

Charles Handler

Yeah, please. Please do, yeah, please.

Bas van de Haterd

The accounting firm, Grant Thornton, I don’t know if they’re big in the US, but they’re one of the biggest in the UK, especially for SME companies. They started this journey, I think, eight or nine years ago. What they did was they replaced all educational requirements for their internships and their trainee programs with aptitude testing. And they opened it up for everybody, so not only A-levels, which is a big thing, and not only the same schools that partners went through and aptitude testing. And it turns out that even your Math grade doesn’t mean much if you can be an accountant or not because you could have a low Math grade because you had to work three jobs to get through school or your dad was hitting on you literally every evening and beating the crap out of you. That kind of puts down on your educational performance. So, they said, “Let’s just do testing.”

Charles Handler

Right.

Bas van de Haterd

And they started seeing so much talent and as their head of recruitment said in… This was a presentation where I was in. “From areas where our partners were afraid to park their BMW.”

Charles Handler

Yup. That’s cracking me up.

Bas van de Haterd

They started hiring these people and they started training them like they always do. They started giving them traineeships. They started educating them to become either assistant accountants or possibly even complete accountants, accreditation. And what they’ve now noticed is that these trainees and interns, compared to their normal selection, were having longer tenure and having more billable hours. So, basically they are making the company more money.

Charles Handler

Right.

Bas van de Haterd

And she said, “The most amazing thing is we have completely new type of customers. All those pop-and-mom shops in those areas where our partners refuse to park their BMW.”

Charles Handler

Yeah, their money still green or silver or whatever color it is too, right? So you always want to expand your footprint as a business that helps you grow. I’ve been thinking a lot about this and I hadn’t really thought about it the way that you just brought it up. I’ve worked extensively in saying, hey, testing allows you to strip away some kind of systematic vices around education and things like that, for sure. But thinking about it in the talent shortage, being able to evaluate people from other disciplines on a level playing field or relative to what you need when you strip away what they have been doing, that’s kind of a new way to look at it. I think that’s great.

Bas van de Haterd

And to give you another… This is a pilot project I’m doing with the social security affairs unit from a local government, right. In the Netherlands, we have social security issue now and people have been on welfare basically for a couple of years. We try to activate them to get back on the labor market, but usually there’s at least two or three problems, one of them might be drugs, one of them might be… Some of them actually can’t read or write. We recently found out why questionnaire-based assessments don’t work for them. They can’t read or write, which is… They love the game-based assessments, I can tell you.

Charles Handler

Right. But what job can you do when you can’t read or write, though? That’s one…

Bas van de Haterd

Security guard?

Charles Handler

Okay.

Bas van de Haterd

For example.

Charles Handler

Yup.

Bas van de Haterd

And interesting thing is… So, we’re now looking at… There’s this one test that actually can measure inhibition. Basically, when somebody challenges you, are you going to pick a fight right away or are you going to keep calm? Very important for a security guard. I can tell you that the security guard firms are now looking at does this person ever have a conviction which can mean that he has indeed a low inhibition or that he’s just that smart that he’s never been caught, but we don’t know. So, we’re now looking at testing those kinds of things and now we’re also trying to figure out if we can use the tests which are good for contact business center people to get these people into the major contact centers who are saying they’ve labor shortages and, on the other hand, we’ve got I think 10,000 unemployed people, some of which have really big problems.

Bas van de Haterd

And I’ll admit sometimes a company needs to change. I remember the very first client Harver ever had. She said that they asked the local unemployment services to send everybody over. “Just have them apply because we now automated the assessment, we automated the rejections, have them apply.” And she said, “There were people who have been unemployed for a decade who are perfect for the job.” She said, “We did have to change our onboarding process because now actually getting people an alarm clock is part of our onboarding process.”

Charles Handler

Right, right, interesting.

Bas van de Haterd

Because they hadn’t had to get up for 10 years. We expect them to be here at 9:00. When they were late, the first thing an HR person said, “Yeah, we need to fire this person. This is never going to work,” and she’s like, “No, we’re going to give him an alarm clock and give him a chance.”

Charles Handler

Right, right. So, listen up, listeners. If you’re thinking about, “Hey, what can we do? We don’t have a way to find people.” Let’s think about outside the box and use assessment to do that and, again, necessity is the mother of invention. I think one of my biggest things I say in this realm of why use an assessment when you have very few applicants is you don’t have to use the assessment as a all-in decision, a binary decision. It just gives more data about the three people that you do have because ultimately if you have to choose one of them, you might as well know more about each one of those people when you make your choice and you’re actually able to be less picky which means, in my mind, that data becomes even more important.

Charles Handler

If you have 50 applicants and the top 10 score 90 percentile, well, you’re choosing somebody from the top 10, you’re probably in good shape. If you have three that kind of cluster around the middle range, I mean, look in in the detail at each of those people and hope it orient your interviewing questions and even your onboarding when you hire someone. There’s so much tremendous value still there. I don’t think it’s a legitimate argument to not use assessments when you don’t have a lot of [inaudible 00:36:22].

Bas van de Haterd

Can I give you one more example, Charles?

Charles Handler

Yeah.

Bas van de Haterd

And then, I have a question for you. It’s about team recruiting.

Charles Handler

Right.

Bas van de Haterd

Again, we see actually the biggest adoption of modern assessment technology going from government right now, which is really crazy, but they’ve learned that it actually debiases things and government is really sensitive to that, of course. So, one of our local governments in the South, they needed a completely new team to help out people who are hit by COVID, basically. We call them Social Helper Teams and they have two of them.

Because of COVID, they all of a sudden needed 16 of them. And what they did was, they put in an assessment all the way upfront and they said, “Okay, so we’re going to select people with non-traditional backgrounds because, well, people with social working diploma aren’t around that much and they already have jobs. But we’re also going to make it a team-based selection. So, within these people, we’re going to have a few whose score higher on analytical skills, we have a few who are way better at communication skills, we have a few who are really good at the social, the interaction, et cetera, et cetera.” So, they used it, the assessments, to basically combine a team in having additional qualities to each other, instead of cloning.

Bas van de Haterd

And my question to you is do you think we’ll crack the code or… While we’re trying to crack the code on team hiring, do you see that in the US a lot? Because I see this almost never happening in the Netherlands where we’re not trying to clone who we already have but we’re trying to find somebody who adds to the team.

Charles Handler

I mean, I’m studying that right now because I think that’s a really important thing and I can tell you that, again, talking about that last mile concept. I mean, the way I’m starting to look at it is, yeah, absolutely. I think it’s infinitely more complex and because there’s so many work teams in a company, being able to capture what’s going on in that team at the moment and then build an assessment product that can map on to that, it doesn’t scale very well, I don’t think. It creates a lot of complexities and a lot of individual little islands. When you are hiring someone, you have to use really the same standardized hiring process for a job requisition here in the US so that makes it even more difficult. You can’t have a lot of individual people using a lot of different things.

Charles Handler

So, the way I start to look at it is a little bit like you understand the knowledge, the skills, abilities, the thing people need for a job and you measure those, and then you can even measure things like how well do they fit with the company values. But that last mile is where you really need to equip the team leader with an understanding of who this person and hopefully, a self-awareness of their team and get the change management to help them understand that adding a new viewpoint or a new skillset can actually be hugely beneficial. That’s a lot easier said than done.

Charles Handler

I mean, I’m actually looking at how to productize something like this right now. I think when you see that team fit stuff that’s out there, it’s a little bit lukewarm in a way. It might profile the team and then say, “Okay, people that fit this profile would fit this team.” It’s not looking at the opposite angle. What does this team need to evolve or to have a more diverse viewpoint? So, you are very astute in thinking that that’s really a frontier.

We could save some white space in the industry if you can crack that and it’s one of the harder issues to crack. And if you look across all the vendors, there’s a lot of people who say they do team stuff. I don’t think anybody’s really doing it. I’m sure there’s several people doing it but-

Bas van de Haterd

The only supplier I know actually went bankrupt last year.

Charles Handler

Yeah. And so, this have been a fascinating conversation. I could talk all day. We got to kind of play out here and close out. So, Bas, thanks so much. You’re a great storyteller of really actual things that are going on with assessments and seeing some of the same things we have here. But, hopefully, some listeners can borrow some good advice and some good learnings from those stories. So, tell everybody how can people follow you and keep up with you.

Bas van de Haterd

Best way to follow me is connect with me on LinkedIn. You can follow me on Twitter but, to be honest, it’s mostly in Dutch and it’s mostly about my hobbies like cycling and gardening.

Charles Handler

Okay.

Bas van de Haterd

So, that’s not that interesting.

Charles Handler

Right.

Bas van de Haterd

I have a website which is vandehaterd.nl which is my last name, which is in English and Dutch a bit. And I’m always happy to have a chat with everybody who listened.

Charles Handler

Yeah, awesome. That is great. So, that’ll wrap us up. That’s it. I got to run. Thank you so much.

Bas van de Haterd

All right, cool, cheers.