From the Inside Out
Building Recruiting Tools for a Recruiting Firm – and Its Clients
Wentworth Recruiting promises “Uncommonly excellent recruiting at a very reasonable price.” And they deliver: For more than 350 clients, 97% of their assignments were concluded successfully, and 96% on time, across virtually every discipline and industry.
To produce such impressive results cost-effectively took a highly disciplined, efficient process. To improve on their success, they wanted to make the system even better.
Wentworth hired Scientific Selection to build a more rigorous, test-based approach to screening and assessment. Dr. Wendell Williams, the company’s founder and a well-known assessment expert, recommended a comprehensive selection system based on the Attitudes, Interests, and Motivations (AIMS) tests. These assessment tools reveal often-hidden characteristics that research consistently links with job fit and performance.
The initial engagement was internal, helping Wentworth staff its own organization. “First we ran everybody through the test,” says founder John Wentworth. “Then Wendell showed us how to use the results to create a detailed profile of the ideal top-performer, so we could measure candidates against it.”
As the recession ended and companies resumed recruiting, the firm grew rapidly from 9 to 22 professionals, almost all new candidates were assessed using the test package. Every recruiter who was hired using the tests is still on the job and doing well. The real proof of the system is in who’s not there. During a crunch time, two new hires were quickly brought on without going through the process. Both were gone within a week.
Based on the success of their own experience, Wentworth decided to give their clients the benefit of Scientific Selection’s expertise and assessment tools. One key client was a major automotive retail firm. In their first round of recruiting work for them, Wentworth had seen a fairly typical turnover rate of 31% in the first year. In their second engagement, by applying a new methodology, they brought the rate down to 9%.
Interestingly, the AIMS tests weren’t a formal part of the screening process. Instead, they were used with current employees to reveal a radically new picture of the job profile. “These were front-line people who work with clients, and everyone thought the ideal candidate was a typical high-powered, full-on sales type,” Wentworth recalls. “When we ran everyone through the test, it turned out the top performers were helpers, really intuitive, service-oriented individuals. Wendell completely changed how we looked at candidates.”
Fact vs. Fiction
Scientific Selection also identified a serious gap between the field managers’ hiring decisions and those of the HR specialists. “Wendell’s work showed a big divide between the managers instincts and the real performance and turnover numbers. It was a classic case of fact against fiction.”
This is business as usual for Dr. Williams, whose core belief is that selection is science, at least when it’s done right. Replacing cherished beliefs with hard facts is his stock in trade. “Wendell’s got a big personality, and frankly, sometimes he can be a pain in the neck. But you should just listen to the man, because he’s right,” says Wentworth. “I owe a lot to him. He’s been incredibly kind and generous, not just in the work he’s done, but in what he’s taught me about the science of assessment.”