Early Attrition: How to Get the Hiring Process Right?

One of the major concerns facing employers globally, including the talent-squeezed markets of Asia, is holding on to talent, especially during the early days of their employment. How can online pre-employment technologies help to strengthen the candidate-to-job-alignment process and improve employee retention?

Early Attrition: How to Get the Hiring Process Right?

29 Jun 2018 by  Tarandeep Singh

Early attrition is the adversary of talent acquisition. According to the Aon Talent Acquisition Study 2017, which surveyed talent acquisition professionals across the Asia Pacific region and the Middle East, a key reason for early attrition is that the job didn’t meet the candidate’s expectations. Often, this is a reflection of the pre-hire assessment process, which should be designed to select candidates for the right person-job fit in order to hit peak performance as quickly as possible.

However, Aon research found that rather than recruit strategically, the majority of organisations recruit tactically. This indicates employers react to situations or opportunities that arise, rather than planning their talent needs based on their business goals and competitive environment. Talent planning should be an ongoing process, not a one-off event. It is the foundation of effective talent management and an area where technology-enabled assessments can help to reduce the risk of early attrition.

Still, while technology-enabled assessments allow employers to objectively screen job applicants against the requirements of the role and provide a prediction of their behaviour, mainly because of cost concerns, the Aon Talent Acquisition Study 2017 found that only 22% organisations surveyed are currently utilising technology-enabled assessments. However, 55% of firms that are not currently using online assessments say they plan to adopt them in the coming year.

Create a “success profile” to understand what it takes to succeed within an organisation

A thorough job analysis is the critical starting point. Consider and specify not only the tasks involved but the competencies, abilities, and job-related behaviours that are important for success. Analysing what differentiates an organisation’s top performers from average performers and early leavers can help HR to create a “Success Profile” of an ideal employee. Consider not only what a “good” employee looks like in the role, but also what the “wrong” employee looks like too. This will provide a better understanding of the competencies, personality, knowledge, skills, experience, attitude, values, behaviours, and outcomes that bring success.

Create the right expectations by introducing a realistic job preview

For employers that have a tendency to over-sell their jobs, there is a significant possibility that new recruits will join the organisation with false expectations. When they find that the role isn’t what they thought it would be, they can easily become bored and unproductive or they might leave.

A realistic job preview can be offered using an interactive, online experience which highlights the demands of the role and the culture of the organisation. It enables applicants to self-assess their own suitability and gain instant feedback before they apply. This might prevent individuals from actually applying, but it saves the application process from being cluttered up with unsuitable applicants.

Measure what matters

Today’s assessments provide a greater understanding of candidates and an accurate prediction of their behaviour. The options include ability tests, personality assessments and situational judgement assessments, which provide a realistic and context-driven assessment that reflects the workplace.

Employers can also use video assessments, simulations and values, interests and motives assessments. With these, the HR function is able to refine the selection process so that it focuses
on the “right fit” candidates.

Provide an engaging candidate experience

The HR function should always aim to deliver a positive candidate experience that communicates the organisation's values and fits its brand. It helps if online assessments are short, visually-appealing, interactive, objective, and indicative of the everyday situations that employees will experience in the workplace.

Empower interviewers

Pre-face-to-face assessments can help interviewers to tailor questions for each candidate, based on their assessment results. Utilising such data and information can lead to more consistent and productive interviews. Candidates with the right person-job fit can then be appointed. The Aon Talent
Acquisition Study 2017 found that 97% of organisations surveyed conduct face-to-face interviews when recruiting, while 63% of companies are keen to improve the capabilities of their interviewers.

Gain further efficiencies by integrating systems

By integrating the applicant tracking and HR information systems, HR practitioners can move candidate details seamlessly between them. This can cut the time-to-hire and save money. Integrating systems also opens the way to mine and utilise employee data in ways that was previously not possible. It opens the door to a wealth of talent analytics that enhance the hiring process and reduce the risk of early attrition.

Build employer brand recognition


To attract the best candidates, employers need to stand out from the crowd. Some companies are actively promoting their learning and career opportunities, their market presence, and their product and service excellence. They also highlight their inspirational leaders and the rewards and recognition processes that are available in the organisation. According to the Aon Talent Acquisition Study 2017, organisations recognise the need to develop their employer brand, with recruiters ranking this as one of their top three priorities.

It’s important to communicate the organisation’s strengths and key brand messages on career websites, in job advertisements, social media, and promotions. Using branding to attract top talent can lead to more effective candidate-to-job alignment and lessen the probability of early attrition.

Don’t overlook the importance of the on-boarding experience

Engagement starts from day one. On-boarding is an opportunity to make sure that new employees feel welcome and part of the team. The data gathered from earlier selection assessments can be used to create a personal development plan for each individual.

This encourages individuals to take responsibility for their development and can spark more meaningful development conversations. Importantly, selection assessments help new employees to understand what’s expected of them, how they fit into the organisation, how they can be successful and what the future holds. The data can even help to match new starters with the right
mentor, based on their personality and abilities.

Addressing key talent challenges such as what matters to the business and interpreting relevant data can make it easier to discover the right candidates with the most potential for success in the job and reduce the risk of early attrition.

Start a conversation with us

Need help with implementing the right pre-hire assessment process to overcome early attrition in your organisation? Get in touch with us.

The full version of this article first appeared in the June issue of the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM) journal.

Tarandeep Singh

Tarandeep has over 19 years of experience in HR Consulting and Outsourcing, and leads Aon’s India practices on areas of Employee Engagement, Employee Value Proposition (EVP), HR & business strategy alignment, organisation structuring and leadership capability building. Tarandeep also leads the Aon’s Assessment Solutions team for Asia Pacific and Middle East. In his long stint with the firm, he has also worked with clients in the areas of M&A, Change Management & Transformation, Performance Management and Rewards Strategy & Design.

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