What is the ROI of a good onboarding programme?

As Team Appical, we work for a large number of super cool companies in various branches. When we meet potential customers, we are often asked: “What is the real result, in terms of ROI, of a good onboarding programme?" That question is not an easy one to answer. Every company is different. Still, looking at our customer base, they do have a few things in common.

To answer this question properly, we recently developed a new ROI calculator. This calculator provides insight into the savings during the four crucial stages that each new hire goes through, both in SMEs as well as multinationals.

The key to succes

Putting your employees first is the key to successful, involved employees. This sounds simple, but in practice, it often isn’t. It is important to provide new hires a great experience, so that they start their new job without any problems and get a real ‘wow!’ feeling. In the recruitment phase, candidates are promised the world, because you want them to come work for you. But then, the new hires fall into the famous black hole. A pitiful introduction, day two months after your first working day, boring information on the Intranet, or worse still: a bulky manual for new employees. In which four phases of the employee journey can you save time as a HR employee by setting up a good onboarding programme?


Preboarding, or starting the introduction as soon as the contract is signed, offers you the golden opportunity to keep that euphoria of a new job alive for longer. In that phase, just after signing, new hires often have questions and doubts. These are only discussed in the first few weeks of work. And that is a shame! Answering their questions, making them feel welcome and removing their doubts, is a good first step to improve the dialogue and keep them enthusiastic.

HR is already working on the required paperwork in the preboarding phase, Such as employment contracts, tax forms, certificates of conduct and company codes. In addition, there are also lots of logistic issues that needs to be sorted, such as passes, parking and staff numbers.

This costs HR around 5 hours in this phase. Your new employee needs an average of 16 hours to read the documents and arrange other matters.

The first day of work

Usually, new employees only get to see their new working environment and meet new colleagues on their first day of work. The introduction period comprises the first few weeks in the office, a lot of personal attention, and the obligatory tour of the building. Questions such as: ‘Where is the coffee machine?’, ‘What is the printer number?’, ‘How can I book a meeting room?’ are usually at the top of the list. Usually, HR will appoint a colleague (buddy) to show new hires the ropes. Although it can be quite a challenge for a new employee to familiarise yourself with the office, your new duties and new colleagues, it is as important and stressful for managers. To ensure that an employee is a successful and productive addition to the company team, it is crucial that the new employee feels at home from day 1, feels part of the team.

On average, a new employee spends around 4 hours on the tour and a welcome session with a senior manager, but more is also possible.

Onboarding in the organisation

Onboarding is a broader term than introduction period, and focuses on shortening the time needed by the new employee to achieved the minimum expected level of productivity. The onboarding period starts on the first day and it can last between three months and one year, depending on the complexity of the function.

When onboarding starts (on the first working day), a new employee spends around 4 hours looking for the necessary information. In more complex environments, such as the professional service sector, this can be up to 20 hours or more.


As a manager, you have to ensure that you pick up all relevant insights and points for improvement ‘along the way’, instead of waiting until the annual evaluation review. We see that employees, in an onboarding programme of three months, spend around 2 hours on giving feedback. Because it is done that way… Nearly all our customers indicate that the feedback they receive from new employees is very valuable. New hires look at the ingrained company processes with fresh eyes, as opposed to the colleagues who have been there for years. They will look at the processes and think: Well, that’s how it’s done here… New hires are not burdened with this occupational blindness yet, so use their fresh eyes and request honest feedback. In their onboarding app, organisations such as Hunkemöller and Coolblue, for example, actively ask for critical feedback from new hires, and use this feedback to tackle their processes.

Functional onboarden as a new phase

Onboarding not only involves multiple departments and colleagues, such as recruitment and HR, but also multiple layers within an organisation. Dr John Sullivan outlines the five layers of onboarding at an organisational level, location level and individual level. We see that various high-performing organisations, after the regular onboarding programme, focus on functional onboarding as a new phase.

  • Organisational level
    This includes recruitment and organisation-wide standards and values.
  • Location level
    This includes information and issues in respect of the country/region and the location where the new hire will be working.
  • Departmental level
    This relates to the department where they will be working.
  • Team/functional level
    This includes the team and the position of the new employee.
  • Individual level
    This includes issues on a team level which relate to the unique and diverse needs of this person.

Onboarding looks different for the various function groups within a company. Suppose you regularly hire new sales staff, software developers, sales representatives and technicians. Although they all have different jobs, they need to be offered a basic introduction that includes information about, for example, the company where they will be working and the work location in particular. Once they have received this information, it is time for a functional training, depending on their role. This means that their onboarding has to continue.

This is the biggest challenge of a successful onboarding programme. How do you create a consistent basis, with common denominators where possible and differences where necessary?

On average, functional onboarding costs 11 hours per employee. This does not include job-specific (group) trainings.

What advantages does a good onboarding programme have for your company?

Many HR departments are thinking about onboarding. Eventually, the question always is: what is in it for us? If you want to make a business case, to convince the board for example, you can use our ROI calculator to see what the advantages are of a good onboarding programme. This calculator is already filled with average values, coming from (international) surveys and from experience of our customers. All these variables can be altered.

TalentGuard Wins 2018 IBM Beacon Award for Outstanding Talent Management Solution

TalentGuard is recognized for exceptional work in driving business value by delivering world-class solutions

TalentGuard Career Pathing shown here.

Austin, Texas – March 20, 2018 – TalentGuard, a global provider of talent management software, is pleased to announce that it has earned a 2018 IBM Beacon Awardfor Outstanding Talent Management Solution. Revealed at the IBM PartnerWorld at Think conference in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 20, 2018, TalentGuard was selected by a panel of expert judges consisting of IBM executives, industry analysts and members of the press. The award recognizes TalentGuard’s exceptional work in driving business value by delivering world-class solutions through its talent management software suite.

TalentGuard’s award-winning career pathing software offers a systematic approach to career development, enabling employees to map multiple career path scenarios, review job competencies and evaluate skill gaps. By giving employees the career pathing tools to chart their career progression, they become more engaged in their roles and the development of their careers. As a leading solution, Career Path expands across many verticals with demonstrated success. TalentGuard strives to continue to be the solution of choice for career pathing and employee engagement initiatives.

TalentGuard was selected among dozens of global applicants based on an in-depth application process that included customer testimonials. This win is a testament not only to TalentGuard’s commitment to innovation, but also to their customers and their satisfaction and business growth.

TalentGuard was one of 17 award winners and dozens of finalists for categories encompassing a wide range of solution and services areas – from analytics and cloud to security and customer engagement. The IBM Beacon Awards program recognizes IBM Business Partners that deliver exceptional solutions to help drive business value and transform the way clients and industries operate. For more information about the 2018 IBM Beacon Awards, including details on all winners and finalists, please visit: https://www.ibm.com/partnerworld/page/beacon-awards-overview.

To learn more about the IBM PartnerWorld program, visit https://www-356.ibm.com/partnerworld/wps/servlet/ContentHandler/partnerworld-home.

About TalentGuard
TalentGuard is a global provider of competency-based talent management solutions delivered as Software-as-a-Service. Our cloud-based software suite is unmatched in its ability to engage and retain employees. Our integrated technology helps organizations automate performance management, 360 degree feedback, career pathing, succession planning, individual development planning and certification tracking. TalentGuard also helps improve business outcomes with our extended network of credentialed career coaches, training programs and content.

Through its network of trusted integration partners, TalentGuard is seamlessly integrated with the broader HCM ecosystem including HRIS, Applicant Tracking, Compensation Management and Learning Management. For more information or to schedule a demo:

6 reasons why offboarding is important

Most companies realise the value of onboarding new employees. They focus on getting individuals more settled in their roles and productive earlier. They know the costs of employee attrition and of having underperforming teams should positions remain open for too long or are filled with a bad hire. And they are only too aware of the importance of a positive external reputation - showing them as a great place to work - so make sure that everyone joining has a positive experience. But what about when an employee wants to leave? The offboarding stage..

Do we show them the exit quickly, giving them a negative impression of the type of business we are? Are we too concerned that their dissatisfaction may influence otherwise settled employees and try to move them on too fast? And what about the important recommendations and referrals we rely on to find the talent for those hard-to-fill jobs? Leaving ex-employees with a bad memory can cost us in the long run.

More businesses now realise the value in keeping a strong relationship with ex-employees, which is why the process known as off-boarding – literally the reverse of on-boarding, where we give people leaving a positive experience and smooth transition out of the business – has been gaining importance on the corporate agenda. Maybe slowly at first, with 2015 research from Aberdeen Consulting showing only 29% of organisations having an offboarding programme, but more recently the need for a smooth exit has gained traction.

And there are strong business reasons why we need effective offboarding…

1. Ex-employees are ambassadors and advocates 

Their experience of working for us will appear in online review sites and be shared amongst their networks. They are our ambassadors for employer branding. A positive review from someone who has left can be a powerful tool when attracting new people to join. Ex-employees can recommend people to work for us – or dissuade them if we give them a poor experience. When we are struggling to fill key positions their networks are important and can give us exposure to a wider talent pool.

2. Ex-employees are customers too

We don’t only want to retain their loyalty as an employer – we need their custom also! If our products and/or services are customer facing we want ex-employees to remain as customers, and to keep recommending us to other potential customers.

3. Power of an alumni network

People who have worked for us are part of a wider community of those with connections to the business. We need to think of their potential as conduits of business messaging and make sure they still receive company and product information, positive trading updates and employer brand content. We need to keep them informed and encourage them to be part of our sharing network.

4. They are part of our knowledge network

It’s easy to forget that those leaving the business have knowledge of our market and industry that we want to keep in touch with. New employees may not have the necessary experience to step fully into the roles that have been vacated, so alumni who do not move straight to another role can play an important part as mentors, trainers and coaches.

5. They can work for us again

In a business climate where we find ourselves constantly hiring for new roles that have no precedent, and require skills we haven’t recruited before, our alumni network can help connect us with people we might not otherwise be able to reach, and can come back and work for us again if they have moved on and developed new skills. The concept of ‘boomerang hires’ – where we re-hire people who have worked for us before – is buoyant in the US but less popular in Europe. That is set to change and maintaining good alumni relations will be crucial.

6. The growing gig economy

Not everyone who leaves us will go on to another permanent job. Some will become freelancers, consultants and gig-workers. As the need for a contingent workforce grows, with people able to work on a contract or project basis providing much needed skill enhancement, it will be the alumni network that can provide access to talent who can join and seamlessly integrate.

The Employee Journey is the common denominator. Do you want to know more about the other 3 stages within the employee journey as well? You can read this in the blog: a good employee journey contributes to employer branding.

Open lines of communication

With so many business positives arising from maintaining strong relationships with ex-employees, it is vital that offboarding is done well. This means creating a positive experience – focusing on what has gone well rather than what hasn’t – making sure the exit paperwork and contractual formalities are all dealt with efficiently, and having open lines of communication to be able to share information and receive recommendations.

The people who truly understand a company – particularly its values, culture and the way it goes about its business – are the people who have already worked there. When this understanding is shared positively and readily, it can only enhance business success.

Employee Experience more important than ever!

You can't avoid the topic: employee experience and trends like employer branding, employee journey, candidate experience and employee centric. It is clear that the employee is central in 2018.

- The first blog in a diptych about Employee Experience & the Employee Journey -

The year of the employee. This means that we as an organization must take good care of our own employees. As an Employer Branding Specialist, I am therefore regularly present at events with these themes. For example, I was present at the event Inspiration for Employee Experience on January 23rd, the first event in the Netherlands focusing on the so-called ‘EX’. That is why I would like to share my expectations for the future with you. At the start of next month, we will also map out the most important trends for 2018 in the area of the entire employee journey.

‘For years, marketing has been about the Customer Experience, the brand and the product of the company. 2018 is the year of the Employee Experience.’

Challenges for HR

Employee Experience is the new challenge for HR. 88% of HR managers worldwide see Employee Experience grow in importance in the coming years (survey KennedyFitch, 2017) via Happy People Better Business. And that makes sense, because happy employees ensure happy customers.

When I received a LinkedIn invitation from Heleen Mes to become a member of the Employee Experience Netherlands / Belgium group during the middle of last year, I found it cool to see that more and more attention is being paid to the journey that every new employee has to make and what is important to facilitate as an employer. Upcoming time I am going to talk with Appical colleagues and customers to map their employee journey and I will look for best practices for their biggest challenges in this area.

7 reasons to start with employee experience

  • Our organization has difficulty attracting talent.
  • We spend a lot of time onboarding new employees and would like to use an interactive platform to make this more fun and easy for both the new hire and the manager.
  • We are working on our ambassadorship internally, but this is difficult because we do not have a specific story. Each department does this in its own way. Often the responsibility for onboarding lies with the supervisor, but we want everyone to get the same ‘generic’ part (see organizational story).
  • We want to put the employee more central and encourage us to provide useful feedback from the first day or even before that.
  • We want to connect more and more online and offline. We see an increasing need here, both for young professionals and for all our other employees.
  • Certain training courses come back annually. We also want to bring this in a more interactive way than through the intranet, from static to dynamic.
  • As an organization you always have to deal with turnover. That is not bad, but we would like to secure knowledge and ensure that someone leaves us ‘happy’ and would recommend us.

Event – Inspiration for Employee Experience

Personally, I was very curious about the challenges and trends that exist among colleagues in the HR field. ABN Amro, a Dutch Banking company, talked about how employees experienced their career at the bank and how they are distinctive in this. Mars (known from many chocolate brands) talked about the integration of values as a condition to make a difference for employees and how they recognize internally, initiatives and contributions. Oracle talked about the latest technologies that can contribute in this process and JvH Gaming was named Best Managed Company 2017 and told how successful onboarding contributes to internal and external success when it comes to the employee journey. JvH Gaming has been using the Appical platform (pre- and onboarding) since July 2017 and we were therefore pleased to see that they wanted to share their experiences on their own initiative. We are very curious about what the entire employee journey looks like and how they will further professionalize this in 2018. The event ended with a ‘compliments session’ and I was happy to see how giving compliments strengthens the motivation in daily practice. The event honored its name. It was an inspiring event where sharing knowledge about the main topic employee experience was central and where you as HR manager, recruiter or marketing manager can immediately get started with!

Tips from Appical

The employee experience and what it delivers to put your employees first, have been longer under scrutiny. In case you were wondering if it was the umpteenth HR hype .. No! Companies that ignore the ‘hype’ will have difficulty getting their growth targets.

In my next blog I will tell you how good pre-, on-, and offboading contribute to your Employer Brand.

You will receive answers to the question of how you can shape your employee journey in order to recruit and retain talent. For example, asking yourself the following questions:

  • Why should I pay attention to the employee experience?
  • Why are a fair organization story and transferring your corporate culture so important?
  • What do I need to think about when I reach my target group?
  • What pain does a good pre- and onboarding process take away for HR and managers?
  • How does an onboarding process work exactly?
  • Why is it so important to organize offboarding properly?

Succession Planning: Should You Keep it Internal?

The goal of succession planning is simple: to recruit top talent to fill key positions when they become available with as little transition time as possible. However, the process itself is often more complicated. Which positions are key, for example, and where does that top talent come from?

Key positions are whichever positions are vital to day-to-day operations. These generally include the C-suite positions, as well as the payroll manager, the president or CEO’s executive assistant, and other vital roles. In order to fill these positions, businesses can either look within their current employee pool or they can look outside the company for a qualified candidate.

Looking outside the company often means finding a candidate who is currently filling one of the identified key roles for another organization. When hired, that candidate then brings his current experience in the role to the new organization. Theoretically, that experience decreases training and transition time, imparting two huge advantages for management and the executive board and increasing the odds of success for the candidate.

Internal candidates, in contrast, don’t possess direct experience but they offer a number of advantages over external candidates. They already know – and fit in with – the company culture. They also have established camaraderie with other employees, which can be crucial to success in a new management or upper-level position, and they have a proven track record of success inside the company.

An employee recruited from within the company to fill a key position has already shown that she is a high potential employee. Competencies have already been demonstrated, and the management team or executive board can trust that she is going to succeed in the chosen role, because she has already succeeded elsewhere. That’s why she was identified as top talent in the first place.

External candidates may have more experience filling a role, but they cannot match the internal candidate’s knowledge of and familiarity with the day-to-day operations of the organization. And that, ultimately, is what translates into less downtime and greater success for everyone involved.

ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: Predictive Retention - How to Know Before They Go (IBM & TalentGuard)


Incase you missed the live webinar:

Attracting and keeping great talent are perennial challenges for organizations. But what causes people to want to leave? What might entice seemingly happy employees away? The IBM Smarter Workforce Institute conducted in-depth research among more than 22,000 employees (WorkTrendsTM 2016) to find some evidence based answers. 

Jointly presented by IBM & TalentGuard

Here are some surprising facts from the research. 

  1. 62% of employees could be tempted to take a new job
  2. Better compensation and benefits is a #1 talent attractor
  3. High potentials are much more likely than others to be attracted by opportunities to Learn New Skills
  4. Great employer brand more important job attractor for Millennials and Generation Xers
  5. Most people are not leaving because of their managers
  6. Passionate employees are least likely to quit
  7. Use the right assessments to increase person-job fit and person-organization fit during
  8. Listen regularly and act on the voice of employees. Understand employees’ individual needs and use those insights to help create a positive and engaging experience. Be aware of the factors that may trigger an employee’s voluntary departure.
  9. Meet your own employees ‘top attractor’ factors, including career development, opportunities to learn new skills and exciting, challenging work.

The All-in-One Guide to Your Best Interview Process Yet

From screening resumes to sending an offer letter, here’s everything you need to structure and streamline your interview process


Remember back when you weren’t responsible for hiring candidates? You heard terms like structured interview or offer letter and thought, “Meh. Sounds simple enough,” right?

Now that you’re on the front line — maybe as a hiring manager, maybe as a new recruiter, or maybe on a small startup team where everyone plays a key role in hiring — things look a little less peachy. Who should you bring in for an interview? Which questions should you ask on a phone screen? Do you need one? How do you develop questions that give you real answers? Who does what during an on-site interview? What goes into an offer letter?

Today, I want to equip you with the tools you need to properly shape and simplify your interview process, and then to capitalize on the time you have with candidates. Since you’re already bringing the high-achievers in for interviews, I’ll show you how to design a process that not only engages and impresses candidates, but also gives your organization the best chance to evaluate them for the position at hand.

This is a comprehensive guide, so here’s a handy way to jump to the information you need most, right now:

  • Screening Resumes
  • Screening Tools
  • Interviewing Settings
  • Interview Questions
  • Interview Plan
  • Background Checks
  • Offer Letters

Every organization is different, every role is different, and every hiring manager has their quirks, so don’t feel like you need to follow every piece of advice I outline here. The goal is to give you options for a more structured, streamlined interview process that helps you to identify the best candidates, makes them feel welcome, and ultimately leads to faster, easier hires for you and your team.

Big fat heads up/disclaimer: Before implementing any selection process, understand your specific governing bodies’ requirements and seek legal counsel to ensure that you’re providing a fair process for all applicants. Seriously.

Screening Resumes

Ok, first things first — who makes it to the interview stage in the first place? If you’ve posted an awesome, accurate job description, you’re probably looking at hundreds of resumes to sort through, and you can’t possibly interview everyone with any sort of cost-efficiency. In a perfect world, all of these resumes would fit your stated qualifications, but in reality? Plenty of unqualified applicants will flood in, and we want to avoid your sorting through each and every one of them.
Start by determining the top priorities for the job at hand — is it licensing? Years in a similar position? Certifications or schooling? With modern recruiting software like Breezy HR, you’ll be able to automatically disqualify applicants coming in that don’t meet any of these standards, effectively allowing you to pre-screen applicants with hardly any human effort.

Not using a simple ATS like Breezy? Set your application up with things like checkboxes and multiple-choice options as much as possible, so you can manually scan for those qualifications exactly the way a computer would, and immediately disqualify all of the folks that don’t meet the minimum standards your organization outlines. It’s the fastest way to get your applicants down to a manageable level without needing to read through book-lengths of text. 
For some positions, an appropriate second screen would be grammar, spelling, and general accuracy checks on a cover letter and resume. Glaring mistakes like misspelling the company name or citing the wrong position would disqualify the applicant, cutting down your applicant pool yet further. 
If you’re still looking at a ridiculous pile of great-so-far applicants, take a look at the following four areas to help you gain a better understanding of the candidate fit for the job:

  1. Work objective or career summary,
  2. Relevant skills and qualifications,
  3. Employment history, and
  4. Industry experience

Work objective:
Are they looking to grow into something that the company has available? For example, if the candidate’s work objective states that they’re angling for a managerial position and all you’ve got open are entry-level roles, they may not be willing to wait it out on a lower salary and less responsibility for the years it’ll take for a managerial role to open up.
Relevant skills:
Ask yourself if they meet every one of your relevant skills requirements; for instance, are they expert level in both Photoshop and InDesign, or do they only have passing knowledge of Salesforce? Your organization probably listed the perfect skill set in the job description, so it’s worth checking out in order to cut down your resume pile. It seems harsh and a little picky, but if you’ve still got scores of candidates in the running, toss the ones that don’t possess this ideal skill set now, and avoid wasting the hiring team’s time later.
Employment history:
Is it spotty? Do they have a few different positions that they need to explain for? Are they switching roles every six months, while you’re looking for a long-term employee? Every situation for every candidate is unique, and you’d ideally listen to candidate explanations for these kinds of quirks to determine if these red flags that indicate a problem employee or just a string of bad luck. If you’re in a position to be choosy, though, don’t choose to go out on a limb.
Industry Experience:
Last but not least, opt to disqualify the candidates that are new to the industry, if applicable. Someone who sells life insurance may very well have the transferrable experience to sell software, but we’re being fussy, here. Toss out applicants whose industry experience doesn’t align with your organizational needs off the bat.

Bonus screening tools:

Video Assessments: In Breezy, you can include a video assessment as part of your initial application (or at a later stage). For a video assessment, candidates will record videos of themselves answering questions that you outline, so it’s an awesome opportunity to make quick judgments about their presentability, language fluency, or selling skills. You can even share the videos among your teammates, making it easy to decide, as a team, who should go and who should move forward.


Work samples: For a higher-level or highly competitive position, consider adding a work sample requirement to your application. For marketers, writers, video editors, designers and even engineers, asking the candidate to solve a particular problem or create a product can showcase both their skill level and their desire to for the position.

Interviewing Basics and Building Questions

Pick your interview setting

Face to face interviews are by far the most common interview type of interview, but they’re not the only tool in your shed. After a thorough screening process, consider a few pros and cons of cost-efficient phone interviews:

  • Pro: Fast! And cheap, too — it’s less time out of yours or another employee’s day to hop on a 10 or 15-minute phone call than to book a room and use it for 30 minutes to an hour, or to drive to a mutually agreeable lunch spot, etc. If speed is your priority, dialing is the way to go.
  • Con: You won’t be able to evaluate all that you might want to over the phone — studies tell us only 7% of verbal communication comes from the words we speak, while the majority of our insight comes from nonverbal cues.

Phone screens work best when you want to:

  • dig a little deeper the individual’s background and experience,
  • clarify details from their resume or application, and
  • get an understanding of their verbal communication skills.

By contrast, face-to-face interviews will give you plenty more to work with in assessments, including the applicant’s social cues and body language. Plus, if you invite your candidate into your office for an interview, they can get a preliminary feel for your office culture and environment. 
In a competitive market, in-person interviews can win out over phone screens for the personal interaction alone.
If you’re planning to run a panel interview, face-to-face is a pretty safe bet, but don’t discount the popularity and promise of video interviews. For remote roles, or relocating employees, or distributed companies (or even just a really busy team!), video interviews let you jump the cost and time hurdles of trying to get everyone in the same room at the same time. 
With Breezy’s video interview tools, everyone on your team can review the candidate’s resume and the job requirements on the same screen as the interview itself, then take notes right on the candidate’s profile inside Breezy.

It’s a streamlined and collaborative way to run your video interviews, but it’s definitely not the only one. Your organization probably already uses video conferencing software that you could use for interviews, which would still give you time and cost savings over a traditional panel face-to-face.
Notes on video: It’s going to be easy to get distracted by surroundings on a video call, both for you and for the candidate. Remember what you’re looking for in the candidate — keep the job description handy, or the candidate scorecard and interview guide — so you can make sure you’re focusing on their answers to your questions. Sure, I could give you that recommendation for every interview (and consider it done!) but it can seem especially hard to follow-up on the applicant’s leadership abilities when they’ve got their giant rooster plate collection in the background, you know?

Build your questions

I’ve spoken at length about the superiority of structured interviews, and even explained how to write out structured interview questions to garner your best shot at hiring a successful candidate. Study after study shows that structured interviews give you the best chance to overcome a number of different interviewing biases and hire a more successful candidate. To top it all off, they’re efficient and repeatable, and feedback is easy to understand and then to report higher up. 

A truly structured interview process has two dimensions:

  1. Consistent interview questions (you’ll ask every candidate the same question)
  2. Consistent scoring of those questions (you’ll grade every candidate on a predetermined rubric, like Breezy’s Scorecards)

I’ll start with the questions, which we can broadly describe as behavioral (in the linked posts above, you can find other categories of questions, if you’re so inclined). As HR folks, we like behavioral interview questions for the same reasons we like looking at work history: the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Keep in mind that you can use work samples and other tests to look at technical ability; reserve your behavioral questions for the more difficult soft skills like leadership and teamwork. 
To start building effective behavioral questions in order to assess soft skills, try using the STAR acronym as a tool:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result

It works like this: Let’s say that one of the main soft skills you’re looking for in a stellar candidate is the ability to work as part of a team. Put your candidate into a situation where that team spirit was required:

Tell me about a project where you worked with a team — how did you balance the tasks to meet the project goals?

This may be all you need to ask! An extroverted, experienced candidate will fill you in on the tasks they needed to accomplish, the actions they took or tools they used to ensure those tasks were completed by the team, as well as the final result of the project. But a less seasoned candidate might need more probing, so be prepared to follow up with questions like,

What project management tool or technique did you use to manage the tasks among your teammates?

In a structured interview process, you’d continue with your follow ups until you’ve satisfied each point of the STAR for that question on teamwork, then you’d grade the candidate’s competency in that area on a scorecard, or rubric.

You’re welcome to develop your own internal system for grading candidates (scales of 1–5 are common), but here at Breezy, we give you a simple thumbs-up/thumbs-down/neutral rating for each skill area you’d like to see in your perfect candidate. We’ll calculate a score for the candidate after each interviewer fills out their scorecard, and present you with a final score for every applicant that goes through your interview process.

Scorecards (and their accompanying Interview Guides, which ensure your newly-fabulous behavioral interview questions are prepped for every interviewer) make hiring decisions a snap — as simple as checking out which candidate has the highest score. Even if you’re using your own system, while the process may be a bit more laborious, it’s still a vast improvement over reams of comment-style feedback from interviewers that only lead to long, roundabout discussions.

Building an Interviewing Plan

So, at this point, you know who you’re going to interview, you have a good idea of the skills necessary for the job at hand, you know the questions that you’ll be asking each candidate, and you know how you’ll be rating their answers. Now you’ll need to spread the word, because you won’t be making this hire in a vacuum, right? You’ll need to provide each person on your team with the foundation they need to run their own interview effectively, while staying well within legal and organizational guidelines. 
In concert with your team, you’ll assign different sets of questions — designed to appraise different criteria –to different team members. In Breezy, we provide custom Interview Guides for just this reason, but it’s a simple task to build out a matrix of questions for each member of your hiring team to ask.

An example will be helpful here, so think of it this way: You’re hiring a new social media manager. After sorting through resumes, you decide it’s a good idea to put a dozen candidates through a phone screen. Here’s what your Interview Plan would look like:

  1. You assign the phone screen to a Human Resources team member — you’ll ask them to assess the candidates’ managerial and communication skills.
  2. In the next phase, you may have the candidate come to meet with another manager on the marketing team to assess role-specific skills and experience, like familiarity with analytics tools and online etiquette.
  3. Then, maybe you have the candidate meet with their possible fellow teammates to assess the candidates’ ability to work within a team, as well as their leadership skills.
  4. Last but not least, you might have the prospective social media manager come in to speak with your CMO, who’s primarily going to look at their creativity and vision for the brand’s online presence.

Giving your hiring team at least 48 hours notice, a copy of the resume, and a detailed outline of your expectations for their portion of the interview process is critical to a successful interview process — nothing scares off interested candidates like drawn-out or hectic interview processes full of the same standard questions from everyone at the company. In Breezy, it’s easy for everyone on the hiring team to stay on the same page during interview rounds, but even if you’re not using collaborative recruiting software, you can still equip your team with the tools they need to perform their specific interviews properly. 
Making a public company resource that documents sample behavioral questions, providing access to the matrix of who’s-asking-what-questions via email or internal server, and putting the interviewees’ names and interview times on a public calendar can all streamline the interview process for both yourself and the candidate.
And while we love collaborative hiring, it’s best to discurage your team from talking to eachother about the candidates until every candidate is finished with their interviews. This way, no way goes into their first meeting with someone else’s opinion on a candidate’s skills or qualifications. In Breezy, Scorecards are private to the hiring managers, and I suggest keeping similar boundaries in place with whatever system you come up with. 
A note on candidate experience: If you’re bringing a candidate in for a day-long on-site — maybe because they’ll be meeting with a number of different teammates, maybe in order to show off the perks of working for your company — be sure to prep the candidate as well as your teammates. Send them an agenda for the day, with names and LinkedIn profiles for the people they’ll be meeting. Greet them with a tour so they know where things like the bathrooms are, and make them feel welcome and comfortable with little extras like snacks and bottled water or coffee. They’ve got a long day ahead, and you want them at their best the whole time! 

After the Interview Rounds

Sweet! You’ve successfully conducted a series of interviews with a number of qualified applicants. Your feedback is simple to analyze, either in rubric form or on Breezy’s scannable scorecards. You might also have Notes from your hiring team that supplement the Scorecard, which you can use to make your final decisions.

Background Check

Once you’ve selected your finalist, it’s time to run the background check. Determine what’s actually important to follow-up on, since background checks can run the gamut of information and get more expensive the more info you gather. Are you only interested in criminal history, or do you need to confirm licensing? Driving record or drug screening? Educational background or salary history? Limiting the scope of your background check is a smart move, both from a cost standpoint and from a legal one, but in Breezy we give you clear options that allow you to run any kind of background check you choose …right from your hiring workflow.

After you’ve decided what you’ll be checking on, confirm with legal counsel that it’s appropriate for your state and industry, and then inform the candidate and get their consent to run the check. Stay as transparent as possible, here — let them know that this is just a standard part of the process that helps ensure everyone at the company enjoys a safe, honest working environment.

If the check turns up any discrepancies, you can discuss those with the candidate right from Breezy, or set up a call to discuss what’s going on outside of your recruiting software. And I’d be remiss not to mention that all of the background information you gather should remain private — avoid any legal issues by confining the information you gather to the smallest group of people possible. If you’re unsure what to do with any issues that turn up, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel and avoid getting into hot water. 
If you’re not comfortable getting into a full background check, consider running a reference check at this point. From Breezy, you can send standard reference-check questions to references that the candidate provides on their application, asking simple questions about the applicant’s performance, re-hireability, and behavior.

Writing the offer letter

Hurdles cleared! Candidate selected! In most organizations, your HR representative will be responsible for drafting the offer letter with the approved components, but here’s a quick rundown of what that entails in case the task falls to you:

  • Statement that the organization is presenting the offer to the finalist
  • The position that’s being offered, and in most cases, the name, title, and department of the person that the position will report to, should he or she accept the position
  • The employee’s start date and if the position is limited in duration, the estimated end date
  • The status of the position (full time, part time, temporary, exempt, non-exempt, etc.)
  • For a non-exempt position, the rate of pay usually listed as an hourly rate, plus any overtime provided
  • For exempt positions, include a salary or dollar amount to be paid per year, month, or pay period will be specified. Add compensation components provided here, too, including verbiage to describe the bonuses, commissions, short-term or long- term incentives that are offered, and provisions for stock grants or options, if applicable.
  • Information on the benefits program — these may include benefits like medical, dental, vision, 401K, or other retirement participation, plus the included time off like vacation, sick, and holiday time.
  • If your organization won’t provide benefits — like for a part-time position that isn’t eligible — it’s a good idea to state that in the letter as well.
  • If you have specific work hours or on-call expectations, note those.
  • Most U.S. employers include a statement that the employment is at will and a disclaimer indicating that the offer is contingent on the applicant’s ability to meet the final selection requirements (like any checks or screens that have not returned, yet).

As with the Background Check (and honestly, the entire selection process), you might want to check with your legal counsel before you send the offer to the new hire, since your state may require some caveats or specific language in the offer. Better safe than sorry, of course 👍

With the checks completed and the offer letter sent, your recruiting job done! Now, wasn’t that easy?

As you can see, the recruiting process has a thousand moving parts.

WEBINAR: Predictive Retention - How To Know Before They Go?

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Employee retention is one of today’s greatest workforce challenges. Sixty-two percent of employees could be tempted to take a new job at any given time while hiring and onboarding new talent continues to require valuable time and resources. Talent retention is about three key things: hiring the right talent, retaining that talent and finally, getting ahead of the game by predicting who might leave.

In this webinar, we will share compelling insights from recent IBM Smarter Workforce Institute research about the factors that cause employees to leave their jobs and how these insights can be applied to your organization. TalentGuard will reveal how to engage employees in meaningful work, motivate employees to develop their careers, and how your organization can achieve more employee anniversaries. Together, IBM and TalentGuard have created a Predictive Retention model that will equip you with the information you need to take on this critical workforce challenge.

After this webinar you will be able to answer the following critical questions:

  • How do I identify the specific factors that can contribute to talent attrition and turnover?
  • How can I predict which employees are most likely to voluntarily leave?

How can I improve retention in my organization?

Competency Based Assessment Design

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7 Steps Process

Organization Competency Framewoke based Assessments

We specialize in psychometric, cognitive, IT skills and other skill based assessments. Our solutions help organizations to scientifically create organizational competency framework based assessments that have a high correlation with future on the job performance. We use a bouquet of proprietary tests around cognitive, personality, behavioural and domain competencies to address business challenges and deliver our assessments through our state of the art proprietary secured cloud based platform.

Our solutions are being used today by over 1500+ organizations in 80+ countries globally (SAP (in 18 countries), Capgemini, Aquent, Sapient, Cognizant, Sears, 3M, Accenture, HCL, Polaris etc.) to fulfil their Pre-Screening, Campus Hiring, Experienced (Lateral) Hiring, Employee Engagement (through interactive “Contests”) and Learning / Development needs across a variety of job profiles, job roles and departments.

If you are in the market to for CUSTOM COMPETENCY FRAMEWORK BASED ASSESSMENTS please contact us here

ATS | Most highly rated HR product on Gartner

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Breezy HR is now the most highly rated HR product on Gartner!

For more details on Breezy HR click here.

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6 Ways To Make Your Life Easier

The McQuaig System allows you to benchmark a role internally, recruit to the requirements of that role, develop your people based on their strengths, and retain your top performers.

How effective is your pre-employment assessment?

Job Match

Easy to understand and apply.

It is not only important to have an 'unbiased' pre-employment assessments as part of the recruitment process but also to have assessments that can be understood and used by 'line managers' and not just HR. 

Many times implementations fail because the solution is so complex that only 'certified' individuals can understand and use it. 

Download our sample report and see for yourself how easy it is to understand and use McQuaig's 'candidate' report by anyone. You do not need to be a certified psychologist or psychometrician to use The McQuaig Psychometric System!   


Look at you. You’ve interviewed a bunch of great candidates, you’ve got a few top contenders, and you’re pretty sure you know who’s going to be your first call for the new position. Nice work.

But there’s still a big challenge ahead: the moment your top candidate accepts the job, you’ll have to let the other applicants know that you’re moving forward with someone else. For many people in your position, this challenge is too overwhelming – and they end up ghosting the candidates who didn’t make the cut. But this leaves a sour taste in the mouths of people who might be great hires in the future. So what’s the most constructive way to communicate with these candidates?

The key lies in productive feedback.

Feedback means indicating things that were great about the candidate, and things they could improve upon. Was a sales candidate’s resume terrific, but their lack of research about your company a turn-off? Was an accounting candidate unqualified for the management position, but perfectly suited for a junior role? These are great things to let candidates know in general, but it also indicates that you care about seeing them succeed. It may encourage them to apply for a different position at your company in a few months or years – and if their next application lines up with the feedback you provided, your hiring timeline might jump ahead by a few days or weeks.

Pro Tip: Check out this infographic for a 7-step hiring process that improves accuracy and efficiency!

Providing feedback can also leave things on a more positive note with the candidates you don’t select. Since people are more likely to vocalize negative experiences, the last thing you want is a candidate posting all over the internet about their awful experience throughout your company’s hiring process. Negative reviews can make future applicants apprehensive – and even if you’re not hiring now, you will be later. Make sure you’re not missing out on hiring the right person before the job listing even goes live. Shopify has a great article about improving candidate experience for everyone - not just the person you end up hiring.

If you use a suite of assessment tools like McQuaig, you should be able to generate a feedback report in a couple of seconds and email candidates in just a few clicks. Plus, a feedback report can help with coaching the person you end up hiring. It’s also easy to write a few quick emails that highlight the positive aspects of each candidate’s application, and a small number of areas you think would make them better suited for your particular role.

More often than not, productive feedback can go a long way. At worst, you haven’t left candidates wondering if they’ll ever hear back from you – which can create long-term resentment around your company brand. At best, you’ll have a highly-qualified candidate who’s already confident in your hiring process the next time you’re looking to hire the right person. What are you waiting for? It’s time to start making the hiring process better for all of your candidates – even the ones who don’t make the cut!


The end of the hiring process can sometimes be as stressful as the beginning – especially when your top candidates all seem like a strong fit for the job. Wouldn’t it be easier if the perfect candidate rose to the top each time?

Unfortunately, that’s often not the case, and hiring managers are left with some tough decisions to make. So what's the trick to choosing between two (or three or four) equally qualified candidates? Well, there are many opportunities to streamline your recruitment process to ensure you're hiring the right person, but here are three critical factors to consider when you’ve narrowed it down:

Job Match

The first thing to look at is how each candidate stacks up against the job profile for the role. If you use something like McQuaig personality assessments, this step is pretty straightforward: simply generate a report that compares the candidates’ personality profile against the temperamental requirements of the role. In a few seconds, you should see if the candidates are a strong match, a potential match, or if they don’t really match at all.

If you don’t use personality assessments, this step is still pretty simple: based on your candidates’ interview answers, try to match up their responses to elements of your job description. It’s important to revisit the job description or job profile after each step of the hiring process, to stay focused on what matters in the role, and to more accurately pick up on great opportunities or potential warning signs. Revisiting your information - instead of going off of gut feel or your memory of the interview - is a critical step that often gets overlooked. But it can typically reveal information that's vital in pinpointing and hiring the right person.

Pro Tip: We built a job description template that you can fill out in 20 minutes or less - check it out here.

Interview Answers and Candidate Interest

Standardizing your behavioural interview questions is a great way to level the playing field between candidates. Getting them to answer the same set of core questions can help you easily see where surprising differences may exist. Revisit each candidates’ answers as you make your final hiring decision – and remember to line questions up with critical elements of the job description. This way, you’re always aware of what’s most important in the job, and it becomes easier to see where some candidates excel and where others may not be so effective.

Revisiting interview responses is also a great way to re-gauge candidate interest. Did one candidate provide great answers but seem uninspired? Did another candidate lack technical skill but have the right approach to solving the problems you need solved? Assessing these observations after the fact can help with hiring the right people the first time - and avoiding a turnaround surprise down the road.

Reference Answers

References are a terrific source of information if you ask the right questions. Similar to the interview, standardizing reference questions – and going beyond the traditional confirmation questions – can help solidify observations made during the interview. Tying reference questions back to the job profile is a great way to confirm not only what the candidate said in the interview, but also how their work was received from a more objective standpoint.

Remember that equally qualified on paper may not mean equally qualified in terms of temperament or personality. And technical skill doesn’t always indicate top performance on the job. Hiring the right people all comes down to keeping in mind what the role requires, both from a technical and a temperamental stance. So when your candidate list is whittled down and making a decision seems impossible, remember to revisit the core of what the job entails, and realign candidate responses to those requirements. After a little consideration, it might feel like the right candidate is jumping off the page!


Hiring managers are typically under a lot of stress – they need to hire the right employees quickly to fill vacant positions, or else productivity will start to plummet. Pressure from upper management, uncertainty in the hiring process, conversations around how to evaluate candidates, and much more can all lead to extremely high tensions. And high tensions can put certain people in the workplace into a perpetually bad mood. If only there was a way to make people happy again. If only there was some sort of solution that could help hiring managers find the people they need, easily coach them, and increase their team’s overall productivity.

Oh, right – there is. Here’s how the implementation of personality assessments can boost your hiring manager’s mood. Because when the boss is happy, aren’t we all happy?

They find what they need

Let’s face it: hiring managers may not be the best at recruiting because they don’t do it all the time. In fact, Workopolis has a great blog post about common interviewing mistakes that hiring managers can sometimes. Unless they’re in a high-growth phase (which is awesome) or experiencing a lot of turnover (which is not so awesome), they’re not constantly filling positions. Just like anything, practice makes perfect – and without routine practice, it’s easy to make mistakes. Personality tests can help hiring managers a) figure out who they’re really looking for, b) match candidates to the kind of profile that the job requires, and c) conduct better interviews to get the information they need to make that determination. If you find a test that’s easy to complete and understand (yes, they do exist!), then it might even be a little fun. Finding what they need and injecting a little fun into their day might just be enough to crack a smile.

It makes coaching easier

Coaching is something that a lot of managers really struggle with. Each person on their team requires a unique communication approach, and really knowing the nuances of those approaches is not an easy thing to do. But personality assessments can spell this out for them, with some even providing a straightforward list of do’s and don’ts for how to best manage each employee. Any time you’re making their life easier, you’re working your way into a hiring manager’s heart.

Their team’s productivity increases

A manager’s success is ultimately measured by their team’s effectiveness. If you can help them improve productivity, there’s no way you’d be on their bad side! Personality assessments can help managers to coordinate tasks by leveraging employees’ natural strengths and fostering more efficient communication. You’ve probably seen it on your own team: when people are doing what they’re good at, and they’re communicating well, engagement and productivity tend to go up. The manager’s role is to lead the team and get everyone jiving together. If you arm your hiring managers with the right resources to do this, they can get the most out of their team – which helps to make them look good.

Achieving hiring manager satisfaction may not be the easiest thing to do, but personality assessments can definitely help you get there. Who knows – you might even get a bonus for all your efforts!

I mean, we can dream, can’t we?




There seems to be some common, standard interview questions that always get asked during interviews – ones that seem to be popular but aren’t always effective. “What’s your greatest weakness?” “Where do you see yourself in five years?” “Why should I hire you?” These questions might provide a little bit of insight, but they’re not great indicators of future behaviour – nor do they help to identify whether a candidate has the right personality for the job.

In many cases, asking a candidate about their weaknesses is not really a question about their weaknesses – according to The Interview Guys, it's a way for potential employers to see how self-aware their candidates are. it’s asked to evaluate the self-awareness of the candidate. And asking candidates about their plans for the future is really just a roundabout way of seeing if they’re planning on sticking around for long. But these are boilerplate questions that were probably invented around the same time as the interview itself. Candidates know how to answer them in a way that makes the interviewer happy, so the value that can be gleaned from them is relatively minimal.

There are better ways to find the answers you’re looking for, while also getting insight into the kind of value that a candidate could bring to your organization. Discussing a candidate’s successes - instead of where they’ve previously failed - fosters a sense of contribution to your organization, and you’re more likely to hear success stories that correlate closely to the position you’re interviewing for.

“What can I tell you about our company and this position?” “If you envision yourself in this role, what do you see could be your biggest challenge(s) at the beginning? What approach would you take at the start of this role to tackle these challenges?” “How does this role align with your career plans?” “What work experiences do you feel will support you in this role based on your understanding of the outline?”

These questions provide valuable insight into a candidate’s knowledge and awareness about your organization, and how prepared they are for the interview. It also offers up scenarios to visualize how the candidate would work in the role, and how thoroughly the candidate considered the requirements outlined in the job description and job profile. The more they can articulate that they truly understand the role, beyond just the basic day-to-day tasks, the clearer it is to see how they’ll handle the position. These kinds of questions also allow candidates to display how they solve problems, come up with solutions, and provide information in a clear and timely manner. With questions like these, it's also easy to use the SARR method to clarify answers and get more details.

When you run your next interview, try avoiding some of the clichéd questions. Instead, use a few questions that really validate the candidate’s ability to fulfill the role and become a valuable addition to your organization. If you’re stuck on ideas, the right personality assessments include interview questions that you can ask. Verify if your candidates’ strengths fit what the position requires, and if their personality aligns with the temperamental requirements of the job. This approach avoids focusing too much on the negatives, and it also helps to avoid canned responses. But most importantly, it gets more value out of your interviews, and provides a more comprehensive view of your candidates.


To schedule an in-house demo or try McQuaig for FREE contact us on: Psychometrics@hr-email.com 


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If making a hire is one more thing on your never ending to-do list, you are going to want to cross it off as quickly as possible. It’s not that you want to rush through the process, because that will likely end up in poor decision making. You just want to make everything more efficient so that it can all go smoothly.

Most people consider the process of creating a job profile and extra step and one that would add time to the ordeal, however, it actually does the contrary. The time saved from having the job profile in the process, will actually outweigh the time it takes to develop one. Here’s how:

Gain Consensus

There is nothing worse than having to redo work. Ok, maybe there are plenty of worse things in life but it does really suck. Imagine getting all the way into the interview process before finding out that you need to go back to step 1 and decide what you are hiring for. This is a pretty common occurrence because people do not take the time to really hammer out all of their requirements. In creating a job profile, you force all stakeholders involved to agree on those requirements so that you can move forward and never look back. Insert sigh of relief here.

Screen Effectively

Interviews take time. You have to schedule them, conduct them, and organize your thoughts afterwards. So save that time for the candidates that really have a chance! If you can screen your applicants well enough to interview only the best, then the process will be a lot more efficient. Job profiles can help you in this area by providing resume scanning tips and phone screening questions. If you take advantage of these, then you can shave a few more hours off your overall time record.

Find Out Where the Gaps Are

If your friend gives you a word search puzzle and says “look here, here and here” it might not make it too fun but you will sure be done a lot quicker! A job profile is like your friend in the interview process. When you compare your candidate to the job profile, you will be able to see where you will need to probe deeper. However in this case, it actually is fun! Now you know what kind of responses to expect from candidates and you can chuckle to yourself when their personality rings true. It’s even more fun when they surprise you with experience to match your job profile because then you may have found your new hire!

The hiring process can be looked at like a relay race. If you create a job profile, it is like your starter taking off far ahead enough for the whole team to win. Creating the job profile in the beginning can reduce the end-to-end time and you can cross that one off your to-do list!  

To schedule an in-house demo please email us on McQuaig@HR-email.com 

Five Ways to Develop Employees Using Succession Planning


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Successful succession planning depends on retaining high potential talent and developing those employees so they are prepared to fill key roles. Development efforts often are based on well-defined individual career paths, which keep employees engaged and motivated to excel. However, even companies who don’t have a full-scale career pathing process can bolster succession planning efforts by focusing on honing the talent and leadership skills needed for each vital position. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways.

Constructive feedback tied to specific goals helps employees clearly measure their performance and adapt to meet new challenges. Unfortunately, only 23% of employees feel they are getting the feedback they need to excel. Companies who focus on providing regular and meaningful feedback to employees, however, see 3.6 times the level of engagement, which translates into higher retention rates—a vital component of successful succession planning.

Lateral moves help high potential employees gain necessary skills for new roles by exposing them to varying tasks and responsibilities. Such moves also keep employees engaged by offering the opportunity to meet new challenges. Employees who make many lateral moves also obtain a big-picture view of the company as a whole—a perspective necessary for success in many top-level roles.

Leadership roles like team lead build the kind of leadership skills an employee may need to succeed in future management roles or executive positions. They also promote confidence, a trait that makes employees more likely to speak up about new ideas.

Special project assignments can build specific skill sets, as well as encourage self-direction and independent thought. They also can help fill identified skill gaps in an otherwise well-qualified candidate. Assignments like spearheading a new division or opening a branch in a new region may also serve as a trial run to see how a candidate might perform in a larger role.

Internal and external training opportunities do more than train employees to be better workers. They also encourage retention. Two out of three employees say training plays an important role in their decision to stay with their employer. To be effective, however, training must be engaging. Research indicates that customizable, interactive training that allows employees to go at their own pace and review material already learned may be the most beneficial.

By investing in the development of high potential employees in any of these five ways, companies ensure continual access to a talented and qualified pool of candidates for succession planning purposes. This enables a more robust planning process than creating a simple list of back-up candidates and ensures each person has the skills necessary to handle his or her new job when the time comes. For more information on succession planning, please contact us for an onsite demo.