“Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, understanding is not wisdom.”
- Clifford Stoll, astronomer and pioneer of the Internet
While in general we applaud the current rise in the use of data in hiring, we are also prompted to repeat this caution: a fool with a tool is still a fool.
This was brought to our attention in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Meet the New Boss: Big Data”, with the sub-headline: “Companies Trade in Hunch-based Hiring for Computer Modeling.” The article explored the rise in the use of assessments and algorithms in hiring.
We believe that using valid data to inform hiring is good; totally eliminating human judgment is not. In contrast to some hiring tools in the marketplace, Predictive Index® hasn’t minimized human judgment. Predictive Index isn’t just “software;” it is a brain tool. In addition to software, we provide accurate data, PLUS a model of education and support that helps clients make better decisions. We don’t replace the need for people to make smart decisions based on the all the data available to them.
Here are three other key points to keep in mind about Predictive Index in the larger context of assessments.
PI® is EEOC compliant because it only measures personality factors that are job related. Attitude, where you live and alcohol use (which are mentioned in the WSJ article) are not measured by PI. Thus, it’s safer from a risk perspective.
PI is job and company specific. That is, a Call Center Representative at one company isn’t necessarily exactly the same job as one with the same title at another company. Any assessment that takes a one-size-fits all approach to benchmarking success in a job is not as accurate as PI.
PI isn’t just about job fit. Indeed it’s important that we hire the right people into jobs. However, PI provides a window into team fit and organization/culture fit. Our ability to add value at all three of those levels sets PI apart from other tools.
What are your thoughts about the rise in the use of data in hiring?Contact me.
We’re in the middle of a project with a large company who has engaged us to help reduce first-year turnover through improving their applicant screening process. The company has many complexities to it and our work is focused on discoveries and recommendations that are specific to them. However, the general structure of this project is applicable for any review of a screening process. Consider the following 3 questions when thinking about the strength of your process:
1) Are we clearly and comprehensively capturing the expectations of a position? Are all relevant parties in agreement about what is expected of an employee in a position? Are the expectations documented? Are we clear about the overall expectations as well as the “dealbreakers” that must be explored during hiring? HINT: Oftentimes, what is expected of employees is scattered across many documents (job description, values statement, Key Performance Requirements, competencies, evaluations, etc.) as well as in the minds of stakeholders. In order to effectively screen candidates, it’s critical that the bottom-line expectations be determined and explored.
2) Does our screening process explore the critical expectations in a way that gives us meaningful information about the candidate? Are we asking questions that get to the heart of critical information, or are we just gathering interesting information? Do those involved in the process know what they’re looking for? Do we know what to listen for after we ask a question? Do our hiring assessments provide meaningful insights, or just interesting information? HINT: The questions we ask (or other means of collecting information) directly relate to the expectations for the position…you can’t have meaningful probing without clear expectations.
3) Does our applicant screening process connect us with top candidates and provide a positive candidate experience? Do our job postings speak to the people we want to apply? How early in the process do candidates get an accurate picture of the position and what it means to be a part of our company? Does our candidate screening process turn off top candidates? Do our communications (including our website) accurately portray our culture? HINT: Go through your own hiring process sometime and see what you notice (or ask a friend to).
Try not to be intimidated by asking these questions. Many times we find that our clients don’t need a massive overhaul of their hiring process, just a few tweaks in the right places. If you’re at the place where you’d like an outside party to review your process, make recommendations and help you implement possible changes, let me know – we’d love to help out.
I really appreciated the 10-minute podcast via ERE.net on What’s Worrying Recruiters About Social Media. Keith Watts, an employment law attorney with Ogletree Deakins, discusses what it means to “do the right thing” when it comes to using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
To sum it up, he repeatedly emphasizes the importance of:
Consistency in the hiring process across the company;
Making hiring decisions based on job-related factors.
Here at ADVISA, we work with clients on both of these fronts. We ask: “Are best hiring practices in place and consistently used across the company?” Right now I’m working on projects with two major clients where we are helping them improve their process for the purpose of increasing efficiency and effectiveness with screening, but we’ll also help train people across each company so that the established processes are consistent. After all, a great process is meaningless if it’s not put into practice well!
As part of the needs analysis we do to determine if work on hiring processes is merited, here are some questions we ask:
What is the role of HR in hiring? The role of the hiring manager?
At what stage is the hiring manager involved in selection?
What is the typical time-to-fill?
What is the candidate experience?
Where is there frustration? Inefficiency?
What is the turnover rate? How does the company feel about that rate?
These kinds of questions can lead to the identification of areas where consistency can be improved.
When it comes to defining the needs of the position, here are some of the signs we see that indicate that positions are not as clearly defined and they need to be. These are signs that there is ambiguity about the job-related factors on which selection decisions are made during candidate screening:
Feedback on candidates is vague. (“She didn’t seem like a fit for us.”)
Feedback on candidates is inconsistent.
The company can offer no description of how this person will have to interact with the team/supervisor in order to be successful.
Descriptions of multiple positions sound virtually the same.
Did you ask yourself the process-related questions above? Did you squirm as you thought about the answers? If so, contact me and we’ll work through some more exploration with you and take a look at how we can help. And if you have signs of ambiguity about what a position requires, beware…those situations are the ones that get companies into trouble because they open the door for decisions to be made on factors such as race, age and gender, which (among other categories) are not permissible. We’d be happy to help you gain clarity into what is required for given positions at your company, as well as how to screen for these traits.
You have masterfully planned your next hire. You even pulled together your key folks for a strategic planning retreat where you created the perfect job description with comprehensive information about the role, responsibilities, requirements and so forth. And now you’re going to cut and paste that three pages of information onto an online job board or your company’s career’s page so as to attract the perfect candidate, right? NO! STOP THE MADNESS!
Candidates cruising your career site or the job boards don’t want to read massive job descriptions that go into minute detail about the role. Too much info too early. They want to see:
You’ll see from these examples that the job posting is simply taken from the job description. So, with just a few more minutes of work, you can tweak that job description into a compelling job posting that will be much more effective in attracting the right candidates. Use your new job positing for ALL communications about the job, including sharing it with your current employees. Save the job description for later in your candidate screening process when you’re really talking details with a candidate.
Thinking about using hiring assessments as part of your candidate screening process? Here are five important considerations:
The assessment needs to appraise job-related skills or characteristics (i.e., decision-making, intelligence) as opposed to simply reveal interesting information.
Make sure that the assessment is valid, reliable and neutral to gender, race, age, or national origin.
Benchmark an assessment by first looking at your existing employees. By knowing how strong and weak performing employees do on an assessment, you have meaningful information to benchmark what you are looking for in your candidates.
Administer hiring assessments equally. For example, if you are hiring for an engineer and have one candidate take the Predictive Index® survey as step two in your candidate review process, then all other candidates for the engineer position must take the survey at the same point in the process.
Use any assessment as a data point, but not as the ultimate decision maker. Hiring assessments are meant to give you meaningful, job-related data that complements what you learn through resumes, cover letters and interviews. Information from an assessment should be considered along with a candidate’s skills, experience, potential, culture fit, etc. in order to get a comprehensive picture of a candidate’s fits and gaps for your position.