General Musing

blaze your trail

Picking Employees from Job Candidates #hr #jobs

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I can tell you that the way I pick candidates to be interviewed is probably wrong, and the way I hire people is probably worse. It’s not that the people I pick are the wrong people for the job, it’s that I pick them based on my gut, rather than based on the metrics. Let me explain…

In the past I’ve always picked the person I liked most; with whom I had a click; who pushed the right buttons. And for years I’ve complained about going on resume keywords, yet used those same keywords to be able to find a global technical match. And I’ve loudly ranted on basing hiring decisions on personality metrics. It seems that I was wrong in most cases, although not completely.

In Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow I was educated that I was going into the hiring process with an unwritten list of traits that I thought were important for the person who was coming into the company. Rather than clearly defining them and creating factual questions which could be scored I allowed gut feeling to influence the overall fitness of the candidate.

Suppose that you need to hire a salesrepresentative for your firm.” says Kahneman “If you are serious about hiring the best possible person for the job, this is what you should do. First, select a few traits that are prerequisites for success in this position (technical proficiency, engaging personality, reliability, and so on). Don’t overdo it—six dimensions is a good number. The traits you choose should be as independent as possible from each other, and you should feel that you can assess them reliably by asking a few factual questions. Next, make a list of those questions for each trait and think about how you will score it, say on a 1–5 scale. You should have an idea of what you will call ‘very weak’ or ‘very strong.’

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Kahneman uses the work from Paul Meehl to implement an interview procedure for the Israeli Defense Forces based on 5 metrics, after the interviewers rebelled he told them “Carry out the interview exactly as instructed … and when you are done, have your wish: close your eyes, try to imagine the recruit as asoldier, and assign him a score on a scale of 1 to 5.” And he discovered that “intuition adds value even in the justly derided selection interview, but only after a disciplinedcollection of objective information and disciplined scoring of separate traits.

Much like the recent post by Adrianus Warmenhoven on the Dunning-Kruger effect, I believe that much can be won by assuming the current method can be better.

Image source: AttributionNo Derivative WorksSome rights reserved by meahtsingan

Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

May 21, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Posted in business, risk

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

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