Sept 22, 2015

The Interview is the least effective way to select a candidate.

Interviews aren't great tools for selecting the correct candidate. Among other things, candidates find the interviewer did all the talking, interviews aren't structured, there is no interview strategy, no depth to the questions, group interviews become ego exercises, and more.  If you have an HR manager the quality of the interview goes way up.  Here's how to improve your interview process.

What the research says,
Most organizations use four predictive tools. This is how well each of these tools works for you. 

  1. Testing for ability 53%  (most accurate)

  2. Testing for personality 38% accurate

  3. Reference checking 26% accurate

  4. Interviewing 14%  least accurate

The best way of understanding the true capabilities of any candidate is to combine all four. Do each step thoroughly and the numbers say you could be over 80% correct in your hiring decisions.

Many people, myself included, rely heavily on interviews. I find these numbers counter intuitive, but it is what the research says. Interviews are only 14% accurate when it comes to predicting employee performance.
We know enough about pre-hiring verification to reduce selection failure almost entirely, but, we also have to follow the process.

If you choose the correct people you also impact the quality of care as well as related efficiencies. Selection determines future performance of everything.

Thank you

Wolf  Babbel

Metrik Management Inc. A boutique search agency making management decisions that change client organizations.

(Source: These numbers may vary between researchers but interviewing tends to remain the least effective predictive tool  while testing, in it’s varied forms, tends to be the most accurate predictor of future performance. These numbers above were taken from the book “Hire the Best” by M. Mercer PH.D. He shows them as being taken from five different research sources. ) 
Note: Interview quality goes up considerably with structured interviews. Where the company has designed a question and fact finding process to uncover the qualities required.

Stolen credit cards and wrong candidates!

How does the credit card company’s computer spot your stolen card?  The same way you spot the wrong candidate. Patterns.

The computer has an algorithm which locks onto certain spending patterns, one of which is; one big purchase, usually a luxury item, followed by a bunch of small purchases. For example, a $5,000 flat screen, or jewellery,  followed by lunch and gas, particularly gas. Thieves all buy gas after their big hit! I made a mental note not to buy gas after my next flat screen purchase.
How do you spot the wrong candidate? Very much the same way, you look for patterns. High or low performance probability shows up in the life and times of the candidate.  Here are a few patterns that we use to spot the wrong candidate before they end up on your payroll.

  1. Serial short term employment,  (excluding construction projects).
    Most poor performers can hide for about two years on the job, after that it gets difficult.  In the third year somebody notices, and starts thinking you’re not needed. That would be accurate.

    On the other hand, some most lousy employees find it hard to hide for five or six years. There are some creative ones that manage. Employment duration is part of a pattern.

  2. People who change of careers for quality of life reasons.
    When candidates launch into enlightened lectures, I see it as a cover up. These “coming of age” conversations. Words like; you can’t take it with you, there’s more to life than money, all show up more often with underperformers. Higher performers don’t talk that way.

    Nothing wrong with all that, I believe it too. It’s a non sequitur, flawed logic, one has nothing to do with the other. Should I believe all the other employees at the company you left are living an unfulfilled and tragic lives? That the only source of happiness lay outside your previous employer? Could be, but not likely.

  3. People who talk transferable skills bother me. 
    Think it through, that means a parts manager could be a museum curator. Very similar positions, it’s all inventory. There are times when hiring for potential will factor in transferable skills. Your lowest risk is to hire someone who’s done 80% of what you need done. I like candidates who stay on track, focus, and just move up the food chain.

  4. Be careful with chicken soup people.
    Candidates who have not advanced in their role scope and responsibility after six to ten years have become “chicken soup” people. They bring a little chicken soup value to a lot of tasks. They become generalists, do many things beyond their job title,  their employer has kept them because they know where everything is. They are glue people, they keep it all together. No problem with that, but you can no longer take their job title at face value. Their skills have expanded into everything and not always where you need them for your new hire.

  5. The skills, achievements, and accomplishments crowd.
    Candidates who list their extensive skills and accomplishments up front. They googled “how to write a resume and hide your shaky employment history.”  They’re all hiding something. At the very end of page five, is a line item list of their chronological employment history. My my, aren’t we proud.

    If you have a skills and accomplishments section in your resume, - these are half lies.Yes, it's true I know how to raise children. It is not true that would do that kind of work ever again. Never! The honest thing to do is omit parenting skills in my "skills" section on the resume. None of us are willing to do the same work we did ten years ago. We can, but we won't.

    When I get a ten year Ledcor guy, the resume says, ten years with Ledcor, on the first page in 16 pt bold.There is no skills and accomplishments section.

I’ll finish this list in the next management letter. Pass this around to your managers and get everyone looking for patterns, just like the credit card company’s computer.  We’ll all make better hiring decisions.

If you need help finding people who can transform your company, we should talk.
Thank you

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