The New Way to Hire – What to Remove, What to Add to Your Hiring Process
Can science help you become a better interviewer of job candidates?
Consistently finding the right person to hire has continued to perplex and frustrate hiring managers and employers. Part of the reason for this is because so many companies continue to rely on the same tools that have been used for decades.
Resumes, interviews, past experience, reference checks.
While these tools have their place, if you persist in using only them to search for your new hires, you will continue to be frustrated. Whether you keep getting stuck with the wrong people, or you sometimes do find the right one only to watch them leave six months later – hiring the best person for your key positions will not become easier if you rely on old, tired methods alone.
Even Google agrees, and they tried very hard to prove otherwise. According to this terrific article from 4Workplaces, Google invested enormous resources in trying to identify their best hires, looking for any kind of solid connection between these top employees and the people who interviewed them.
They looked at “tens of thousands of interviews”, according to executive Laszlo Bock. What did they find? “It’s a complete random mess.”
Interviewing well is not a replicable process.
And the same shortcomings crop up if you rely too much on resumes, past experience, college degrees, and GPAs. Yes, a GPA and a degree reveal something about a person’s ability to learn and produce, but they offer no way to measure what you really want to know – personality, applicable skills, work ethic, potential for growth, compatibility, self-awareness, and the other intangible strengths that define a truly great hire.
With that in mind, here are six reasons it’s so hard to find the right person to hire.
1. In a Buyer’s Market – Companies Lose
When the economy is humming and jobs are plentiful, candidates feel like they can hold out for the best offers and the most appealing jobs. You have to win them over to your side, despite all the other opportunities they may have. The best people have their pick of the litter. And they probably know it, because the best hires tend to be fairly self-aware.
Click to see our list of solutions
2. In a Hiring Manager’s Market – Companies Still Lose
Why is this true? When a recession hits, desperation increases, as does unemployment.
So while you might complain about having hardly any qualified applicants to interview during good economic times, once the hard times come, now you’ve got a stack of 500 resumes and no coherent process for sorting through them to find the best candidates.
Speed through your resumes! Use the 10 Second Resume Scan
3. Too Many Factors to Consider
Are you looking for particular skills? A certain personality? The right cultural fit? A strong work ethic? Adaptability? Reliability? Successful habits? Resilience? Strong experience?
All of these in one person? Get real.
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Some traits don’t change much, like personality and work ethic. Others can be developed and nurtured, like skills, habits, and response to failure.
The idea that you can sort through all these competing and important qualities just from looking at a resume and doing a few interviews has been officially debunked, as the Google study concluded.
4. No Consistent Way to Measure the Most Important Stuff
Of all the traits you’re looking for in a new hire, none matter more than the intangible ones like personality, self-awareness, and work ethic.
The problem is, you can’t measure those on a resume, and they are very hard to judge even through multiple interviews. Better questions and a less predictable process can help, but it’s not enough.
On top of all this, job candidates lie. A 2015 Career Builder study referenced in the same article earlier found that 56% of hiring managers have been lied to on candidate resumes. Some make up skills. Others fabricate experience and even educational background.
6. Not Enough Talent!
Making this even worse, if you’ve ever suspected that there simply aren’t enough talented people out there, you are right.
Whether we’re talking basic skills like writing and speaking English, reading comprehension, math and computer skills, or advanced skills like critical thinking and problem-solving, studies consistently find that many job applicants don’t have what the job requires.
One study found that 45% of HR professionals couldn’t find candidates with advanced skills like critical thinking, and that 43% struggled to find job applicants who had strong work ethic and professionalism.
There is a talent vacuum, and it makes it harder to find the right person to hire.
When you add all this up, it looks pretty bad.
Not enough talent. Lies on resumes and interviews. Too many applicants to sort though. Not enough good ones. And interviewing consistently well apparently can’t be done anyway. Ever thought about just dumping all the names in hat and picking one at random? We feel you.
Elle Kaplan from LexION Capital identifies the path to hiring the right person when she says to “pair the process with data, like personality tests and skills-based questionnaires.”
Let’s look at some solutions that will help you know when you have found a top candidate for your job opening.
1. Skills and Personality Tests
As Kaplan confirms, this is the single best step you can take to improve your hiring outcomes.
Candidates can claim whatever they want in interviews and on resumes, but when you put tests and even real work scenarios before them to see how they perform, now you have something to look at.
Which tests are best to use will vary for each job position.
PainLess Hire specializes in using pre-tests as part of our innovative hiring process. Most recruiters still rely on sorting resumes by keywords, and phone interviews. It’s not enough. We will identify the assessments most applicable to the job position you are trying to fill, and administer them to a narrowed list of candidates.
In other words, our hiring process is customized to each position. There is no recipe for finding the right person to hire. And even though pre-hiring assessments are so critical, they are not enough, as the next solution reveals.
2. Attract the Best People
Testing your job applicants does little good if your applicant pool is terrible. You must attract the right people for each position. For your key positions, you will have a hard time doing that if you rely on big resume gathering sites like Indeed, or on traditional recruiters.
PainLess Hire has created a proprietary process for advertising your positions in far more specialized places. You want specialists and experts? You have to go where they can be found.
3. Don’t Skip the Reference Check
Sometimes it feels like the least enjoyable and most expendable part of the hiring process. You feel so good after interviewing your best candidates. Surely, they are a great hire. The reference check will just be a formality at this point, right? Wrong.
Remember how some job candidates excel at embellishing their resumes and making themselves look great in interviews? You must get beyond that. References are one way to do it. Plan out some tough questions to ask their references, like:
- “How does this person handle it when things go wrong?”
- “What would you say are their greatest strengths and weaknesses?”
- “How well do they work with other people?”
Getting honest answers from references gives you insights you can’t learn in an interview.
4. Go Deeper and Be Less Predictable in Interviews
As we have seen, interviews alone can’t give you enough information to hire the right people. But they can still reveal quite a lot, if you move beyond the standard questions everyone expects.
The goal of the interview should be to explore what sort of person this job applicant is. What do they aspire to in life and in their career? What are their goals, and why? Also, do they ask you questions in return? This implies independent thought, confidence, and self-reflection, as opposed to someone who must be told what to do with all their time.
In an interview, you’re looking for evidence of self-awareness. A NY Times article offered a great question to reveal it:
“What is the biggest misperception people have about you?”
This is a great question because it has two sides. On one hand, the person demonstrates awareness that what other people think of them isn’t always accurate, and why they wish they could overcome that. But it also reveals a possible blind spot. Even if others misperceive them, it is often said that perception is reality. How people perceive them is how they will receive them.
So this question gives you insight into the candidate’s awareness of their own flaws and how others see them, but also how your team may end up getting along with them.
5. Keep Your Job Candidates Engaged with the Process
Don’t keep them waiting. Keep it moving. Communicate. Hiring can take weeks, sometimes months. If you ‘go dark’ for too long, your best candidates may detach from the process and assume you picked someone else.
We were quite pleased to hear the following report from J. Pinto & Associates Inc, speaking about a job candidate we found for them. The candidate told them “how impressed she was with PainLess Hire’s screening process,” and that she has done a lot of this in her career, so our process stood out.
PainLess Hire’s process pleases job candidates, in part because we get it done faster than traditional recruiters. That’s good for you, because you won’t lose your best choices. Our process usually runs two to four weeks faster than typical ones, and we get better results.