Monday, November 2, 2009

why recruitment will never be a science

Hiring the right people is often hailed as an art form. Most employers know that recruiting the best talent is often down to chance, as most people tend to hire based on their gut feel. Trendy interviewing styles come and go, each claiming to give greater accuracy and insight into the interviewee's mindset, so that you can predict exceptional performance. But if this were true, hiring would be a measurable act, one where you would have a good idea of what you were getting.
At best an organisation which hires five people can expect only one of them to be a top performer, one will be an awful mistake, with the rest somewhere in between.

Many organisations have a battery of psychometric tests, which become more widely used in recessions, when they can take longer choosing and deliberating over candidates, without the fear that they will lose the good ones. It is a process that takes many weeks, exasperating all involved and the results which select the best candidate may be no more reliable than plucking a name from a hat.

This is because psychometric tools are observational and situational. They place candidates in false situations and ask them how they would react. It is rare that people react the same way in a 'false' situation as they do in a genuinely challenging one.

People are a lot more savvy nowadays. By repeatedly taking online quizzes, you can improve your 'IQ' score and if you do enough personality tests, it is easy to see what they are looking for and you can provide answers which you think they want and thus skew the result.

Interview questions are mostly predictable and this means that candidates who are attending more interviews now than at any other time, are able to come up with answers that sound plausible and genuine to the common behavioural questions, the ones like: The tell me about a time when you had to cope with a difficult colleague/client ughtor Tell me about a situation when you reached a tough deadline.

So with a candidate pool of more sophisticated interviewees, how do you manage the recruitment process so that the best talent with the best fit to your culture? Or, as a candidate how do you know that the employer is right for you?

Probably best to rely on gut feel afterall...

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