Humanity has always relied on our ability to make snap judgments of strangers so we could survive, otherwise there was always the chance of being caught unawares by a dangerous rival warrior masque...
Bob Corlett's insight:
Understanding the environment that helped shape a candidate’s success or failure is one of the most important lessons to learn in hiring. So if you’re trying to hire someone, it’s a terrible idea to focus on their successes and assume that they will be equally successful in your environment.
"Personality tests, in even the best cases, are better left in training workshops where they can help people understand differences. Using them to make hiring decisions will always lead to turning away skilled candidates and hiring unskilled ones."
"It has been my experience that the more vague, general, or ambiguous an explanation, the less command of the subject matter the person doing the explaining likely possesses."
Bob Corlett's insight:
When you are interviewing with someone (as hiring manager or candidate), listen for clarity. Experts demonstrate their expertise by giving tangible examples and analogies. Pretenders talk in vague generalities.
An epic fail early in his career taught HomeAway co-founder Brian Sharples that it's a good idea to hire folks who have a healthy familiarity with failure. Beware of any candidate who claims they have met with nothing but success in their careers ...
If great people dramatically outperform average people, why do we settle for hiring average people? Why do we industrialize the hiring process, spend very little time on scouting, and seek out the replicatable instead of the special exception?
Why do we require our managers to work so hard trying to get productivity from average people? Wouldn't it be smarter to put more effort into hiring, and less effort into managing?
The articles in this section often reference how you interview for "grit" and how to hire people who can learn from failure. but this fascinating article takes it back a step.
How do you build grit in children?
"The most valuable thing that parents can do to help their children develop character—may be to do nothing. To back off a bit. To let our children face some adversity on their own, to fall down and not be helped back up."
"What matters most in a child's development ... is not how much information we can stuff into her brain in the first few years of life. What matters, instead, is whether we are able to help her develop a very different set of qualities, a list that includes persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence. Economists refer to these as noncognitive skills, psychologists call them personality traits, and the rest of us often think of them as character"
Top-tier organizations are unusually picky about character traits and surprisingly flexible about paper credentials. Elite military units don’t always pick the best marksmen; they know that better shooting skills can be taught over time. They do look for soldiers with extraordinary tenacity. In pop music, an ability to connect with fans counts for more than pitch-perfect harmonics. And at some of Silicon Valley’s best-known startups, a stubborn, brilliant coder who dropped out of college may be a more prized hire than a counterpart with a great transcript – but little imagination.
Are projects are the future of hiring? This idea takes "work sample testing" to the next level for some kinds of hiring. Not all hiring lends itself to this approach, but many organizations have learned the hard way that no amount of interviewing, reference checking, and/or psychological testing is a substitute for actually working with a candidate on a real project. Some advertising agencies that have an ironclad rule that they will only hire creatives who have successfully done freelance work with an account team.
In my experience people worry far too much about fundamentally respectful things like asking tough questions, including lots of people in the interview sequence and doing smart work sample testing. Conversely, people worry far too little about actually disrespectful things like allowing vague performance expectations, running a sloppy interview sequence, and not providing candidates information about where they stand in the process.
"Most team building advice says "get the best people." Like it's that easy. How can you use Moneyball methods to find the diamonds in the rough?... Look for the obviously bright people who are struggling in spots where they’re all but set up to fail."
"If you're looking for an employee on the front lines of your business (salespeople, customer service, etc), you might have this image of an outgoing, gregarious individual. Or maybe you picture the aggressive (pushy?) self-confident types, who relentlessly drive sales results.
Well, I hate to break it to you, but you (and pop culture) are wrong – these types are actually the worst choices for your front lines."
When interviewing, hiring executives usually place huge emphasis on a candidate's track record of achievement. But they often overlook the context of that achievment.
This article brilliantly outlines what psychologists call “the fundamental attribution error”—our tendency to ignore context and attribute an individual’s success or failure solely to their inherent personal qualities.
Understanding the environment that helped shape a candidate's success or failure is one of the most important lessons to learn in hiring.
Consider the impact of our social economy on recruiting new employees and professional development. Given a choice of hiring an expert with a high IQ or a generalist with a high Klout score (a measure of social influence), whom do you hire? Or does it depend upon the task? In sales and marketing roles, the extent of one’s personal and professional network along with his or her influence score should be considered. Shouldn’t it?
What is the right balance between intelligence and social connectivity? From an innovation perspective, this difference is very significant. In fact, it can mean the difference between success and failure.
For more and more companies, the hiring boss is an algorithm. The factors they consider are different than what applicants have come to expect. Jobs that were once filled on the basis of work history and interviews are left to personality tests and data analysis, as employers aim for more than just a hunch that a person will do the job well. Under pressure to cut costs and boost productivity, employers are trying to predict specific outcomes, such as whether a prospective hire will quit too soon, file disability claims or steal.
When we are deciding who to hire, promote, or do business with, it turns out that we don’t like the Big Thing nearly as much as we like the Next Big Thing. We have a bias - one that operates below our conscious awareness - leading us to prefer the potential for greatness over someone who has already achieved it.
When human brains come across uncertainty, they tend to pay attention to information more because they want to figure it out, which leads to longer and more in-depth processing. High-potential candidates make us think harder than proven ones do
Tired of hearing rehearsed answers to your interview questions? Try this very simple process at the beginning of your interview. I have used a very similar appoach for many years, and always find it revealing.
I'm often asked about the utility of interviewing candidates in groups--like a cattle-call. I always recommend against them. This author was more open minded, but he does make 4 strong points about what you must consider before you try group interviews. (Bear in mind, I am a fan of panel interviews--several people interviewing one candidate. But doing a cattle-call interview is not appropriate for most hiring situations).