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    CHART OF THE DAY: Which job candidate gets the most attention from hiring managers?

    Quick answer - It is Candidate #4.

    Some back story on that conclusion...

    Recently researchers at Old Dominion University published a study called 'How quickly do interviewers reach decisions? An examination of interviewers' decision-making time across applicants' in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. They found that hiring manager decision-making takes closer to five minutes for the first interviewee, and reaches closer to eight minutes by the fourth applicant. After this, however, the time hiring managers take to reach a decision begins to decrease with each additional interview.

    Here's a chart from the study:

    From the researcher's conclusions on this data:

    Interviewers tend to take longer to evaluate applicants near the beginning of their interview schedule and take less time to evaluate applicants near the end of their schedule. This may prevent applicants who appear later in the schedule from having a full opportunity to perform. Organizations may benefit from limiting the number of interviews an interviewer conducts in immediate succession to around four, which may decrease reliance on more automatic information processing strategies.

    What conclusions can we draw from this data, and what changes might we need to consider to make sure we are not falling into the 'Candidate #4' trap?

    Well, the first step is just being aware of this potential tendency. If you have to set up an interviewer or a hiring manager for a day-long set of candidate interviews, make sure you schedule some breaks such that they are not seeing a dozen people in a three-hour block. Chances are everyone after Candidate #4 are not getting a fair look, and we are wasting hiring manager time as well. 

    Next, if you are brining in a smaller set of short listed candidates for a second round of interviews, don't slate them in the same order with every interviewer they have to meet. Mix up the order across the interviewing team to try and reduce the effects of 'interview fatigue' adversely impacting any single candidate.

    And last, keeping this data in mind should make us be more careful about tracking more data around interviewing and interviewers - how much time they spend per candidate, how much does the 'Candidate #4' efffect exist in the organization, and how can we use data on these processes to get better.

    Data is our friend. Use wisely.


    When liberal hipsters turn out to be ruthless capitalists too

    It seems to be a pretty widespread and more or less accepted assumption that the next generation of folks entering the workplace are more concerned with an organization's reputation for responsibility, for doing 'good', and for acting as a good community citizen than were prior generations. Where the boomers and Gen X were much more pragmatic (and possibly cynical), the Gen Y and Gen Z and the whatever comes next cohorts are going to evaluate organization's commitments and actions in the community and towards their customers and employees much more closely and critically when they make their decisions about where to work and (probably more importantly), where to spend. Like another nemesis of mine, 'Culture eats strategy for breakfast', (don't get me started...), this notion has been reported on and repeated so many times that I think it is worth considering if, you know, it actually isn't true, or at least isn't completely accurate.

    I started thinking about this when reading about of a new play titled World Factory being staged in London at the Young Vic theater. In the play, audience members participate in what is essentially a global business strategy game, placed into teams who have the job of navigating a fictional global clothing manufacturer through a complex set of scenarios and decisions. It is basically like the kind of gamified scenario exercise you'd see in any college business strategy class. But what has been happening at World Factory is kind of interesting.

    From a recent review of World Factory in the Guardian:

    The audience becomes the cast. Sixteen teams sit around factory desks playing out a carefully constructed game that requires you to run a clothing factory in China. How to deal with a troublemaker? How to dupe the buyers from ethical retail brands? What to do about the ever-present problem of clients that do not pay? Because the choices are binary they are rarely palatable.

    The classic problem presented by the game is one all managers face: short-term issues, usually involving cashflow, versus the long-term challenge of nurturing your workforce and your client base. Despite the fact that a public-address system was blaring out, in English and Chinese, that “your workforce is your vital asset” our assembled young professionals repeatedly had to be cajoled not to treat them like dirt.

    And because the theatre captures data on every choice by every team, for every performance, I know we were not alone. The aggregated flowchart reveals that every audience, on every night, veers towards money and away from ethics. But what shocked me – and has surprised the theatre – is the capacity of perfectly decent, liberal hipsters on London’s south bank to become ruthless capitalists when seated at the boardroom table.

    Fascinating, and possibly kind of revealing as well. It is certainly much, much easier to say that corporate ethics and community responsibility is important in making employment and consumer decisions. But, even in a fictional exercise like World Factory, it is often, (maybe always), much harder to live and take decisions that are 'responsible' when facing incredibly tough business, environmental, and social challenges. 

    Business if often messy. Capitalist systems often force tradeoffs to be made, ones that at least according to what we think we know about Gen Y and Gen Z are not in line with those generations world views. But once Gen Y and Gen Z are actually in charge? World Factory is just one small exercise, but what if it hints at what Boomers have known for a while - every generation follows pretty much the same trajectory as they mature, take on more responsibilities, and get more experience in how the world works.

    And then in about 10 or 15 years we will have moved on to a new set of young people who will be lamenting the materialistic robber barons formerly known as Gen Z.

    Have a great week!


    Will you be replaced by a robot? Use this nifty tool to find out

    Will you or your job be replaced by a robot, an algorithm, or some other type of automation technology?

    Of course it will!

    The question should really be 'When?' not 'If?'

    But for something fun to on a Friday, head over to the NPR Planet Money site and take spin on their interactive tool that uses data from a University of Oxford study entitled “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerization?”, and lets you see just how likely your job will be automated away in the near future.

    Here is what the tool says about 'Cashiers', one of the most likely jobs to disappear in the next 20 years or so.

    As you can tell from the charts, the likelihood of a given job becoming the domain of robots is influenced by four factors: the need to conjure up clever ideas and solutions, the amount of social interaction needed in the job, the space the job requires (robots are still not great at navigating tight spaces), and the negotiation skills needed.

    Luckily for many of us, jobs that fall in the 'management' domain still seem (reasonably) safe for now.

    Go have some fun on a Friday, and check out your own odds and see if you should be considering a career move (before it's too late).

    Have a great weekend!


    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 213 - Try Again

    HR Happy Hour 213 - Try Again

    Recorded Wednesday May 27, 2015

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Featuring: Ben Eubanks


    This week on the show Steve and Trish (calling in from an undisclosed location in Arkansas), talked about the the most valuable brands in the world, how work and workplaces are pretty much forever changed, and the how it isn't really cool to let someone know they are a loser when they didn't even know they were competing in the first place.

    Additionally, Trish made a big and very exciting announcement, Ben Eubanks dropped by with the next installment of Ben's HR Book Review, and Steve showed incredible ignorance of the quality of the fish that one can catch in Arkansas.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or using the widget player below: 

    Check Out Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Steve Boese Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio


    And of course you can listen to and subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, or via your favorite podcast app. Just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to download and subscribe to the show and you will never miss a new episode.

    This was a really fun show. Thanks to everyone for listening and subscribing!


    I deny a problem with my attitude

    You should stop what you are doing right now and watch/listen to 'Work For Food', one of the very best songs from one of the very best bands that never really made it big but absolutely should have, Dramarama.

    In the video, (embedded below, in all its 80s glory), the band's lead singer practically snarls the line 'I deny a problem with my attitude' as he tells the sad tale of how his life hasn't really worked out the way he had hoped for and planned.  It's a pretty sad tale as I said, not just for how things have turned out for the subject of the song, but for how it is almost certain to never get any (or much) better since he can't accept neither the responsibility for his circumstances nor the reality of his situation. But it is easy to miss all of that in the guitars and drums and catchy hook of the song.

    And it is also hard when we are the guy in the song as it were, hard for us to realize sometimes when it is actually us who has the bad attitude or the bad idea or are the one that is simply being a jerk when it is much, much easier to blame the other guy, or our colleagues, or society, or the faceless and uncaring government.

    We all hate Congress, but re-elect 'our' representative something like 90% of the time. Everyone on the road is a terrible driver, (except us). And I can't believe the guy in front of me in the express check-out line has 11 items!  Can't he read the sign that says '10 Items or Fewer?'. We'd never do that...

    The first step in making work, workplaces, heck anywhere better, more civil places is for folks to own up to their own bad attitudes and actions. Admit it, you've been the guy to leave the coffee pot with about 3/4 of an ounce without firing up a fresh pot. Just own up to it. And if we can all start there, and not live in some kind of state of denial about how wonderful we are, things will get better. They have to. Unless all the jerks out there don't cooperate...

    Dramarama, 'Work For Food' (email and RSS subscribers need to click through)


     Have a great day!