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    Entries in Recruiting (159)

    Wednesday
    Apr272016

    Who makes better hiring decisions, man or machine?

    Despite two-plus decades of innovation, billions of dollars spent by organizations on HR/Recruiting technologies, and (adding in this one), 139,927,434 blog posts on the topic, hiring still remains stubbornly difficult, is often lengthy and costly, and all too often results in disaster.

    There are potentially dozens of individual reasons why this sad state of affairs persists in 2016, but I want to talk about just one in this post - the question of whether or not hiring could be improved if we relied upon people (mainly hiring managers) less, and machines, (automated job fit assessments and similar instruments) more. The source of the rest of the data in this post is from a 2015 NBER Working Paper titled Discretion in Hiring by Mitchell Hoffman, Lisa B. Kahn, and Danielle Li.

    In the paper's abstract, the authors set out to answer a simple question:

    "Who should make hiring decisions? We propose an empirical test for assessing whether firms should rely on hard metrics such as job test scores or grant managers discretion in making hiring decisions."
    A pretty good question for sure.

     

    Who (or as we shall see soon what), should have the final, or at least the most influential voice in determining which candidate to hire for a given role?

    According to the authors, hiring is hard and prone to error for two primary reasons. One, resumes, profiles, even interviews are usually not perfectly complete and able to reveal with a high degree of confidence and accuracy who is the best candidate for the job. And two, the people the firm entrusts to make hiring decisions are simply not that good at making these decisions.


    They start with imperfect information, then apply (sometimes subconsciously), there own views, preferences, and biases that may not be congruent to the organization's goals to the decision process.

    Bad information + inaccurate, possibly biased decision makers = way too many bad hires.

    So what might a remedy be to combat the 'bad information' and 'bad decision makers' challenge?

    How about improving the information, (not very controversial, surely), and removing the decision makers (possibly more controversial, as most hiring managers will claim they like to, you know, hire).

    More from the NBER paper on what they did and what they were able to find:

    In this paper we evaluate the introduction of a job test, and develop a diagnostic to inform how firms should incorporate it into their hiring decisions. Using a unique personnel dataset on HR manager, job applicants, and hired workers across 15 firms that adopt job testing, we present two key findings. First, job testing substantially improves the match quality of hired workers: those hired with job testing have about 15% longer tenures than those hired without testing. Second, managers who overrule test recommendations more often hire workers with lower match quality, as measured by job tenure. 

    This second result suggests that managers exercise discretion because they are biased or have poor judgement, not because they are better informed. This implies that firms in our setting can further improve match quality by limiting managerial discretion and placing more weight on the test.

    Less manager input/discretion in hiring led to better hiring outcomes. Across the board in this study.

    A few caveats worth mentioning, (and you should, if you are so inclined, read the entire paper here).

    This study was performed across a dataset of 15 firms hiring for high volume, lower skill kind of roles - think something like data entry, call center, that kind of thing. The kinds of jobs where it is relatively easier to come up with an accurate job test/assessment, and ones where the primary measure of hiring success is often retention.

    Also worth noting is that the researchers controlled for other measures of employee success like productivity, i.e., they were able to determine that when hiring managers overruled the job test scores in making hiring decisions that they were not in fact sacrificing longer tenure for increased near-term efficiency.

    Essentially, for this category of low to mid-skilled service roles, the researchers were able to show that all things being equal, additional managerial input and discretion into the hiring decision process only served to lead to worse hiring outcomes.

    I will close with one more line from the study's conclusion section:

    In our setting it provides the stark recommendation that firms would do better to remove discretion of the average manager and instead hire based solely on the test.

    But that conclusion only holds true for the 'average' manager, right?

    I'm sure your managers are way above average when it comes to making hiring decisions.

    Right?

     

    Discretion in Hiring, Mitchell Hoffman, Lisa B. Kahn, Danielle Li, NBER Working Paper 21709, November 2015

    Monday
    Mar282016

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 241 - Tackling Recruiting Challenges with Modern HR Technology

    HR Happy Hour 241 - Tackling Recruiting Challenges with Modern HR Technology

    Recorded Wednesday March 23, 2016

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Jon Bischke, CEO and Founder, Entelo

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Trish and Steve are joined by Jon Bischke, CEO and Founder of Entelo, a leading provider of innovative HR and recruiting technology solutions that help organizations find and assess talent as well as help them improve the diversity of their talent pools and pipelines.

    Entelo technology helps organizations not only unearth candidates by building comprehensive candidate profiles that are far more complete than what can be found on a simple resume or LinkedIn profile, but it also enables organizations to spend their limited time and resources focusing on learning more about the very best candidates.

    Entelo has innovated in the area of diversity, and has built what are the industry's first set of solutions explicitly designed to help organizations enhance and expand the diversity of their candidate pools. Listen to the show to learn more about how Tech can help HR leaders in this important area.

    Jon also shared details of the World's Greatest Sourcer contest - you can learn more about that at www.worldsgreatestsourcer.com

    Additionally, Steve lamented the fact that resumes still are not dead as yet., we pitched (once again) the impending Diet Dr. Pepper show sponsorship, and the idea of recruiting for 'Culture Add' instead of 'culture fit'.

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

    This was an interesting and informative show with one of the HR and recruiting technology industry's most innovative leaders, many thanks to Jon and Entelo for joining us.

    Reminder, you can find and subscribe to the show on iTunes or any major podcast app for iOS and Android - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to add the show to your playlist and you will never miss a show.

    Thursday
    Feb182016

    WEBINAR: WALKING DEAD - Reviving your talent networks

    It's possible that 'Peak Zombie' was reached a couple of years ago, say around 2009 or so. For awhile you couldn't swing a machete on premium cable without hitting one of the myriad zombie shows/movies/music videos that featured the hordes of the undead wandering more or less aimlessly through the countryside.

    For what it's worth, my favorite of the genre was 'Shaun of the Dead' with Simon Pegg. Check that on Netflix if you haven't caught it yet. 

    The 'Zombie' trend has died down a bit in the last few years, but there is still one place where a kind of zombie can be pretty reliably found - lurking around your company career site.

    Candidates around your careers site are like Zombies too - they stumble around and look at your content, lurk at your jobs and then just stagger off into the distance when they don’t find anything to take a bite out of. Well, the fine folks at Fistful of Talent and Smashfly are here to help you turn those zombies into real-life candidates by reviving the talent networks you probably don’t even know you have.https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3528340882429541122

    Who said zombies can’t turn back to real live viable candidates?! Not us, because the FOT crew knows how, and we’re going to show you, too.

    On February 24th at 2:00PM ET, the FOT crew and Smashfly will present the latest installment of the FOT free webinar series, titled WALKING DEAD: Reviving Your Talent Networks, where the gang will:

    --Show you the difference between a Talent Network and a Talent Community. We’ll give you ways to build your talent network into active pools of great candidates. By using and developing talent networks, you’re letting those zombies hanging out around your career site tell you “I’m next…” “Pick me…”, making it super easy to identify your next victim!

    --Help you develop a Talent Network Strategy that lasts, with little effort from your team to keep it going. The biggest problem we all face is we just don’t have enough capacity to do more. Talent networks give you the more— without the work. We’ll show you how.

    --Show you 5 ways the best companies are engaging their Talent Networks to make real placements.We won’t just tell you the ways, we’re going to hear about straight from a Talent Pro who is using these now to successfully hire and fill position within her company.  The good, the bad, the dead. You’re going to hear it all!

    --Give you 3 things you can do with candidate contact information before they even apply to your company. Talent pools aren’t about the apply, they’re about getting you to apply. Some zombies are ready to eat, some are just milling around being zombies. What do you do when potential candidates aren’t ready to eat? We’ve got the answer.

    --Provide insight to how you can measure the success of your talent networks. By now we know none of this matters if we can’t back it up with measurable data that proves it works. Talent networks, and the data you get from them, will give you a ton of insight to what is working in your Talent shop and what might need some tweaking.

    Don’t let your time get “eaten” up by a bunch of zombie candidates who will never fill the needs your company has. Learn how to build great talent networks that will give you real live placements, with less effort than you ever thought imaginable. It’s time to fight back and win against your walking dead applicant pool!

    You can register for the free webinar on February 24 at 2:00PM ET here, or using the form below:

    And as always, the FOT webinar comes with a guarantee: 60% of the time it works 100% of the time.

    Tuesday
    Feb022016

    We value hard work, but we reward natural talent

    Of all the phrases used to describe a candidate or an employee, 'He/she is a hard worker' is probably one of the most valued by employers, colleagues, and the people in general. We like people that work hard. We value the effort, the grind, the grit of folks who show up, dig in, plow through - day in and day out. Some even think that 'working hard' is actually a skill akin to other technical or practical kinds of aptitudes that are often harder to find.

    After all, 'hard work', even if it is a skill, is probably one that can be 'learned' by just about everyone. In many ways you just have to decide to work hard and there it is, you are a hard worker. Doesn't exactly work that way for other skills like coding, painting, or hitting 3-point baskets.

    But as much as we value hard work,  a skill that is readily observable, some recent research suggests that we value (and reward) something more intangible much, much more - the ore opaque notion of 'natural talent.'

    Researchers Chia-Jung Tsay and Mahzarin Banaji examined what has been called the 'naturalness bias', the tendency to choose and reward so-called 'naturally talented' people over the classic 'hard-worker' in a series of experiments that were recently described in FastCo Design. Here is an excerpt from the piece: 

    "We are likely influenced by concepts such as the Protestant work ethic, and the American dream, and ideals such as a truer meritocracy, opportunity, and social mobility that can be achieved with enough hard work and motivation," says management scholar Chia-Jung Tsay of University College London, via email. "We may subscribe to these ideas, but our preference for and fascination with naturalness still seem to emerge through our actual choices."

    Tsay’s research has documented this tendency—which Malcolm Gladwell coined as the "naturalness bias"—across creative fields. A few years back, Tsay and Harvard psychologist Mahzarin Banaji asked 103 professional musicians to rate two performers based on a written profile and clips of them playing Stravinsky's Trois Mouvements de Petrouchka. The two performers were actually the same person, with one profile tweaked to emphasize work ethic and the other made to highlight natural talent.

    In questionnaires, study participants claimed to value effort and practice over innate ability. But when it came time to rate the "two" performers, they gave the natural higher marks on talent, likelihood of future success, and value as a musical company hire, Tsay and Banaji reported in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. In a follow-up, the researchers found that seasoned experts favored naturals even more than novice musicians did—a finding with troubling workplace implications, given that veterans tend to make hiring decisions.

    Did you catch that? Two performers, who were actually the same performer, and the one that was pitched as having some higher level of natural talent was rated more positively and favorably than the performer who was portrayed as someone whose achievements were a product of hard work. Additionally, the more experienced and 'senior' the evaluator, the more likely they were to reward the 'natural talent' over the hard worker.

    Really interesting implications for this data, particularly in the world of talent evaluation and hiring. If the 'naturalness' bias does exist in organizations, then they could be overlooking or discounting individuals that are totally qualified and capable of performing at a high level, if their history of 'hard work' is somehow diminished in value in the eyes of the talent evaluators.

    More interesting still is that while this research appears to suggest the existence of a bias towards 'natural talent', it seems like 'hard work' is much more reliable in the long run. 

    Let's toss it back to my favorite metaphor for talent and workplace comparisons - basketball.

    'Natural talent' may account for a high degree of accuracy shooting 3-point baskets. But this 'skill' also can come and go in the course of a game, season, and career - sometimes inexplicably. 

    Playing tough, solid, and aggressive defense however, is usually chalked up at least primarily to 'hard work', which tends to be much more reliable, repeatable, and predictable. 

    It can be kind of hard to 'see' natural talent in all kinds of fields. Hard work is a little easier to spot.

    Thursday
    Jan142016

    Your annual reminder that LinkedIn is not where most people live and work

    Recently, LinkedIn released its list of The 25 Skills That Can Get You Hired in 2016, their assessment based on recruiter, jobseeker, and LinkedIn member activity and profile updates of the 'hottest' skills that their data suggest will be the ones that offer workers the best chance of getting hired or promoted in 2016. Here is the list of these 'hottest' skills as per our pals at LinkedIn:

    Pretty impressive set of skills indeed. From Data Mining to Cloud Computing to Mobile Development and User Experience Design - the list hits just about all of the current and certainly 'hot' trends in technology and business in the last few years. And as LinkedIn rightly state in their analysis of this data, these skills are likely to remain in demand for some time, at least a few years for sure.

    But as I wrote on this blog about 12 months ago when LinkedIn published their list of 'hot' skills for 2015, it is pretty easy to be beguiled by these kinds of lists, particularly when juxtaposing the LinkedIn set of hot skills with the Bureau of Labor Statistics data about what kinds of jobs people actually do, (at least in the USA).

    From our pals at the BLS, here is a chart from May 2014, (the latest period when this data is available), which shows occupations with the largest employment in the USA. Take a look at the data, then a few quick FREE comments from me after the chart.

    Did you catch some differences between what gets people hired, at least people who are on LinkedIn, and the kinds of jobs that are held by the largest numbers of people in the USA? These Top 10 occupations make up about 21% of overall US employment, in case you were wondering, down only 1% from last year in case you were wondering.

    Wonder how far down on the BLS list (and you can check the full list of occupations as defined by the BLS here), you have to go before you run in to 'Cloud and Distributed Computing' and 'Statistical Analysis and Data Mining', the top 'hot' skills for 2016 as per LinkedIn?  

    I will save you a click and let you know that all the occupations that the BLS rolls up into 'Computer and Mathematical Operations', (where most of LinkedIn's Top Hot skills would likely map), account for about 3.8M workers, that is just under 3% of all the jobs in the country, just about the same as it was last year. Sure, it is trendy to think that the LinkedIn skills represent the future of work, and perhaps they probably do, but they don't really represent the 'present' of work, not in a substantial way anyway.

    LinkedIn is a fantastic business, a staggering success, and not at all like the real world where the overwhelming majority of workers reside.

    Have a fantastic day. And don't spend so much time on LinkedIn.