When it comes to interviewing, both parties have a right to be nervous. The person conducting the interview is likely just as anxious as the candidate is. And with good reason. If a person is hired and things don’t work out, guess whose neck is in the noose? I have been told that the cost of a bad hire is approximately 5 times that employees annual salary. Plus, the hiring interview is not always a very effective way to select an employee.
I was reading the classic, “What Color is Your Parachute” by Richard Bolles and was shocked to read about a survey conducted several years ago. Bolles referenced the survey among a dozen top United Kingdom employers. In the survey it was discovered that the chances of finding a good employee via interviewing was only 3 percent better than if they picked names out of a hat! In addition it was noted that if the interview was conducted by someone who would be working directly with the candidate, the success rate dropped to 2 percent below that of picking a name out of a hat. Finally, if the interview was conducted by an “human resources expert” the success rate dropped to 10 percent below that of picking a name out of a hat. Imagine that.
These days, the hiring game is more intense than ever. You’ve got high unemployment which means that a lot of really qualified people are available. In addition, there are always employed workers who are on the lookout for an even better opportunity. Add to that, employers who are a bit hesitant to hire, until they absolutely have to. Even then, many do not want the best candidate, they want the safest candidate. Now to my way of thinking, the best candidate IS the safest candidate. But I guess it really boils down to the perspective of the interviewer.
One of the best ways to understand the changing labor market is to talk to the co-founders of HireArt (www.hireart.com): Eleonora Sharef, 27, a veteran of McKinsey; and Nick Sedlet, 28, a math whiz who left Goldman Sachs. Their start-up was designed to bridge the divide between job-seekers and job-creators.
“The market is broken on both sides,” explained Sharef. “Many applicants don’t have the skills that employers are seeking, and don’t know how to get them. But employers also … have unrealistic expectations.” They’re all “looking for purple unicorns: the perfect match. They don’t want to train you, and they expect you to be overqualified.” In the new economy, “you have to prove yourself, and we’re an avenue for candidates to do that,” said Sharef. “A degree document is no longer a proxy for the competency employers need.” Too many of the “skills you need in the workplace today are not being taught by colleges.”
The way HireArt works, explained Sharef, is that clients — from big companies, like Cisco, Safeway and Airbnb, to small family firms — come with a job description and then HireArt designs online written and video tests relevant for that job. Then HireArt sifts through the results and offers up the most promising applicants to the company, which then chooses from among them.
That certainly is one novel method for discovering new talent. If you’ve read the book, “Moneyball” or follow baseball at all, you no doubt have heard of the practice of using Sabermetrics in order to uncover hidden talent. If you haven’t heard about Sabermetrics, in a nutshell it’s simply a way of using statistics to track areas of a players’ game that traditional scouts would never even think to look for. One thing’s for sure: anyone who comes up with a reliable method for uncovering talented candidates that everyone else is missing out on, will be able to write his or her own ticket.
As I’m writing this post I came across an article where the author stated that if you possess a structured review form, you have nuts and bolts to create an interview form. The more I think about it, the more since it makes. Success leaves clues. What success patterns can you glean from what your successful employees are doing? Think about what you’re really looking for in the position to be filled. Try not to focus so much on finding “purple unicorns” and instead concentrate on finding the best employee for the open position that you have.
Remember, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”