Is there any “best” way or some “ innovative” ways to hire quality talent ?


Have heard some business managers say –  Experience helps you hire the best. People go to the extent of saying – “just by the look of a candidate i can say if he / she is right fit for the job” or “within 5 minutes i can say if he / she is right for the job”.  Great ! If you can do it, I am sure your breed should be the most coveted breed of talent that corporations would run after.  I still trust the “experience” factor to some extent – and the experience is not the experience of having rummaged through tonnes of resumes, as any recruiter would have done – for they profile on qualifications and experience primarily. Business managers and functional hiring managers – who interview for hiring and in future work with these people definitely would have got a pulse of what works and what does not work in their 5 – 10 years of experience.  Experience helps.

Interviewing techniques – competency based interviewing (CBI) – behavioural event interviewing (BEI)– etc. The theorists love these models and are strong advocate of these techniques. I too love these words – and in fact i have been conducting training programs and workshops on interviewing skills. Still – i don’t trust them. Not because they don’t make sense – but because – no one has the time or inclination to leverage them to their full potential.  Honestly, do you think that if you train the hiring managers of company x – on competency based interviewing techniques, their interviewing capability will show a rise ? If you were to say “yes”, you are wrong – most of these people may play with the techniques for next 2 – 3 weeks may be , but gradually they will be back to their normal self. Who has time to focus on what the candidate is saying – who has time to probe during and interview and the worst – who has time to document observations to support an objective decision making ?

Puzzles, games and tricky questions – People love anecdotes regarding how some one worked their way through a maze of trick questions , puzzles, brainteasers etc. They said – that these are the ways profile smart talent with cool attitude and great aptitude. In fact – Google was one of the top corporations known to use these in their job interview process. Some other corporations also put in place the brainteaser interview style. Finally, Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President of people operations at Google laid to rest the merit of such interviews. In an interview for The New York Times he says such questions are “a complete waste of time.”  “They don’t predict anything,” “They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.” Now since we all trust big brands – we can actually trust Laszlo. Google is great at analytics and they may have done some good analysis on the efficacy of brainteaser style interviewing being related to quality of hire.  Really – “How many cows are in Canada?” – does this question and the possible answer help you in any way.

What else – Psychometrics & personality assessment’s, aptitude tests, hypothetical questions, management games, assessment centres – all have their merits and limitations ?  Possibly you have to think through the process that you plan to adapt for your particular need and talent requirements. Most important of all you need to ensure that it is practiced really well.

Still there could be no sure shot way, that gives you great talent.

At times i feel in agreement with a certain thought i was reading some where – It compared hiring decisions to – “ a game of chance”.

You hire people – at times you hire right – and at times you mess up. It’s that simple.

© Praveen Mishra,  2013 

What's your take on this post ? Comment: