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Feb 12, 2019

In most workplaces. It’s still one size fits all in policies, processes, and tools. We no longer live in a data-poor world, but we continue to use technologies that have been designed for one. The notion that people are interchangeable resources was true perhaps for a world that lacked the data to prove otherwise.

But we now have the ability to understand that our candidates are much more diverse than we may realize. We cannot capture this diversity through a one-size-fits-all hiring process. We think about candidate fit using predefined terms; thus, we miss candidates that may not be what we expect.

In medicine, education, and business the shift into a world which personalization is the new frontier is already happening. Talent is no exception.

In the “End of Average,” Todd Rose, the director of the Mind, Brain, and Education program at Harvard University, uses the new science of the individual to reveal the remarkable fact that no one is average — that person doesn’t exist. Our schools and businesses are all designed to evaluate and promote talent based upon the mythical notion of the average person, a one-size-fits-all model that ignores the true nature of our individuality. Any focus on a single dimension may cause loss of focus on other interesting dimensions. 

Can we design a hiring process that allows us to find the right candidate, but would also allow candidates to choose how they want to be assessed?

Can we create valid hiring processes that allow for the diversity of candidates to manifest itself as part of the hiring process?

In one of my previous roles, the team was experimenting with computer-assisted interviews. We allowed candidates to choose which interview they prefer. Would that be a whiteboard interview or a computer-assisted one? When surveying some of those candidates, I’ll never forget that one of the candidates commented that having a computer in the room made a real difference for them, as they had trouble reaching the whiteboard. This is only one example where a more flexible interview process allowed for diverse candidates to shine in ways we may not even be aware of.

Can we personalize our hiring process and still make solid decisions? What if we gave candidates more control over how they were being assessed? What if we could allow more choice in:

  • Who the recruiter would be
  • Language of the interview
  • Timing of the interview
  • Method of the assessment  (online, onsite, interactive, home assignment, etc)
  • Interview setting
  • Interview slates: would you like a long interview or a few short ones?
  • What to wear: what would you feel most comfortable in?
  • Swag: what would you like to get?
  • Follow up: when and how do you want to hear from us?

So here’s to “All sizes fit none, and please show us what makes you shine!”

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