The World’s Greatest Hiring Technique

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Jan 22, 2021

I’m about to reveal the single best hiring technique imaginable. It is extraordinarily elegant and budget-friendly. It is faster than any other technique and completely transparent, so everyone using it can easily and fully understand how it works. It requires no complicated, black-box, artificial intelligence mumbo jumbo.

It is also perfectly fair and unbiased to all classes of candidates, so your legal counselors will love it, and there is exactly zero chance anyone could successfully litigate against it. 

On top of all this, I’m quite sure you can implement it on your own, in about five seconds, without contracting the services of a hiring vendor or other specially trained consultant. 

Are you excited? What is this amazing technique? Here it is, laid out in a simple step-by-step process:

  1. Only hire people whose last names start with the letter P.

That’s it. There’s only one step. You could hold some meetings and discuss letters other than P. But really, what’s the point? They are all the same. I guess if you really want to be unique and special, you could select Z or Q or X (but only if you don’t really need to hire many people).

Imagine it! Your hiring process will be extremely fast, easy, fair, and transparent. And you won’t spend a single dollar on all the fancy, AI-enabled hiring vendors that claim the exact same outcomes.

Oh. Wait. Do you want to hire people with qualifications beyond having a certain name? DO you want a process that doesn’t rely on arbitrary criteria?

Maybe you have realized by now that we have left out the one thing that should be the goal of any hiring process: hiring people who will actually improve organizational performance. 

It is amazing to see how many vendors in the HR technology marketplace talk in grandiose terms about their AI or other capabilities but not at all about how or whether they can actually help you hire better quality people. Do not be lured in by these vendors that do not offer much more than a term-matching service, that are not in the business of understanding and predicting on-the-job success. 

Is it best practice to hire quickly, fairly, and with transparent processes? Of course. I would say it is even mandatory. But those qualities are only the most rudimentary foundation of building a hiring process that actually improves the quality of your workforce. 

So why is quality of hire (and its correlate, organizational performance) so often overlooked by HR tech vendors? There are at least two reasons:

  1. Measuring Quality of Hire Is Difficult
    How do you measure the quality of human performance? There are many ways, some better than others. Ideally, you’d want to measure how well a new hire is performing by examining a sample of performance metrics, along with appraisal data from a specially developed supervisor rating form. Such measurement requires planning and coordination, and collecting these types of metrics in a scaled way can be difficult since performance often looks different for each job. Internal resources or vendors are generally not able to effectively collect and analyze performance data unless they have been specifically trained to do so. Which leads us to the other reason vendors don’t pay attention to quality of hire.
  2. They Don’t Know Any Better
    Many of the technologists now entering the field of HR tech do not have crucial HR or industrial/organizational psychology backgrounds. IO psychologists are trained to use measurements (e.g., assessments) to predict outcomes (e.g., job performance). It’s crucial to design tools that will predict on-the-job performance, and then test them out to find out if they do just that. This is the scientific method in action, providing a way to find the truth and systematically improve your process. 

However, if you don’t have a background in a scientific discipline like IO psychology, you are not likely equipped to conduct this type of study. You can still apply AI to do things like shorten the hiring process or make sure it has less bias, but you will be out of your depth when it comes to developing hiring tools that actually predict performance. 

Quality Matters Most

So remember, hiring people faster with the coolest new AI tools is only good for two things: hiring people faster and looking cool. You need more if you are seeking to hire better performers and improve your business outcomes. 

Set your organization up for hiring success by taking a look at how job success is measured. For the key positions you hire for, how do managers measure job performance? What do they look for in new hires? If you are routinely capturing performance metrics, make sure they can be exported and analyzed against the data new hires provide in the hiring process. If you have no performance metrics, consider a dedicated new-hire performance survey to capture supervisor ratings. You should be able to predict job success using the data your pre-hire process generates, do so fairly, and with an eye toward how to continuously improve the process. 

If you’re not paying attention to the quality of your hires, if you value fast and efficient over effective, then you might as well just select candidates with names like Joanna Porter and Jack Palmer. In which case, you’re all set with Step 1 of my brilliant hiring plan above. 

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