The Hiring 2.0 Revolution: Are You a Rebel or a Tory?

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

ó Yogi Berra In the thoughts that follow, one fork in the road leads to some minor changes in the hiring process and lots of activity, but the status quo is preserved. The other leads to a more vibrant future, and hiring top people becomes a systematic, Six Sigma business process. This is the Hiring 2.0 revolution. Surprisingly, the choice of which fork you’ll take is not yours. You are already preprogrammed to take one or the other. In fact, you’re already taking it ó but hold that thought for a moment. First, the Hiring 2.0 manifesto. This is the fork that leads to the promised land. Hiring 2.0 is the operating system for the next generation of hiring processes. These are the specifications, guidelines, and metrics that will link all of the various hiring processes ó sourcing, recruiting, systems, interviewing, assessment ó together into a systematic business process for hiring top talent. Here are just a few of the key changes that will occur as a result of implementing Hiring 2.0:

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  1. Job boards. Jobs boards will take on the task of screening candidates. Users will then have fewer, higher quality, pre-screened, and more interested candidates to consider. This will free up resources for what’s important ó hiring top talent, not processing resumes.
  2. Tracking systems. With the need to filter resumes reduced, tracking systems will become more recruiter-focused and will form the Hiring 2.0 system infrastructure. Value-added tools will be expanded to include synchronized sourcing with metrics showing real time quality by channel; easy-to-use dashboards with real-time information pushed to the desktop; and instantly accessible one-on-one recruiting tools.
  3. Recruiters. Recruiters will become coaches, advisors and consultants, instead of paper-pushers. They will spend more time with top candidates and hiring managers. They will manage the process from beginning to end for all internal and external hiring.
  4. Sourcing. Sourcing by channel will be optimized and tracked real time for quality. Supply/demand will be constantly monitored to ensure an adequate pool of top people for every open position.
  5. Job descriptions. Traditional job descriptions will be disbanded in favor of success profiles. These describe what the person in the job is required to do to be successful, not what the person needs to have. To attract the best, they will link to the company strategy and department objectives. They’ll also be used to measure incoming quality and will be the basis for the performance appraisal and on-boarding process.
  6. Metrics. Metrics will be real-time, measuring quality, errors, cost, time, channel effectiveness and recruiter productivity at the moment activity occurs. Information will be displayed in dynamic dashboards powered by the ATS. Hiring managers, recruiters, and recruiting managers will be able to instantly deploy resources to meet business objectives.

The objective of the Hiring 2.0 revolution is nothing less than making hiring top talent a systematic business process. Hiring 2.0 will provide companies and hiring managers new tools and techniques to consistently build outstanding teams for any business endeavor. When fully implemented, recruiters and hiring managers will be able to work together more efficiently to quickly find and hire the best talent available. The technology and tools exist to do this today. However, implementing it will take new thinking, a commitment to hire the best, and a desire to change the status quo. Now back to the fork in the road. Some people have already made their minds up about this so-called Hiring 2.0 revolution. If you have some economic or personal reason to preserve the status quo, you’ll look for a rationale to defend it. There is nothing wrong with this. It’s human nature. As part of this internal programming, you’ll attack and attempt to discredit the author, try to uncover hidden motives, or try to dissuade others from buying into this newfound mumbo-jumbo. These same types of people did it with the Wright brothers, Thomas Edison, the PC, the Internet, and they’ll do it with Hiring 2.0. If Hiring 2.0 is worthwhile it will be able to sustain these slings and arrows. If not, it will die an untimely death, but a deserved one. If you don’t have an economic or personal reason to defend the status quo, another set of decision-making criteria then comes into play. One dimension of this has to do with how different personality styles (all of the Caliper, DISC, Myers-Briggs, Profiles International stuff) process information. When used properly in the hiring process these assessments are useful, but there are many drawbacks as well. I’ll leave that discussion for future articles. For our purposes, it’s useful to observe how these different personality types go about making decisions. Here are the four types I’ve observed. Not all are mentioned, and some are blends of styles you’ve read about.

  • Emotional. These are the people who will decide which fork to take based on the title of the article and the Yogi Berra quote in the first line (wait till you see the end). If you’re an emotional decision-maker, you’re either hooked already, or you’re not. (However, these people probably didn’t even read this far, since their minds are already made up.) If you like the idea about the Hiring 2.0 revolution, you’ll look for a few facts to justify this decision. If you don’t like it, you’ll look for facts to justify a negative stance. These are the same people who overvalue a candidate’s first impression in an interview, then try to justify it with superficial data (e.g., “a real go-getter”). The same is true when they don’t like the person (e.g. “wouldn’t make a good fit”). These people have the most random hiring results. In a recent article by Dr. Wendell Williams, he refers to these people as those who look at only the shiny toes of the shoes. Their on-the-job hiring results speaks for themselves.
  • Analytical. By nature these people are conservative, risk-averse, and want facts and details before making any decision. The more the better. They tend to be skeptical, sometimes cynical. They will willingly take the road leading to the status quo, until proof has been offered that the new way is superior. They are the people who resist change every step of the way. You probably know a few. On the hiring side they demand more skills, more experience, and more direct industry background than any other type. At the extreme, they are box-checkers. However, this group tends to hire solid, stable people ó but few stars. Stars are always a risk, since they have more potential than proven results, so these people are naturally avoided. Their big hiring mistake is hiring people who are competent but unmotivated. Strong people are motivated by doing different work that stretches them to grow, not the same work. You know you’re this type person if even the idea of Hiring 2.0 is uncomfortable to you, and if you disagree with everything said here unless it’s proved beyond a shadow of a doubt. You’re probably even aggravated that a new idea was brought up.
  • Intuitive. These people tend to see the big picture, and are more idea-oriented and strategic in perspective. They prefer to make decisions with less data, and more quickly. At the extreme, they’d like to make decisions with no data. They are more risk-oriented, and are comfortable with ambiguity and constant change. However, they will often make dumb decisions without thinking things through clearly. On the hiring side, they tend to hire some stars who are bright, assertive, and who have strong like-minded personalities, and lots of potential. They also hire many people who are partially competent, since they made the decision on just a few pieces of data. You’re this type if many of the ideas presented here seem to make logical sense, even if they are not perfectly described. More than likely, you’ll want to be part of the Hiring 2.0 revolution. If you’ve got a bit of the emotional in you, you’ve already signed up. If you’re a bit of the analytical, you’ll want a little more proof, but you’re very open to explore it further. A few small cases studies are all that it will take to convince you.
  • Objective. (This is actually a blend of the intuitive and analytical styles. I’ve observed this combination often in people who have matured and progressed in their careers.) These people use a balanced approached to make decisions. They see both the big picture and the costs and methods required to get there. They make reasoned business-case decisions using cost/benefit analysis, combining the analytical and intuitive style in balance. On the hiring side, they clearly understand the key drivers for success in the job, and they look for people who have achieved comparable accomplishments in comparable environments. They tend to make few hiring mistakes, and their teams are comprised of strong “B” and “A” players. They’ll want to take the Hiring 2.0 fork, since it offers too much promise to ignore. But they’ll keep they’re eyes open and their checkbooks closed, until ample proof is provided. However, they will quickly endorse a low-cost pilot program to test out the ideas and concepts.

A word of caution is warranted. These personality styles have nothing to do with competency or intelligence. You can be a bad analytical type, or a very dumb intuitive person. Many people have a blend of these types with one emerging depending on the situation. For example, most people become more analytical and cautious when making a big investment decision. However, with that said, where do you stand now on this Hiring 2.0 revolution stuff? You have little choice. Human behavior is predictable. For proof, try these concepts out the next time you present a candidate to one of your hiring manager clients. You’ll quickly learn how they assess candidate competency. Knowing how they do this will make you a better recruiter. You’ll then be able to present your candidates in a way that ensures that the best person gets hired, not the one that makes the best presentation. With this little test, you’ll soon see that Yogi is right ó when you come to a fork in the road, you’ll take it. And so was Robert Frost:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I ó

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Lou Adler is the CEO and founder of The Adler Group – a training and search firm helping companies implement Performance-based Hiring℠. Adler is the author of the Amazon top-10 best-seller, Hire With Your Head (John Wiley & Sons, 3rd Edition, 2007). His most recent book has just been published, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired (Workbench, 2013). He is also the author of the award-winning Nightingale-Conant audio program, Talent Rules! Using Performance-based Hiring to Build Great Teams (2007).