The gambler. He’s got swagger. He’s got a feel for things. He can read people, and he knows when he’s got a winner. He likes taking risks because he believes in big rewards. And he quotes Kenny Rogers.
In a recent post, our friends at Fistful of Talent talk about hiring managers who go rogue and do things their own way. Here’s the problem, according to blogger RJ Morris:
“[He] doesn’t understand the difference between investing in talent that might be a bit outside of normal parameters vs. gambling on some random waiter he bonded with last night at Chevy’s Fresh Mex.”
In the gambler’s mind, someone wins and someone loses. He gets credit for discovering great talent before anyone else, and that means taking a chance on a candidate who doesn’t exactly fit the mold. It could work. Or it could fail, but the gambler believes he can make up for a bad bet with his next big win.
The trick is to get the gambler to reevaluate how he thinks about risk. With a process in place to systematically identify what makes people succeed, he can reap big rewards without gambling on talent. Instead of making a career out of “readin’ people’s faces,” he can learn to invest where the odds are more favorable.
If you’re in HR, then you’ve probably come across a new wave of talent assessments that try a simplified approach to gathering information about candidates. Ever heard of the Draw-A-Dog Scale? It’s used to measure children’s cognitive development, but similar visual assessments are making their way into the world of talent selection.
Recently, a client asked us about a 2 minute picture-based personality assessment. They wanted to know why we don’t implement something similar, and why our assessments take so long (8-15 minutes, typically) in comparison.
Who doesn’t love pictures? But we want to be sure that the assessments our clients use are going to add real value to the selection process. So here are a few things to watch out for as you evaluate different assessment methods.
Too general. If the same set of questions is used for every job, whether it’s a hotel desk clerk or a VP of operations, then the assessment probably casts too wide a net and won’t be able to accurately predict performance for any specific role.
Irrelevant questions. Questions that aren’t related to the job only create noise in the selection process. Plus, someone applying for a customer service job, for example, will probably be confused by a question asking them about their interest in nature.
Potential bias. The problem with pictures and symbols is that they can mean different things in different cultures and groups… For instance, are men more likely to endorse images of other men? And if so, what do you learn from that?
High vs. low scores. If the scoring is too simplified, for example, someone who agrees with all the statements get the maximum score, then the assessment is really only measuring how agreeable they are, not how well they’ll perform in the role.
For an assessment to truly add value (and be legally defensible), there should be a clear link between assessment scores and job performance. In other words, candidates who score well on the assessment actually perform better in the role, which means your selection criteria is aligned with the job competencies that lead to success.
What’s the difference between a financial adviser and a DJ?
Mostly the suit, according to this story from the New York Times. It’s a tale of a DJ in a finance man’s clothing, and a perfect example of how easy it is to be fooled by appearances. Here’s what happened:
The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards hired a professional D.J. named Azmyth Kaminski, shaved off his dreadlocks, removed his body piercings and put him in a suit. It taught him a few financial phrases and sat him in a conference room. Then it brought in people looking for a financial adviser.
…How did he do? After Mr. Kaminski spent about 15 minutes with each person, all but one were ready to work with him.
Our friends at Fistful of Talent rehashed the story in a recent blog post on what can happen when you rely too heavily on first impressions and end up basing important hiring decisions on things that don’t really matter. As blogger RJ Morris points out:
The interview remains the key selection criteria that most firms use. And the result? Mostly nonsense. People, as fragile and unpredictable as they are, overvalue certain things based on their own background, bad info, or general biases.
Moral of the story? If he looks like a financial adviser and talks like a financial adviser, that doesn’t mean he actually knows what to do with your money. Dig deeper! Find other ways to gather data, and make sure to ask probing questions during the interview. A clean shave and some buzzwords shouldn’t be all it takes to land a job.
A validated assessment is the best way to protect yourself from charges of hiring bias. Validation ensures that the assessment is measuring what it’s supposed to be measuring (personality traits like sociability or integrity, for example). Validation also proves whether the items being measured in the assessment actually impact job performance (by documenting the relationship between assessment scores and job performance for a specific role).
What does the EEOC have to say?
When it comes to recruitment, hiring, and promotion, the EEOC has some clear cut guidelines in place:
Analyze the duties, functions, and competencies relevant to jobs.
Make sure these standards are consistently applied when choosing among candidates.
Make sure that selection criteria do not disproportionately exclude certain groups, unless the criteria are valid predictors of successful job performance and meet the employer’s business needs. For example, if educational requirements disproportionately exclude certain minority or racial groups, they may be illegal if not important for job performance or business needs.
Are Outmatch assessments EEOC friendly?
Yes, thanks to careful research and good science—so as long as you use the right assessment for the role, and follow other EEOC guidelines, you’ll be in good shape.
Personality assessments are becoming standard practice in talent selection, and that makes it a popular market for HR technology firms, start-ups, and I-O practitioners. With more vendors in the game, finding an assessment that measures job fit (apart from other aspects of personality) is no easy task, but we’re here to help put your mind at ease. Whether you choose an assessment that’s validated against existing industry and job success data, or do a detailed job analysis for the role, you have options. We’ll work with you to provide the legal defensibly you need, and regularly monitor for adverse impact to help keep you in compliance.
This post is part of our FAQs series, where you can learn about the inner-workings of our assessments, as well as best practices to help improve your hiring process.
Your new candidate has spent hours preparing for the job interview. They’ve anticipated questions, chosen their outfit, and practiced the firm handshake. But it may all be for naught if something they do in those first few moments rubs you the wrong way.
We all know first impressions are important, otherwise we wouldn’t worry so much about how we look in the eyes of an interviewer (or anyone we hope to impress). But first impression bias may be even stronger than you think.
Research from the Association for Psychological Science tells us that when we meet someone for the first time, we decide in the blink of an eye whether we want to hire, date, hate, or make friends with them. And these first impressions color the way we interact from that point forward.
Monster.com advises that whether a candidate went to your alma mater or used an ugly typeface on their resume, you should try to stifle snap judgments. They can influence your decisions in the interview process and leave you with a bad hire. But even if you have good intentions, snap judgments happen in the unconscious part of your mind, without you even knowing.
If we don’t know it’s happening, how do we stop it? How do we turn unconscious behaviors into conscious ones?
Here are a few tips:
Be vigilant. Develop your hiring process and stick to it—no exceptions! When you’ve worked to understand your culture, your vision, and the needs of the position, the rest is just a matter of discipline and follow through. Be patient and trust that the process you laid out will lead you to the best possible hire.
Get a phone preview. You might do this already, but did you know it can save you from some snap judgments, too? A phone screen is a great way to learn about a candidate before they come in, and it also gives you an opportunity to form an impression that isn’t swayed by physical appearance.
Take your time. If you feel like you’re making a snap judgment, even a positive one, take more time and investigate further. Review any notes or ratings you’ve given the candidate, and get input from your team and colleagues. Doing this will either confirm your snap judgment, or help you see that you’re jumping to conclusions.
We all make snap judgments, but when you’re responsible for bringing new people into an organization, there’s a lot at stake. Make sure your decisions are intentional, not based on gut instinct. See how predictive talent selection can help.