How do you make hiring decisions? Do you rely on gut feelings? Do you use a tried and tested recruitment and selection process? Are you confident your process of making such important decisions eliminates discrimination and reduces personal judgemental bias?
There’s a lot going on during the interview. You are building rapport with the person you’ve just met. You are gathering information and data by asking lots of questions and making observations. As well as asking questions you are actively listening in order to understand and respond. At the same time you are assessing the person’s capability of doing the job.
Risks of poor selection processes
Relying on gut feelings (instincts) could potentially increase the risks of making poor hiring decisions. Depending on how well you get on with the candidate will influence your decision. This is referred to as the ‘horns and halo affect’.
If you like someone and the conversation flows it may cloud your judgement about their suitability for the job. Equally, if you don’t build rapport with the candidate, the interviewer is likely to skip through the process. Skipping through the process will put this candidate at an unfair disadvantage. That person will not have the same opportunities to demonstrate the skills and competencies to do the job.
Here are some of the potential consequences of poor hiring decisions:
- Higher direct and indirect costs: Advertising, agency fees, time to hire, temporary labour, overtime, team morale, etc.
- Legal costs: If decisions are mainly subjective there could be an increased risk of discrimination. This mean the company could end up in court with an Employment Tribunal (ET) claim. Decisions made by personal preferences are far more likely to be based on judgemental bias.
- Reputational damage: Calculating the costs of reputational damage is difficult.
- Poor performance: Poor hiring decisions may have an impact on the productivity of the team, morale, customer experience, profitability and operational costs etc.
As an in-house recruiter for over a decade there wasn’t one manager that didn’t want a new hire to fit in. What does being the right team fit or personality fit mean? What characteristics or values would the person need to demonstrate to be the right team fit?
Wanting someone to fit in with the existing team isn’t a problem. As a hiring manager you’ll want to create a highly productive team. You would like to establish or maintain a degree of harmony in the team. Or maybe you don’t! Maybe you would like to shake up the team. Keep the team on their toes or disrupt the tied and complacent thinking. Perhaps you want to change the dynamics. Or perhaps you are taking this opportunity to review the skill gaps in the team and hire accordingly.
A good hiring manager will know the advantages of building a diverse team in its fullest sense. A blend of different working backgrounds, experiences, skills, knowledge, technical and behavioural competencies and so on.
The starting point is to map out these characteristics and values as well as the usual job description and personal specification information, experiences, qualifications, skills and knowledge. Identify positive and negative indicators for each technical and behavioural competency. Then create measurable and observable behaviour relating to the job. This should not include any of the nine Protected Characteristics. This information can then be used as part of the criteria to measure someone’s suitability for the job, the team and the company culture.
Objective, fair and consistent
- Job Fit: First and foremost you want to assess whether the candidate can do the job. Will they positively contribute to the productivity and profitability?
- Motivational Fit: Highly motivated career driven and talented individuals are typically highly productive and easier to manage.
- Company Cultural Fit: Does the person align with the values of the company.
When you observe a trained interviewer they can make the process of asking questions look easy. It’s not rock science (unless you work for NASA). There are a lot of hiring managers that don’t like or see the value in the behavioural competency style of interviewing. They think it’s an HR technique and therefore, tend to detach from getting involved.
The value of these questions is in the probing questions. It’s also essential you have the criteria for measurement in place before the interview. Knowing what you are measuring will determine what types of probing questions you ask. Otherwise the interview just ends up as a chat. Having clear criteria will allow you to collect the best information to make quality decisions. You cannot measure a candidate’s competent without having these indicators in place.
Striving to be an employer of choice takes some deliberate effort. It requires a real commitment to equality and a genuine passion for creating diverse and inclusive cultures. Creating a culture of diversity and inclusion goes beyond just having transparent processes and policies. A commitment to diversity and inclusion has so many benefits. It gives businesses a better understanding of their customers, improves the productivity and problem solving ability of the team and empowers individuals to make better and fast decisions with greater creativity and innovation. It also improves recruitment and retention.