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Avoid costly Hiring Mistakes: make better selection decisions when recruiting

Despite all of the talk of Gen this and Y that, old people in the workforce and so on the fact is people are much the same.

Research in our area of expertise confirms behavioural patterns in people have not changed, nor have the ways in which we think and make decisions.

What most certainly has changed, or more correctly been advanced is our access to information and knowledge which enables us to be far more accurate in our analysis of jobs and people.

Unfortunately many companies or organisations in NZ have not been able to get hold of advanced information and knowledge and so have had to rely on the tried and true. The presentation of a CV and a subsequent interview and reference check. Pretty much relying on gut feel; we might as well flip a coin; 50/50 chance.

As employers we have been very poor at accurate analysis of both jobs and people.

We have had available to us for some time now testing, intelligence tests cognitive tests, personality tests are amongst these. There is nothing wrong with testing, however often the tests are not job related or have no bearing on the person's ability to do the job. Passing an exam may not be a prerequisite for success either.

What is most astounding is that as employers we are willing to invest a significant amount of money to find a person, through recruitment endeavors and pay the person a good salary without really understanding how, why and what the person is going to perform like when in the job. It is unlikely we would apply the same criteria for investment into systems or resources like computers or company cars.

Just as important to note is most people do not leave jobs through lack of education or skill. They typically leave or get fired for lack of so called attitude, work ethic, enthusiasm or inability to get on with others.

What is required is a process to assist us make better hiring decisions.

This can only be done through accurate analysis of jobs and people. In that order!

Too often we are drawn back into comparisons of people first. "I like this one over that one". This is no more than a personality contest.


Accurate analysis starts with the job.

Jobs can be interviewed, just like people. You can get jobs to talk to you (sounds silly, but you can) if you have the right knowledge and process to do so.

Think of analysis this way.

When you go to a workshop to have your car serviced, the chances are the workshop technician (he/she aren't called mechanics anymore) connects your car to a diagnosis machine which spits out data on the condition of all of the vital parts of the car necessary for the car's performance.

Likewise when you go to the doctor for a check up, he checks your blood pressure, height; weight and so on to make sure you are functioning (performing) well.

If anything out of the ordinary is detected off you go for more in depth accurate analysis.

In both cases, car or person the data is used for lowering the risk of poor performance.

If this type of technology is available to us for accurate job and person analysis for hiring to avoid costly mistakes and lower the risk of poor performance, I cannot think of one reason not to make use of it.

And the science and knowledge is available, for the benefit of everyone involved in a hiring process. The candidates to help them secure the position best for them, the employer and their own bottom line results , the current employees to avoid conflict, the team, the customers, the community. In fact everybody involved.

Summary: There is an unquestionable need to use today's science and knowledge (what we call "new thinking") in all of our hiring decisions, to avoid costly hiring mistakes.

By Carl Davies | Zeteo
Selection and Human Performance Specialist