Studies show that job interviews to evaluate a candidate is only 14 percent effective in determining “job fit.” On a nice day, it would be just as effective and more enjoyable to sit on a park bench and hire every seventh person who walks by!
The steps of hiring and firing employees are similar to those of marriage and divorce. When you are dating, you are searching for someone with whom you are comfortable and who is as good for you as you are to them. Next, in the courting stage, you are on your best behavior. You are nice to your companion’s mother, you might buy flowers and you refrain from burping at the table. You get the picture. Your companion may think, “He/she’s not perfect, but when we are married, I’ll change him/her!” So you marry, and one spouse tries to change the other. If it can’t be done, (the usual case, unfortunately) the couple may separate and then divorce. Of course, divorce is extremely traumatic and often very costly.
In a process very similar to dating, a company advertises for candidates. After sifting through many applications and résumés, the finalist candidates are called for face-to-face job interviews. With job interviews, the courting begins. The candidate is on his best behavior. He has researched the company and says all the right things.
Finally, the interviewer concludes, “Well, he’s not perfect, but I’ll train him after I hire him.”
Sound familiar? Have you ever regretted hiring someone on the very first day? It hurts, doesn’t it? Or someone asks, “What idiot hired that person?” Ouch! But you don’t give up. You pay for training, trying to mold the person to do a job he will never do well. Eventually, you begin the sad process of firing the employee. This, too, is a traumatic and often costly process. In our litigious society, it can be very costly.
These may be compared to “hiring rabbits to swim.” You might teach a rabbit to swim, but how effectively? Why not hire the rabbit into a running job and then train it to run faster and more effectively. In other words, hire to the rabbit’s strengths or job-fit.
Usually, when people are asked the characteristics of their ideal candidate, they often list the following descriptions: honest, good people skills, hardworking, self-starter, gets along with everyone, relevant work experience, stable, trustworthy, does quality work.
And if asked how they determine these characteristics in a person, often they admit that if the interviewee is outgoing, then he must have good people skills. If he maintains eye contact, he must be honest.
Consider punctuality, for example. A hiring official may think a candidate’s early arrival for the interview is a sign of integrity or good work ethic. In reality, it may be the first time the candidate has been on time for an interview in his life!
In a hurry to hire, we may neglect to examine whether we are hiring a rabbit to run – or to swim. Haste to hire is a costly exercise and results in both the company and the employee being unhappy. Using valid, scientific assessment of the characteristics necessary for job fit can reduce these errors in the hiring process and increase hiring success!