Do Data-Driven Hiring Decisions Outplay Gut Instincts? - Safari Solutions

Do Data-Driven Hiring Decisions Outplay Gut Instincts?

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We are human and, as such, have innate instincts that guide us in life. Instincts may effectively guide us in selecting friends and loved ones, but, does it work when hiring employees? The statistics reveal that data-backed hiring decisions are far superior in selecting star performers than trusting our gut instincts.

Caroline Stokes, author of Elephants before Unicorns: Emotionally Intelligent HR Strategies to Save Your Company, suggests that, as a hiring manager, you ask yourself these five questions:

1. Do you tend to talk more than you listen in an interview?
2. Do you have a system to discuss/evaluate feedback from all involved in the interviewing process?
3. Do you gather information from all relevant parties, including references?
4. Do you use an assessment tool to prevent bias in analyzing a candidate’s competencies, preferences, and potential?
5. Are you clear on what you want from the candidate?

The last question is absolutely critical to your hiring success. How can you get what you want if you don’t know what you are looking for? I have written articles and conducted workshops on helping companies better define key accountability criteria for positions because, as the old saying goes, “Input equals output.” As we engage with clients on hiring initiatives, we make sure we are crystal clear on the performance criteria for the position, as this is the most important first step in the hiring process.

Lou Adler, author of Hire with Your Head, drives this point even further. His research suggests that there are two key factors that are the best predictors of on-the-job success:

1. The candidate’s most significant major accomplishment is comparable to the critical performance objectives to the new role.
2. The hiring manager and the new hire are compatible from a work style perspective.

The first factor addresses job fit . . . can they do the job. The second addresses style fit . . . will they do it in a way that the hiring manager prefers. According to Adler, both must be present for hiring success.

Here is a classic example of wrong fit: a business owner hires an administrative assistant that has past performance that fits the role, yet the business owner has a hands-off management style while the admin needs a lot of direction and nurturing. Another example: A business owner hires a friend for an operations manager role because they get along well, yet the new hire prefers big picture activities rather than systems and processes that operations managers need to manage on a daily basis.

Hiring is not an exact science, yet putting more weight on data than on your gut instincts can greatly improve your hiring success.

If you need help with your interview process in selecting star performers, give us a call at 317-578-1310.

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