In an effort to avoid bad hires, have we overcomplicated the hiring process? Is it time to stop overthinking and overdoing, and just simplify the hiring process?
We think we hear shouts of agreement coming across HRMorning!
A third of companies aren’t confident in their interviewing process, according to findings from Aptitude Research. And 71% of hiring managers think HR needs to make improvements to recruiting, a Visier survey found.
Sure, that might sound like some finger-pointing, but the bottom line is the hiring process has become complicated and unpredictable.
Why we need to simplify the hiring process
Tyler Cowen and Daniel Gross, researchers and co-authors of Talent: How to Identify Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Around the World, say some companies have turned hiring into a inefficient bureaucratic process that rivals the danger of a bad hire: Too many people involved in too many decisions. Then they default to consensus – rather than merit – hiring.
The researchers admit: There isn’t a lot of data out there to prove that more is better when it comes to interviewing, screening and analyzing candidates. That’s mostly because companies and researchers haven’t tested assumptions that jumping through more hoops or passing over candidates based on a slight doubt will result in the best hires.
But Google did one experiment that proves a lot: The company found it was about 85% accurate on the value produced from four interviews. After that, they were gaining just a percentage point of value from more rounds. Simply put: They weren’t learning anything more telling about candidates and their ability to do the job with more rounds of interviewing. Now they don’t waste more time or money on more interviews.
While you likely can’t overhaul – or severely cut – your plan in a minute, you can likely take some incremental steps to move toward simplifying the hiring process. Here, a duo of research pieces has pinpointed how organizations can do this:
Look deeper within
Between World War II and the 1970s, companies filled about 90% of their open positions within, either through promotions or later moves, according to research from Peter Cappelli, the Director of the Wharton School of Business Center for Human Resources. Employees stayed at companies longer and shared institutional knowledge.
Today, only about a third of positions are filled from within company walls.
It’s a hiring issue because Cappelli and his colleague Matthew Bidwell found outside hires take three years to perform as well as internal hires in the same job. And internal hires take seven years to earn as much as you pay outside hires! Plus, hiring from the outside often causes internal resentment and disrupts company culture.
Their advice: Post all jobs internally first. Ask managers for candidate recommendations. Try to fill vacancies internally before you spend time and money on external advertising, screening and interviewing.
Define the decision
Before you even start looking for candidates, determine and clearly define who has the final word on a hiring decision. The point is to eliminate consensus hiring. Ideally, this will be the person who is most impacted by – or who will have the greatest impact on – the new employee.
Also, define who has input rights and if someone has veto power on the decision. That can help eliminate hard feelings over whose choice candidate is picked or unnecessary committee time.
In an effort to impress hiring managers, some HR pros and lots of vendors stress filling the funnel with a large number of applicants. But the two Wharton researchers say just about 2% of applicants receive offers. So the funnel is full of applicants, but very few are qualified in the eyes of hiring managers.
To simplify, create a smaller, better-qualified applicant pool. It’ll save money, time and resources.
One way: Give applicants more opportunities to eliminate themselves from consideration. Texas Instruments introduced a preemployment test and allowed applicants to see their scores before they applied. If they weren’t comfortable with what the test covered, or they found their scores weren’t in the range the company wanted, they didn’t likely proceed. That saved the company the cost of processing more applications.
Remove a layer of interviews
Based on the Google research, The Talent authors say the law of diminishing returns kicks in if you have more than four interviews.
It doesn’t matter if interviews beyond the fourth are with different people or HR, the costs associated with delaying the decision and adding complexity to the process outweigh the benefits of talking to candidates again.
Move toward numerical ratings
Even if you determine who has the final say – and stick to it – several people will still likely interview candidates. When they evaluate, get them to submit individual ratings before the final decision-maker gets subjective input from the other stakeholders.
That can eliminate groupthink and one-off observations that often make a big deal out of nothing.