It’s no surprise to hear that we make important business decisions by first gathering critical data and facts, and then use our best judgment to make the final decision.  What IS surprising, however, is how often we don’t gather all relevant information before making employee hiring decisions. Why?

Looking for ‘Chemistry’

In his book What the Dog Saw, Malcom Gladwell offered a convincing explanation for why we don’t place a high value on collecting objective information when hiring employees.  He proposed that we are mostly concerned with whether we have ‘chemistry’ with job candidates and will get along with them at work.  Since we prefer to rely on our own judgment to make that decision, we don’t consider the impartial information offered by structured interviews and other assessments to be as important.

Why ‘Chemistry’ is Outdated

Today’s severely limited talent pool means we can’t afford to overlook ANY job candidate who has the potential to make our company’s workforce stronger, regardless of whether we initially experience ‘chemistry’ together.  We need to quickly and accurately identify candidates who have the fundamental qualities needed to learn, adapt, and succeed in the job.  Qualities such as:

  • Problem Solving

  • Logical Thinking

  • Responsibility and Accountability

  • Attention to Detail

  • Build and Maintain Relationships (especially managers)

Those qualities are best determined by structured interviews, work sample demonstrations, and other objective assessments (after all, that’s why they were developed). When we underestimate their importance and instead rely only on our own subjective judgments, we often make these and other costly mistakes:

  • Overlook qualified but non-traditional job candidates

  • Focus on one or two critical candidate qualities but have a ‘blind spot’ to other missing qualities

  • Discount candidate deficiencies because they are similar to our own shortcomings

A Simple Solution – Delayed Judgments

Of course, there is a straightforward and easily implemented solution to this problem.  We can delay making subjective judgments about job candidates for a brief time until we gather objective information about them with structured interviews and other standardized assessments (just like we do for other important business decisions). Considerable academic research, along with my own first-hand experiences over 30 years, shows that delayed subjective judgments result in the best hiring decisions.

Better Promotional Decisions Too

It’s common practice to promote individual contributors to key managerial positions solely to reward their performance or seniority.  Instead, we should first gather information about each individual contributor’s potential to be an effective manager (for example, with a Managerial Simulation).  We can then make a more informed judgment about whether a managerial promotion is the best way to reward them; or whether a promotion to a higher paying individual contributor role is a better solution.

When you are ready to put in place simple, proven, and straightforward processes to gather objective candidate information that leads to better hiring & promotional decisions, call us at 505-377-0015