Some business leaders have a tendency to view hiring as an art; others view it as a science. But really, making better hiring decisions requires a combination of both art and science. If you’re making your decisions entirely on gut instinct – the art approach – you’ll end up
- hiring people who don’t have the right skills for the job at hand or the will to learn those skills
- letting your unconscious biases effect who you hire, which can have a negative effect on diversity
- or hiring people who look good on paper but aren’t actually passionate about the mission of the company.
If you make your hiring decisions with a purely scientific approach, you’ll inevitably
- dismiss candidates with high levels of potential simply because they don’t meet certain qualifications or have the expected background
- choose candidates who have all of the right technical skills but who clash with their fellow employees
- or, again, miss out on opportunities to bring in new perspectives and voices that will make your company smarter and stronger.
Finding better hires requires a balance of both art and science. Here are a few helpful practices for bringing together art and science in your hiring process so that you find the right person for the right job every time:
ART – Make sure a real live person and not just an algorithm reviews the applications you receive. Having a few “deal breakers” to weed out poor applicants is fine, but for applicants that are closer to making the cut, have someone review the options and keep an eye out for those candidates who might be excellent fits with your company despite not meeting all of the exact qualifications for the job at hand.
SCIENCE – Once you’re down to your shortlist of candidates for a position (and sometimes even sooner), use hiring assessments to help determine the character, values, and motivations of the people you’re considering. Assessments can help you figure out – beyond the acts that people put on in interviews – the actual enthusiasm and engagement that candidates will bring to the job.
ART – When interviewing someone that you’re seriously considering, take them out to lunch and/or give them a tour of the office. How a person acts in a restaurant – to waitstaff, other patrons, and you – will tell you all about their character. The same if true during an office tour. If a person shows enthusiasm and curiosity while also being respectful to everyone they meet – assistants and executives alike – that will tell you a great deal.
SCIENCE – Ask unexpected interview questions. Everyone prepares for the same basic questions, so the more you can throw a candidate off their game – while still asking questions that are relevant and appropriate – the more likely you are to get honest, unrehearsed answers.
ART – Don’t be the only person deciding. Bring in the team members who will be working with, above, and below the person you’re hiring, and let them ask their questions and give their opinions. That will help ensure a better fit.