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How Predictive Hiring Will Save Your Company

Talent Acquisition

How Predictive Hiring Will Save Your Company

September 23, 2016 Mike Erlin

It's a cliché, but organisations are nothing without the individuals who staff them. The quality of an organisation's employees weighs heavily on its likely future. Organisation leaders typically devote a good deal of their time and attention to talent acquisition and retention. It's already hard enough as it is to find and hire smart, motivated people who can rapidly adapt to the CEO's strategic vision and tactical agendas without excessive hand-holding.

Individuals Versus Groups

In abstract theory, only individual skills and experience matter. In practise, precious few individuals stand entirely aloof. People are emotional beings, and they tend strongly to respond emotionally to other members of their immediate teams. To a lesser but still powerful extent, they also respond emotionally to their extended teams in larger organisations.

This emotional component composes a substantial part of the corporate culture of any organisation. A corporate culture provides implied ethical values and performance expectations over and beyond explicit employee goalposts. Many management teams neglect the powerful effects of corporate culture on daily productivity and long-term organisational success. Some hiring software used by human resources departments typically focuses on individual characteristics at the expense of pervasive social effects that bear down on optimisation of individual talents.

Talent Acquisition Versus Tribalism

Regrettably, a simplistic organisational culture often has the unfortunate effect of amplifying the tendency of groups of people to fall into the human habit of tribalism. Employees form cliques that settle into unproductive habits such as incessantly currying favour with other members of the clique or refusing to budge beyond familiar work patterns that fit with the perceptions of fellow clique members.

Many employees handle routine tasks that don't require much thought. The potential damage from tribalism is limited with these employees. CEOs should be aware and concerned with the effect of tribalism on creative individuals. It's not uncommon for managers to subconsciously favour unimaginative toadies and natural minions for promotion over truly creative individuals. Without intending to do, these managers confuse easy compliance and an agreeable manner with talent. Genuinely talented employees may be abandoned to indifference and even subtle ostracisation. Several giveaway phrases for this phenomenon appear below:

  • "He's kind of pushy, mate. Maybe another candidate would be better for the position."
  • "She seems to invite arguments. Is there another candidate with better interpersonal skills?"
  • "I like that bloke -- he's so friendly. Can we promote him?"
  • "She's so helpful to others. We should promote her."

Many existing recruiting software packages wholly fail to address group behaviours. Some managers may even purposefully exploit weaknesses in talent management systems to hire and promote their cronies. Runaway tribalism perverts the core function of talent acquisition into ego stroking and empire building. Given that top talents may be capable of outperforming lesser talents by as much as ten times over, the corrosive effects of tribalism on productivity cannot be overstated.

Advanced Recruitment Management Systems

If an organisation is to avoid wasting the resources poured into establishing an efficient meritocracy among creative individuals, then its CEO and other upper management leaders must recognise that niceness and a penchant for getting along without fuss is rarely compatible with the oftentimes pushy, demanding personalities of top performers. Upsetting a pervasive bias against delivery-focused staff members requires a radically different approach.

Fortunately, a new breed of recruiting software packages has entered the marketplace. Meant specifically to optimise staffing teams with superior talents and to forestall destructive tribal cliques, advanced applicant tracking software has seen measurable success in real-world environments. Now recruiters can easily organise candidates strengths, portray them to hiring teams and convey all applicants in a fair and straight forward manor.

Rapid Feedback Cycles

Rather than rely on sludgy, inefficient feedback mechanisms that may leave top management in the dark for months about personnel problems, an organisation can adopt a more rational recruitment management system that demands personal responsibility and much shorter feedback cycles from team leaders. Performance tracking tools and a more unified talent management suite offers a powerful opportunity to codify the routines that most clearly define productivity.

Furthermore, focusing on observable routines promises to remove the subjectivity of personal impressions in favour of straightforward metrics that can be systematically refined into a blueprint for success and improved through team participation. Beyond metrics, ongoing self-assessment by team members and attention to the actual impact of changing work processes likely will yield steady improvements in extracting the best returns from top performers. Such an objective approach will also increase the effectiveness of social media recruiting of attractive prospects who possess the elusive attributes associated with superior talent.

Last Thoughts

As with any potentially disruptive differentiation in organisational strategy, smart team leaders will encourage robust discussion and debate over the best ways to optimise the power of predictive hiring. An aware team is a willing and enthusiastic team.

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About Mike Erlin
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