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Hiring without an algorithm

by Miki Saxon

Google is the 10,000 pound gorilla, so anything it does is discussed, analyzed and frequently copied. That’s why managers everywhere are pondering the NYT story regarding Google’s latest approach to hiring. It’s understandable, considering that, “Google has doubled the number of employees in each of the last three year…no reason the company will not double again in size this year. That would increase the number of hires to about 200 a week.”

Google’s known for only hiring grads with a 3.7+ GPA, double 800 SAT scores and world-class interviewing skills—none of which are viable predictors of creativity or working success.

So Google decided that they would create a profile of the traits of current employees, then create a candidate test and use an algorithm to search for applicants who tested similarly.

Psychological profiling isn’t new; companies have been using various forms of it to improve hiring results for over 50 years. Granted, Google asked their employees 300 questions to develop a finer profile, as well as developing a proprietary algorithm with which to screen candidates.

Then they made the same error that so many others have made—before you can access the test you need to choose the position(s) that best fit you; only then can take the test to see if your profile is similar to the others who have succeeded in those positions.

Well, that’s one way to homogenize your company, but not necessarily a great way to bring in the best innovators.

Successful hiring always seems to have a touch of magic involved, and the best practitioners are viewed with a bit of awe. But it’s not magic, it’s what happens when a company sets out to make sure that every manager and employee is skilled at interviewing and the myriad of other actions needed to attract, screen and successfully hire and keep talent; in other words—making staffing, with or without HR, a core competency.

Even when their company doesn’t pursue hiring excellence, many mangers choose to do it themselves. Those who do are easy to recognize, because their groups are highly motivated, innovative, with great morale, low attrition, and they fill their openings fast—often with internally referred candidates.

So, no matter what you read, or what the 10,000 pound gorillas do, give yourself an edge by focusing your efforts on honing yours, and your organization’s, hiring skills; and don’t put your candidates in a box created by where they went to school, previously worked; the position held or even their current skills—at least not if your goal is to increase creativity and innovation.

One Response to “Hiring without an algorithm”
  1. MAPping Company Success Says:

    […] 2007 it developed an algorithm to screen candidates — it didn’t […]

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