There is an unsettling trend in hiring that seems to come straight from the pages of George Orwell’s, 1984. This trend involves crunching large amounts of data to produce a profile for the ideal candidate for any given position. The data used in this approach is gathered through resumes, tests, Internet searches, social networks, etc. and includes information such as personality type, creative aptitude, attitude towards alcohol (Facebook pictures anyone?), distance from the job site, and emotional stability (yes, someone is noticing all of your complaints on Twitter). Over time, specialized software can target certain individuals that traditionally have success on the job in addition to flagging those that are statistically unlikely to perform well, thereby streamlining the hiring process.
Much of this isn’t that surprising. Stories of companies combing the Internet for information on job applicants are common. But what is surprising is the extent and reach of these hiring programs, as well as the level of reliance on these techniques by some firms. Companies such as Xerox and Google are exclusively using the data hiring approach for certain types of positions like call center and customer service. No human interviews. No human screening. No human interaction. Hires are based solely on what the software spits out. Supporters say this approach removes human bias and relies on facts and statistics. Detractors say it removes the necessary interaction of a very people oriented process.
Certainly, technology has a place in the hiring process. It can increase efficiencies and reduce the workload, especially for companies that hire in large volumes. Technology can also ease the legal burdens of hiring by storing data in a way that is easily tracked, resulting in reports that can be generated with the click of a mouse. But do we really believe that this is the best or right way to hire people? Is it wise to rely so heavily, solely even, on technology for a “human” process like hiring? Is there not a risk of losing great candidates simply because they didn’t answer a test question correctly or include something on a resume? or even because they posted pictures of their vacation to Cancun?
To be clear, ATR is a firm believer of leveraging and using technology to make our employees more informed and more efficient. But we use technology to enhance human interaction not eliminate it; efficiency leaves more time to actually meet and speak with candidates; technology makes it possible to interview someone in another state virtually in person. Replacing human interaction? It’s just not an option. We know that the best way to find the very best candidates is with increased human interaction. If you want to be more confident when you hire a permanent employee don’t abdicate to a software program – try using a temp-to-perm approach.
What better way to see how an individual performs on the job then to, well…see them perform on the job. All the tests and advanced technologies won’t tell you if your first round pick will be a Peyton Manning or a JaMarcus Russell. And there’s a good chance you wouldn’t have even interviewed Bart Starr (17th round), Johnny Unitas (9th), Tom Brady (6th), or Kurt Warner (undrafted), all Super Bowl champions. You need to see people perform to know what you are getting, and temp-to-perm is the best way to do this. Technology is an important addition to the hiring process, but it should not become the hiring process. There’s a better way, just ask us!
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