Scientific Hiring or Gut Feel - Are You Willing To Bet Your Career On It?

#Hr #Shrm #hiring #Tchat
Editor's Comment: Thanks to guest blogger: @alanallard for a challenging title and a thought provoking post. Anything we can do as HR professionals to hire better is worth a read!

Scientific Hiring or Gut Feel -  Are You Willing To Bet Your Career On It?

As an HR professional or as a manager or executive, you know that the recruiting and hiring process takes an enormous amount of time and money and can make you want to pull your hair out. After all, if you hire the wrong person, what’s that going to cost you in terms of your influence and reputation? And what is it going to cost your company in hard dollars?

According to the Labor Department, it costs on average, one-third of a new hire’s annual salary to replace him or her—and obviously, those costs increase the higher up in the company the turnover occurs.

Now that we know the challenge, what are the solutions? One solution that more and more companies are using to find top talent, put them in the right spot and to keep them is what I call “Scientific Hiring.” You might be wondering “What the heck is that—and why should I care?” In part scientific hiring is about using behavioral assessments that are:
  •  Objective (developed and validated exclusively for use within occupational and organizational populations)
  • Reliable (is proven to provide yield similar results if the same person takes it numerous times)
  • Valid (it measures what it says it measures and is proven to be accurate—in this case, workplace behavior and performance)
  • Neutral (regarding gender, race or age)

You might find all that interesting, but what does it really mean to you when it comes to making a huge mistake by hiring the wrong person? How can scientific hiring look even more like the genius you are? In short, it takes the guess work out of knowing if a candidate is the right match for the position you are recruiting for. You no longer have to rely upon “massaged” resumes, hand-picked references or wonder if the candidate is really as good as they say.

Not only that, you don’t have to over-rely on your experience as an interviewer or on your gut feel—the two things many HR professionals and hiring managers take so much pride in. If you excel in these two areas—great—just don’t stop there. Here’s why:

A behavioral assessment will give you objective, reliable and validated behavioral metrics that are impossible to get any other way.

That’s the science behind scientific hiring. You cannot and will not be able to get the information a behavioral assessment gives you no matter how experienced you are at interviewing or how much you trust your intuition or gut. If you need to know if your candidate is naturally disposed to being a team player or detailed oriented or customer service oriented versus task and operationally oriented, you can’t depend fully on a resume and answers to your trusted behavioral interviewing questions, etc.—as good as they are.

The fact is, too many HR professionals and hiring managers are over-confident about their track record in putting the right person in the right job. But don’t take my word for it—take management guru Peter Drucker’s word for it:

“…by and large, executives make poor promotion and staffing decisions. By all accounts, their batting average is no better than .333: at most one-third of such decisions turn out right; on-third are minimally effective; and one-third are outright failure. In no other area of management would we put up with such miserable performance.” –Harvard Business Review

There are many reasons that explain why it’s so hard to match the right person to the right job, but here are two:

  •         Many candidates are quite good at “selling” themselves in the interview
  •         An “A” candidate in one company could easily become an average performer in you company

In the face of what Drucker points out, how can you tip the scales in your favor when it comes to hiring the right candidate the first time around? (If you ace that, you will dramatically reduce your turnover, your recruiting and hiring costs and avoid a boatload of stress.) The answer to how to be a whole lot smarter in the hiring process is to put the science of behavioral assessments in your toolbox.

It’s not about dismissing your ability to read a person in an interview or in how important your intuition is. It’s about adding crucial information to what you can get from your gut or your people reading skills. It’s about getting objective, reliable and valid insight and metrics that you cannot possibly get any other way—in short, it’s about Scientific Hiring. Without it, you are betting your reputation and career on how well your gut performs. If you listen to Drucker, you won’t make that mistake.

Guest Blogger: Alan is a performance management expert who partners with clients in attracting and developing top talent. He uses a scientific approach to hiring via the tool - Predictive Index. He is also author of the recently released e-book: 7 Secrets to Happiness. To connect with Alan - click here.
To find out more about his hiring tool - click here

Twitter: @joanncorley 


  1. Well before Peter Drucker was writing about bad hiring, Paul Meehl ( had already published his great work on clinical versus statistical prediction:

    Also, this article should resonant with those who believe they possess hiring ESP:

    Bottom-line: Identify the problems to be solved once a person is hired and use knowledgeable interviewers/hiring managers/peers to assess a person's solution.

  2. I like your phrase "hiring ESP." Good one.

  3. Really appreciate the other's an important discussion; both candidate and company deserve best fit!


Post a Comment