Usually my rants move from topic to topic and I was ready to move on, until I learned last week that it’s unlikely any of us at FOT (especially Sackett after his Casey Anthony post) will ever find a job again. That’s right, let me introduce you to Social Intelligence, the next fad in recruitment! For a fee, they’ll go out and do the online equivalent of digging through your trash and assemble a dossier of everything a prospective employee has said or done online in the past seven years. Great, I can’t wait until I have to explain to a prospective employer in the future why I wear short-shorts around the office. You can check out the article here in the NY Times of all places.
What bothers me about this service is that it’s built on the assumption that knowing what everything
someone has said or done online will somehow help you make better hiring decisions. I think it will do nothing more that confuse your hiring process at best and open you up to a lawsuit at worst. Why? Because we should all know better by now that hiring is a complex business filled with opportunities for subjectivity and mistakes. But I do think there are 3 key things you can do in order to help improve your hiring decisions, all of which don’t include digging through an online trash heap:
1. Understand where your talent really comes from: No, I don’t mean what websites or social media sites a candidate “found” about your company. There’s very little competitive advantage to that approach in my opinion. Rather, if you’re going to build a dossier, why not build one on all of your top performers? Look into their past – where did they train? Who did they train with? Where did they go to school? What you’re looking for are patterns. Maybe there’s a common link to a person or advisor in their past. That’ts who you should be building a relationship with if you want to build your pipeline.
2. Throw out your hiring competency models: Look, I understand the potential value or having well thought out competency models in place to help guide EVERYTHING you do in a company. But, it’s time spent in the wrong place. The fact of the matter is, most of us are really bad interviewers and will accept the most generic of answers a candidate gives us. Then we recommend/don’t recommend hiring based on essentially no data. The real leverage point here is providing an opportunity for your interviewers to practice their skills over and over when the stakes are low until they get better. No competency model, no matter how well researched, can replace a good interviewer.
3. Get the team involved: If I believed in silver bullets, this would be mine. I can do everything in the book to make a solid hiring choice, but if the team they are about to join was a) not involved in the process, or b) isn’t committed to making the new hire successful, it’s game over. Once an employee walks throught the door, it’s no longer about the hiring process. Rather, it’s about how the team supports the new person to be successful. This is what truly drives success. In my opinion.
Now, if you think what I just wrote is a bunch of b.s., that’s ok. Don’t hire me in the future. I know I could always go get a job with Sackett!
Andy Porter is Chief People Officer at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, MA which means he works with some wicked smaaht people. Some days, he indeed does wear short shorts around the office(call it a morale booster) but it really just makes people uncomfortable. Other days, he spits some mad game on cheese. No really – he’s somewhat of a cheese aficionado. But more importantly? At Broad he gets to his small part to help change the world of healthcare.