For the past 40 years I’ve been working with hiring managers, recruiters and candidates on all types of jobs from camp counselors to senior executives. Part of this has been tracking the results of their hiring decisions including what happens to people who didn’t get hired for a dumb reason at company A, but did get hired at company B for the right reasons.
Given this perspective, here are 15 things I’ve found that absolutely don’t predict on-the-job success. Despite the obvious, companies, recruiters and hiring managers still use these factors to make critical yes/no hiring decisions.
1. First impressions
2. Gut feelings
3. Generic competencies
4. Personality-based assessment tests
5. Introverted vs. Extroverted
6. Being on time for an interview
7. Being prepared
8. Telling you they want the job
9. Being employed or not
10. Being an active candidate
11. Using a behavioral interview
12. Cultural fit
13. Academic credentials
14. Level of experience
15. Strong statistical correlation
Given all of these hiring myths and non-predictors, some might ask how to eliminate people who apply but aren’t qualified. I’d suggest sending everyone who applies an email describing a major project involved in the job. Then ask those interested in the job to prove their ability by describing in 1-2 paragraphs their most comparable past accomplishment. The weak will deselect themselves. This is called the two-step apply process and, by itself, it overcomes most of the problems described above.
Hiring stronger people starts by stopping doing these 15 things. Unfortunately, stopping doing the wrong things is more difficult than doing the right things.
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“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job wait until you hire an amateur.” – Red Adair