The Best Way To Hire

A study in the Psychological Bulletin conducted a decade ago but recently brought to light shows that the methods companies use to determine whether a potential employee is a good fit…may not be the best methods.

To wit:

Out of 19 methods for essentially predicting how well an employee will be able to do his/her job, like interviews, data points on a resume like years of experience or years of education, which topped the list? None of these.

The top predictor of success in a new hire is a work sample test—one that specifically tests an on-the-job skill.

“Structured” interviews came in third, though an unstructured interview (“Tell me about yourself…”) came in ninth.

A job knowledge test (a written theoretical test rather than a hands-on test like the work sample) was the fifth most effective method, and a job tryout was seventh, both more effective than unstructured interviews.

Years of experience and years of education came in 14th and 16th, respectively; age came in last.

A couple of questions.

One: would it be a good thing if more companies adopted this approach? We see both sides. It would be great to see hiring companies paying less attention to the resume, since that attention is often paid arbitrarily, but making prospective applicants take tests is time-consuming for both hirer and hiree.

Two: Are there more factors at play here than the applicant’s simple ability to do the job? Cultural fit is important, and you won’t get that from a test, just an interview. Personality is important, as new hires who can’t stand their managers are not likely to get far. Is that why companies have shied away from more skills-based methods of evaluation?

(h/t The Staffing Advisor)