January 5, 2014

Scientific method applied to hiring

“The times they are a-changin,” wrote Bob Dylan in 1964. That fact became very apparent to me last week when I participated in a conference call the topic of which was “Using predictive statistical analysis to hire talent and assess performance.” For the uninitiated, predictive analytics are used “to determine the future outcome of an event or the likelihood of a situation occurring.”

My friend, Amanda, a behavioral neuroscientist who lives in England, invited me to attend with the admonishment that I could listen but not speak. She always sets the bar high.

Armed with a large latte (double shot), I dialed in hoping the caffeine jolt would keep me awake, if not alert, for the duration of the call. I was quite surprised to find the conversation interesting and informative, when it wasn’t completely over my head.

The teleconference began with the participants, primarily behavioral scientists involved in finding more effective ways to recruit and hire people for positions requiring specific skill sets.

No argument there; hiring the best available talent is definitely a strategic competitive advantage. A recent survey of 250 executives in seven countries found “attracting and retaining skilled staff” was the one of the top issues facing businesses worldwide.

As a group, they challenged the conventional wisdom in recruiting. Their premise was that the traditional approach to hiring and promoting is subjective and flawed and that there is technology in the marketplace that can remove the “human bias from recruiting and promoting.”

The discussion focused on moving away from largely subjective means of assessing talent to more objective, empirical-based methods; challenging the conventional wisdom that the best talent is found among applicants from top schools with high grade point averages and experience at prestigious companies, and “poaching” from competitors is the best way to hire great people.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time