Press-Republican

Guest Column

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
Guest Column
  • clute_cropped.jpg Finding accountability, healing

    Today, I focus on the vast majority of cases that do not go to trial but end in a guilty plea, writes former District Attorney and City Judge Penny Clute.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • krieg_felicia_mug.jpg Affordable doesn't mean low quality

    Drugstore products often perform just as well as their high-end counterparts, Felicia Krieg writes.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • paul_grasso.jpg Opportunity to repair infrastructure missed

    A vibrant economy requires roads, bridges, dams and other assets that are in good condition, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ken_wibecan.jpg Remembering the Sixties

    Each Memorial Day and Labor Day in the early 1960s, about a dozen of us city-dwellers drove to Lake George, writes columnist Ken Wibecan.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg The right to be forgotten?

    Europe taking first steps toward securing privacy with Google and Facebook, writes columnist Stu Denenberg.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Ethical consumerism in vogue

    However, making purchasing choices that can help save the planet aren't always that simple, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg U.S. lacking leadership

    Inspiration is hard to come by as society struggles to fulfill the traditional American dream, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    June 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for quality, safety, animal welfare

    June Dairy Month is a good time to appreciate all the effort that goes into producing the very best in dairy products, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    June 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Libraries still relevant

    In the digital age, it takes innovation and creativity to assure libraries stay a vital part of the community, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    June 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Trees at risk from pests

    The Emerald Ash Borer is a major threat to ash trees locally and across North America, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    June 1, 2014 1 Photo