From November, 2015

Recruiting Trends: Anonymous Resume Screening & Blind Interviewing

Dr. John Sullivan published recently an article titled, “Recruiting Trends for 2016 And Their Supporting Best Practices, Part 1 of 2.”  Part one lists recruiting trends twelve through six while the six highest impact censored-297442_640trends are reserved for part two to be released at a later date.  Curious to see if video interviewing made the cut, I was momentarily floored from the get go when I read trend #12, “Anonymous resume screening and blind interviewing.”

In an effort to bring more diversity to recruiting, recruiters are not only being trained to recognize their unconscious biases but also are being trained in best practices to hide “irrelevant” information.  Best practice number one includes hiding information such as the candidate’s name, address and grades which are not seen as accurate predictors of success.  Best practice number two suggests reducing the number of visual biases.  These visual biases are not detailed but using more telephone interviews is encouraged.  Another suggestion offered was to hide the candidate behind a screen.  The third best practice was to reduce voice bias by offering online questionnaires.  The best practice of reducing voice bias seems to contradict the best practice of conducting more phone interviews.  In summary a trend is forming that recruiting should be done blind and deaf.  You don’t know the candidate’s name, gender, age, and additionally can’t see or hear the candidate.  Imagine the Dating Game where the woman asks written questions of her suitors, they in-turn write down their responses on an index card, and then toss them over the curtain to her without revealing any hint of their charm or charisma.  Perhaps this isn’t a fair analogy.  Hiring should be more scientific and based on the candidate’s skills not the emotions they invoke in you, correct?  But what becomes of cultural fit if we remove a candidate’s face and voice, or is “cultural fit” just a euphemism for discrimination, as an HR professional once put it to me?

Google is mentioned in the article as one of the firms experimenting with blind resumes and though Google’s site does promote diversity, their culture is important to them as well.  As is written on their careers page, “Lots has been written about our great perks, but read on to find out what our culture is really all about.”  Cultural fit is important not just in determining if the candidate is right for the company but also in determining if the company is right for the candidate.  Is the effort to hire a diverse workforce based on skills alone ignoring the cultural fit factors necessary to increase employee retention? Trend #10 promotes the use of recruiting videos such as video job descriptions and video job offers to better show off the excitement and passion of an organization.  Perhaps such a practice will better help organizations promote their culture and improve fit with candidates.

I concede that a candidate’s name and grades aren’t accurate predictors of success.  In fact data that Google derived from their recruiting processes suggests G.P.A. truly is irrelevant several years post-graduation.  Location to me though seems necessary perhaps not for fit but just to know whether the candidate requires re-location or sponsorship to work at your company.  I will assume the recruiter understands the job specs and is providing the appropriate resumes to the hiring manager.

Eliminating bias in hiring is certainly a desired goal, but are employers losing the ability to find and hire the best candidates by going blind and deaf? Only if you believe that cultural fit won’t make your organization more successful.  We have to ask, is diversity more important than every other objective and will diversity alone optimize your workforce?  Are diversity and cultural fit mutually exclusive?

The extent to which extreme measures to decrease bias and increase diversity are necessary points to a larger problem that these best practices cannot circumvent.  Prejudiced managers exist and even if the candidate is hired sight unseen they will reveal themselves the first day they report work.  If the employee comes from a class, race, ethnicity, etc. to which the hiring manager is biased, you aren’t doing the candidate or your company’s retention rates any favors.

The other big unknown is will flying blind and deaf actually result in a more diverse workforce?  What do you think?

Bosses Aren’t Destined To Be Jerks, Jerks Are Destined To Be Bosses

Not everyone likes to be a subordinate and take orders but we are more willing to take orders from some leaders than from others.  Some bosses despite our open mindedness and willingness to give one boss-454867_640 hundred percent, still behave as plain ole jerks.  Jerk bosses are popularized and made notorious by the media through Leona Helmsley like scandals and movies such as Horrible Bosses.  Perhaps we have led ourselves into believing these boss types are corrupted by the power given to them.  Research suggests however that bosses don’t necessarily become jerks but rather jerks are promoted to bosses.

Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, CEO of Hogan Assessments, says that people with narcissistic, self-centered and confrontational traits are more likely to become leaders.  Emily Grijalva, assistant professor at the University at Buffalo School of Management, explains why such people move upward.  She performed a meta analysis of 18 studies involving 30,000 test subjects and found that narcissism is positively associated with attaining leadership roles.  She explains, “When you first meet a narcissist they tend to make a positive impression on you. So if you were to meet someone narcissistic at a party you would probably think they were entertaining or attractive,” but they may also have a lot of, “extremely toxic interpersonal characteristics such as being exploitative, manipulative, arrogant.”  Grijalva further explains that narcissists perhaps more so than others, are going to portray themselves as leaders but as Jeanne Branthover, managing partner at Boyden Global Executive Search, points out, narcissists aren’t imposters but truly have bought in to who they are.

Fred Kiel, founder of KRW International, a firm that develops leadership inside companies, explains that there is a bad notion in the business world that the most effective leader is a “hard-nosed” driver.  Someone who takes action and gets things done is good despite their rough treatment of others.  He notes that this prevalent business school philosophy, embedded into our psyches, could further promote the idea that jerk behavior is desirable.

Are jerk leaders effective though?  Kiel examined the lives of 84 CEOs and compared them according to a suite of traits he developed.  He found that high-character leaders who exhibit traits such as honesty, forgiveness and keeping promises, brought in five times the return on assets to the bottom line than did low-character CEOs.

Emily Grijalva analyzed twenty-six studies across 5,000 participants and found that individuals with high levels of narcissism were ineffective leaders, however her analysis also showed that individuals with low levels of narcissism were ineffective.  The thought is that individuals with low levels of narcissism are insecure and hesitant.  The ineffective leadership ability of mildly narcissistic people may have promoted the belief that narcissism was a desired leadership trait, but Girjalva’s research reveals individuals with only average amounts demonstrate much greater effectiveness than those exhibiting either high or low narcissistic tendencies.

Narcissists, aside from having poor management skills, may hire managers just like them which exacerbates the problem of ineffective leadership in the managerial ranks of an organization.  A fraternity of jerks at the top makes people miserable to the point of leaving.  Inverse to this, narcissists may also hire people who prefer being subordinate and bossed around.  Such hiring does not improve the situation. Left unchecked by subordinates willing to challenge them, the overly confident narcissist boss may make reckless decisions.

As Dr. Chamorro-Premuzi points out, “In general, bosses perform pretty poorly.  If you look at large corporations in the past five years on average they have all fired 15% to 20% of senior leaders.”

Remember, even if someone dresses nicely, exudes success, charisma, confidence and a can-do (possibly bombastic) attitude, they may not be presidential….er, I mean managerial material.  They may be a narcissist.

5 Employer Pain Points That Video Interviewing Addresses

Recruiters, HR Professionals and Hiring Managers are all involved in the hiring process but not all share the pains of the other.  Each faces challenges in their position the other does not fully understand or appreciate.  Video interviewing offers a one size fits all solution to handle the difficulties faced by those in the hiring profession.

Pain Point #1: Scheduling Hassles – HR Professionals and recruiters both feel this pain.  Scheduling and rescheduling phone interviews with candidates can take as long as the actual phone interview.  Takingache-19005_640 just minutes to set up, automated virtual interviews allow the candidate to interview on their schedule no matter what time of day or night.  HR professionals/recruiters are free to focus on other responsibilities as a result.

Pain Point #2: Discrimination – Everyone involved in the hiring process wants to ensure their company’s hiring standards are fair and diverse but the HR professional has the greatest concern of all for this.  Video interviewing is seen by some in this role as a tool that further facilitates bias however automated interviewing’s use of a structured interview process where all candidates answer the same questions, ensures no prejudiced questions creep in.  Video interviewing is also able to screen candidates back into the process who might have unfairly been dismissed solely on the basis of their resume.  Through a recorded video interview, minorities are able to dismiss pre-conceived biases surrounding their race, gender, age and so on.  Additionally recorded video interviews provide a great record of an organization’s non-discriminatory hiring practices.

Pain Point #3: Too many candidates, so little time – Organizations receive around 120 resumes for every open job position which leaves recruiters and hiring managers little time to screen them all.  In fact, according to the, recruiters spend an average of only 6 seconds reviewing each resume.  Even when whittled down to a manageable number, recruiting professionals might still need to conduct a dozen phone interviews and from that the hiring manager may select up to five candidates with whom he/she will spend hours interviewing.  Video interviewing decreases time wasted on numerous phone screens and unnecessary face to face interviews.

Pain Point #4: Inadequate collaboration – Panel interviews are conducted so hiring managers may collaborate on their interest in a candidate because collaboration can’t adequately be achieved with phone screen notes.  In-person however, the panel’s time is greatly burdened especially if they determine in five minutes that the candidate is not a fit but are forced for etiquette’s sake to continue with the interview.  Some video interviewing vendors allow you to compare candidates’ video responses side by side so that a more accurate picture develops and the hiring managers can save time by targeting candidates who best fit their organization.

Pain Point #5: Shallow candidate pool – Despite the increased number of resumes per position, hiring managers continue to complain that they can’t find adequate talent. Video interviewing allows managers and recruiters to interview job candidates outside their geographic region and for less expense than phone screening.  This not only expands the candidate pool but reduces travel costs associated with flying in candidates.

If you are involved in the hiring process and a big ole Excedrin headache manifests, I suggest you pop a few video interviews instead.

Video Interviewing: 5 Candidate Red Flags Employers Need To Observe

Employers must be on the lookout for candidate red flags during a traditional face-to-face job interview but what red flags might be detected during a video interview?  Here is a list of red flags gathered from several human resources professionals.  These warning signs can also be uncovered earlier in the hiring process by way of a video interview.

Doesn’t know the company: Your video interview, whether live or virtual, should contain questions which expose the candidate’s knowledge of your company or products.  A candidate should have an red flagadequate understanding of your product/service and your company.  Via video you will be able to identify earlier in the process whether a candidate is passionate about the position or just a pretender.

Speaks ill of past colleagues: As a recruiter or hiring manager, I’m sure you love candidates who bad mouth their previous boss or colleagues.  “Why are you leaving your current job?” or “Why did you leave the job?” are questions that often reveal how a candidate feels about his past co-workers.  Candidates who express negative opinions about their previous employers are potentially demonstrating an inability to work well with others. Continue reading “Video Interviewing: 5 Candidate Red Flags Employers Need To Observe” »