Does Your Prestigious Diploma Determine Your Success?

According to a recent report by Payscale, students graduating from one of the Ivies or more harvard-202138_640prestigious technical institutions will over the course of their lifetime earn far more in career earnings than students who graduate from lesser respected institutions or “party” schools.  This on average is true but perhaps the Ivy diploma lends less to a person’s success than the person themselves.  Ivy League schools recruit the best of the best from around the country.  The students in most cases are brilliant, overachieving and ambitious.  In essence the Ivy has stacked their roster with talent.  Would these same students be less successful after graduating from less prestigious schools or do their natural attributes already pre-destine them for success?

Years ago economists Alan Krueger and Stacy Dale published a study comparing the success of students who were accepted to Ivies, but chose to attend a lesser prestigious school, with that of students who attended the Ivy institution.  Their results showed that when comparing apples to apples the added income potential from selective schools disappears.

Krueger breaks it down this way, “The average graduate from a top school is making nearly a hundred and twenty thousand dollars a year, the average graduate from a moderately selective school is making ninety thousand dollars. That’s an enormous difference, and I can see why parents would fight to get their kids into the better school. But I think they are just assigning to the school a lot of what the student is bringing with him to the school.”

Social scientists call this the treatment effect vs. the selection effect.  Best-selling author and columnist Malcolm Gladwell explains that the Marine Corps is a treatment-effect institution.  The Corps doesn’t take only tough recruits but rather their training is what makes recruits tough.  A modelling agency on the other hand is a selection-effect institution.  You don’t grow beautiful by signing with the agency, you are signed because you are beautiful.

In May Ronald Nelson decided to go to the University of Alabama despite having been accepted to all eight Ivy League schools in addition to West Coast Stanford.  He is intelligent, was his high school’s senior class president and an accomplished saxophone player.  How much less successful, if success were solely measured monetarily, will he be by graduating from UAB than from say Princeton?  The Ivies wouldn’t make him successful.  He already was successful and that’s why the Ivies chose him.

Well of course you may suggest that employers will view him more favorably with Harvard or Princeton on his resume than Alabama.  Not necessarily.  As I pointed out in an earlier post, a Gallup survey of 600 business leaders showed that 84% were more interested in a candidate’s knowledge compared to only 9% who felt that a candidate’s school pedigree was important.

Furthermore, as I also noted, Google found no correlation between a candidate’s ability to perform well in school and their ability to perform well at Google.  As their SVP of People operations put it, “…G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring and test scores are worthless.”

Now if you’re wondering which prestigious university provides the best ROI for its graduates, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, M.I.T., Stanford, you might be surprised none of these are at the top.  That distinction goes to Harvey Mudd College.  In my ignorance I have never even heard of this school.  Now whose name is Mud?

If Exit Interviews Are So Important, Why Not On Video?

The advantage of the exit interview for departing employees is that you can learn so much more about the current state of morale at your company than from present employees who are too fearful to vocalize theirexit-387227_640 criticisms. True, ex-employees who are disgruntled may be overzealous with negative feedback, but overall exit interviews can provide valuable input.

A recent post on TLNT, “The Four Benefits Of Conducting Exit Interviews” discusses these benefits in more detail. The article points out the following:

  1. They are cost effective
  2. You get more accurate points of view
  3. It’s an opportunity to uncover the real work environment
  4. They can increase retention

The article indicates that exit interviews take time and effort to be done right however if you have jumped on the video interviewing bandwagon to improve your hiring cycle why not use video interviews to improve your exiting cycle as well? One big issue with exit interviews, as stated in “You Need to Stop Going Through the Motions On Exit Interviews”, is that many professionals don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to administering the exit interview. The author suggests this solution: “A secure link to an exit interview module based on your company’s specific needs means that the departing employee can answer exit interview questions in relative anonymity.”

With video interviewing you could send the candidate a secure link to a set of questions customized by a qualified HR professional that are based on the specific job or area for which the departing employee was responsible. Each departing candidate for a given job would answer the same set of questions and thus a structured exit interview is accomplished. Furthermore, because the interviews are recorded, the candidates’ answers can be compared with one another. Ideally from that an accurate picture of your company’s weaknesses and strengths will come into view.

Now of course some candidates may be reluctant to share their honest views especially on camera for fear they will be burning a bridge with their former company. A good practice would be to create a brief video explaining the purpose of the exit interview which departing employees could watch prior to providing their responses. This video if done properly would convey to the employee that they have the opportunity to improve the organization even upon their departure.

While all this may seem like a lot of work it actually isn’t. Customizing questions within a video interviewing portal is fairly simple and once in place, as many employees as you wish can answer your structured exit interview at a time convenient for them.

Now it is time for me to exit. Please let me know if you’d like to submit your comments via video.

Video Interviewing: 8 Unwarranted Concerns

“Sigh, my company has asked me to look into testing out video interviewing,” groaned the HR manager.frustrated-758722_640

“Ugh, I’ve been invited to complete a video interview,” whined the job candidate.

As a recruiter or HR professional have you been putting off or ignoring video interviewing? As a job candidate, does your stomach twist and turn when you’re invited to complete a video interview? Relax, here are a few things you may be worrying over needlessly and why you should not.

HR Manager:

Video Interviewing costs a lot.

Video interviewing is actually pretty cheap. Far more affordable and less time consuming than conducting a phone screen. High volume users can conduct video interviews for less than $10 per. You can review five candidate videos in less time than it takes to conduct one phone screen, for less than $40. How much time and money would you spend to schedule and phone screen five candidates?

Video interviewing is difficult to learn.

Login, type in the candidate’s name and email address, choose the group of job related questions you want them to answer, click send. Now sit back and wait for the candidate to take the virtual interview. While most video interviewing vendors offer training, many systems are designed to be intuitive which means training, if any is required, is minimal.

Video interviewing will disrupt my hiring process.

If you conduct phone screens then video interviewing simply takes the place of the phone screen and since it is recorded, you don’t have to rely on handwritten phone screen notes. Plus, unlike a phone screen, you can share the video interview with others and view it repeatedly. If you don’t do phone screens, then adding video interviewing will save you time by eliminating candidates prior to the face to face interview.

Video interviewing will replace our face to face interviews.

No, video interviewing’s purpose is not to replace the face to face interview but to streamline your hiring process so that you interview in-person only with candidates you feel fit culturally with your organization’s values.

Job Candidate:

Video interviewing will discriminate against me.

Actually video interviewing does not have feelings and thus doesn’t care whether you get hired or not. However, if you have experienced discrimination in the past based on your resume then video interviewing gives you a new way to shine and break down barriers. Frequently candidates who were previously disregarded based on their resume were screened back in after their video interview was viewed.

I don’t look like Denzel, Gisele or Chris Hemsworth.

Just because you are on camera doesn’t mean you need look like a movie star. Webcams don’t actually add ten pounds. Dress professionally of course but don’t feel the need to spend an hour with make up or primping your hair. Often the most real people are the ones who get the nod. For instance I once showed a hiring manager the video interview of an exhausted job candidate who had completed a virtual interview at one in the morning after a twelve hour workday. The hiring manager watched his video for two minutes and then personally called the candidate up before the interview even stopped playing, to offer the candidate an interview.

I don’t want my interview posted to YouTube.

Video interviews are not downloaded and thus can’t be posted to YouTube. They are stored and watched on secure video servers. Your fame or notoriety will come another day.

I want to interview face to face, not over a camera.

Video interviews are not intended to replace your face to face interview, usually just replace the phone screen. You may still get a face to face later in the process. The added benefit is knowing that if they call you in after seeing and hearing you on camera, then you know they really do like you. You aren’t wasting your time.

Do you have more concerns? Send them my way and I will address each one.

Should You Hire Someone Smarter Than You?

“A good rule of thumb is to only hire people better than you no matter how long it takes to find them” Lazlow Bock, SVP of People Operations at Google.

“You can’t get better if you don’t hire better. Hiring under the level of talent you have now is a slow slide to becoming an organization no one wants to work for.” Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR and EVP of HRU Technical Resources.

The message above is clear. To have a first class organization you must hire first class people but why hire someone smarter or more skilled than you?  Often managers will not employ someone who will upstage adult-18598_1280them or one day take their job.  As a result the hiring manager may hire an individual slightly less talented/skilled than they.  This person in turn may hire an individual slightly less talented and that person hires an individual less talented and so on.  Your hiring process becomes a descending slope into mediocrity and you wake up to discover you are employing an army of D-listers and your company is falling behind its competitors.

Great benefits and salary attract top talent but what also attracts top talent is top talent.  Why do so many high school graduates strive to enter Ivy League institutions?  We assume they do so because they want a great job after receiving their college diploma, but their diploma would be worth little if not for the superior talent at the Ivy League university which supposedly provides a superior education.  If every department chair hired new educators slightly less brilliant than them, within a few decades the Ivy League might be no more special than a local community college.  No offense to them of course.

What about the specialized divisions of our armed forces such as the SEALs or the Deltas?  Soldiers strive to be among the best of the best not the best of the okay.  If drill instructors accepted soldiers who were a little slower, a little less intelligent than their predecessors eventually they would find themselves with a platoon of Bill Murray, John Candy and Harold Ramis like recruits.

During free agency, athletes who want to win championships go to where the talent is.  They want to play with guys like Lebron James, Peyton Manning or Mike Trout.  They want to play for Mike Krzyzewski, Bill Belichek and Phil Jackson; coaches who are proven leaders and players who will help them elevate their game.  In the workplace shouldn’t we strive to hire top talent to recruit future top talent?  As Lazlow Bock put it, “Make clear why the work you are doing matters, and let the candidate experience the astounding people they will get to work with.”

According to Tim Sackett, “You are overqualified” is the biggest lie HR has told for decades and rather than fearing those better than us we should be taking advantage of their skills even if the candidate leaves in a year for a better position.  “You simply need to take the best and most qualified person you can get for every position you have in your organization and let them do great things.  Just hire great talent and get out of their way.”

Do you agree?

What Will Hiring Be Like In 100 Years?

The hiring process has changed over the years as old methods of hiring make way for new ones.  Online job postings killed the classifieds and soon postings will succumb to social media.  Video interviews will replace the phone screen.  Resume screening software has replaced humans and eventually the flaws these systems carry with them will be replaced with better technology.

I’m setting myself up for ridicule by trying to guess what the future of hiring will be like in 100 years but then again who is going to read this post in the next millennium and point out all the ways I got it wrong?telephone-586268_1280

First off, in one hundred years few jobs may be left that a robot isn’t already performing? According to the Boston Consulting Group, robots will replace humans in factories at a greater clip in the next decade than seen before.  As of now only ten percent of jobs than can be automated are taken by robots but by 2025 Boston Consulting foresees that 23% will be automated.  Two University of Oxford researchers estimated that by 2033, 47% of all U.S. jobs might be taken over by computers.  Imagining that the majority of factory related jobs will be automated by 2115 is not so difficult.

With each new innovation we seek to solve a hiring process challenge.  Here are a few of the challenges that organizations face today which we presently strive to solve:

  • Finding top talent
  • Finding candidates that fit culturally
  • Retaining employees
  • Reducing cost per hire
  • Reducing time to fill

Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter have connected companies and jobseekers in ways unforeseen ten years ago and in 100 years after these companies have become extinct, the Earth will be smaller still.  Chips implanted within us to purchase goods without waiting in line, to aid us in medical situations, or to track our abducted children, will also assist in the hiring process.  All of our information including our education, degrees, job history, criminal records and personality will be included and readily accessible to hiring managers.  Job candidates can be matched to any job quickly based on skills, personality, geographical preferences, and so on.

We will be better connected to big data that will track and forecast the worldwide hiring needs much like our current supercomputers monitor climate changes and the environment.  Universities as they exist today will be non-existent.  Students if such a thing as a “student” still exists, will be able to upload the necessary skills/information they require to perform a particular job onto their chips a la the Matrix.  Naturally the more profitable skills such as legal, medical and engineering will be most readily available to those already privileged enough to afford their purchase thus continuing a cycle of the rich getting richer and the poor remaining poor.  In-demand jobs will be tracked years in advance and newer generations will be outfitted with the skills to fill those open, high growth industries.

Employee engagement will continue to rise and fall with each economic resurgence and recession.  In an effort to retain top talent a continuing emphasis will be placed on monitoring each employees’ well-being.  According to research by Gallup, the greater an employee’s well-being the more engaged, productive and healthy they are.  One hundred years from now technology will be able to monitor an employee’s mood, physical and psychological state, and enable employers to take the necessary actions with regards to the employee to counter the life storms an employee might be enduring.  You’re depressed because your father died?  Your employer will know.  Your spouse left you? Your employer will know.  You have a chemical addiction?  Your employer will know.

Lastly cost per hire and time to fill will decrease drastically.  Employees will practically be grown with in-demand skills and employers will be alerted when these culturally fitting employees are ready.  Additionally technology will allow us to create four dimensional renderings of ourselves and sit in one another’s offices without ever actually leaving our homes thus saving time and money.

Honestly I don’t believe I’m being forward thinking enough.  One hundred years?  I bet we can do all this in thirty.

Biased? Don’t Be! Look Who Got Into All 8 Ivy League Schools!

Why do we have laws protecting job candidates from discrimination on the grounds of  Ivy leaguerrace, ethnicity, age, gender and so on?  Because hiring managers have preconceived notions about whether candidates of a particular race, ethnicity, etc. will fit into their corporate culture and are capable or intellectual enough to execute the duties of their open positions.  You know this.  Minorities are the underdog.  Well this recent story reveals how foolish and off base are biases are. Continue reading “Biased? Don’t Be! Look Who Got Into All 8 Ivy League Schools!” »

Weird Interview Questions: Why Are They Asked & How Should You Ask Them?

cereal aisle“How many square feet of pizza are eaten in the U.S. each year?”

“Who would win in a fight between Spiderman and Batman?”

“How much would you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?”

“If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?”

“A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune.  What happened?” (Huh?)

These questions are not asked by mom and pops organizations but by major hedge funds, retailers and internet giants.  A couple of the questions above have since been banned by the company that asked them as they were deemed ridiculous and useless. Continue reading “Weird Interview Questions: Why Are They Asked & How Should You Ask Them?” »

Personality and Success: What Trait Leads You To The Top?

According to the volume of content on the blogs and news sites I frequent, becoming successful and a leader must be the two most sought after goals in humanity.  Every week Happy HaloI see the same content rehashed over and over.  “Seven way to be successful”, “Nine traits of a successful leader”, “Ten of the most successful CEOs share their ten traits on successfully leading yourself to success.”  That’s a bit overdone but you understand my point. Continue reading “Personality and Success: What Trait Leads You To The Top?” »

Here’s What Ticks Job Candidates Off Most About Your Application Process!

A recent survey of 95,000+ job candidates and 150 companies revealed what is going right and what is going wrong in the job application process.  For many months since my last blog post on this subject, I was led to believe that one of the largest turnoffs for candidatesAngry smiley face during the application process was its length and many cumbersome hurdles.  A recent report by Talent Board on the candidate experience tells a different story.  The results show that dissatisfaction was not correlated to the length and complexity of the process but rather to the lack of information provided to candidates before, during and after the application process.  Additionally candidates wanted a clear means to demonstrate their qualifications relevantly and to provide feedback. Continue reading “Here’s What Ticks Job Candidates Off Most About Your Application Process!” »