Posted on October 12, 2011 by Katherine Razzi
Human resource departments are responsible for some of the most important decisions made in organizations. When job applicants apply for a job, there is a process that occurs in every human resource department that eventually leads to an applicant being offered a position at the organization. Every organization may have a slightly different process for deciding which applicant(s) will be offered jobs.
There are several steps involved in making a rational decision-making process. The first step is defining the problem or situation. In a hiring decision, applicants will need to be defined. The second step is to identify the criteria. Depending on the predictors applicants were assessed on will define how criteria will be developed. For instance, if applicants undergo an interview, a reference check, and an ability test, the human resource department should attribute scores for each predictor. Together, these predictors will serve as a tool for deciding on an applicant for a position.
The third step is to weight the criteria. Your organization may feel that the interview is the most important predictor in an applicant’s future performance. Maybe the position requires a great deal of interpersonal skills to be successful. Therefore, the interview may be weighted higher than an applicant’s references. Regardless of what is most important, the organization needs to define which predictors will be weighted higher or lower so a decision can be consistent among applicants.
When scores for each applicant are compiled based on ratings from different predictors, an organization can make a much more informed decision. An organization makes a huge investment when a new employee is hired. If that employee ends up leaving the organization quickly or does not perform well, the organization suffers.
When decisions are made during the selection process, many professional still abide by the “go with your gut” when comparing applicants. Unfortunately, this practice is widely used although it is very dangerous. When making a decision about hiring a candidate based purely on judgment, there is the potential for legal issues. The person doing the hiring may not even be aware that bias decisions are being made. However, all it takes is one disgruntled applicant who was not offered a job and feels subject to discrimination and a huge lawsuit may occur.
How do you prevent this? Using a combination of predictor information is the best way to avoid making poor hiring decisions. I have been through several hiring processes with an interview as the sole predictor. While interviews provide important information about an applicant, most of the information that results is heavily judgmental. That is, the interviewer perceives the applicant a certain way and makes a decision based on the judgment. To avoid judgments making our decision for us, use other predictors. Ability tests and other form of hiring tests are great ways to ensure that all applicants are being judged on the same criteria. The combination of written tests and judgmental predictors increases the accuracy of prediction when weighting predictor scores. Optimal decisions can be made when these two forms of predictors are combined.
Think about previous hiring processes you have undergone. Were you judged based on a single predictor (an interview) or more than one?