Big data reveals: we're all terrible at hiring

Big data reveals: we're all terrible at hiring

Summary: Google ran the numbers. Plus, four tips for your next attempt.

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TOPICS: Big Data, Google
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Adam Bryant has a great Q&A with Google's Laszlo Bock in this morning's edition of the New York Times, and there is an amazing revelation in it: people are wildly inconsistent at hiring good people.

Bock tells Laszlo:

Years ago, we did a study to determine whether anyone at Google is particularly good at hiring. We looked at tens of thousands of interviews, and everyone who had done the interviews and what they scored the candidate, and how that person ultimately performed in their job. We found zero relationship. It’s a complete random mess, except for one guy who was highly predictive because he only interviewed people for a very specialized area, where he happened to be the world’s leading expert.

The weakest link in every technological chain: the human! (I'm sure you're surprised, technologist.)

The company also found other interesting things.

Four tips for your next hiring attempt:

  1. Don't pose a brain-teaser to the candidate. They only serve to make you feel good about yourself.
  2. Do pose a hypothetical—like asking about a time they solved a problem—to see how they dealt with a real-world challenge.
  3. Use a consistent rubric for how you assess people.
  4. Leadership is notoriously hard to quantify; task management is much easier. Keep that in mind when you're looking for your next leader.

What tips do you find effective for hiring?

Topics: Big Data, Google

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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3 comments
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  • We've been using wonderlic...

    It has been incredibly consistent at finding people who are highly qualified to pass the wonderlic test.

    We had one applicant who actually managed to cut themselves somehow (we still aren't sure how because they just walked out and left a bloody keyboard behind). I decided that cutting yourself while using a mouse is an automatic failure.

    Other than that, woderlic has had zero success at determining the usefulness of applicants for our company.

    So... you can rule that one out.
    mrefuman
    • Did the mouse bite him?

      I'm just sayin you might want to retire that mouse if it has a bad attitude.
      happyharry_z
    • Carriage returns

      They're a real killer.
      andrew.nusca