The Hiring Process Is Trapped In The Past. Let’s Fix That.

Hiring processes are trapped in the past. They focus on the former work experiences and projects of a candidate: where you came from, where you grew up, where you went to school, what you studied, who you worked with, where you worked, and what you did there.

The theory, predicated on hope, is that the past is the best indicator of the future. Until now, it was the only semi-reliable indicator of success available to hiring managers, but it was not without its failures. In fact, nearly three in four employers (74 percent) say they’ve hired the wrong person for a position. [1]

But what if the hiring process could look to the future, instead?

By following these three steps, hiring managers could improve their process of determining candidates that will fit where their organization is headed.

Establish Competency First

Before you can determine if a candidate can add value to your organization, you need to establish trust in them. That’s the purpose of looking into the past.

Candidates who check the right boxes establish their competence for a position. Yes, this candidate is qualified to do the job. Yes, this candidate speaks the right languages. Or yes, this candidate can operate the ship.

Use your algorithms, screening process, and initial interview to confirm the requisite skill-set. Narrow the pool down to only those candidates who are genuinely qualified for the position. With that in mind, consider broadening the scope of capability to include individuals who are a step or two away from 100% expertise.

Once baseline qualifications are established, you have a pool of great candidates that can get navigate from Point A to B. But who is going to ensure you’re headed in the right direction? Better yet, who can lead strategically through rugged terrain when there are no markers in sight?  Look to the future instead of the past to explore what’s possible

Focus On Future Collaborations

Once competence is established, conversations about how you’ll work and collaborate together will yield the greatest value. Focus on where your paths will cross in the near future.

These secondary conversations should proceed more like partnership planning or a visioning session than the traditional job interview examination. Candidates and hiring managers can think through career trajectory in the organization. Instead of viewing this as a position to be filled, hiring managers can imagine the current position as essentially temporary. If everything goes well, the candidate will grow into the position and beyond. How could that candidate continue to add value to the organization, as they progress and develop their skills? Hiring managers can relate to candidates as a kind of advocate, pushing them to explore the ways they might fit into the organization and push the organization to do better.

Give Candidates The Space To Describe Their Future Potential

Many hiring managers have already been questioning the tired old routine questions, such as “Where will you be in 5 years?” But the problem is not simply that they’re cliche, it’s that these are superficial questions for theater only. Savvy hiring managers have told us that they’re in a hurry to get past these shallow performances and dive into something more authentic.

That authentic space happens when candidates can describe where their careers have led them up to now, and how the opportunities presented to them have not yet allowed them to do things they really want to do and know they’re capable of. So instead of asking where they’ll be 5 years from now, talk about where they’ll be 5 days, weeks, and months from now. Explore some of the opportunities that can emerge if the candidate was to join the organization, excel at the initial position, and continue to grow from there. In doing so, not only will candidates feel more excited about your organization, but thinking through these possibilities can help hiring teams productively imagine new opportunities for growth, as well.

Let’s Talk

Talinnt creates products that reimagine the traditional hiring process. We help organizations look to the future of their workforce. Contact Talinnt to talk more about how we can work together.


[1] http://press.careerbuilder.com/2017-12-07-Nearly-Three-in-Four-Employers-Affected-by-a-Bad-Hire-According-to-a-Recent-CareerBuilder-Survey

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