Human Resources Rethought
Are we insane?
I have given a couple dozen interviews in my life, and have been interviewed an equal amount of times. I have studied human resource management (HRM) at university and found it rather boring. Yet, there is something about it which is deeply fascinating. The recruitment phase is done repeatedly the same way, and works, from what I've seen, less than half of the time. No wait, once out of five times.
A job interview is the biggest scam.
The interviewee researches the company's culture and values, imagines questions, makes background checks on the leaders and key decision makers, checks the news on industry insights, and so on. He brings his A-game.
The interviewer, unless offering a low position anyone can fill in, wants the person to join. He has done his homework too.
Both sit down and put on the fake. We've both been there. No one shows his real face.
It's like the first 20 minutes of a date.
You don't know what the other wants so you are constantly morphing into what you think is a match. You know that if things don't go right you'll just walk away in an hour or two anyway, but if you can avoid things being awkward for now that would be for the better. Oh and of course, you know for sure you are too weird to show your real face from the start. That would even scare an adult walrus away.
It makes no sense.
I believe recruitment should be led by a member of an entire division, and purely based on intelligence, knowledge and corporate culture fit-in. After all, why would a human resources manager chose who others will be spending their day with? And how does he really know who is the exact fit? He doesn't. The benchmarks are wrong. Modern interviews are closer to theater than to anything else. Both sides have rehearsed.
So how about this.
You give the candidate the wrong address, it's one block away from the correct one. The interviewee reaches the address by foot and only by foot. Walking speed is, unless it's 35°C, an essential part of personality. It says more than "Give me 3 qualities and 3 defects." It's a philosophy, a way of life. He finds a door bell which could be the right one. He rings and no one answers. If he doesn't bother ringing he isn't trying hard enough. If he came for any outgoing position he can already go home, especially if he was walking slowly.
Now he is starting to be out of his comfort zone, things are going unexpectedly wrong. Perfect. If he isn't in advance he is going to have some trouble. Suddenly the door opens and someone walks out. The person is a part of the game. In fact, he is the chosen recruiter of today. Why? Because he shares the person's hobbies.
He asks if he can help as someone from the neighborhood who has spotted a person looking lost. This must be a positive. I insist on all these very small details. There is tremendous amounts of information that can be inferred from these simple key questions. Much more than from "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" The interviewer says he knows where it is and will walk him there. On their way they begin to chat. On the way, elements would be placed in order to see the interviewee's reactions. These could be as small as a sidewalk blocked by a badly parked car or a garden sprinkler gone mad.
5 minutes into the walk, the undercover recruiter says out of the blue: "You like <hobby name> don't you?" The candidate would give a positive and ask how does he know. They reach a small van and the hobby is inside. The interviewer doesn't answer and says "Come on let's go for it." You just need to hope the hobbies aren't only reading and movies, but contain either physical or mental activities: tennis, running, cycling, chess, mastermind, a musical instrument...
The interviewee should now get what is going on and dive in head first. He'll be himself, as he is now in his favorite environment. The interviewer-interviewee boundaries disappear and both converse normally as two people who have just met. It will also serve as an honesty barometer. Is he as good as he claims to be?
Let's imagine the candidate loves road cycling. Both go on a ride and get to talk freely for a few hours and enjoy a ride. This unique process would bond the two people in a way that could not happen in an office room. The recruiter would perfectly see if this is the kind of person he wants to work with.
I believe in unconventional practices within the law on every level of businesses.
If I'm ever a CEO, this is how I'll recruit. From clerk to CTO.
Hoping to meet you in five years.