I began a career in recruiting back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. I was a recent college graduate who knew nothing. I was trained by a man whose nickname, Swami, because he was the one who was supposed to be all-knowing for us beginners. Even he missed this obvious point.
We all know that when job hunters go on interviews they are on good behavior. They try to put up a great impression of their personality as well as share their knowledge with the interviewer. Although answers translate into, “I have done this. I have done that.” It is to be expected.
But it took me a while to figure out was that employers are on good behavior, too. I realized that one day when it came to me that I had never heard the employer say to a job hunter, “We have problems. I have taken over the group and they are marginally competent. We have tight deadlines and too much to do. My predecessor got fired and so was hers. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that my butt’s on the line and I need to hire someone to help me save it.”
Instead, hiring managers, leaders, directors, interviewers, all put on a happy smile button face and tell people that they are interviewing, “you know, we have a terrific team of people. There is a great opportunity here for the right person. And I mentioned that we are like family?”
Maybe the families better in all the holiday movies where they want to kill one another. That kind of family. It certainly isn’t the sweet loving family once you get on board.
Given the fact that you are going to be on good behavior and so is the hiring manager, how the heck will anyone ever figure out whether or not you’re compatible with one another? It’s impossible.
Some of you are going to claim that you administer testing to determine compatibility. The problem is that the team has been changing over time. Each person has been learning and growing or stagnating. To use a few examples, a group may be evolving with natural leader stepping up, some falling behind, some people learning and growing through their work, and some stagnating. A change in team dynamics has occurred as well as individual personalities.
When you’re administering some of the industrial psychology tests that firms use, too often, people are using old data to calibrate whether a new person will fit in. Thus, there is no accurate depiction of the status of the group and what team dynamics are like because it is old.
Do you have a model for the person sitting in front of you but you don’t have an accurate model for the individuals or the group that they would be joining. How do you evaluate for fit when you have little idea about the current characteristics that you are supposedly measuring?
People use the fiction of evaluating for fit to institutionalize their individual biases and opinions in hiring. They are out of date and, as a result, out of touch.
Your potential new hire and you are following the same script over and over again that keeps getting the same mediocre results as before.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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