It wasn’t that long ago that a hiring process was a simple process:
- First Interview
- Second Interview
- (Maybe) Third Interview
That was it. 1-2-3! You sat down and talked to people. Maybe they also talked to your references.
Over the last decade, though, technology has changed this game rather significantly. We now have software tests, personality analysis, social media (a big one), and more. LinkedIn, in particular, has brought us a platform to really connect people with their references, online persona, connections, engagement, interests, and more.
We can get an incredible sense of people with all of these resources, and they are valuable, but many companies are still missing a major aspect when hiring…
There are many personality factors in hiring naturally, and these ARE important, but at the end of the day, you still need to be great at performing the tasks. Yet, in hiring, this isn’t typically vetted very well. We take the words of the candidate in how they perceive their work and the words of their references to gauge whether they are technically competent.
It should be noted that a valid objection to lengthening the interview process is that it can cause candidates to drop out, but I personally believe the execution and timing can easily accommodate a project.
For this to be implemented smoothly, the type of project would need to be created around the actual job position. It doesn’t have to be huge, but it does need to be relevant.
Outbound Sales Rep = Sample of a Cold Email
Account Executive = Mock Demo
VP of Sales = Create a Business Strategy for a New Product
Social Marketer = Mock Targeting Campaign for a New Audience
If you consider a task that exists within the actual job role, that could be a great task for the interview process.
But my love of projects goes a bit farther…
Enter: The Blind Review Panel
The greatest power of projects is that it gives the ability to be blindly reviewed, allowing candidates to be vetted without personal bias. Of all the organizations I know who have incorporated projects, they miss this valuable mark!!!
Was one person super impressive, but maybe also attended the same university as the hiring manager? With a blindly reviewed project, the candidate’s competency can be assessed without favoritism.
A truly blind panel can assess performance without ever knowing the age, gender, ethnicity, personality, disability, or any other criteria that creates a bias. The blind panel has not interviewed the candidate. They have not met or spoken to the candidate. They have not read the candidate’s resume. They are blind. They are simply going to assess work quality. That is all.
The final decision of who to hire should not come purely from the project stage, but it is an important input in assessing without bias.
While full blind candidate processes do exist, and have some major valid points, personality and human interaction are still important in building teams. Where I like this step is mid to end stages of the hiring process. Let’s say, you have 5 great candidates and you would be happy with all…great! This is the time to have all 5 candidates complete the same project in the same timeline. The blind panel can assess quality independently while you, the hiring manager, gets some extra insight like: who completed it first, who maybe missed the deadline, who asks additional questions, etc.
Think You Don’t Carry Biases?
Think again! Each time someone puts this to the test, the results show biases exist. The direction of those biases are not typically consistent, but the bias remains. Maybe you have an unknown bias that perceives the work from men as superior to women or vice versa. Some others may hold an age bias…
I’m not talking about blatant discrimination here…
The word discrimination is more in the realm of intentional action. Unknown biases are very different. They are unknown or not realized tendencies.
So why not give yourself a process to permit the reduction of bias tendencies and allow the best candidate to rise to the top?