Better Data Equals Better Hiring Decisions

When it comes to hiring, what you measure matters. When you’re looking for the right things, you open up a world of possibilities. 

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In my last post, we talked about the 4 Must-Haves of an Effective Hiring Tool. I stated that to be an effective hiring tool, the data the tool gives you should be:

  • Predictive 

  • Actionable 

  • Customized 

  • Sustainable

In this post, I’d like to take a closer look at that first bullet—Predictive. Previously, I discussed the concept of leading indicators vs lagging indicators and how leading indicators are a much more powerful measurement when it comes to determining job fit than the alternative.

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First, I’ll dig a little deeper into this concept and of leading vs lagging indicators and then give some examples of the type of data PeopleBest looks for when we’re helping our clients make better people-decisions. 

Lagging Indicators 

The things that most people are looking at to make their hiring decisions tend to be lagging indicators. The things you might see on a resume or find out in an interview, for example. Years of experience, prior job history, titles held, certifications, awards, degrees obtained, skills, and even references. All of those are interesting data points, but they don’t always equate to that person being a good job fit. 

The fact of the matter is that all of those data points have context that don’t necessarily apply to your business. Your potential new hire may have been successful, but what if the leadership at the company they worked for was very hands-on and micro-managed everything, and this person thrives on having a lot of structure? If you’re going for a culture of emergence & collaboration and you need someone who is going to be an innovative problem solver—it may not matter how successful this person was because he or she isn’t wired to thrive in the culture you’re cultivating.  

When you start looking at data points through a predictive lens, the lagging indicators you see on paper begin to carry less and less weight. For example, you can assume that a person with a degree from a prestigious university is intelligent, has the ability to learn, and was once able to navigate the collegiate landscape. But you can’t assume that they’re committed to continued learning and that they’ll be able to navigate the interpersonal landscape of your particular business—not based on a BA or an MA.  

Here’s another example. A person may come to you with years of job experience and may have been promoted several times at their last company. You could assume that they were telling the truth and had held an applicable role before and have all the training and licenses necessary to have that role—a reasonably safe assumption. But what you don’t know is if that person had strong leadership at that company who was able to guide them toward success. What if you’re company is expecting this person to self-start, and they end up freezing? You simply can’t get that info from a lagging indicator. 

All of this isn’t to say that sometimes you might look at lagging indicators, decide to hire a person, and hit the jackpot. It happens. Even a blind squirrel can find an acorn sometimes, right? Rather, I say all of this to emphasize that lagging indicators only show us if someone has the baseline skills to do the job. They can tell us if someone is actually a surgeon or Accountant or a CSR etc. They can point toward whether or not this person has done this type of work before. All of which is relevant data to have, but ultimately insufficient but to make a hiring decision or to help choose one candidate over another. 

The good news is that there are better data sets out there. 

Leading Indicators  

Leading indicators are anything that might point to a person’s likelihood to succeed in the future. Unlike lagging indicators, these predict success. More accurately, they predict a person’s ability to succeed, or their efficacy. That’s why we call these leading indicators Efficacy Attributes. 

Efficacy Attributes are exponentially more poignant than anything I’ve ever seen on a resume or heard in a job interview. Here, let’s play a quick game of would you rather…

Would you rather know: 

  • How many years of experience someone has or how they’ll deal with a crisis? 

  • What someone’s last job title was or if they’re detail oriented with high follow through? 

  • If someone is proficient in Office or if they’re creative and committed to learning? 

  • What university someone went to or if they’re humble & collaborative?  

I believe that most business owners and hiring managers would want to know the latter in all four scenarios because they’re more applicable when it comes to building teams and staffing departments. Knowing someone’s tendency to behave a certain way, in a certain scenario is invaluable data to have when it comes to making hiring decisions. You can use this knowledge to not only assess the individual, but you can also use it to build better, more well-rounded teams and develop specific future job profiles.  

More on Efficacy Attributes 

In my four “would you rather” questions from above, the second half of each question correlated to an actual Efficacy Attribute that we test for when we do our assessments. In total, we’re measuring 29 different Efficacy Attributes on a sliding scale that will eventually help us determine what your Core Styles and Competencies are. Each person has a work, interpersonal, engagement and ego style, as well as 100s of competencies that our Efficacy Attributes help us to measure. This often leads to millions of different calculations and potential profiles. This often comes off as a little overwhelming. 

And one of the questions we get asked the most is how do we weight each attribute? Or how do we determine which ones are most important to measure? If millions of profiles are possible, how do we know we’re using the right one? The answer falls a little outside of the Predictive bucket and lands in the Customized category, but I think it’s worth noting so that you can get a sense for how we’re thinking about this stuff. The attributes are deemed important because it’s based on what’s already working inside your organization. 

One of the first things we do when we get a new client is, we put the entirety of the workforce thru the PeopleBest assessment. Then, we pair the data we get with whatever your particular measure of success is within your business. For example, you know who the superstar employees are. So—initially—once we’ve determined the core styles and competencies that thrive within your organization, we may look at the profiles of those superstars to determine what the profile of a new hire should look like.

Parting Thoughts

Our secret sauce is in finding the “bullseye” within the 29 Efficacy Attributes, the 4 Core Styles, and the Core Competencies. This is the backbone of all 4 “must-haves.” Once we’ve nailed those “bullseyes”, not only do they allow you to be predict the likelihood of an individual’s success, but that potential success is customized to your unique company and culture, too. When applied correctly, the insight they give is actionable and can help you do more than just hire—they can help you craft robust career progression paths and identify and close the gaps that will turn moderate employees into great ones. 

Lastly, the accuracy of the Efficacy Attributes gets better the more you use PeopleBest. This leads to a phenomenon that we call getting “smarter as you go.” The PeopleBest software grows and learns the same way you do—leading to a sustainable hiring tool that you can use time and again with pinpoint accuracy to make better, more effective people-decisions. 

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