The Effectiveness Principle

Urgency around a hiring decision shouldn’t diminish the team’s focus on finding candidate-company fit:

  • Define what you’re looking for and decide how you will evaluate for fit before you begin recruiting. You can iterate on your criteria and assessment methods over time, but don’t bend them inconsistently on a candidate-by-candidate basis. This includes what you’re willing to compromise on (nice-to-haves) and what you’re not (must-haves).

  • Assess candidates in a way that’s as predictive as possible of on-the-job performance. There are many ways to assess candidates; choose the methods that will demonstrate how a candidate will perform in your role and at your company.

  • Align your assessment methods with your company’s processes. Recruiting methods should be consistent with onboarding processes and the expectations of the people you hire. For instance, if you attempt to hire for certain skills, but then judge performance based on a completely different set of skills, you are setting yourself and your hires up for failure. This also applies within the various stages of recruiting. If you screen applicants looking for certain qualities, but then interview for completely different qualities, you’ll be wasting your and candidates’ time.

  • Use structure and calibration when assessing candidates. Use structured interviews and assessments during the interview process, with clearly-defined areas of evaluation. All interviewers should be calibrated.

  • Use rigor to improve your decision-making. A large part of recruiting is an exercise in combating our own cognitive biases (especially unconscious bias), which can impact the effectiveness and fairness of your decision-making. Any recruiting process is noisy, and predicting the success of a candidate from a few touchpoints can be very difficult. At some point, someone will have to make a call about whether to hire a candidate or not, so structure and rigor can help combat biases. At a minimum, it’s helpful to be aware of the potential pitfalls that can affect decision-making, and find pragmatic ways of avoiding the risks.

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