interviewing & scores as noise

MatchmakerDVD2A recent interview on hiring in the New York Times[1] included these little snippets:

“we did a study to determine whether anyone … is particularly good at hiring. We looked at tens of thousands of interviews, and everyone who had done the interviews and what they scored the candidate, and how that person ultimately performed in their job. We found zero relationship. It’s a complete random mess, except for one guy who was highly predictive because he only interviewed people for a very specialized area, where he happened to be the world’s leading expert.

G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless — no correlation at all except for brand-new college grads, where there’s a slight correlation …”

While these are consistent with my experience, it’s a reasonably bleak conclusion.  First off just imagine you’d spent the last few years expediting a huge hiring pipeline, twisting arms to get interviewers, forcing them to fill out score sheets, etc. etc.  And now it all turns out to have been totally useless.

Or what if you want to make the decision to commit to a relationship.  It’s presumably like other shopping exercises: You collect information.  You then distill into “signals.”  Those signals help trigger the decision to commit.   Apparently all that interviewing and dating is useless.

What then?  Seek other signals presumably.  Height?, rosy complexion?, ficco score?  The article does mention: “what works well are structured behavioral interviews.”   I wonder if that has a consensus meaning.

It’s fun to realize that they probably have the data which would allow them to realize some unfortunate hiring patterns.  For example they might discover that candidates interviewed in building 3 just after afternoon tea on a Tuesday early in the month by a senior employee are much more likely to be hired.  Remember that one of the five ways to get rich is to marry well.  Candidates would pay for that information.

Of course it’s, no surprise that the match making (commitment) problem is so hard.  Evolution you know.

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