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Hiring Right the First Time: The Science of Luck

by Joseph Murphy

As you slide down the banister of life,
May the splinters never point the wrong way.
—Irish blessing

Recruiting can seem like a game of chance. You hope the right candidates see your job posting, pray the information they provide is truthful and accurate, and keep your fingers crossed after they’re hired that they will perform as promised. But is recruiting really about luck? Does simple serendipity lead you to the candidate pot of gold at the end of the proverbial recruiting rainbow?

The Six Steps of Relying on Luck as a Hiring Strategy:

  1. Locate a candidate with a resume detailing every skill and experience you ever wanted.
  2. Interview the candidate and find they are blessed with the ability to perform expertly on such occasions.
  3. Reflect on how lucky you are to have found a perfect hire.
  4. Discover that, once on the job, the candidate proves shockingly ineffective and otherwise unfit for the job and your culture.
  5. Curse your bad luck.
  6. Repeat.

But is this outcome actually bad luck? Or is it the inevitable result of failing to recognize how science-based evaluation is the best source of understanding your candidates and what they can bring to your organization?

We all rely on certain strokes of luck. After all, one hiring hurdle is eliciting the interest of the best of your potential talent pool in the first place. You hope your message makes it to the right people and that they will find your opportunity compelling. This development of events could be characterized as dumb luck, coincidence, or even destiny (or true expertise in effective recruitment advertising), but it’s what happens after a candidate finds you, however they find you, that matters most. How you determine who should be advanced and the strategies you use to evaluate them remain the most critical steps in your hiring process.

Rather than relying on luck, instinct, or recruiting experiment of the day, approach hiring as a science, an opportunity to use proven methods to evaluate candidates and their suitability for your organization. In this age of big data and the accompanying insights available to discern between candidates and what they actually have to offer, you need not rely on luck to recruit successfully. Adopting tools like assessments and job tryout simulations will help you dig below the surface and collect the meaningful insights you need to find the right people faster.

Make a hiring decision more science than lottery ticket by capitalizing on the technology that combines selection science and predictive modeling to take the guesswork out of recruiting challenges. Virtual Job Tryout technology collects the data you need—based on the behaviors and metrics that matter most to you—to predict on-the-job performance. Instead of being at the mercy of what a candidate promises about their proficiencies, such as being able to work effectively with colleagues or skillfully resolve customer complaints, use the results of a robust on-the-job simulation to evaluate their skills and find out what you can really expect.

To continually improve and optimize how you hire, you must measure—measure skills, measure fit, measure results. Create a potent hiring strategy by equipping yourself with the tools that take the mystery out of hiring and reliably predict success. Understanding factors like time to hire, new-hire performance, reduced turnover, and overall quality of hire will help validate your efforts and prove once and for all that recruiting is about applying science, not hoping for better luck next time.