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Control the Controllable in Talent Acquisition

Authored by: Garrick Throckmorton, Chief Product and Services Officer

There are currently around 11 million open positions in the United States. Evidence suggests there are 0.5 people available for every job opening. Further, a recent Forbes survey reported that as much as 87% of respondents (in the technology industry) were actively considering switching jobs in 2022.

Knowing these statistics confirms the experience that talent acquisition leaders are encountering today and the fatigue many feel. Solving for this challenge varies based upon the industry, the geographic location, the remote work strategy, the type of open positions and more. At times it feels like the war for talent is a battle to control the uncontrollable.

While true to some degree, we are always surprised to receive calls from companies who are so focused on the uncontrollable that they forget, overlook or don’t see the areas of talent acquisition they can control. The most common controllable that we encounter is the process used to screen and interview candidates to make great hires.

The enemy? Informal interviews.

Leaders and Listening Graphic

Decades of research shows that informal (casual) interviews are notoriously inaccurate. These are conducted without much preplanning, structure or consistency. Too often this occurs in the hands of senior, yet untrained interviewers who simply see themselves as “good judges of people.” (Hint: Being be a good judge of people does not translate to objectively evaluating any person’s capability and fit for a role, confirming the evidence for such capability, nor understanding their ability to learn and grow.)

Informal approaches decrease the quality of hires, can introduce multiple elements of interviewer bias, and nearly guarantees the organization has lost control over a key controllable.

We know that interview training improves outcomes. We know that planned, structured interviews outperform casual interviews and that using consistent protocols improves hiring accuracy while decreasing bias.

If you are in a habit of forwarding a job description and resume to your interviewers, and then waiting for their interview feedback and a hiring decision, it is time to break the habit. Know that you are not alone and that by advancing sound and repeatable interviewing practices you will differentiate your organization in the market and reap the rewards of making great hires with consistency.

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