February 6, 2017

Bring people analytics to your hiring process

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Like everyone, you want your hiring process to get better over time. You want painful lessons learned to change the way the people in your organization hire. You can do this. Just look at the results of what you’re doing, then try new experiments. It’s called people analytics.

People analytics pioneer Laszlo Bock has left his job at Google for a stealth startup. You know what that means. Evidence-based hiring is the “new new thing”. That’s all people analytics is, when you get right down to it. Look at human resources data, test new approaches and measure their impact.

To bring people analytics to your organization, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on new an entire new team or strategy. You just have to be mindful about your company’s hiring process. Let’s look at two specific examples we’re very familiar with at Unitive: first: resume review; and second: structured interviews.

What people analytics tells us about resume review

Most people are familiar with the blind auditions that brought many more women into symphony orchestras. TV’s The Voice uses the same approach:

blind resume review, The Voice-style

Similar techniques work in resume review. Redacting the candidate’s name means that José is evaluated on an equal footing with Joe. Some organizations go even further and redact schools and hobbies, which are strong class markers while revealing little or nothing about how a candidate will perform in a given role.

There are two ways to redact these kinds of details from resumes. The simplest is to print the resumes out, use a sharpie for the redactions and hand the documents to the hiring manager. For large numbers of resumes, software can definitely help, which is why we acquired our partner TalentSonar. Wherever machine learning can automate hiring best practices, we’ll automate them.

What people analytics tells us about interviewing

Like a candidate’s hobbies, an unstructured interview tells us almost nothing about whether or not the candidate is a good fit for the job. One of the most straightforward findings in people analytics is that structured interviews create a fairer candidate experience and a better hiring decision.

It’s not hard to move to structured interviews. Most of the work is up front: identifying the skills and values that correspond to whether or not an employee does well, and then writing questions to find out what skills and values a candidate has. Once you’ve written the questions – some companies call this an interview rubric – just ask the same questions of every candidate. At the end of this process you have a standard set of information on every applicant, which is a much better baseline for a hiring decision.

As with resume review, you can do this with pen and paper. If you’d like software that scales as you do, though, feel free to take our product tour.