If You Ask the Wrong Questions You Get the Wrong Answers

Malcolm Gladwell has written extensively about what he calls “the mismatch problem.” We design tests to predict performance. The tests are based on common sense inferences about a correlation between a test and an outcome. But we usually fail to check if the tests are good predictors of real life performance. And they often are not.

  • The LSAT does not predict success in law school, but law schools still require it.
  • The Wonderlic test does not predict quarterback success, but NFL scouts still use it.
  • Teacher certification does not predict the ability to motivate students or convey information to them, yet all 50 states have licensing standards.

Metrics are important. Unless you are measuring both your performance, and the performance of your vendors, you can’t track progress or improvement.

But what happens when you measure the wrong things?

Like the examples above, you probably wind up improving on what you measure, but not necessarily on your core objective.

It seems obvious that if you retain an executive search firm, you don’t want to waste your time interviewing irrelevant candidates. You want your vendor to deliver a small number of highly targeted, highly motivated candidates. That’s why, on the surface, the ratio of candidate submissions to accepted offers seems like a meaningful metric.

But are you actually making your search more effective? There are several reasons why it may not.

  • Efficiency and effectiveness are often inversely proportional. A perfectly efficient search would result in hiring the first candidate submitted. A perfectly effective search involves hiring the most qualified available candidate. The best candidate is not always- or even often- the first candidate submitted. Would you rather hire the best candidate or the first one?
  • The best candidate is probably currently employed. If you judge your recruiting partner based on submission-to-hire-ratio, s/he has incentive to only share candidates who are actively looking- candidates who are currently unemployed, or underemployed. Wouldn’t you prefer to encourage your recruiting partner to swing for the fences. They may strike out on a candidate who does not ultimately accept your offer. They might also hit a homerun.
  • A good recruiter will give you what asked for. A great recruiter will show you what you need. Many hiring managers want to hire someone who has already done the job they are hiring for. If a candidate has already done this job and has career ambitions, the odds are that he or she wants to grow into another role, not do the same job again.Other hiring managers believe that specific experiences are a proxy for the ability to grow into the role for which they are hiring. As an example, having a series 7 is required for a broker. Does it mean that a candidate can build an excel model? Or manage a client relationship? Are there enough candidates who have a series 7, modeling, and client management experience in Sioux Falls, ID, or are you asking for a profile that doesn’t exist? Many hiring managers are working off of a hunch. Great recruiters are leveraging data and experience.

I’m not suggesting getting inundated with irrelevant resumes. That is neither efficient, nor very likely to be effective.

A recruiter who is being evaluated by submission-to-placement-ratio is like a waitress at a diner. If you order something off of the menu, he’ll bring it to you, if they haven’t run out. Don’t expect a gourmet meal, or garnishing tips. If you want to order off of the menu, ask someone in your HR department to inmail every candidate on LinkedIn matching a specific profile, and then cross your fingers.

A great recruiter will challenge your assumptions, back up recommendations with data, bring you passive candidates, and deliver on the experience of helping people make quality hires every single day. You may not make a hire for every 3 submissions. But you’ll get the best candidate out there.

Save

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Careers CEOs Companies Education Entertainment Legal Politics Science Sports Technology
video games
20 Things You Didn’t Know about Yahaha Studios
UPS
Does UPS Drug Test All Its Employees?
leather
The 10 Best American Leather Companies
Collectibles Credit Cards Investing Real Estate Stocks
Biotech
10 Biotech Stocks That are Solid Long-Term Investments
stock market
Is MGNI Stock a Solid Long Term Investment?
Baltimore Orioles
The 10 Most Expensive Baltimore Orioles Baseball Cards Ever
Aviation Boats Food & Drink Hotels Restaurants Yachts
Christopher Place Resort
20 Awesome Romantic Getaways in Tennessee
Peruse the Stalls at the Puerto de Frutos
The 20 Best Things to Do in Tigre, Argentina
La Croix Sparkling Water
The 10 Best Sparkling Water Brands in the World
BMW Bugatti Cadillac Ferrari Lamborghini Mercedes Porsche Rolls Royce
The Rolls-Royce Cullinan: An Enduring Love Affair
1999 Subaru Legacy Outback Wagon
The 10 Best Station Wagons of the 90s
E85 gas
What is E85 Gas and What is it Used For?
BMW Motorcycles Buell Ducati Harley Davidson Honda Motorcycles Husqvarna Kawasaki KTM Triumph Motorcycles Yamaha
2022 BMW K1600GT
A Closer Look at The 2022 BMW K1600GT
2022 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114
A Closer Look at The 2022 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114
2022 Bimota KB4
A Closer Look at The 2022 Bimota KB4
Electronics Fashion Health Home Jewelry Pens Sneakers Watches
Grand Seiko
A Closer Look at the Grand Seiko SBGN003 9F Quartz GMT
Nike Air Max 95
10 Sneakers that Epitomized 90s Fashion
Moritz Grossmann Tremblage Watch
A Closer Look at the Moritz Grossmann Tremblage Watch
Jawed Karim
How Jawed Karim Achieved a Net Worth of $160 Million
Renee Zellweger
How Renee Zellweger Achieved a Net Worth of $90 Million
The 10 Richest Crypto Billionaires in the World
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
How Jeffrey Dean Morgan Achieved a Net Worth of $12 Million