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Human Analytics for Predicting Good Hires

Vinaya
Vinaya Bansal
April 13, 2016

Originally Appeared in People Matters on 21st March 2016

Advancements in human analytics enable companies to develop an accurate understanding of the workplace behaviours of candidates even before meeting them.

Vinaya Bansal

How many aspects of business have changed in last 15 – 20 years? The answer: Too many. Modes of communication have changed completely from landlines to ubiquitous mobiles; hardcopy letters and faxes have given way to emails and WhatsApp; files and paper have been replaced by ERP systems; laptops have now become alter-ego of employees; internet has completely changed the way our sales teams scout for prospects and interacts with clients. Technology and robotics have dramatically changed the way production is happening now.

But surprisingly our hiring process seems to have stuck in the past! Apart from the incremental changes nothing fundamentally has evolved in it. The way my father got job 30 years ago is still the way I got my first job on campus in 2001 – and that is the way recruitments are still going on!

What is the end result of this?

According to a research there is about 69 percent failure rate in hiring. Even worse than 1-sigma failure rates at a time when 6-sigma is what one aspires for in all aspects of business! In fact, in a recent Gallup survey, it was found that there is about 82 percent failure rate in choosing candidates with the right talent for the managerial position. Past is no more a reliable indicator of future.

The question that arises is what has gone wrong with this tried-and-tested hiring process?

Well, I call it ‘Back View Mirror’ driving! We are just focusing on past of a candidate -such as past performance, experience, education, institutions from which one has studied, companies one has worked in and skills one has acquired –in order to understand him/her and determine the skill-fit. This approach worked in the past because business environment didn’t change much. But now we have entered the phase of technological disruptions and hyper-competition, which means business dynamics change even before the products leave the drawing board. Past is no more a reliable indicator of future.

Hire for behaviours and train for skills to predict performance!

So how do we change the hiring process to get better results in this hypercompetitive business environment? For this, we need to look into the future in a scientific and objective way. Many business functions such as finance, marketing and sales have been able to do this by leveraging power of data analytics. For example, in finance, they use data analytics to predict the credit worthiness of a borrower. In marketing, they use data analytics to understand the buying behaviours of the end consumers. In sales, they use data analytics to predict the sales and fluctuations in the coming years. Similarly, in hiring function of HR, we now need to use predictive human analytics to understand the workplace behaviour of the employees.

Advancements in human analytics enable companies to develop an accurate understanding of the workplace behaviours of candidates even before meeting them. Using systems such as Predictive Index (PI), HR can garner wealth of information about a candidate which otherwise was only possible to observe after the person has worked in the organization for many months or years. The behavioural analysis of an individual provides crucial information such as the leadership style, communication style, delegation style, management style, learning style, team working capabilities and decision-making style. But knowing about a person in isolation is one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is to objectively determine what the exact behavioural requirements for ensuring high performance on the job are. This is the side which often gets missed out in piece-meal or half-hearted application of human analytics in companies.

Today, human analytics system such as PI’s Job PRO, can create an ideal behavioural profile required for doing a job within few minutes on the basis of the daily activities and JDs. Armed with the knowledge about work place behaviours of an individual and the ideal requirements of a job, HR can easily predict the performance of the candidate from a very holistic perspective. For doing this, organizations can choose from host of assessments and holistic web-based systems such as Predictive Index (PI), Caliper, MBTI, Birkman etc. that are available in market. The choice of the system will depend upon on the unique requirements and needs of an organization. What makes human analytics the most important tool in hiring is that the behavioural gaps are more permanent in nature than the skill gaps. Skill gaps can be easily covered with right training but there is very little that we can do about behavioural gaps. In today’s business scenario we can confidently say that “Hire for behaviours and train for skills”–to get best out of a candidate and bring predictability to the whole hiring process.

i) As per analysis done by PI’s (Predictive Index)

ii) Gallup’s –State Of The American Manager Report 2015


Ⓒ 2016 Predictive Strategy Group