Very Selective

We're going to be very selective.

I noticed this statement on a job advert the other day and was (negatively) impressed by it. Not sure what it says to you but I interpreted it to mean something like “we're going to be very selective… this time around.”

As in, not like last time, or, not like usual.

I'm pretty sure the company didn't mean it like that but hey, they put it out there.

Selection Counts

There is no question selection systems count and most firms could stand improvement here. From random interviews with unqualified interviewers to the most scientific systems approach almost all processes could be better.

Until fairly recently the biggest tool many firms used in selection was the in-person interview. Interestingly data consistently shows this is actually the lowest-correlated tool in terms of predicting job success (and the best method to sustain intended or incidental bias) but for many of us it was standard practice.

Other predictors like experience, education, license, certification, military & volunteer service, etc., etc., are also selection tools. And with the arrival of the latest technology video interviewing is now firmly entrenched as yet another arrow in our quiver.

The game changer of course, is one's social media footprint. There is a lot of debate (I mean a lot) on whether or not this information should be used in selection (debate over: it is being used) and if so how can we validate that information. This is no simple question and will be a field of study for some time.

Net, there are plenty of methods for developing a selection system in your firm so if you too long to be “very selective” you have the tools.

Reality Counts

The job is not quite finished however.

Anyone with but a few years' HR experience can tell you even the most robust selection system providing the highest quality candidates is destined to fail if the work system itself does not take advanatge of and stretch those candidates.

Time and again we see companies going to extraordinary lengths to find, romance and secure the best candidates – to be very selective – and then once acquired throwing them over the fence to the gaping maw unconcerned about their join-up fidelity.

Think about this for a minute: all this focus and attention on selection, but little to none on what happens next. In other words, what about the host environment?

Have you given the new manager up to date coaching techniques? Ensured the vision and goals are relevant and real? Worked through the feedback and planning processes for both new hire and manager? Talked about core values, expectations, ethics and culture?

And so on.

Is this a lot of work? Of course. Is it worth it? Well – would you buy a Ferrari and then put cheap gas in it?

I didn't think so.

Selection is terribly important, yet without the ongoing support systems tied to it can never deliver the results you're hoping for. If you want to be very selective on the front end (and I hope you always do) at some point you just have to do the hard work to build the infrastructure to take advantage of that selectivity.

So go ahead and be choosy.

Just be sure you know what to do with people once you choose them.



2 thoughts on “Very Selective

  1. One has to admire the efforts companies make to stand out… “we’re going to be very selective, normally we just hire anybody who happens to pop in from the street” 🙂

    • Or you can always use the mirror test. Here: breathe on this mirror – let’s see if you fog it up…

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