Hiring algorithms vs. understanding human nature

Big companies are using hiring algorithms and with great success to find the best employees for the job. There are so many factors involved in hiring, that an algorithm is the only way to sort through the stack of resumes. I use algorithms in every stage of my business, but my algorithms are simpler and can be created by simple computer programs or on paper. I use algorithms to buy stocks, hire companies, and sort search results on my directories. Some of my algorithms have 14 factors, while others have only 3 that can be calculated in my head. I think that three factors is not enough and over time I will try to complicate my overly simplistic algorithm for one of my search results with some new factors.

Today’s management seems to be obsessed with computers, labor saving technology, and algorithms. These are all good things. But, there is no substitute for good old fashioned skills. Similarly, with all of the new social mediums coming up whose names I don’t even know who are the successers to Facebook, Twitter, the telephone, telegrams, hand written letters, medieval scribes and messengers — good old fashioned writing skills are still paramount and “some things ain’t never gonna change!”

Putting algorithmic considerations aside, there are basic personality considerations.

1. Does the new employee feel like someone the boss and team wants to work with? Would you want to be stuck in a car for three hours with this person? Would you want your kids to hang out with them?

2. Have the employee do some test work for the company for a while and evaluate the work. Also evaluate the interaction between the worker and the boss.

3. The biggest test in an employee is seeing how their attitude is roughly four to five months after being hired. This is when people’s good attitude starts to fade. No matter how good your algorithm is, it cannot predict a person’s future attitude. You can see how fast they quit their previous jobs which is some sort of indication.

4. You can learn a lot by looking at someone’s personal life. It is not appropriate at a job interview to ask personal questions, but knowing a person’s private life can tell you a lot about how they will work. I hired a lady who kept boyfriends for exactly eighteen months and then went on to another boyfriend. She did this again and again over the course of decades. Guess how long she lasted at her job with me? Exactly eighteen months!

My final point is to incorporate personality into algorithms. But, how can this be done? You can enter your assessment of someone’s personality or compatibility with your company into the algorithm to give them more points or less points. The problem is that the biggest factor in the personality algorithm encompasses whether or not you will lose interest, quit, or become a personality problem for the company. Maybe hiring agents should hire a psychic and put their input into the algorithm — now we’re talking!

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