How to Take the Gamble out of Hiring

January 15, 2022

Choosing a new employee often feels like a gamble – and it can be an expensive one. According to experts, the average cost of a bad hire can be around 30% of the employee’s first-year earnings. Combine that loss with the cost of diminished productivity in your team (due to staff being thread too thin), and you begin to see how much you have riding on each job offer.

Unfortunately, around 46% of employees fail within the first 2 years, indicating that something is going seriously wrong with the way hiring managers choose their candidates.

Companies like Unboxable, which created a job simulator to replace the antiquated CV, believe the problem begins with employers relying too heavily on” gut instinct” and “intuition” to make hiring decisions, instead of data. According to data published by CareerBuilder, 74% of employers admit to hiring the wrong person, yet they still assume they can trust their instinct to find the best employee when new roles open up.

Gut Instinct: Why it Doesn’t Work for Employers

For years, HR experts, hiring managers, and employers have all relied heavily on intuition when making hiring decisions. According to an article from the Harvard Business Review, intuition in general has become deeply ingrained into the business world, and it’s begun to take on a level of unjust value.

Society gives the idea of “intuition” a great deal of prestige and influence, but the reality is that when we make a decision based on “gut instinct”, we’re really just taking a gamble and hoping for the best. The reality is that people who use data and real genuine information to make decisions (rather than just intuition) are three times more likely to make good choices.

The major problem is simple: gut instinct favors style over substance. When you read a CV and choose to hire someone because you just “feel” something about then, you’re usually falling in love with some superficial concept, like the fact that this person previously worked for a company you’re impressed by. The trouble with that is you’re only scratching the surface of the facts.

The fact that someone worked for a major company before might be impressive on the surface, but even if that individual was extremely successful with that brand, it doesn’t guarantee they’re going to generate the same success for you. Without diving deeper into what made the candidate successful, their characteristics, and their abilities, you’re just guessing at their abilities.

Hiring Relies too Heavily on Intuition

As human beings, we’re easily swayed by biases – most of which we’re not even aware of. The use of a certain font on a CV could be enough to convince us one candidate is better than another – when it really has nothing to do with their abilities. Even the interview is problematic when it comes to helping hiring managers to make the right decision.

Something simple, like a person’s “executive haircut”, or their suit could sway us into thinking they’re the right person for the job, while pushing us to ignore factors that really matter – like the fact they were twenty minutes late to the meeting.

It’s okay to have a hunch or a gut feeling about someone in the hiring world – but that shouldn’t be the ultimate basis for a hiring decision. Using your gut to make choices often means ignoring other, more important things, like cultural fit.

This is why companies like Unboxable are beginning to look into alternatives to the standard CV and interview approach to hiring. The problems we have with unconscious bias, and a general inability to gauge “employee fit” in a short conversation, or based on a one-page document, mean that to hire more effectively, we need to change the entire process.

By giving companies the opportunity to build immersive job simulators, Unboxable allows hiring managers and employers to put their candidates to the test and gather data, facts, and evidence to make the right decision. The process ignores bias by examining how people perform in certain areas, like the ability to research information, or communicate with other members of staff.

Don’t Trust your Gut

Ultimately, gut instinct in hiring is an outdated concept – much like the CV and interview process in general. We’re give too much power to lists of a person’s previous workplaces, and five-minute conversations with them in a staged setting.

When you employee someone, you’re starting a relationship with that person who can last several years and equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars. When you look at it that way, deciding based on someone you just “feel good about”, seems almost insane.

The reality is there are too many factors determining whether someone will be a good fit for a business to consider anything other than data as the basis for your decision.

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