Archive for June, 2014

Measure Your Way Out of the Dark Ages of Hiring

June 30th, 2014

dark ages of hiringHow successful is your organization at building new teams? While there may be little shortage of qualified applicants, not everyone you see will necessarily wind up fitting in well with the other members of the group you’re assembling.

If you’re not defining and using metrics to improve the quality of your new hires, you might as well be operating out of the Dark Ages, when compared to your competitors who are more savvy about making data-driven decisions for recruitment and employee retention.

For some perspective: As a way to focus on quickly growing the user base at Internet start-up companies, the concept of “growth hacking” emerged a few years ago, according to a recent post by Nick Marsh at The Next Web.

Growth hacking, as Marsh describes it, emphasizes metrics. In the case of startups, the mission would be to reduce the cost of acquiring each new customer by using technology more aggressively in the process.

Examples of technology range from CRM software and applicant tracking applications to social networking and mobile devices able to access all required data via cloud service providers.

You can apply this philosophy of aggressively using technology and making measurements to your recruiting efforts, as well as toward seeing whether team members can bring their individual skill sets together more effectively as you build new teams.

Marsh notes that traditionally, companies would go through a lengthy recruitment process, hoping that candidates with poor interview skills but who would otherwise make a great fit could manage to get past the first round with HR. After the team has had time to meet with enough candidates, they work out whom to hire. It is only later, after work actually begins, that they can really determined if the new candidate is a good match. You should get better results when you add more metrics to the mix.

Begin Making Measurements

Build up a data set to help you figure out what is working when you hire exceptional candidates and what is not working so well. Startup firms are particularly adept at this, because they are typically used to doing A/B testing and analytics to measure products and other aspects of their business, so that they can quickly pivot their model if need be.

As you develop your measures of success and apply them to new candidates, your goal should be to continuously keep track of the measurements so you can steadily boost the quality of hires going forward. Because you will be using more data to make your hiring decisions, you should expect to see a decrease in the cost per hire for each new recruit.

If you and the other HR professionals at your organization haven’t been taking advantage of more data-driven techniques in your recruitment process, don’t you think it’s time to start giving it some more consideration? These days, with more information becoming available than ever before as well as being much easier to manipulate, analyze and share, it seems like a waste of a valuable resource if you ignore the benefits of defining measures of success and applying them to new hires.

5 Ways to Determine if You Should Hire a Human or Robot

June 2nd, 2014

robot hiringThe robots are coming! The robots are coming! While robots are not actually an invading force akin to the British soldiers during the American Revolution, these mechanical constructs are definitely making a big impact in the modern business landscape.

In fact, it’s hard to open a newspaper these days without seeing stories about people losing their jobs to more efficient robots, such as in factory assembly lines or in emerging plans to use machines instead of people to flip burgers at fast food restaurants.

Benefits of hiring robots include their ability to work long hours without complaint or the need to rest, improved efficiency and more precision in delicate operations.

The rise of robots raises some questions among HR professionals. Will robots eventually take over more “white collar” jobs? How can employers prepare for the coming robot revolution with their hiring practices, and how can they know which jobs are better for robots and which are still more suitable for people to do?

With that in mind, here are five ways to determine if you should hire a human or a robot.

1. Does the job in question involve danger or a higher level of risk? Positions that involve moving heavy equipment or working with hazardous materials are prime candidates for robot replacement. We may even eventually see robotic police officers and military forces to ease some of the burden on our fragile human bodies.

2. Will your industry become increasingly reliant on automation in order to remain competitive? A recent report in Geekwire notes that the online giant Amazon is poised to deploy some 10,000 robots in warehouses across the globe by the end of 2014. Amazon currently uses about 1,000 robots, so this announced increase from CEO Jeff Bezos is likely going to catch the attention of other industry titans seeking to improve their efficiency.

3. Does the position you are hiring for require an artistic background or a high level of creative thinking? These kinds of jobs are not likely going to be filled any time soon with artificial creatures that have no sense of how the world really works.

4. Are you finding it tough to hire people for certain positions because they are boring or too repetitive? Technology Review noted that Aldo Zini of Aethon is developing robots on wheels to transport garbage, food trays, medicine and more in hospitals to free up people from such drudgery. As an added bonus, you should expect to see fewer repetitive-stress injuries in your workforce when you switch to robots for the most boring tasks.

5. What is your client base? You may be serving a population that is too squeamish around new technology, such as the very aged. Even if a robot can do a job faster and better than an ordinary person, you might lose business if the senior citizens you serve are creeped out by mechanical men and their strange noises and disproportional strength.

Artificial brains inside mechanical bodies do not have intuition, empathy and the vast amount of social experience and knowledge of human nature that HR professionals carry in spades. This means that hiring managers don’t need to worry about being replaced by these robots themselves any time soon, even as they cut the labor force with machines to do our most boring and repetitive tasks.