Thursday, October 27, 2016

Analytics and Hiring

Can you use analytics to help you in your hiring process? The conventional wisdom says no. The big data proponents say yes.

Let's consider how this might work at a larger (undefined term) company. Suppose you asked each manager to list all of the characteristics of their best employees. Have them do it with no limits. They tend to be of a particular height, have a particular eye color, and speak loudly. Perhaps they tended to graduate from larger primary state colleges. And, they tended to major in one of three disciplines.

Among the key questions then becomes whether those particular data points are predictive or not. If they are, then depending on what they are, then either before an interview or after an interview, you should be able to put the characteristics of an applicant into your model and determine whether they would be a good hire for you.

You don't think it works, do you?

Let me challenge that. Is professional baseball a job? If you read or watched "Moneyball", you know that one of the early adopters of analytics (they call it sabermetrics in baseball) were the Oakland As under the leadership of their GM Billy Beane. Perhaps his leading disciple was Theo Epstein. Epstein is fairly unique in being the General Manager of the Red Sox who broke the curse of the Bambino and may turn out to be the Cubs GM who breaks the curse of the goat. In any event, Epstein has made highly controversial moves and made two struggling franchises into winners.

I know; that's baseball; it doesn't work in real jobs. Or does it?

Frankly, I don't know. I haven't tried it. But I know people with expertise who think it does.

Try it in your company.

Let me know how it goes.