Is Interviewing Going Away as a Hiring Tool?

Aug 4, 2018 | 20-Somethings, Career Launch, Uncategorized

According to Andy Biga, former Director of Talent at JetBlue and now SVP HR at GoHealth Urgent Care, hiring and matching jobs with talent has shifted dramatically. Soon interviews will offer a cursory glance at a candidate, but it will be the data offered by computer-generated assessments that will determine a fit or a mismatch. So he says. He has some good arguments in my opinion, but is that all there is to it? Sit a fantastic young person in front of a test for 2 hours and wait to see what the analytics say? Biga’s own “secret sauce” assessment consists of analyzing 12 personality traits of potential flight attendants. “His team can predict….which employee will make a good impression a customer” according to Giri Nathan of Time.

Is JetBlue the only company doing this? No, young job seekers; I’m afraid not. Hedge funds and private equity firms and a large percentage of Fortune 500 companies are using Cattell’s 16 personality factors, Caliper’s 22 traits, or Hogan’s Personality Inventory, 20 minute to 2-hour tests.  Scared? There’s more. Nathan reports that, “Some employers are now monitoring workers’ temperaments in real time – where employers can track their individual stats on a personalized, digital “baseball card.”  They’re crunching this big datato find talent who warrant a promotion, a training workshop, a lateral move, or even a pink slip (Gen Y: that means “get fired”).

Has the reality set in for you yet? It turns out the SAT is not the last test you’re going to have to take. And the questions are going to be much more… shall we say, ethereal? Here are some examples for you to chew on:

“I read at least 10 books a year. How many do you read?”
“Do you often fantasize about being famous?”
“Do people say you are eccentric?”
“More harm than good is caused by competition.”
“I do not like to draw attention to myself. Tell me why?”

And don’t even think about trying to beat the test by pandering, or analyzing the analysts, because you’ll lose, and probably mess up your chances.  The best way to approach these tests is to take a deep breath, manifest your most honest and genuine self, and click away without thinking too deeply.  After all, if they don’t want you based on your honest answers to random questions, why should you want them? It’s like choosing a college. If they don’t want you, walk away and find one that does. You’re much more likely to be happy in your job if they think you’re a good match, don’t you think?

So, back to the question at hand. Are interviews going to go extinct, the way resumes are likely to, in the wake of Linkedin’s layered, multi-faceted capabilities? My vote is yesand no, but more yes, than no, especially in large firms who are filling hundreds and thousands of positions every year.

If you’re a 20-Something starting out on your career journey, or looking to jump ship and target a new employer, chances are that you’re going to bump into some assessment tests.

Now that big data analytics are in the HR box, they’re not likely to leave.  Skeptics suggest that this is not the way to hire and manage a company’s greatest asset, but Laszlo Bock, former SVP of hiring at Google, says that deficits in the system will be addressed and eliminated within the next five to ten years.  “If you could figure out a robust way to assess people’s capabilities…and if you could actually assess what makes people perform well…. You could go a long way to matching people to jobs.”  Read this article on the power of Linkedin, to get more perspective on his prediction.

Here are five practical and more subtle tips for you as you head into this wonderful new world of hiring:

  1. Get ahead of them. Contact us and take some of the tests in advance. We use Caliper, MBTI, Strong and our own. Not only will they give you a sense of jobs that are a good match for you, they’ll also increase your self-awareness, one of the key pillars of Emotional Intelligence.
  2. Become more interesting by jumping into a new activity. It will stretch your mental and physical muscles and form new brain synapses. This will give you more perspective, and that will help you offer those darn tests a run for their money. And you’ll also have more to talk about in the interview – if you get one.
  3. Learn how to meditate. There are a hundred reasons to practice meditation, but for our purposes, it will allow you to relax and focus in a stressful situation.
  4. Become best friends with the “Skills” section of Linkedin. Look at what people have been “Endorsed” for, and try to extrapolate whether their job title is in line with your own skill-set, before you throw your hat into the ring.

Embrace the new world with positivity.  Ask yourself the question, “could this very objective method of hiring reduce discrimination based on gender, race, disabilities and nepotism?” These tests don’t look for disabilities, they look for “undesirable” personality traits.

By Jo Leonard
Chief Career Coach