June 22, 2013

Hiring and Marrying Great People--Is It Random or Predictable?

The Atlantic (21 June 2013) has a startling article about hiring at Google--"It's a complete random mess."

With all the Google information genius and the brainteasers they test people with, all the rounds of interviews they put them through, they found "zero relationship" between how people scored in tens of thousands of interviews and how they performed in their jobs.

No only didn't the interviews predict good hires, but "colleges didn't matter, GPAs...didn't matter."

Only one guy who was the world's leading expert in something, and was hiring for a very specialized area seemed to be able to weed out the wheat from the chaff in interviews. 

"People are complicated, organizations are complicated, matching people with organizations is complicated."

This reminds me of what it's like to match people for intimate relationships...very, very difficult. Sort of like, men are complicated, women are complicated, and matching men and women is complicated.

Whether matching people to organizations or to each other, getting a good Shidduch is a big challenge and hard to predict the outcome. 

Perhaps that is why the average person goes through seven careers in a lifetime and "50% of all marriages in America end in divorce."

Making a good match with a company or a person is hard--because as I heard as a teenager, "you never know what the person is really like until you wake up with them in the morning"--morning breath, hair messed, bad dreams, pissy moods, and all. 

Similarly, with a company, until you work there and actually have to live the culture and deal with the people, policies, and politics, you won't really know what it's like just by asking around and reading up about them on Glassdoor.

Also, not only do you have imperfect information about the people and jobs when you try and match them up, but people change (organizations do to, but much more slowly--it's a bigger ship to turn around). 

Yes, while past performance are predictors of future performance--good skills and bad habits, they do stick around--at the same time, people do learn, grow, mature, and change--hopefully for the better. 

As the old Jewish saying goes, "with age, comes wisdom"--and hopefully, more mature and better ways of dealing and coping with challenging and complex people and situations. 

So what should you look for--whether in a new hire or a marriage mate? 

Start with a good heart and a good fit; look for a track record of success in life, a hunger to succeed personally and professionally, someone willing to learn and grow, and not be afraid to work hard, have some failures, and get back on their feet again--that's life. 

Say a prayer and don't be fooled by the superficial things or what people just say to get the job or the mate--look for what they do (action speaks louder than words) and remember, personal beauty is more than just skin deep. ;-)

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