Category Archives: Blog

No More Resumes?

A July article in the Chicago Tribune ( chronicles the demise of resumes in hiring, and the rise of chatbots, artificial intelligence, automated games that “reveal” traits, and video interviews that measure 20,000 facial expressions (HireVue). The goal of all these approaches is to save money (fewer interviewers) and minimize bias. Proponents see some reduction in turnover. Problems with the approaches include MORE bias when algorithms try to repeat patterns of success and successful employees happen to be old white guys from Harvard. Candidates complained of auto video interviews in which follow up questions asked by the canned voice did not relate to the previous answer. Personality tests are most common – a $4 billion industry. Companies just sent a link, candidates take the online test, and those who score below a cutoff score are rejected. Simple!  But … do they work?

Brad Smart’s opinion: Yes and no. Yes, I can see that technology will help improve talent through better hiring tools. But no, they are not “there” yet. The CEO of a major HR technology company told me there are 40,000 apps in the HR technology space, all promising to improve your hiring but NONE of the new apps showing significant improvement in talent.

I happen to be an expert on personality tests, having properly validated personality tests. Every personality test with a cutoff score that I’ve validated did more HARM than good – it eliminated as many A Players as C Players. (Maybe I should do a 15-minute webinar and prove it). YOU can do a short version of what I’ve done with 10,000 candidates over a 3-year period.

  1. Administer your personality test to at least 30 candidates (BEFORE they are hired), and don’t score it.
  2. After 6 months bring out the test. Score it. Get performance ratings on all (12) who were hired.
  3. Count how many high performers (A Players) were rejected (not hired because their score was below the cutoff).

OOPS! If as many As as Cs were rejected, the test failed itself!

I have my own built-in bias – in favor of the Topgrading approaches with proof of improving talent in dozens of case studies ( I predict that technology will eventually help improve the efficiency of Topgrading, but I also predict that:

  • resumes will prevail (though right now resumes and Facebook profiles and LinkedIn profiles are loaded with fabrications), and I predict that …
  • when candidates know they will have to arrange calls with bosses the low performers (with falsehoods in their resume) will drop out, saving companies time and money. And I predict that:
  • good old fashioned face-to-face interviews will be the only way to fully, fully understand candidates, and finally, I predict that
  • no-phone tag reference calls with managers of candidates will continue to be the solid verification of what candidates told you.

What do you think?

The C-Suite Lacks Confidence in HR Data

The title of this blog is actually the title of a very recent SHRM article:  The C-suite Lacks Confidence in HR Data Analytics.  But Why?  Click on the link I’ve provided and you can read the article.

I’ll save you the trouble of reading this article.  C-Suite executives simply do not believe the data.  Data analytics and confusing top executives who simply don’t have confidence that whatever algorithms are used make the correct assumptions.  An example in the article is Quality of Hire.

The article points out that there is no standard definition of quality of hire.  So the C-suite might see a statistic showing – I’ll make this up – 97.5% of their hires are good performers …. But the research shows that they do not believe it.  They shouldn’t!

A couple of years ago I was Special Advisor to American Productivity and Quality Center study of Quality of Hire.  One of the participating companies you know well and the head of HR made that claim:  he said 97.5% of the people they’ve hired in recent years turned out to be good performers.  Asked about the analytics, that head of HR said hiring managers are asked 30 days after hiring someone, does the person you hired 30 days ago have skills to do the job?  HUH?  Excellent skills?  The skills to do a great job?  APQC asked him, what percent of the people hired turn out to be high performers and the head of HR said, “about 20%!”  Some difference – the CEO’s dashboard weekly shows 97.5% are good hires when in fact only 20% turn out to be the high performers the CEO expected.  How can the C-suite make smart decisions about succession if they do not have a clue how good their employees are?

The SHRM article also states that top executives do not believe that the personality tests administered to candidates separate mediocre from high performers.    They can read validity studies that say the tests are valid but in real life they do not see clear patterns in the tests that separate mediocre from high performers.  I have properly validated personality tests for such companies as the Home Depot and here’s what I found:  The personality tests are easily faked so if a cutoff score is used, C Players answer the questions as though they are Q Players and get this:  the tests eliminate as many A Player candidates as C Player candidates.  Bottom line, I’m not aware of any personality test that is not harmful to a company that uses it for selection, with a cutoff score.

On the positive side of the ledger, I’m proud that Topgrading case studies show tremendous improvements in hiring success.  When CEOs and their C suites can look at 50 people hired with Topgrading and 50 people hired without Topgrading here are the typical analytical data they see:  they know the people hired and judge that 40 out of the 50 hired with Topgrading are A Players, high performers, but only 10 of the people hired without using Topgrading are A Players.  40 vs. 10 – and they know the data are accurate because they know the people hired.

Candidate Dishonesty in Resumes and Interviews: The Solution – Blog 4 of 4

You’re skeptical, right? I’ve made the case that human nature makes lying on resumes and in interviews “understandable” and widespread, so how can there be a solution?

Well. ‘ol Doc Smart has just the potion for you – a “truth serum”.

Blogs aren’t supposed to sell stuff, so I guess I have to give to you for free. Forgive me for saying that Topgrading Online Solutions (TOLS3.0) administers the truth serum automatically, but that’s all I’ll say. Except that I hit on this amazingly simple, and amazingly powerful (scares away the low performers), and amazingly inexpensive (free). You can start using it today and you will start hiring better today.

After decades in the industry, I’ve found that candidates have a common tendency to not be entirely honest during the application and interview process. They may hype their experience in resumes and interviews, and conceal mistakes made in their careers and jobs that didn’t work out. If you’ve been a hiring manager, in HR or a company manager, no doubt you’ve encountered this. If these individuals do get hired, they are more likely to repeat past mistakes or behaviors, causing frustration and costing the company money and time. So how can you get candidates to tell you the whole truth?

I’ve developed a technique that’s worked for 30+ years, infusing honesty in hiring for leading companies like UBS, Honeywell, the American Heart Association, and thousands of other companies. This “truth serum” has prevented millions of mis-hires and saved companies millions of dollars.

At my company Topgrading, we teach managers what is called the Threat of Reference Check (TORC) or “truth serum” to separate potential mis-hires from the rest of the candidates.

We recommend informing candidates that a final step in the hiring process is for them to arrange the reference calls with their managers. This puts the responsibility on the candidate to contact those they’ve reported to and anyone else you want to talk with (peers, customers, division leaders, etc.) I hit on this technique early in my consulting career and it quickly became a game changer to the hiring process. It motivates low performers and those that have inflated their accomplishments to drop out. They don’t want you to talk to the people they have reported to, for fear those bosses would give a negative reference or illuminate information they were trying to withhold. They also know that it’s very unlikely bosses would agree to talking with you, for fear of a law suit if they told you the truth about their poor performance. Through this threat of reference check you save your company both time and money by weeding out these candidates before they move ahead as a potential hire.

High performers are VERY willing to arrange the reference calls because they have nothing to hide and know their managers will agree to talk with you and sing their praises. In Topgrading’s Career History Form, candidates are asked to give their full salary history (except where prohibited by law), the true reasons for leaving jobs, and how they think every boss would rate their overall performance (Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor).  Hundreds of clients have said knowing these ratings before even talking with a candidate is a huge time saver and the best candidate screening tool imaginable. Do you agree?

Time Tested: Leading companies and SMBs have used the TORC technique for decades with 100% success rate. Over the years clients consistently report that the actual ratings correlate highly and match the candidate’s assessment of their performance. These calls provide another data point and are a terrific way to verify what candidates said in their interviews.

For more information, download the free eGuide.

Have you encountered candidates who have not been entirely truthful during the hiring process? Share your experience below.