Willfull Blindness author and entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan has an outrageous idea for dairy farmers: Stop interviewing job candidates. Interviews don’t tell an employer much about how that person will handle the position, anyway. By hiring anyone and seeing how they perform on the job, you can save yourself time and effort.
On her blog, Heffernan refers to the mountains of research that shows that as many as 75 percent of new hires don’t deliver what employers were looking for, despite having passed an interview and/or assessment exercises.
“This means that tossing a coin has as good a chance of finding you the right person as the more lugubrious process of weeding through resumés and sitting through hours of painful interviews,” she writes. “You could just hire anyone. It would save you time and trouble, and you'd get to learn about the candidate the right way: on the job.”
There’s also a very human aspect of the hiring process which works against us, Heffernan notes: When managers invest so much time and effort in the interview process, it’s difficult for them to accept when the candidate isn’t all that they hoped. This leads to throwing more good after bad, whereas investing less in this broken system in the beginning would help us part ways sooner if it’s not a good fit.
Sure, Heffernan admits, this proposition is outrageous on some level. But so is interviewing people, she says.
“(It’s) time-consuming, expensive and emotionally taxing,” she writes. “That might be OK — if it worked. But it doesn't. We aren't the great judges of character that we think we are. The process is hopelessly artificial, and neither boss nor candidate enjoys a very honest exchange.”
She admits to having spent years trying to make the interview process work. Now she’s ready to spend the time and effort she used to invest in interviews on giving people a shot at the job and evaluating what they do, not just what they say.