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The Search to Hire Smarter – Is there a Missing Link?

By: mprinz Sunday May 1, 2016 comments

Cave Man RecruiterThe first evidence of commerce dates back to the Stone Age with the trading of obsidian and flint. Someone discovered rocks had value and acquired help to unearth, move and market them. The first manager probably clutched a club while directing where to dig and where to drag. What’s impressive: this happened about 8,000 years before the wheel made its debut. 

That someone then communicated the value of the stones to others from afar and shortly thereafter a trade route grew. Even back then, there had to be a mutually beneficial reason for bartering. This seemingly simple act required a number of “employees” working in a multi-tiered society made up of thinkers and movers. For an effective relationship to develop at all levels, there had to be trust and respect somewhere along the line from digger to deliverer. It’s also true rocks make for decent weapons though that’s not the point. 

From Paleolithic times to the early 20th Century, a person’s reputation was their resume. It involved the family background  - where they came from, who they were and who they knew. Employers relied heavily on instinct and a person’s word. Meetings were face-to-face and the proof came from the individuals performance. But even with referrals, some of those employees didn’t work out. Thousands of years later, we’re still scratching our heads over the age-old question, “How do you predict who would make a good worker?” 

It’s more complicated to hire now than ever before. The number of jobs and skills required to perform those jobs have grown exponentially. Only within the last hundred years, have we tried to hire smarter. Today, the market is loaded with assessments to determine cognitive abilities, personality, empathy levels, skills and more. Though some have use, they’re not the final solution either. 

Google tried to crack the nut too. After multiple experiments and years of research here’s what they found, “The single best predictor in trying to find the perfect candidate was: absolutely nothing.” Turns out, their recommendation is almost identical to what our ancestors have been doing for several millennium. Bring candidates inside your village and introduce them to your tribe. Meet with them not once, not twice, but four times with four interviewers. Then go with the collected impression of the group. Imagine that. Even today, four heads are better than one. Seems as though things aren’t so different after all. 

Maybe we shouldn’t reinvent the wheel and instead focus on why it was originally created in the first place - for pottery. Only later did we figure out its greater purpose.


Is there a missing link?


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About the Author: mprinz