a heart, symbolizing the error of hiring job candidates based on subjective observations and feelingsIs it enough for a job candidate to “show up” for an interview?

A prominent voice on LinkedIn recently garnered more than 17,000 likes with a post that read, in part:

We just hired a Gen-Z candidate with zero experience. Here’s why… They arrived 10 min early for their morning interview (respect ✊), pronounced my name correctly (major kudos), had a firm handshake, dressed sharp, and brought a hard copy of their resume (I didn’t need it). During the interview they smiled, made eye contact, and were honest about having zero experience (we value honesty). They asked me questions, they wanted to learn, they showed up! To all the hiring decision makers out there, don’t disqualify candidates because they don’t have “experience.”

By all means, don’t discriminate against Gen-Z or any other Gen, or against candidates who don’t have experience if the job doesn’t require it. But be smart about hiring, based on the insights of research: Don’t base hiring decisions exclusively on trivia like whether a candidate can pronounce your name, shake your hand firmly, wear snazzy clothes, or produce documents no one needs.

These personal observations have little to do with job performance; consequently, hiring on their basis has been shown to be ineffective, exemplifying the need to adopt a data mindset.

To hire high-performing employees, learn what works and what doesn’t in the article “Attracting and selecting: What psychological research tells us,” published in Human Resource Management. The authors observe:

“Some managers are unwilling to concede that structured selection programs are not just good ways to select employees; they are better than other less structured alternatives. The [perceived] power of ‘gut instinct’ and ‘chemistry’ seems to override the hard data and rational arguments.”

The best predictors of job performance: Work samples, structured interviews (with a standard set of questions), and cognitive ability tests.

Among the worst predictors of performance: Unstructured interviews, situational assessments (hypotheticals), reference checks, and biographical information.