Smarter online hiring tools arrive

By David Essex, ITworld.com |  Career

Recruitment, it seems trite to say, is inherently a search problem. Like Web search engines, good recruiters strive to ask the right questions, communicate clearly, keep their categories straight, and find information relevant to them. They employ rules of thumb -- computer scientists call these heuristics -- to point them in fruitful directions.

There's a small but growing category of businesses that purport to streamline the search. They don't use résumé-sorting programs or job-board search engines, but systems for applying insight and know-how at key junctures in the hiring process. These tools are like expert systems that capture and partially automate the experience of successful recruiters.

These "smarter" hiring tools are, in part, a response to the growing recognition that job boards are becoming less useful to time-starved corporate recruiters. Obviously, sifting through six million résumés is not a fun or productive process. These newer recruitment tools help the recruiter dig deeper and answer the most important questions about candidates: Can they do the job? Do they have a criminal record? Are they team oriented or individualistic to a fault? Have they successfully done a similar job in the past?

Lou Adler's PowerHiring.com

These new systems have one thing in common: they all concentrate on the matching and screening stages of hiring. Finding a good match requires paying close attention to seemingly mundane tasks like writing compelling job descriptions. Screening works best when you know the right questions to ask during an interview, or the kinds of background checks that can legally provide the most useful information.

Lou Adler's Power Hiring is such a system. Based on Adler's 1998 book, Hire with Your Head (John Wiley & Sons), it's a series of steps, one for each letter in the word power, designed to help you quickly find and recruit the top people in any profession. O, for example, stands for objective evaluation -- shorthand for interviews that filter out the subjective. Adler, president of both Power Hiring Inc. and CJA-The Adler Group, an executive search firm in Tustin, Calif., also runs courses for recruiters and has a Website, PowerHiring.com, on which he makes his services accessible online. Adler, a former Rockwell financial manager, counts Cisco Systems (San Jose, Calif.) and Pizza Hut parent Tricon Global Restaurants (Louisville, Ky.) among his biggest customers.

The gist of Adler's method is behavioral-based interviewing, which essentially keeps interviewers focused on the facts of a person's actual past performance rather than emotions felt during the interview. It differs sharply from personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

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