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Forget Interviews; Hire Anyone

Forget Interviews; Hire Anyone

A recent article sparked my interest. Written by Margaret Heffernan (chief executive of InfoMation Corporation, ZineZone Corporation, and iCAST Corporation) it started off by declaring “Interviews are a poor indicator of success. Why not abandon this expensive, old-fashioned practice and just hire the next person who walks in the door?”

It went on: “Mountains of research show that interviewing job applicants doesn’t tell you much about how they’ll perform. Depending on whose research you believe, 45% to 75% of new hires don’t deliver what employers originally wanted. Assessing performance through exercises doesn’t tell you anything better”.

This means that tossing a coin has as good a chance of finding you the right person as the more laborious process of weeding through CVs and sitting through hours of possibly painful interviews. 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.

The author, Margaret Heffernan continues: “that one of the big problems with the interview process is that so much time is invested in it, that when the candidate turns out not to be the ideal we expected, we cannot accept that we got it wrong. So we all spend a great deal of time trying to make things work. If we invested less in a broken system at the beginning, perhaps we’d have the courage to bow out faster”.

She recognises that, on some level, this is “an outrageous proposition”.

“But it’s spurred by the recognition that interviewing people is pretty outrageous, too: time-consuming, expensive, and emotionally taxing. 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.

As I see it, you have two choices: Invest in the system more (by bringing in personality and effectiveness assessments, tracking down informal references, and doing more interviews); or, simply, invest in the system less.

Having spent years trying to make the first option work, Margaret is willing to give the second option a chance”.

All I can say is that if you are a recruiting client reading the above… instruct the in-house team at BCL Legal: over 90% of the lawyers that we place in-house remain in the company that we place them for at least 3 years or more. We help you get the match correct!

Mark Levine is the head of BCL Legal’s in-house team. He can be contacted on 0845 241 0933 or via marklevine@bcllegal.com

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