For most jobs, do we simply need a smart, grammarly guy at work with his basic cognitive skills in place? It would be easy to answer this question with a prompt ‘yes’ had it not been for the presence of the word ‘simply’, which in the case of this question is not so simple a word. In fact it throws open a whole Pandora’s box of complex questions when it comes to the process of finding the right fit for any job in question. And that is why the 12-minute ‘hire or fire’ speed hiring concept has my brain cells doing a little bit of a jig within my skull.
Typically, ‘speed hiring’ involves candidates being tested for their cognitive abilities in just about 12 minutes and offer letters are given to the suitable candidates. Put the candidate into a cauldron of 50 questions of Grammar, Ratio &Percentages, inductive reasoning for 12 minutes and voila the HR wizard will be able to determine whether the ingredient going in was fit to be served as a dish or not to the position lying vacant. Are we really talking recruitment or SAT here? To give the devil its due, the test does seem to make sense in terms of determining basic language and cognitive skills, a must for any job. It tests the guy beyond what his resume sells by way of degrees and achievements. It also shows his ability to think quickly under pressure – 50 questions in 12 minutes. But coming back to the real question, is a good score good enough to determine whether or not this guy fits in?
A good score simply reflects that this guy is a smart test taker but what about the not so measurable qualities of grit, communication, motivation, empathy, leadership and so many more which might be important to the job in question. Does the 12-minute test give you an insight into that? Besides, like each human being, each job position is determined by unique principles, one may need a quick technical mind, the other good communication skills and another acuity in decision making. How can one generic test be the determinant of candidates being fit for different job roles?
Even if for a moment we assume that the test gives us our average Joe who has minimal requisite skills in place, what are the odds in his favour with respect to performance? As per a research on 20,000 new hires, why 46% failed within the first 18 months was not so much on account of lack of skills but for attitudinal reasons. While basic mathematics, English grammar and inductive reasoning may give us a fleeting insight into a candidate’s skill, the recruiter would still be clueless on whether this guy would fit into the cultural landscape of the organization or not. You have tested the guy for his intelligence quotient for whatever it is worth but what about the emotional quotient, his attitude – something that would be a far greater propeller than skill when it comes to pushing the pedal to the metal in the long run.
Recruitment is a much more byzantine game than just a simple 12 minute test of 50 questions assessing grammar and cognitive skills. It can serve as a basic filtering process to have only a certain level of aptitude make it to the next stage of selection. But the test by itself as a sole determinant for hiring would be like picking up an angora wool pullover on the basis of size, when you are actually living in a tropical country with temperatures ranging between 26 and 36 degrees centigrade throughout the year.