3 April 2020

The #1 failure when hiring remotely.

Remote hiring. For some of us this was already the new normal, but most of us are forced to make it their new normal ASAP. 

The outbreak of the coronavirus is forcing the most rapid business digitalisation worldwide, including core business activities such as hiring. It’s an inspiration to see how quickly we all try to pivot our businesses to adapt to this new situation. The most innovative companies, acting ahead of the curve, have a chance to actually turn this crisis into a business opportunity. Luckily therefore, these scaleups won’t let their businesses slow down and continue hiring talent. Fully remotely.

In this blog I will share the #1 mistake companies tend to make in a remote hiring setting which can lead to bad hiring decisions – and of course how to prevent yourself from making this mistake and keep improving your hiring success remotely and act ahead of the curve.

You know that indescribable feeling you sometimes have when hiring?

That’s your gut feeling, your intuition. And it can be your biggest enemy in a hiring setting since gut feeling often leads to bad hires and a less diverse workforce. So why is that? Here are the two reasons why.

Reason 1. The 7 seconds rule.

Our gut feeling stimulates us to create a first impression of a candidate in just an average of seven seconds matter of seconds. And this first impression is quite tough to get rid of once you have it. Our frame of reference, which is full of bias, is what creates this impression. So your candidates are for at least 50% of the time evaluated based on that first seven seconds. Not the best input for a proper evaluation, right?

Reason 2. Emotions overrule ratio, raising the error margin.

Our gut feeling facilitates emotional behaviour. These first seven seconds I just described are likely to have a significant impact on the job interview with your candidate. It’s like following a decision-tree: Based on your first impression of a candidate, you will either ask question one or question two. And you will either phrase it in way A or way B – leading to a new decision to be made, and so on. 

Normally I’m a huge fan of decision trees, except for this one, because this one is based on emotional reactions rather than rationality, leading to inconsistency of the amount of and kind of information collected for each candidate. Not having a clear, predefined set of information to evaluate your candidates on will most likely result your unconscious bias impacting your decision making process, leading to either wrongfully rejecting candidates based on this error-sensitive feeling or hiring the wrong candidate based on the information you got out of your emotional, intuition-driven decision tree.

So although I don’t think this information is new to you, I hope it’s another reminder to the fact that gut feeling is never a good sign when it comes to making hiring decisions. 

Check our Remote Selection Guide, a 7-step-guide to master remote hiring.

Why gut feeling is even worse in a remote hiring setting.

In a remote hiring setting, the 7 seconds rule and emotions- taking-over-rationality situation is still happening. Unfortunately, now it’s even worse, because not being able to physically meet a candidate, allowing you to include non-verbal communication in your 7-seconds-evaluation, forces you to create this first impression on even less input. Ouch. 

This means that, where normally your gut feeling will likely lead to overconfidence, in a remote hiring setting this minimised amount of ‘input’ to base your first impression on  will likely lead to insecurity. So now we have a biased gut feeling, strengthened by insecurity, stimulating your (poor) gut feeling even more. The result: Bad hiring decisions. 

Data as a replacement for your gut feeling. 

I can’t say this enough since I’m a huge fan of this proven statement: Data beats gut feeling in hiring. Research has even shown that hiring decisions based on data are at least 25% better than purely human input

So data is extremely helpful in hiring, especially when it comes to remote hiring where virtual contact makes it harder to ‘predict’ job fit and cultural fit through human judgement. Here’s why:

  1. It’s consistent
  2. It’s complete
  3. It doesn’t have an opinion

The best way to collect sufficient data during this remote hiring process is by introducing pre-employment assessments

How and when to include data in your remote hiring process.

How: Assessments

Well, I would say by introducing pre-employment assessments (or pre-hire assessments): tests/tools you can use to assess and compare different candidates. The focus of these assessments can range from personality and cultural fit to cognitive skills and intelligence. All with one goal: Getting to know your candidates and their fit with your job and company culture.

Here at Equature we make use of neuro-assessment games. These are short, interactive games to play for a candidate, allowing us to collect crucial information about their skills and personality, which indicate job fit and cultural fit. Here you can read why we choose for gamified assessment instead of traditional assessments

Curious to learn more about Equalture’s neuro-assessment games for remote hiring?

When: At the top of the hiring funnel

The sooner you include the use of data in a hiring procedure, the better. Since this first impression is highly important in hiring, why not letting data do the talking and helping you create this first impression? 

Especially in a remote hiring situation, I would love to see all candidates complete your pre-employment assessments. Here at Equalture we allow our clients to do so by integrating our tool with their career sites so that, once a candidates hits the apply-button, (s)he is sent to our platform where the actual job application starts. Applying with LinkedIn makes it easy for them to finish the ‘resume-part’ fast and can move on to games that I discussed earlier.

By introducing these assessments during the very first contact point with a candidate, you have the exact same information for each candidate to base your first impression on. And moreover, the right information to create a proper first impression. 

Another nice consequence of introducing assessments earlier in the process is that you will more quickly and easily find out which candidates to focus on. This allows you to spend more time on your highest-potential candidates.

So by implementing some kind of pre-employment assessment as early as possible in the process, you will save yourself a lot of hassle later on. And even more important: you can more efficiently hire the greatest candidates by creating the right first impression. There are also a lot of free assessments out there in case your company has no budget for tooling now, so budget is not an excuse here!

Good luck with your remote hiring practices and feel free to reach out to me to have a chat about remote hiring. Happy to help!

Cheers, Charlotte