How many people have you hired in your job or lifetime of jobs? For me, hundreds. Hiring can be a complicated and contrived process with numerous steps and various outcomes that range from wonderful to disastrous.
Occam’s razor, or law of parsimony, is the problem-solving principle that “entities should not be multiplied without necessity.” The idea is attributed to English Franciscan friar William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347), a scholastic philosopher and theologian who used a preference for simplicity to defend the idea of divine miracles. It is variously paraphrased by statements like “the simplest explanation is most likely the right one”.
Simple is better.
People are not simple. Simpletons at times, but any organization that hires people to perform complex tasks gets complicated quickly, including how people are hired.
Through decades of hiring I determined a number of simple laws that may be universal, but if not, definitely apply to me.
First, I cannot determine the quality of a candidate and how well they will work out from reviewing their resume. I know what you’re thinking.
Second, any decent resume that kinda sorta mostly fits the job requirements also requires an in person interview.
After thousands of resumes and nearly that many one-on-one interviews, I determined that I cannot determine the quality of a candidate and how well they will work out from a single interview.
Right up front I tell candidates that I may interview them three, four, five, maybe six times, and they may need to be interviewed by other members of my staff, too.
Whoa? Six interviews?
Alright, that’s the record number but I matched it a few dozen times. Why so many? After a few interviews, if the candidate isn’t shiny any more, and I’m not looking forward to the interview, then I don’t schedule more interviews.
They’re off my list.
If I look forward to the next interview that means I have become comfortable with the candidate and found other responsibilities that might fit their experience, skills, and temperament.
Multiple interviews also tests patience. Mine and theirs. Patience is a virtue. Any head of HR or executive or manager who thinks they can determine a candidate will fit a specific job after reading a resume and conducting one interview has a skill beyond mine.
Or, so it seems. Those people tend to fire employees more frequently, too. Meanwhile, my interview method has yielded a number of highly productive teams that made me look good and made me proud, and created a good employee work environment.
Occam’s Razor works.