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Why Spock Would Be A Terrible Recruiter

Balancing data and emotion is the art of recruiting.


The introduction of technology into human endeavour obviously changes it, and while change is never smooth it is typically ideal. Recruitment is an industry where there is an instinctive lure for technological adaptation in how we screen and process candidate for a position (let AI pick them all!), but recruiters should be wary of giving in fully to computation as sole dictators of organisational fit.


The beauty of logic and data is they can subvert human bias. As recruiters, our business is people, and people are inherently biased. That isn’t to say to one particular group, or that we are incapable of balanced and impartial judgement, but it is to say that environmental factors conditioning the way our brains have perceived the universe since we were inserted into it influence our decision making without us realising. It’s brain biology; we are a lot more unconsciously biased than we think.


If someone walked into an interview in an All Blacks jersey, I would judge them impartially on the quality of their performance, but a reptilian and primal part of my brain would be sorely unimpressed. To this end alone, having external and data-driven processes to govern our decision making is a must for the savvy recruiter.


Why is this not ideal as a sole determination for how appropriate a candidate may be for a role? For the same reason the Xero boss won’t hire anyone who doesn’t return their coffee cup to the kitchen after an interview, or how any team Jurgen Klopp touches turns to gold.


Cultural fit in an organisation is a more important determination of success than a matrix of listed skills and qualifications.


This is a lot tougher to measure. Obviously a series of unwashed coffee cups should hardly be the screening process for candidates, but there is an undeniable element of subjectivity that requires a sensitivity to humanity, not mathematical recourse.


That’s the beauty of systems like PRISM, among others, because they allow you to profile both who the person is and what person the role requires with a degree of neuroscientific accuracy not reliably available in other tests (looking at you, Meyers Briggs). There is a sweet spot, there, where we use data to forecast how a person may subjectively fit into an organisation in place of profiling what they’ve done as a prelude to the role.


That’s why Spock, as the cliched emblem for the triumph of logic above all else, would fail to excel in the art of recruiting. As recruiters we must be wary of the honeyed trap of pure logic and a numbers-based process driving our craft.

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