“The house always wins.”

When I think of gambling and casinos, this always comes to mind; If the “house” didn’t win, they wouldn’t be in business. Casino games are designed on chances and odds. On the roulette wheel, if you put five dollars on red you have 50% probability of winning, right? Sorry to burst your bubble, you have a 48.6% chance of winning. Those pesky green spots on the wheel change the probability in favour of the house. This means in the long run, the “house” always wins.

Does the house always win when recruiting?

Using typical hiring practices, you’d have a better probability to win back that new employees salary on the roulette table than hiring the right candidate. Imagine that that’s the way you hire. Place one name on red and one on black, toss the ball into the wheel and waited. Who’d feel comfortable with that?

What’s the difference?

One of the most common ways used to decide on a candidate is a method I like to call candidate ESP. That extrasensory perception we all have when a candidate walks into an interview. Within a few minutes, you decide, “yes” or “no”. If you gamble on a roulette, how do you pick red or black? That feeling, right? Your gut? When hiring, you’re missing out. You can’t see all the information. While many modern roulette wheels will show you an electronic account of the last several spins, when using candidate ESP, we don’t have this. We aren’t aware of our un conscious biases. The biases behind the scenes that have been driven into us by movies, news and literature. Although you may not consciously be racist, sexist, ageist etc. these biases exist in all of us.

When unaware, our gut maybe tapping on these unconscious biases to make decisions.

The second major factor behind candidate ESP is emotions. We are emotional creatures and make decisions based on emotions. This isn’t bad if your deciding to stop your car on the side of the road to help a lost puppy in the dead of winter. But when making decisions with your business, it can create poor outcomes. Think of it like this; have you ever purchased something you didn’t need? I’d hazard a guess the answer is yes. What drove that decision? Emotion drove it. Did that second candidate “woo” you over because of her charm. Did that first candidate put you off because he reminded you of that pesky student in law class that you spent Christmas with?

Can we overcome biases and emotional decisions?

Yes. Using prediction methods to structure your hiring decisions can increase the probability of a better outcome by 24% (L.Schmidt & J.Hunter Psychological Bulletin V124N2), when combined and used properly. Structured interviews and screening questions help but aren’t fool proof or enough. The best prediction method for hiring are candidate assessments. Candidate assessments can take the potential success of your hiring decision from 10%-18% success to a 63% (L.Schmidt & J.Hunter Psychological Bulletin V124N2) when combined with other prediction methods. Candidate assessments are scientifically validated questionnaires that provide behavioural, cognitive, culture and other various analyses of a candidate. The result of a candidate assessment predicts the potential for the success of the candidate in a role, team and organization.

The house may not always win with candidate assessments but it certainly increases your odds.

Want to learn more about candidate assessments? Download the candidate assessment guide where we’ve ranked several candidate assessments, click here to download.