Viewpoint: Lean on assignments — not resumes — during hiring process

"Minimally viable demonstrations of competence" — or brief, relevant tasks assigned to job candidates that prove they have the skills for the role — pass over the pitfalls of other modern hiring tactics, according to a Sept. 27 Harvard Business Review article. 

The article was written by three leaders at Deloitte, one of whom — Managing Director Jeff Johnson — spent time hiring writers for the management firm. 

The authors outline issues with current hiring methods. For example, interviewing prioritizes a candidate's ability to answer questions over their qualifications and leaves room to mistake connection for competency. Bot screening, meanwhile, misses talented candidates from diverse backgrounds. 

Instead, the authors say, employers should provide candidates with an assignment after their introductory call. The assignment should not be long or "fussy" but should give the candidate an idea of the job's responsibilities while giving the employer an idea of how the candidate can perform. After the assignment is complete, another call should take place to talk through the candidate's thought process. 

Over time, when hiring for similar roles, past responses can be compared against each other to demonstrate skill level, the authors say. 

"The exercise also allowed me to hire from truly nontraditional backgrounds, because I didn’t have to worry much about job specifics on the resume. The process itself told me if someone would be good,” Mr. Johnson says in the article.

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