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The science of recruitment

by Jay Scott August 31, 2011

Scientists will tell you that there are two kinds of mistake:

  • A (also known as a false positive) is when you think you’ve found something (a pattern, particle or virus, for example), but it isn’t really there.

  • A (false negative) is when you fail to find something which really is there.

Both types can turn up anywhere – from diagnosing illness, to identifying atomic particles or mapping social trends.

Recruiters can make both kinds of mistake – and avoiding them makes the difference between a good recruiter and a great one.

Faced with a pile of CVs, the challenge is to decide who is likely to be best at the job. But qualifications on paper are only part of the story.

In recruitment, a Type I error (accepting a candidate who seems superficially suited, but turns out not to be) represents an expensive waste of time. A Type II error (rejecting a candidate who would have been brilliant) is a missed opportunity.

There are two ways to protect against both types:

  • Knowing your client

  • Knowing your candidate

Jay Scott is a consultant in Interim Recruitment for FreshMinds Talent

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