The last few months, maybe even the last year, I had forgotten all about this. But it just flooded over me again and washed me clean of all the jargon around big data, analytics and so on.
What use does data and evidence from all kinds of places have to help us make decisions? Is it better? Do we do it because we will make more money? Gain more efficiency? Get more clients? Well – those are by products of good decisions, but those are not the reasons we use data. Nope, not at all.
Data and its analysis allows us to quickly step back and ask the one question that data can’t ask – WHY?
Why do you want to work here?
Why do want to bring ideas here?
Why do you want your family to be proud of what you do?
Why do you want to get up early and be eager to go?
Why are you going to change everything?
Why should we let you into our cool club of people?
Why will you make my team better?
So how often do we ask those questions of our incoming talent? Probably not enough. Are we afraid to ask? Or is the reason simpler than fear….
Maybe it’s because we need to spend time gathering all the other evidence on what and how that we feel we don’t have time to ask “why”.
As talent folk, we consult the most on the why. We spend lots of time gathering the how and what. And the how and what is rooted in data. It’s found in data. It’s proven with data.
But the why needs to be asked. I have seen all kinds of amazing data stuff – but none of it supplants the simple question of WHY
Let’s think about that for a second. So why do people do whatever they do? Do they do it for money? For free food at work? For perks? For recognition? Maybe…but ultimately they do it because they believe that’s it’s a good thing.
To create next great engineering feat.
To find the next cure.
To educate our kids better.
Built a better mousetrap.
Stand on a new planet.
Create new energy.
Or something awesome, fun, cool or makes them feel good
That’s WHY we do. And that’s what we need our interviews to be about. Why this brand? Why our company? Why does your drive going to change our company?
People LOVE to make stuff WORK. Not as sure they like to make stuff JOB. It’s not about the job – it’s about the work.
Back to the data – the evidence on what people do and how they do it is all around us. It sits in systems and discussions and can be plotted and proven using all kinds of data techniques. We actually can use evidence from systems and data to reveal the what and how.
But we still need to ask “why”. And that is where recruiting is going. And that is why assessments haven’t replaced recruiters or interviews. And they won’t. They will offer data points and insight, but not the WHY. Even if you ask questions around the why, we want to hear it as humans.
You ever see somebody light up when you ask them WHY? When they have passion, you can see it in their face and body language. The tone of their voice changes. They get personal and human. They smile. A great recruiter can even know when a person is smiling on the phone – and they certainly know when they are not 🙂
So WHY would we ever stop that? Let’s get the data we need spend less time asking about what and how, and spend more time on the WHY.
It will improve our decisions. The candidate experience. The hiring manager experience. All experiences. Treat people as individuals, not applications in a pile.