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Best techniques to select new employees

Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton, Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths & Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management (Harvard Bus. School Press 2006) at 88 summarizes an “exhaustive” study of 19 methods that organizations use to select new employees. The best measure was general mental ability, like IQ and related measures of overall smartness. No law department that I have consulted to or heard of subjects applicants to an intelligence test or asks for scores (See my post of Jan. 1, 2006 on executive intelligence as a predictor of management level success; and April 27, 2006 on psychometric screens.).

Other strong predictors were work sample tests (try the candidate out on some parts of the job), job tryouts (do the whole job for a day or two), and structured job interviews (every candidate is asked the same questions in the same order). For employed lawyers, a job tryout would not be possible, but the other two methods could help in the selection (See my post of Jan. 1, 2006 on past behavioral interviews.).

The authors refer to emotional intelligence, note the controversies surrounding it, but do not include EI tests as an efficacious tool to select employees (See my posts of Nov. 13, 2005 on emotional intelligence, IQ and other attributes; and Dec. 21, 2005 on declines in EI over time.).

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