Another one for the robots: they’re better at hiring low skill workers

Discretion in Hiring
by Mitchell Hoffman, Lisa B. Kahn, Danielle Li – #21709 (LS)

Who should make hiring decisions? We propose an empirical test for assessing whether firms should rely on hard metrics such as job test scores or grant managers discretion in making hiring decisions. We implement our test in the context of the introduction of a valuable job test across 15 firms employing low-skill service sector workers. Our results suggest that firms can improve worker quality by limiting managerial discretion. This is because, when faced with similar applicant pools, managers who exercise more discretion (as measured by their likelihood of overruling job test recommendations) systematically end up with worse hires

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6 years ago

Oh here we go again:

“a valuable job test” Oh yes, how valuable ? Could it be improved ? Did it really pick the “best” workers ?
“low-skill service sector workers” Oh yes, just who or what are they then ?
“systematically end up with worse hires” Oh yes ? How worse ? How much worse ?

And if these tests really work, won’t it just up the competition level for the better workers and thus raise their pay rate thus diminishing the profitability of the hiring companies ? Or is the world so full of superior “low-skill service sector workers” that the supply is inexhaustible ?

Really, Nicholas, you shouldn’t do this unless you visibly fly the joke flag so we all know what context we’re in. :-)

6 years ago

Just on the hiring front, you might want to consider taking a look at what’s happening in the HR space – particularly within the public service. I’ve worked for both the federal and Territory public services. HR has always been filled with enthusiastic and helpful people for the first 48 hours, but after that you’re largely on your own. (The one exception was FaHCSIA which despite being a generally awful place to work had a superb HR team.)

Over the past couple of years however there has been a significant enhancement of HR’s view of itself and not in a good way. HR is now a central power in the public service and it is not paying dividends. Rather HR is having a negative impact on public service capability and morale. Recruitment has moved from responding to criteria, providing a CV and having your referees spoken with, to a pitch focused model. (CV’s and referees are still in but criteria are out.)

Sadly this means HR tend to recruit versions of themselves – newspeak capable corporate twits slavishly toeing whatever line management are taking and cutting off the heads of anyone who disagrees – especially longer serving staff with experience. While this wouldn’t be news for anyone in the public service, the HR situation is getting to an unhealthy point.

6 years ago


Not sure what #WTNTL means….

Perhaps you could offer a clue.

(Although again on a serious note, the ‘strategic’ re-positioning of HR by itself and the increasingly sleazey individuals being made SECs/CEs is having a very negative impact on capability.)

Yours, etc