• Daywey Chen

Recruitment is Like Gambling. How to Beat the System?



Recently, I have been put in charge of recruiting for our newly established association at the company. If you think about it, hiring is in someways similar to gambling. You don't know for sure how the person will perform on the job before he joins the company. You are betting that the person will demonstrate good behavior and good performance. To do this you rely on the information that you obtain during the interview process to place your bet. Sometimes you get lucky and get more than what you are asking for. Other times you placed the wrong bet and the hired person becomes a pain in the ass.


Today I will share with you the strategies that I used to maximized the efficiency of the recruitment process and to increase my probability of hiring the Right Person! The Key to a success recruitment will evolve around 5 areas.

1. Know who you are looking for

2. Quantify your measurement

3. Come up with methodologies to score your scorecards

4. Diversify your investment portfolio

5. Get a 2nd or 3rd opinion


Know who you are looking for : the same job title can have different job description

Knowing who are you actually looking for! This may seem intuitive. However, in practice you will be surprised that how many managers don't know what they are looking for. For instance I am trying to recruit a CEO for our newly established association. A CEO can have various focus. Are you looking for a CEO that is strong in marketing to help you grow your market exposure or are you looking for a CEO that is strong in product development to help you introduce a ass kicking product. Lets say you are looking for a CEO that is strong in marketing. Okay, within marketing here are different types of focus. Are you looking for a CEO that is good at market research or strategy or marketing execution or digital marketing or physical marketing or....etc. You get the idea. Have a good sense of who you are really looking for as start.


Quantify your measurement : setup scorecards to evaluate your candidate

Now that you know who you are really looking for, quantify it. For instance if I am looking for a CEO that is strong in Strategic Marketing. Here is what my scorecard will look like.


1 = terrible

2 = poor

3 = satisfactory

4 = good

5 = excellent


Rate the candidate from 1 to 5 in the following areas with the following weight.


40% - Strategic Ideas

20% - leadership and communication efficiency

20% - key achievement

10% - experience

5% - attitude

5% - comprehension level


Come up with methodologies to score your scorecards

Now you know what your metrics are. Come up with ways to help you give out scores. This can be working through a case study together. Providing a mathematical test. Throwing out vague information and get the candidate to make sense of it. To go through the candidate past experience (for instance 10 years of experience in the field will translate a score of 5, and 5 years of experience in the field will translate to a score of 3...etc). To have a candidate make a presentation...etc.


Diversify your investment portfolio : don't put all your eggs in one basket

This is a strategy that I use to maximize the efficiency of my recruitment process. To go back to the idea that hiring is like gambling. I don't know what I am going to get. Therefore I will try to increase my selection pool to help me to diversify the potential candidate that I am going to get. Let me show you how its done. Even though I am hiring for one position and one person. I will release two opportunities out to the public which will be the CEO and the Head of Marketing. The job description of the two positions will be basically the same. Under the same job description, the CEO will be required to have more years of experience, the CEO may have a few additional requirements and the pay of the CEO will be slightly higher than the Head of Marketing.


With this strategy, I am able to expand my selection pool. Lets say originally I am able to attract Group 1 and Group 2, but with this strategy Group 3 will now be included in my potential portfolio. Vice versa, if originally I am trying to attract Group 3 and Group 1, this strategy gets me an addition of Group 2.



Get a 2nd or 3rd opinion : nothing is absolute or certain

The last step is to compare the scorecards with different interviewer. Most often there is no right or wrong answer in the interview question. The definition of a good answer may vary by person. Therefore, compare the scorecard with your colleagues. If the among the group, all of you have given a candidate the highest score, than without a doubt, hire that candidate. If there are difference among the interviewer, discuss about it before you make the decision. The goal of the discussion is to find common grounds and get to an agreed conclusion.

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