…today’s secret…The art of screening.
One of our body immune systems is the ability to reject foreign tissue. Doctors suppress it during transplant surgery.
Temporary staffing agencies who have a heart for helping the formerly incarcerated, homeless, and recovering addicts find employment are like these surgeons. They want to transplant the right applicants into their clients’ culture while repelling those who wouldn’t “fit in.”
Temp agencies rely on applications, background checks, and/or drug tests to support interview processes that look for some “poker tell” to screen applicants.
“But, something is very wrong here,” puzzles Malcolm Gladwell in his latest book, Talking to Strangers. He provides a convincing argument that we can’t tell when the stranger in front of us is lying to our face.
Gladwell’s reasoning to why this happens is that we default to truth. We humans are hardwired to believe what strangers say until they prove to us they are lying. We go out of our way to believe them, even at our own peril.
“The harder we work at getting strangers to reveal themselves, the more elusive they and the truth become,” writes Gladwell.
This leads to crisis, controversary, and frustration among staffing agencies and their applicants. Employers are at risk.
The most valuable skill a temporary agency can have is the ability to recruit and place people who aren’t suppressed by their employer client’s cultural immune system!
So, since we are not so good at “screening strangers,” maybe this would be a good time reverse some of our thoughts and think differently.
One place to start is to determine if your processes are focusing more on “screening out” or “screening in” applicants.
If you are “screening out” maybe you need to read Gladwell to discover some pitfalls in your processes.
If you are “screening in” your applicants take a good look at any hard and/or soft skills training you are providing. Think about adding some one-on-one help to keep them barrier free once hired if you haven’t already done so.
I know, this is not easy.
I thought I just heard a few people quietly whisper, “Amen.”