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Bootstrap Best Practice: The Area Code Method for Hire/Don't Hire Decisions....

It's easy to get lost in the details when comparing feedback from multiple interviewers on the same candidate.  All you want is concise feedback that allows you to compare and contrast what people really think about a candidate.

What you (and I) get all too often is a big pile of dog doo.  Sally gives you a novel that resembles War and Peace when you ask for feedback - so long and involved that you can't really tell what her recommendation (hire or don't hire) is.  Mike gives205 you glittering generalities.

"What did you think about Bill, the candidate from today, Mike?"

"I liked her a lot, Kris"

"Cool, what did you specifically like?"

"She just was real....likable!"

Thanks for dropping the science there, Mike Stephen Hawking...

Of course, we're to blame.  We've either not forced people to make tough calls or more often, we've created elaborate webs of feedback that really don't tell us anything...

Fortunately, there's a better way.  I've talked in the past about the hiring manager batting average, which starts telling you over time whether a manager has the right stuff when it comes to making hiring decisions.  The concept is that you have everyone who interviews vote on whether to hire or not hire a candidate, then you track that over time.

Laurie, over at Punk Rock HR, recently dropped some science of her own regarding something called the Area Code Rating System.  It turns out that men, who are often pigs, have a system for rating women.  I'll let you go and read the post for more details on how men are pigs.

More importantly, Laurie alluded to the fact that the same system could be good from a hiring feedback perspective, and I think she's onto something.

So, from now on, I'm going to ask all hiring managers to give me the area code for the candidate they just interviewed.  Here's how it works:

--First digit of the area code: Ability to perform the job in question...rated on a scale of 1-9 with 9 being a perfect match for the job in question.

--Second digit of the area code: Your call on the candidate - Hire (1) or Don't hire (0)...

--Third digit of the area code: Fit for the culture of your company, the team in question, and the boss.  Rated on a scale of 1-9 with 9 being a perfect match for the culture/team/boss...

You?  You were clearly a 919 when you were hired - on ability to do the job and your fit for the culture.  Get your mind out of the gutter...


Pat Wood

That's a really interesting idea. I've never heard of the area code rating system before, I knew of the 1-10 system, but never this one you're discussing. I really like the idea of how effective it might be when dealing with the hiring process. Since it really is the hardest part, trying to get everyone who interviewed candidates to actually give useful feed back.

Nick Giardino

This arbitrary use of a cooked up metric sounds to me like a convenient way to either: 1. Cover one's biases, or 2. Justify a pre-ordained hiring decision. Perhaps the old adage really is true, "Who you know will get you in, and what you know will keep you there."

John R

I tried this out recently after a good deal of discussion about candidates following a second interview. While it wasn't the way the group made the decision, it forced us reach conclusions about our observations. It was a great temperature check that allowed us to move on from "on the one hand..., but on the other."

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