Hiring process in question?

Can we ask applicants to give us a copy of the performance review from former job? Yes, you can! But, at issue: Is this an effective HR practice? Does it not invade the privacy of the applicant?

Some employers say that the rationale for requesting this information during the hiring process is to determine in advance the type of employee the applicant will become. There is, however, no effective way to determine whether a performance review is a reliable or valid predictor of future performance. Am I sounding right? Performance reviews, evaluations or appraisals are at the best – only summaries of past ’employee performance’ at specific points in time. Most performance review processes are subjects of controversy – including evaluator bias, because performance appraisals are prone to evaluator subjectivity. And, How effectively and meaningfully can one employer glean and use information from performance appraisals conducted by managers in another organization?

We have to keep in mind that recruiters will lack knowledge of other organizations’ rating scales, values and cultures. For example, leaders in one organization may value ‘innovation’ while those in another organization may value strict adherence to established rules. In fact, the applicant may be applying for a position with your organization specifically because of this ‘cultural fit’ issue; he or she may not fit with the current employer but may be a good match for your organization.

Reference checks are not effective at many times and they need not be always unbiased! I know recruiting someone, especially for the senior positions, have to be done with sufficient caution. But, performance of an employee – is subject to many external factors – organization culture, hierarchy politics, compensation pattern and reward, congenial atmosphere or lack of it, state of mind of the employee at specific points in time, management decision whether to keep or drop a project, organizational change etc. Hence, it is very difficult to predict the future performance of an applicant based only on his past record! No wonder, in such situations, interviewing skills calls for recruiting talent or best practice!

Instead, Why not consider obtaining the applicant’s written permission to confer with former employer or concerned superiors, once a conditional offer of employment is made? Is that Okay?

(The Author is Director/Proprietor, Rambuna Consultants, specializing in recruitment services, corporate training and new business start ups assistance)

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