What does the second law of thermodynamics have to do with hiring?
A lot, really.
For those of you who have not been brushing up on your physics lately, one of the takeaways of the second law of thermodynamics is that no system can be totally efficient. So, for example, all the energy possible in a fuel cannot be turned into electricity. Systems can turn more than 90 percent of certain fuels into electricity, but part will always be wasted. And the more systems a process has, the more that is wasted.
So imagine you have a gear that is spun by a waterfall to produce electricity. That system will not be totally efficient, meaning not all the possible energy created by the waterfall would be turned into electricity, but it could still be effective. However, imagine you added another gear that also had to interact with the one in the waterfall to make electricity. That will make that system that much less efficient. And it would continue to get less efficient with each gear after that.
Now think about that in terms of hiring, particularly during the screening process. The center of it all is the person or team who has the final say in the hiring decision. Say, for this example, it is the head of engineering looking to hire an assistant engineer. Then, say the engineer hires a recruiter or uses human resources to build an applicant pool. That is still an efficient process, as the human resources team or the recruiter is an expert in building that applicant pool. Hopefully, for the sake of the metaphor, you now have a flowing waterfall, i.e. a strong candidate pool, that could be turned into energy, i.e. a good hire.
Here’s where the efficiency begins to fall apart – screening those candidates. Generally, that falls to the recruiter or the human resources team. Their input is certainly invaluable as far as what to look for in candidates in general. However, they lack the expertise that the head of engineering has in the particular area.
So, what often happens is the HR professional or the recruiter does the initial screening interviews and then passes along a few people who seem good for the job. With that, the HR professional or recruiter also gives an overview of that interview to the head of engineering. As the second law of thermodynamics points out, that transfer inevitably leads to inefficiencies, i.e. some of the information is lost.
With this example, you have a gear in a waterfall interacting with another gear and then turning that energy into electricity, which is inherently inefficient. But imagine a different system – a system where two gears are in the waterfall, producing twice the amount of electricity and creating a system much more powerful than ever before.
How does that work? Well, by using a system like VoiceGlance, or something similar. Here, the recruiter/HR professional and the head of engineering spend half-an-hour together and create a screening interview. The candidates take the interview and their words are recorded and transcribed and both the head of engineering and the recruiter/HR professional have full access to it. Now, the two can sit down and make a decision together.
Two wheels, both in the waterfall, creating twice as much electricity as initially thought possible. Meaning vastly increasing the chance of making a great hire.
Now that’s something even Newton would be proud of.