Remote hiring and recruitment: is this the way forward? What would Isaac Asimov say?

In Isaac Asimov’s 1957 science fiction novel ‘The Naked Sun’, Asimov imagines a whole world of technologically advanced people who avoid physical contact with each other to prevent disease transmission. They instead, view each other using screens and holograms. Asimov, as per his usual habit, has predicted the future, and uses the hypothetical situation to apply his formidable intellect to the resulting societal consequences.

Philosophically and psychologically speaking, the book addresses ideas surrounding what an authentic human experience is. Is viewing someone on a device really ‘seeing’ them? As in, does it have the same emotional value? Or does it dehumanise and desensitise us? Asimov unsurprisingly seems to think it does lessen the quality and depth of our experience, thus de-humanising society. The full gamut of emotion requires physical presence. But what does this mean for us today, and specifically what does this mean for the recruitment and hiring process?

For many hiring managers a face-to-face meeting will still be required or preferred to make the decision to hire somebody. However, the efficacy of making hiring decisions based on interviewing a candidate has been seriously put in doubt by Dan Kahneman, who won a Nobel prize for his book ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’.

In his book, Kahneman opines that the hiring process is flawed as soon as emotion is brought into it and the best way to remove emotion from the decision is by removing face-to-face time. So in order to make a rational decision, ditch the interview and go for a checklist instead. Just like most philosophers and thinkers on the subject from the beginning of recorded history, Kahneman is browbeating us to prioritise our rational mind over our emotional mind in order to make more correct decisions. Just like most of those thinkers, he’s probably right.

In this time of instability, many already have much to worry about. Instead of worrying about the fact that you can’t conduct an interview in person, hiring managers should think of the benefits of keeping their critical distance to the hiring decision, and making the right choice, more often.

Felix Blumer is a Consultant at Rutherford, the Legal and Compliance executive recruitment specialists.

Email: enquiries@rutherfordsearch.com

Phone: +44 (0)207 412 8923