Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sex, Lies, and Competencies

Okay, I cheated a little bit, maybe even lied a little bit, in my choice of title for this post. It's not going to be about sex or sexual competencies; however, it will be about lies and competencies. I just wanted to give a shout out to a wonderful movie title, "Sex, Lies, and Videotape."

In Hire With Your Head: Using Performance-Based Hiring to Build Great Teams, Lou Adler argues that we cannot trust our intuition when it comes to using interviews to make hiring decisions. Though it is possible that interviewees may lie, he is more concerned about the lies that interviewers consciously and unconsciously tell themselves about the selection process.

Though it might well be said that in calling ministers one should use head, heart, and soul, Adler is pointing the hard headed work is needed to make good selections. He cites a study (John Hunter & Frank Schmidt, "The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology," Psychological Bulletin, 1998, vol. 124) which found that the typical employment interview is only 57% effective in predicting subsequent success on the job, or only 7% better than flipping a coin. He cites several reasons for this low success rate; a critical one being too much focus on the interaction between the interviewee and the interview, and too little on the candidate's capacity to do the job. In other words, interviewers were examining the interviewees' capacity to interview rather than their ability to work. Could "ministerial presence" be another name for competency as an interviewee?


  1. (had a glitch posting--not sure if it went through and is awaiting approval or vanished into the inter-ether...)

    You mean "tests well?"


    I heard it proposed by a minister that the best advance determination of whether someone would be successful or not would be a survey of classmates; the people who've spent lots of time with you and know you...--and it was observed that this would never be attempted.

  2. "Interviews well" is closer to what I meant. However, "interviews poorly" also applies.

    All of us who survived high school might quail at the thought of classmates being the best judges of our future success. While seminary is different than high school, the similarities are surprising.