HR Announces – ‘We’re Out of Ideas’

Recently the crew at FOT has been having some conversations about what’s new in HR.  It use to be all you had to do was show up at a HR conference and listen to someone from Zappos, Google, Sodexo, etc. to find out what were the latest and greatest happenings going on in HR!  But no more – it seems like HR is in a dead period of new ideas!  I blame the recession – why wouldn’t I – the ‘Great Recession’ gets blamed for everything – might as well take some HR heat!   Nobody at FOT could really come up with any ideas that were new.  But thankfully the good HR folks at Google came through one more idea, but I don’t how new it is…

From Quartz – Google admits those infamous brainteasers were completely useless for hiring:

“Google has admitted that the headscratching questions it once used to quiz job applicants (How many piano tuners are there in the entire world? Why are manhole covers round?) were utterly useless as a predictor of who will be a good employee.

“We found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time,” Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, told the New York Times. “They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart…

Bock says Google now relies on more quotidian means of interviewing prospective employees, such as standardizing interviews so that candidates can be assessed consistently, and “behavioral interviewing,” such as asking people to describe a time they solved a difficult problem. It’s also giving much less weight to college grade point averages and SAT scores.”

Yes, you are reading that correctly – Google’s ‘new’ HR idea is to go retro!  Back to behavioral interviewing and standardized interview decks – hello 90’s!  Isn’t that wonderful – I can’t believe Google didn’t have someone at SHRM 13 leading a session like “Google’s Strategic HR Innovations – Just Interview Them Stupid!”  HR ladies would have packed the house to find out how they to could jump into the 90’s.  Also, let’s just come right out corporately and validate to all those kids in college – you’re just wasting your time and spending your parents retirement.  I’ve really never been so excited for our industry!

So, I would like to take it upon myself and the entire HR community to let the world know – HR is out of ideas!

Here’s were we/HR stand:

– Still need to hire people

– Still need to train our employees

– Still need to provide benefits and pay administration

– Still planning the company picnic, and/or ‘holiday party

Long live HR.

7 thoughts on “HR Announces – ‘We’re Out of Ideas’

  1. Thanks be to Thor the illusive goose chase has been outed so everyone can get back to the basics of practicing proven solid management techniques and stop failing at being a magician.

  2. Absolutely agree with you, Scott. The time has come for HR to become a serious business partner. More and more technologies are becoming available to assess HR’s impact on business results – from hiring to retention to performance. The future of HR will be to embrace this opportunity and become a true strategic player.

  3. HR Out of ideas, hmmm what about trying to get the basics right, to attempt to implement what HR management thinkers advocated for 20 years ago, to try to make HR relevant and present in a world where fundamentally e v e r y t h i n g is down to who you employ and that people are the reason and key to everything. If HR is out of ideas, then God help us, as that is simply not good enough and show how utterly irrelevant and how utterly useless the HR community at large are at understanding their importance and relevance in everything that goes on. We are in the most serious and wide spreading crisis our world has seen for the last 50 years, and we do for many of the challenges facing us have an answer, yet we decide to do very little about them. There are numerous success stories out there, those that have understood what it takes and are doing something about it, why those that have given up are simply those without any understanding. As for Google’s retro and backing down. Shame on you Google for leading us all up the garden path and hoodwinking those that take your doings and what you say for Gospel. Who in their right mind ever believed the tosh and nonsense that you claimed you had data on, only for you to have no such thing and now backing down. We can all continue to believe in fads and what ‘someone says’ or we can use our heads and think for ourselves as to what makes sense, what appeals and what works (based on good old experiences), interestingly those that simply do what they are supposed to do well, keeping it simple, keeping it real are those that come out the winners.

  4. Tim–great post! Google also discovered that water can be used to put out fires.
    I don’t think that HR needs new ideas/fads to chase (like engagement)–they should show how their work impacts real business outcomes (e.g. profit, revenue, productivity) and provide managers with the tools to improve the business drivers. Maybe we can get Google to announce that so HR will pay attention.

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