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What The Voice can teach us about the hiring process

Angela Leffler
Published May 4, 2016

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The best in the business looking for the next best!

Each week millions of viewers invest an hour of their evenings in watching as potential candidates are given the opportunity to achieve their dream. We are entrenched in the process, caught up in the candidates, and become cheerleaders for the best to make it through. 

The Voice’s tagline is that they are the best in the business looking for the next best. Their ‘hiring’ process is based purely on the intrinsic talent that each candidate contains. It is not based on their past experience, if they have any formal musical training, what they look like, how they act, etc. To get the best in the business, top musicians place their trust and confidence on finding the next best singer through blind auditions.

Without even seeing their candidates and learning about their ‘skills’ The Voice coaches make a decision on who they want to move forward with. They evaluate their ‘job skills’ by focusing only on hearing those ‘key traits’ (their singing voice) that would make this candidate the right fit for their team. This tactic ensures that the coaches (decision makers) are not making an assumption on who is the best based on appearance, name, gender, education, background, previous work, or other implicit bias.

When we take a moment to step back and assess the blind audition process that The Voice has taken to ensure that they are getting the best, it seems genius. Now let’s pause and assess our current hiring strategies.

When I was actively hiring for a role, each day I would receive resumes. I scanned them quickly, assessing for key things-experience, schooling, and grammar. Then I chose who I thought was the best, brought them in for a conversation where I asked very open ended questions and made a decision on the potential for that candidate based on my assumption of how they answered my questions.  Was this really my best option to find my next best hire? I have no real insight into their intelligence, which studies have shown is the number one predictor of success (or their voice if we were to do the comparison). In addition, my bias (whether I like to admit it or not), instantly set in when meeting them and reviewing their resume and affected my decision.

With the current way of hiring, I question our ability to find the best. Have we missed our next Sister Cristina?

But what if we were to flip the hiring process on its head. What if we took the success from The Voice and applied it to the hiring process, choosing who makes it through round one based on a blind audition? What if you found your best hire based on their ability to be a fit for your role and your job, not on their capability to properly sell themselves or their tactical skills?

Despite the obvious entertainment that The Voice provides us each week, I think we can all take a lesson from the show and reassess our current way of finding the next best hire. Taking the concept of blind auditions and bringing that to the beginning of the hiring process will guarantee you don’t miss out on hiring the best.