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Sunday reading for August 10, 2014:

1. Michael Thomsen has a thoughtful piece up on Forbes challenging the validity of the candidate screening process in place at many organizations. His subject line (‘The Junk Science Of The Human Resources Department’) seemingly challenges the value of the function as a whole, but in the article itself Thomsen primarily takes issue with the way HR valuates, recruits, and rewards talent. I don’t agree with all of what he says here (e.g. despite Thomsen’s apparent dislike of the practice, one reason HR is so bullish on referral hires is because on average they perform better than those coming from other sources), but he makes some pretty compelling points about the relative uselessness of job descriptions (they often list pre-requisite skill requirements that are easily learn-able on the job) and brain teaser interview questions. Such practices have relatively little predictive value as it concerns identifying the best candidate(s) for open positions, instead functioning as a poor screening mechanisms more likely to DQ high-quality applicants than identify the best qualified ones. Check the full piece out here. Highly recommended.

2. Duncan Smithson, Global M&A Engagement Manager at Mercer, recently participated in a discussion on Mercer Insights wherein he talked about the integral role talent plays in the success of M&As. Smithson goes on to highlight how acquiring organizations can leverage workforce analytics to valuate human capital synergies and gaps that could fundamentally change the value of a deal. This is a really good piece that introduced me to some pretty interesting things organizations can do in the workforce analytics space (particularly in the later stages of a deal) to assess talent fit. Read the full piece here.

3. Charles Csizmar, Compensation Consultant at CMCConsulting has a thought-provoking post on Compensation Café questioning the wisdom of defaulting to survey bench-marking when making strategic HR decisions. Csizmar points out that while it is easy to follow the herd when making decisions about HR policy and administration, such decisions are not necessarily going to advance your career… and they may even derail it in cases where your organization’s human capital challenges don’t closely mirror those of your chosen survey’s respondents. This post serves as a great reminder that it is sometimes good to be bold, and also as a refresher that looking to the center for consensus is not always prudent. Check this one out here to better understand why.

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments below.