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Hi MTs,

The concept about false positive/negative is not clear to me.
Especially in the case of false positive. Can you tell me examples where we are hiring someone we know it's not the best candidate? I guess I'm missing something here ...

Thank you

bflynn's picture

Note - I'm using "good" and "bad" to describe candidates that are good for the position and bad for the position. I just couldn't think of better words.

True positive - you believe the candidate [u]is[/u] acceptable and they [u]are[/u] a good fit for the position. You correctly assessed the candidate as good.
False positive - you believe the candidate [u]is[/u] acceptable but they [u]are not[/u] a good fit for the position. You incorrectly assessed the candidate as good and hired a bad person.

True negative - you believe the candidate [u]is not[/u] acceptable and they [u]are not[/u] a good fit for the position. You correctly assessed the candidate as bad.
False negative - you believe the candidate [u]is not[/u] acceptable but they [u]would have been[/u] a good fit for the position. You incorrectly assessed the candidate as bad and did not hire a good person.

Better?

Brian

chapu's picture

Thanks for the answer.
I don't remember right one to have hired false positives.
I mean, when I had done interviews if they don't fit for the position I don't hire them whether the candidate is acceptable or not.
So I'm not sure when people are hiring false positives and the reasons behind that elections. Anyone has specific examples about false positives they hired and why?

Regarding false negatives, I guess I have them when a apply my criteria, I mean, when I say to myself, ok, this candidate is good however there's a better candidate. I assume that's a false negative candidate, right?

Thank you

cruss's picture

The difference is when the "Good fit" is established. Before you hire someone you can decide if [b]you think[/b] they will be a good fit. But only after they work for you can you determine if they [b]really were[/b] a good fit. A false Positive is when you think some one will be a good fit (a positive) and after they actually work for a time you find that you were wrong (a false). No one would, or at least should, hire someone they think is a bad fit for their team.

bflynn's picture

Example of a false positive; you interview someone, highly qualified, excellent interviewee. You're very impressed. You hire him and he starts. You immediately realize that his personality during the interview was a front. He is abrasive to your organization. You were fooled and made a bad choice.

I think the most common outcome of an interview is a false negative. Most people being interviewed are a good fit for the job. But, they are bad at interviews, set off a warning bell or have a MySpace page, something. They're not hired when they would have been good. It is not dangerous to the organization, but annoying to the candidate.

Brian

Mark's picture

Brian gives a good example of a false positive. Well done.

I have another: you weren't fooled - you're just not any good at interviewing, and while you thought the candidate would turn out well, they become a problem for some reason, and you end up wanting to get rid of them.

I think the most common outcome of interviews is true negatives (and the data support this overwhelmingly). This says more about sourcing and screening, but that's for a separate time. I think Brian is referring to the most likely BAD outcome, and statistically he's right with that.

Mark

asteriskrntt1's picture

My cousin had a good example of false positives.

His CFO was in his office discussing a couple of their recent hires and commented something like "You know, I wish their resumes came in to work every day instead of them."

*RNTT