Hiring The Right People – More Than A Gut Feeling Revisited

Pixton_Comic_More_Than_a_Gut_Feeling_by_BillAccordino (click image)

My first leadership development engagement was almost 25 years ago.  My client (prospect at the time) asked me if I could develop a training program for the nursing managers of a major medical center.  The topic was interviewing skills.  In particular, behavioral interviewing skills.  I had just left the corporate world, was a hungary rookie entrepreneur, so I said sure (gulp!).  He provided me with a training video on behavioral interviewing entitled More Than A Gut Feeling by Dr. Paul Green.  My mission was to develop a half day program featuring this video, and get back to him with a proposal in a week.

I immediately rushed home to tell my wife that I was very close to wining my first contract.  I then asked her if she knew anything about behavioral interviewing, because I didn’t!  I put the video in my VCR (it was the early 90s) and watched it five or six times in one evening.  From that point on I was hooked on helping managers and leaders develop the skill of behavioral interviewing.  I have been practicing behavioral interviewing for all these years, have trained hundreds of managers and coached over 100 candidates for jobs on how best to nail a behavioral interview.

At the heart of effective behavioral interviewing is the belief that past performance is the best predictor of future behavior.  A word of caution is in order.  Past performance will only be a predictor of future behavior if the position that the candidate is being considered for is the same as their past position(s).  Let’s assume that is the case for the balance of this discussion.  Behavioral-based interview questions are open-ended questions or statements that are designed to elicit detailed responses.

In a previous post I used the example of asking a behavioral interview question to determine how effective the interviewee is at handling conflict with co-workers.  The question may be, “Tell me about a time when you were involved in a conflict situation with a co-worker.  Please describe the problem, the actions you took and the results?”  You gain a much better understanding regarding how effective the candidate is when they share multiple stories in this PAR (Problem-Action-Result) format rather than the candidate simply stating that they are effective at handling conflict, or describing the process steps.  Here are examples of different types of questions and responses:

Question: Are you effective at handling conflict in the workplace?

Answer: Yes, I always deal with conflict effectively whenever it comes up in the work place.  I talk to the individual and resolve it as quickly as possible.

Effectiveness: Closed end question, you still don’t know how they handle conflict situations.

Question: Would you please describe the process you follow to resolve a conflict situation with a co-worker?

Answer: I ask the individual if they have a few minutes to discuss the situation that led to the conflict, I then ask them to describe their perspective, and then we work together to resolve the immediate problem and agree on how best to handle situations in the future.

Effectiveness:  This question elicited a better response, you now know how they would approach conflict but not if they have had  actual success in this area.

Question:  Would you tell me about a time when you were involved in a conflict situation with a co-worker, describe the problem, the action you took and the results?

Answer:  I was working on a project with a co-worker and we frequently had difficulty agreeing on the prioritization of action steps.  As a result of frequently not being on the same page, we started to miss deadlines and avoided communicating with each other. I scheduled a meeting for us to discuss this challenge.  I described the situation, our behavior and my perspective of how it was impacting the success of the project and other team members.  I then asked for his view of the situation and then kept my mouth shout to listen intently.  We discovered that the most appropriate prioritization criteria was not my way or his way, it was a third way that was more representative of reality.  We then both made the commitment to work more collaboratively.

Effectiveness:  You now have a complete picture regarding how effective the candidate is at handling conflict, the process they follow and actual examples of how they have done it in the past.  A critical ingredient to handling conflict effectively is to use the SBI (Situation-Behavior-Impact) method, rather criticizing the individual.  Stay tuned for more on the SBI method in future posts.

If you are interested in receiving more information on behavioral interviewing please complete your contact information below.

Smart Hiring: Five Steps To Improve Your Hiring Success!

BreakthroughPerformance.TalentManagementHiring the right people is at the core of breakthrough performance.  As business owners and leaders we all know that this is a critical ingredient to the success of our organizations.   Our goal is to get the right people, with the right talents, delivering the right results.  I have communicated this goal in previous posts and will continue to stress how important this is to your success.

Does your current hiring process support this goal?  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms perhaps the answer is no:

  1. Voluntary turnover is increasing
  2. Your recent hires are not fitting well with your organization and its values
  3. Your onboarding process is ineffective, or doesn’t exist

As my good friend and coach Chris Ruisi always says, “you need to hire slow and fire fast!”.  The first step may be to slow down and consider following these five steps to ensure smart hiring processes and get the most out of your people:

  1. Identify hiring problems–Analyze your hiring process and identify the root cause of your talent shortfall.
  2. Recruit people who match specific positions–Invest the time to identify the success profile for all of your positions.  You should develop a competency-based job description.  Consider using pre-employment assessments that will identify the cognitive, behavioral and career interests of the candidate.
  3. Be innovative when you prospect for new candidates–Ask your top employees for referrals, look for companies announcing cutbacks, partner with colleges and vocational schools.
  4. Prepare for a winning behavioral interview–Spend a sufficient amount of time reviewing the candidates resume in relation to the job requirements.  Plan to ask behavioral questions of your candidates.  Rather than asking the interviewee if they are comfortable effectively dealing with conflict, ask them to give you an example of how they handled a conflict situation with a co-worker or customer.  Ask them to tell you the story by sharing the problem, the actions they took, and the results.
  5. Continually refine your best hiring practices–You should regularly analyze the success of your hiring process and make the necessary adjustments.  These should be an ongoing process, not an event.

Learn more about these five best practices and much more by requesting the Hiring Blook: 10 Success Steps for Effective Hiring.

Job Fit-The Power of the Right Person

shutterstock_269067383In order to effectively drive strategic change and achieve breakthrough performance you need to have the right people, with the right talents, in the right jobs, delivering the right results.   Wow, that’s a mouthful!  The old phrase, “says easy, does hard” comes to mind.

We all know this intuitively, and most leaders and managers work diligently to make this happen.  We also know that we should align our hiring process, development process, and succession planning process with our business strategy and talent needs.  My experience would suggest that success in these critical areas is more a matter of chance than a focused strategic workforce plan and its execution.  One key ingredient to make all of this happen is Job Fit.

What is Job Fit?  It measures the degree to which the requirements of the job match the individual’s strengths, needs and wants.  If we identify an individual’s personality traits, abilities and behaviors,  we are better able to predict if they can do the job, how they will do the job, and if they will enjoy the job.  We are all motivated and driven by different influences.  Job fit outlines the unique job-related qualities that make a person productive.

Why is this important?  Studies show that job fit improves engagement and job satisfaction, resulting in improved productivity.  In fact, the findings of one study suggests that employees who are well matched in their jobs are 2.5 times more productive on the job. Here are three simple steps to get your started:

  1. Identify and assess top performers–this approach is effective if you have multiple people in the same position.  You would need to use a validated and reliable assessment tool.  If you don’t have any top performers in the position you will need to start to identify the skills, behaviors and other attributes that you believe the position requires.
  2. Benchmark top performance to create a performance model–creating a performance model from the assessment results of your top performers provides a remarkable advantage.  You are creating a performance model that defines the characteristics of a top performer in your organization.  If you do not have any top performers in the position you will need to perform a focused job analysis using the tools provided by a talent management solutions provider.
  3. Evaluate candidates relative to this performance model for maximum productivity and engagement in that position.  This process should be used when considering outside candidates and internal candidates for your key positions.  The assessments in comparison to the performance model can also be used to support your coaching of existing employees.

Your organization will experience significant productivity increases over time if you start to use Job Fit as part of your hiring process and employee development process.

If you would like more information on Job Fit, please contact me at (732) 528-0320, or at Bill@BillAccordino.com.  Please complete the information below if you would like to receive the eBook, Job Fit: The Power of the Right Person.

Are You And Your Team Ready For Breakthrough Performance?


Does this sound like you?

You have successfully grown your business and have made multiple course corrections over the years to meet the ever-changing needs of the marketplace. You have built a strong team to help you deliver quality products and services to your customers.

Although you have had these past successes, recently you are feeling stuck, unsure of what you need to do to take your business to the next level. You now realize that you can’t do it alone anymore; you need a different mix of talent. These symptoms may also describe you:

• Your smart, talented and hardworking employees are now underperforming.
• You have made some poor hiring decisions
• You don’t know what kind of talent you need.
• Your teams are dysfunctional and productivity is dropping.
• Despite your focused coaching efforts, performance is not changing

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you may need to better align your talent with your strategy in order to position your business for Breakthrough Performance. Your overall goal is to get the right people, with the right talents, delivering the right results.

Here are some guidelines to help you get unstuck and start your journey to Breakthrough Performance:

  1. Identify the key positions in your organizations that you need to execute your strategy.
  2. Develop a success profile (performance model) for each of these key positions to include the required thinking style, behavioral characteristics, career interests and education/certifications needed.
  3. Choose an employee assessment from a reputable provider that is valid, reliable and meets or exceeds all 13 of the Department of Labor requirements.
  4. Assess all encumbents in these key positions and perform a talent gap analysis.
  5. Develop a strategic workforce plan to address the needs identified in your gap analysis deciding how best to close the gap, i.e., develop current employees, hire new employees more closely aligned with your needs, or a combination of the two.
  6. Execute your plan.

If you would like more information on aligning your talent with your business strategy, please complete the informaiton below.