Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Using a professional interviewer

Too few companies acknowledge that it would be helpful to hire a "professional interviewer". Even though most executives do not really like interviewing candidates and usually hope the next candidate is a good one, they also rarely admit to being weak interviewers. Often these same companies look for "tests" to make the selection process more effective.

By themselves, test scores can be quite problematic and can often result in rejecting good candidates. No test can tell you who can do the job. Psychometric tests can be very helpful, however, to the professional interviewer who can combine the test information, probe the history and distill trends, habits, and the thinking process one uses to make decisions. Only a disciplined behavioral interview combined with an understanding of how to interpret psychometric tests can help identify if there are risks to "fit" or growth potential.

Notice my emphasis: "risk". A good candidate can look really good but some fatal traits can keep those good traits from appearing in the workplace. I tell my clients that my role is to find the flaws and fatal traits that are likely to be such risks. As an old saying goes, "Beauty is only skin deep but ugly goes all the way to the bone." Some traits or behaviors block the good ones from surfacing. Those are the traits I look for in the testing and in the interview. Unlike most hiring managers in an interview, I look for reasons to NOT hire someone. Even the best of us can miss a few of these, but if you are able to eliminate one or two bad hires yearly, it easily provides a good return on the cost of a "professional interviewer." I know, because I've been doing this for 35 years.

Is the interview over?

When your last manager candidate ended the interview and walked out of the room, did you have your questions answered? Did you have questions TO be answered? Only by preparing for an interview can you know when the interview is over.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Well-formed outcome to help ensure fit

A group facilitator for a worldwide organization of CEO's recently told us how he uses "well-formed outcome" statements with prospects for his fee-based development/coaching program. He uses a full VAK mix and asks each person, "How do you see yourself benefiting from a group of peers who can give you feedback and insights on your leadership and your organization?" (We have suggested that he add, "...who will tell you what you may or may not want to hear and help you see yourself through the eyes of others who are your CEO peers." He then listens for a response that indicates self-awareness and an openness to learn from feedback and support from peers. He reports excellent success in enrolling new members who fit the program well. They join knowing what to expect and ready to participate. In spite of the economy which has hit small to medium-sized businesses hard, he maintains full groups and his turnover is low.