Friday, October 28, 2016

Is It time to Toss the Resume?

Cartoon of an interviewer asking the candidate whose nose has grown long, "Everything on your resume is true, right?"

Interviewers used to rely heavily on the facts of a resume to determine a candidate’s fitness for the job. But the interviewing process has shifted dramatically in recent years. Not only have candidates become far more sophisticated in how to answer “standard” questions but smart interviewers rely less on technical and more on soft skills and cultural fit to hire right. Is it time to toss the resume? Behavior based interviewing training experts say, “Not quite yet.”

Use the resume to screen out candidates who lack the experience you need and to provide background for questions that probe beneath the facts to the candidate’s work ethic, attitude, values and cultural fit. With proven behavior-based interviewing techniques you can dig into a candidate’s past to get a true sense of how they would behave in the future. 

Here is how to use behavioral interviewing techniques to hire right…
  • Begin with what your organization stands for. All corporate decisions and behaviors should be based on the company’s strategy (where you are headed, why and how you will get there) and organizational culture (how things really get done). And what more important decisions are there than the people you hire to represent you and complete your strategic journey? The right candidate should be genuinely excited by your corporate mission, inspired by the view of the future and committed to the values and beliefs you espouse.

  • Focus more on who the candidate is than what they have accomplished. You want to make sure that the people you hire practice ethical work habits, value learning and growth, know how to collaborate effectively and can handle the speed of change your company follows. You want someone who is responsible, trustworthy, agile, resourceful and flexible. These are qualities that can be revealed through well-designed behavioral interviews. 

  • Test them out on the job. Give them a small project to run or bring them onto the team for a trial period. You will quickly discover whether they are a good fit or not. 

  • Be patient. It is far better to wait for the high performing candidate who fits than to be pressured into hiring “second best.” Hiring poorly costs in so many ways…dollars, time and employee morale.

Hiring the right talent contributes to a company’s productivity and growth. Hire and interview right and your organization will thrive.

Assess Your Behavior-Based Interviewing Practices Now

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Get the Whole Interviewing Story, Not Just the Magic Dust

a book is open surrounded by the lights of magical dust

Job candidates are great at painting a very rosy picture of their accomplishments and their cultural fit for the open position…but only behavior based interviewing training can help you get at the whole story behind the fa├žade.

Certainly from the resume and quick fact checking, you can find out your candidate’s job history…where they worked and for how long and with what job title. You can also learn the basics of their education. But, beyond those details, how much can you really know about their attitude, their personality, their work ethic, their values, and their ability to get along with others? These factors are what you need to uncover. You need to probe for cultural fit. With a solid background in behavior based interviewing, you and your team can dig beneath the surface to learn what you really need to know…the whole story.

Here are some research-backed areas to explore for cultural fit based upon behavior based interviewing training best practices:
  1. Eagerness to learn and improve.
    When you have an employee who is eager to learn and improve, you have an employee who has a better chance to be engaged, committed, and ambitious. Certainly these are traits that every company can benefit from. Dig into the candidate’s passion and level of curiosity for the new and unknown.
  2. Acceptance of risk.
    An employee who is willing to take a certain amount of risk is one who can deal with mistakes and learn from them. Someone who manages only the familiar and comfortable will not be a worker who stretches and innovates. Ask about what they are most and least proud of. Then probe for when they stumbled and how they handled the situation.
  3. Willingness to collaborate.
    Especially if you are a team- or matrix-based company as so many are these days, make sure your new hires know how to work well with others. Are they out for themselves or do they recognize and support the strength of a good team pulling in the same direction and helping each other toward the common goal? Ask for examples of when they cooperated with others to reach a goal…and then ask if the persons they referenced would see the situation in the same way. This gives you a check on the veracity of their story.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

How to Insure Against a Bad Hire

A woman interviewer sits with a folder across from the job candidate

Behavior-based interviewing training experts do not want all of your interviews to go well.

Just think about it.  Most interviews go pretty well. Job candidates are on their very best behavior and often seem to have the perfect answers to your standard interview questions. But can you be sure they will perform as well on the job as they did in the interview?

You had better be sure. A recent study from CareerBuilder highlights the negative impact of a bad hire. The cost in dollars can be more than $50,000 according to 27% of U.S. employers. Perhaps even more costly is the loss of productivity, the decrease in employee morale and the increase in problems with client relations.

Here are some of the statistics around what can happen when you make a bad hiring decision:

  • Over a third of U.S. employers report a serious loss of productivity. It takes time to ramp new employees up to speed. When they don’t work out, there is time wasted in recruiting and training another worker. 

  • 32% of U.S. companies report that bad hires negatively affect employee morale. How? Substandard workers drag down team targets and, while they are tolerated, hardworking employees are discouraged from extra effort and feel unappreciated.

  • Nearly one-fifth of U.S. employers surveyed also spoke of the impact on client relations and sales. When customer-facing employees do not represent your company well, clients are apt to back off and look to the competition for better treatment.

The solution?  Better interviewing approaches. It takes a proven behavior based interviewing training program to teach your hiring managers and interviewer teams how to dig beneath the surface of a savvy job candidate’s replies in order to get a true picture of their values, their work ethic, their strengths, and their culture fit. Their technical skills should be easily checked by reviewing their resumes, making some calls and running them through some scenarios. But what is equally important is learning about their attitude and true behavior on past jobs. This needs to be your focus.  And only proven behavior-based interviewing techniques combined with role-plays can give you that critical predictive insight.

To have better interviews, make sure that you:

  1. Define the Job.
    Define a clear and relevant job profile with all key stakeholders that includes the metrics for success along with the critical few motivational, interpersonal and intellectual behavior-based competencies necessary to succeed.

  2. Select an Interview Team.
    For most jobs, an interview team of four people is enough to adequately cover the assigned behavior-based competency probes.  Use a larger team if it makes sense culturally to get input and buy-in from a larger audience.

  3. Pre-Screen Interview Candidates.
    Review resumes, perform phone screens and use customized hiring assessments to ensure that only qualified candidates are interviewed by the team.

  4. Use Behavior-Based Interviewing Techniques.
    Use what you learned in behavior-based interviewing training to better predict future on-the-job performance and behavior by looking for past and present evidence that they are a good match for your specific job profile and organizational culture.

Read about Donald Trump and the Ultimate Interview

Friday, July 29, 2016

Do Candidate Assessments Ensure Smarter Hiring?

A man considers a balancing scale to help decide between two choices

Hiring well is a huge responsibility. Hiring the right person can boost your team’s performance, enhance morale and drive profitable growth. Hiring the wrong person will do just the opposite…hamper production, lower morale and delay growth. So how should you proceed in order to do it right?

You have heard about pre-hire assessments. The idea is very tempting. Wouldn’t it be great to base your hiring decision just upon the survey results? Hand each candidate a survey and then tally up the results. 

Unfortunately, hiring well requires a lot more hard work than simply analyzing data. You need to be soundly grounded in behavior based interviewing training. We believe that there is a combination of techniques that can serve you best: initial assessments to begin the selection process followed by skilled behavioral interviewing so you can better predict actual behavior on the job.

Assessments can be enormously helpful in the screening and recruiting process. They can quickly disqualify candidates saving both time and money.  They tell you a lot about a candidate’s knowledge, attitudes, abilities and even personality traits…that is, if you select a really good and highly validated assessment tool. Make sure that any candidate pre-hiring assessment you choose fulfills the following requirements. The survey should be:

  • Well written, reliable and validated. It is best to hire a proven practitioner to put together a survey that will ask the questions that will give you helpful data that is relevant to your unique situation, strategy, culture and job.
  • Legally compliant. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has developed stringent guidelines for making sure that hiring assessments are screening only for job-related issues and not intended to be used to discriminate.
  • Aptitude-focused rather than knowledge-focused. You want to learn if a candidate has the willingness to learn and has the ability to adapt to changing conditions. Especially in knowledge-based businesses, it is more important to know that you are hiring an agile and continuous learner rather than someone who thinks they “know it all.”
  • Able to identify interview areas to dig deeper. You want the pre-hire assessment to highlight strengths areas of weaknesses so you can probe further related to your specific job profile and organizational culture.
  • Applicable once the candidate is hired. Good assessments will help you tailor the new hire onboarding experience as well as put together an individual development and coaching plan that is specific to the new hire. The survey can do more than help you hire well. It can help you integrate the new hire into the culture and help them ramp up as quickly as possible.

Once you have completed the initial screening process, it is time to begin in-person interviews. This is when your skills at behavioral interviewing will make the difference. You will know how to probe beneath the surface to get at a candidate’s true motivators, how to get a sense of how they would behave once hired, and how much their attitudes and beliefs coincide with the values of the organization. 

Assess and interview well…the combination will help you select candidates that fit, perform and stay.

Learn more at:

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Make Sure Your Interviewing Process is Fair

Cartoon of a businessman saying to a lion at the Roman Colosseums, "I just came for a first interview, not to be fed to the lions."

Interviewing can be very stressful for the job candidate. It may not be quite as risky a process as this cartoon suggests, but a lot rides on the outcome for the job seeker. 

Candidates need to impress the interviewer—be confident and articulate, ensure their qualifications are expressed clearly without appearing to brag, indicate their sincere interest in the position and their respect for the company, and so on. They are understandably nervous. It is your job as an interviewer to make them feel comfortable, assess their readiness and fit, ask the behavior-based interviewing questions that can predict their on-the-job behavior and ensure that the selection process is fair.

We recommend that all interviewers be well versed in what can be learned in a quality behavior-based interviewing training workshop aligned with your specific employee brand and organizational culture. Effective behavioral interviewing training teaches a competency-based process that depends upon the proven principle that past and present behavior is the best predictor of future employee performance and retention.  It typically includes:

  1. The Job Description.  The first step is to define each job in terms of the critical few behavioral competencies needed for success. 

  2. The Behavior-Based Methodology.  Then you must learn how to ask behavior-based questions (without telegraphing what you are looking for) that effectively probe beneath the surface of a candidate’s resume and rehearsed answers to uncover their true capabilities, attitudes and motivators.

  3. The Legal Boundaries.  You learn what questions are legal and compliant and what questions are not.

  4. The Hiring Decision.  Finally you make the hiring decision according to a standard and agreed-upon process that weighs candidates fairly against the parameters for success.  

Some companies rely upon candidate assessments to help with employee selection. If you use one of these tools, be wary. You need to be sure that the assessment is:

  • Legally compliant
  • Aligned with your employee brand promise, organizational culture and values
  • A proven prediction of job performance
  • Designed to provide relevant, work-based exercises
  • Creating a positive candidate experience
  • Scientifically valid and reliable

Otherwise, you are depending upon an assessment that measures the wrong things, sifts out the wrong people and may lead to accusations of an unfair process.

As anxious as the job candidate may be, job interviewers should be anxious too. They are the ones making important hiring decisions that can dramatically affect their team. Selecting top talent is a challenge. As a company leader, be sure your interviewers have the behavior-based interviewing tools and skills to do their job well.

Learn more at:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Behavioral Interviewing: What Would Happen If Your CEO Joined the Process?

3 women are interviewing another

In large companies especially, CEOs typically rely upon their staff to interview and hire new, qualified candidates. CEOs typically do not have the time or the interest in getting involved in the interviewing process unless it is for a very high ranking or strategic position. They also may not have the behavioral interviewing training that allows interviewers to more accurately predict a candidate’s cultural fit and behavior on the job. 

Occasionally, however, a CEO wants a closer look at who is coming aboard and why. This happened at one small company we were working with and this is how it changed things…

  • Rigor
    Knowing that final candidates would be screened by the CEO brought rigor to the entire experience. Interviewers knew that their selection would be overseen by their boss’ boss. Wanting to look good themselves and also to make their boss look good, they made an extra effort to be selective and “followed all the rules” of an effective behavior-based interviewing system. They were much more careful to filter through the candidates and present only the highest quality for the CEO to review.
  • Re-evaluation
    Though the hiring team had initially designed their process according to interviewing best practices, they had not reviewed the process for some years. Was there a better way to do things? If so, now was the time to take a closer look at how behavioral interviewing had advanced and improved as job candidates became more savvy and learned how to prepare for many of the questions the team had been asking. Were there more effective ways to dig beneath the surface? Were interviewers being truly objective in the way they rated candidates? Were their questions still predictive and yet legal?
  • Focus on overall corporate culture
    The hiring team realized that they were hiring job-by-job. Now that the CEO was part of the process, they felt they needed to expand their view and be more strategic. Instead of looking solely at a candidate’s skills and knowledge, they spent more time looking at the job seeker’s attitudes and values. Would they be a fit with the company culture? Were their values in true alignment with organizational values?
  • More challenging questions
    In participating with the CEO on a few interviews, the hiring team picked up on questions s/he posed that they had not thought to ask. Questions like, “Why do you want to join us?” And, “Where do you want to be in five years and how can we help you get there?”

Even if your CEO does not become a part-time interviewer for your organization, don’t you think it worth your while to pretend they are looking over your shoulder? The whole company and its culture depend upon the quality and attitudes of the folks you hire. Do it right, do not settle and all will benefit.

Learn more at:

Saturday, April 30, 2016

4 Interviewing Warning Signs that the Candidate is Not a Good Fit

4 official warning signs in black and yellow

Very few of us are really good at hiring new employees. We are all too easily persuaded that a candidate is right for the job…either because we need to fill a slot in a hurry or because we just “like” the candidate simply because they are similar to us in style. Neither of these reasons is sound. And hiring wrong is very costly…both in terms of lost time and money and also in terms of the cost to failed team dynamics.

How can we get better at such a critical task so that we hire right consistently? 

One way is to enroll all hiring managers in a proven, customized and experiential behavior based interviewing training program. This preparation for hiring right teaches techniques for how to ask the right questions to reveal a candidate’s true attitude and predict their behavior on the job. You will learn how to probe beneath the surface and uncover what does not show on the resume. You will work with colleagues to set up a proven process for evaluating candidates fairly and accurately and to test whether or not they have the competencies required for the specific job.

Meantime, you should do your best to watch out for the following four warning signs that the candidate you are considering would not be a good fit.

1. Evasive answers
When a candidate skirts your question and answers evasively, it naturally arouses suspicion that they are trying to hide something. This may or may not be the case. Just keep inquiring in various ways. Perhaps your question was misunderstood the first time or the candidate was not confident in their answer. Bottom Line: Dig until you are satisfied.

2. Inappropriate behavior or attire
If you are hiring for an executive position, your candidate should not show up in flip flops (unless you are a sandal company or perhaps headquartered in Hawaii.) And someone who slouches in the chair or chews gum loudly would not be a person you would want representing your company with customers. Bottom Line: They need to fit the organizational culture of your company, your customers and your industry.

3. Incomplete resumes
Certainly misspellings should be a warning that your candidate is not detail-oriented. But beyond this obvious red flag, are there huge gaps in their job experience or, conversely, do they seem to skip from job to job? You will need to find the story behind the job history.  Bottom Line: Mistakes or misrepresentations on the most important interviewing document say a lot about the candidate.

4. Salary discrepancy
If there is a significant discrepancy between what you are offering and what the candidate was paid in previous jobs, you should have an explanation of why they would settle for so much less. They may be trying to shift roles or find a less stressful situation…but you deserve a good reason.  Bottom Line: If things do not seem right, they probably are not right.

Learn more at: