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01.05 – Selection

01.05 - Selection
Well, we’re back on the talent pipeline express again and moving very fast. We’re now able to begin selection of the talent that we need. We have recruited a pool of people who’ve met our original criteria for the position. We’re ready to find the best way to select them. Selecting the best so that they can execute our strategy. Now, these puppies may all look quite similar. But your role is discover which sets some apart. What will determine which one is capable of adding the value that you need to your team? The one that’s third from the left. This puppy may be the most skilled and most collaborative. And thus, maybe the best for you.
But we must look deeply to be able to select the best. The most extensive study to date looked at all the procedures for picking talented employees, and this study was executed in 1998. It looked at many, many different methods. But it found, through all of the work that is being done in this area, ability tests and IQ tests predict high performance for the future. They predict them, they are valid, so they have predictive validity to find the best for you. But we have some concerns about using those kinds of tests. Concerns sometimes about cheating, faking it. We don’t like to give intelligence tests. We don’t like to take them. And we don’t like to give them.
At least that’s the case in most western cultures.
IQ testing is not at all something that we like to do. They make us feel that we may be misunderstanding cultural differences, or allowing biases to creep in, to color our decisions. It may be that we are allowing language differences or accents to take us in the wrong direction, and we may be right. Remember, first impressions.
In other cultures, they may be the norm. You need to determine what is your culture for selection, what works in your culture, what may be best for you. But the data does show that testing is something to consider. There is something else to consider. Remember, we talked about selection being a two-way street. Giving someone a test of any kind may cause them to feel anxiety, and thus, they may not want to work for you. Even the selection experience now needs to be a positive one if we hope to attract the right people at the right time to our team, to our company, to our departments.
A really positive experience will foster a positive impression that the candidate will have about you, your department, your team, your company. And that impression could indeed transfer to what they say about you, whether or not you hire them or not.
Here, you see a picture of handwriting analysis. It was really a surprise to me to learn recently that there still are some companies and countries who are still using graphology as a predictor of performance. Graphology is the least predictive of performance. Behavioral interviewing. Excellent precisely executed structured behavioral interviewing is the best predictor of performance after we get rid of IQ or integrity testing, after the tests. The next best thing is creating a structured behavioral interview.
It is unfortunate that most leaders, and I’m calling all of us leaders here, most leaders don’t interview very well at all. We talk too much. Sorry about that, but it’s true. Once people get to the interview stage, they should know quite a bit about you, your company or your team or department. You need to present a little of course to introduce yourself, but I mean just a little. If they don’t know you by now, if they don’t know your company and what it stands for by this time in an interview process, they probably shouldn’t be considered.
Interviewers need to follow my basic rule. Two ears and one mouth.
That is what we always should remember in the interview process. Use them proportionately. Again, two ears, one mouth. Even better, a rule of thumb is only ten minutes out of each hour of an interview should be used by the interview to talk. Ten minutes out of an hour only.
Now, when you are creating structured behavioral questions in the interview, they may take many different forms. So if the role calls upon being a team player, that you really want somebody who’s a collaborative team player, you should ask in the interview, give me an example of what has worked for you, what has worked well when you have operated in a team? What hasn’t worked?
If people may be reporting to you or to a project manager, you could ask them questions about their ability to lead and motivate others. What do they do to motivate their teams? Have them give you an example of when they were able to take somebody who was not engaged at all and turn them into a productive and engaged employee. You are asking them to tell you stories, to be able to recall a time when they were able to do X, whatever X will be in your context.
Some roles require a lot of interaction with clients or perspective customers.
Some roles require people to deal with very challenging situations. Challenging situations that may be fraught with conflict. You may wanna ask questions about when they handled or diffused very tricky, difficult conflictial situations that they have experienced.
It could be you want a creative, critical thinker or a great problem solver. If the role requires creativity, you need to ask when have they been creative. When have they created out of the box thinking? And always be looking for learning. Did they learn something about handling these difficult situations? Did they learn something that they’ve used subsequent to that, or that they will use in the future?
More and more recruiters and hiring managers are asking failure questions. Whether you like it or not, if you’re being interviewed, you should be prepared to have a good answer to a question like, when have you failed? And when you’re asking a question of somebody of when did they fail,
you could ask, tell me about what you did to recover after failure. That’s a very telling answer.
Now, this looks like a pretty good interview. Maybe. Maybe it’s just speed dating, I don’t know. Why do you think I would say that this is not good at all? What do you think?
For me, that picture was a picture of one person being interviewed by one person.
Here’s another picture. One that I think is much better. This is a picture of one person being interviewed by two people. And then the same person being interviewed by two different people. One on one is not good enough to get the right candidate. That is if you do excellent behavioral interviewing, which is what I’m suggesting to you. This is a picture of the candidate, the woman at the top of the picture being interviewed by two different teams. The two teams have met ahead of time, so they have assured that they divided up those behavioral questions.
They’ve decided who will ask who, what, and they’ve created situations that the candidate can relate to and provide answers that show how they have handled things in the past or how they would approach things in the future. You might be looking, and I hope you will be looking for their learning agility, which is a critical quality of talented people. People who are learning agile are able to do things they’ve never done before because they can integrate things that they have experienced. Using them in a new way, using them to execute the task at hand. We’ll discuss that more in a later segment. But it’s an important thing that you wanna look for as an interviewer.
Now, after the interview teams have completed their interviews, the four of them will come together and they will discuss what they have seen and what they think, what they’ve heard, and what they think this candidate can do in the future. The best and most skilled at behavioral interviewing, this very structured behavioral interviewing, will use rating scales. They will create scales before they even start the process. And then they will connect the scales to the qualities, they will rate the candidates. Then they will discuss their ratings clearly with each other and make decisions from the system that they have created.
Now, some matches, some selections, seem to be made in heaven. As the story goes, in a job interview that Steve Jobs did with John Sculley, and you’ll note this is quite a while ago, he asked this very, very intimate question. Do you want to be known for selling sugar water, or do you want to change the world? Now, Sculley answered the question. He went on to say he wanted to change the world. And the question went on and on. How could they change the world together?
But sometime matches made in heaven have earthly concerns. Is the job in line with the candidate’s expectations? Is it in line with the compensation that they expect? Is the compensation similar to similar jobs in your industry or your location?
Does the candidate feel that you’re honest and up front with them? Do you feel they are?
Anyway, as I look at this picture, I remember Sculley got rid of Jobs a little bit later.
In the new world of technology, interviewing may be more likely then not be online.
It is critical that the technology is robust, and that you can actually see the person. We now know from a study that future Futurestep did, Korn Ferry, that’s one of their companies, and they took this poll and learned that, geez, three quarters of companies are using video platforms to interview. That’s quite a lot. That video interview experience could be one of the most important factors in whether or not the person comes with you and/or you choose them. I’ve mentioned this a couple of times before. You are just as much being selected as the candidate is. It’s a two way street. So my rule of thumb here is communicate, communicate, communicate.
I recently had a master’s student who was recruited by a fortune 50 company. And they were totally ecstatic to start the job. After being introduced to her new boss, she couldn’t get the boss to return emails. She couldn’t get answers to her questions ahead of the first day, information that she needed to know before she arrived that day on the job.
I coached her to go back to the hiring manager. Go back to the HR recruiter and discuss the situation. She did, and it was corrected a bit, but not to the total expectations of my student. In fact, she told so many of her peers about how she was being treated, or not treated, that it resulted in one of my other students choosing not to interview for this company.
At the point that my student was thinking of going back on the labor market, giving a call and saying, I’ve reconsidered and I don’t want your job. She was assigned by the HR recruiter to another supervisor. It made all the difference in the world. Her new physician has worked out quite well. So communication, communication from the beginning of the recruitment process all the way, all the way to when they arrive on day one.
So let’s review a little bit the concept of asking spectacular, behavioral questions. Remember, what are you looking for? You’re looking for the candidates, their ability to recall and create a story, a story that will create for you in your mind how they’ve actually handled the situation. You have to remember to design the questions in line with the work that you want them to execute.
Look for the stories that illustrate their ability to do things, their learning agility, their ability to do things they’ve never done before. Look for their aspiration. What do they want to do? How are they making meaning in their lives?
And look for examples of how they have been engaged in work. What’s their engagement in jobs that they’ve had before? And look for their emotional intelligence. Can they connect with you face to face, eye to eye, screen to screen? Look for stories of success and failure, and what they have learned from their experiences.
What I’d like you to do is create a list of five very structured behavioral questions. Create a list of these questions that could be used for a job interview, for your team, or for the company. For selecting a person for an important position that will create value in your team, or your company.
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