Tuesday, February 18, 2014

5 Tips for Managing the Screening and Interviewing Process

Author Michael Matalone, President of The Excelsior Group, shares his tips to help you make the best possible hire.  You can read more from their blog at http://www.excelsiorp3.com/.

How do you know if that person sitting in front of you is truly the right person for the role and  your company?
There are two parts to hiring. The first is sourcing potential candidates, which pretty much anybody can do with the enough time (to search all the job boards and other places) and money (investment in deeper access to search those job boards). Of course it helps if you know exactly what you are searching for.
However, the second part and more challenging is once you find those “potential” resumes is how to properly screen and interview those candidates. And for this part, you need skill and expertise.
Here are 5 ways you can better manage the screening and interviewing process:
1.    Write a great job description.
When crafting that job description, if you are not perfectly clear about the specifics of the role and how success will be defined in the role, it will cost you a lot more time and money trying to figure out who the right candidate truly is.
As a way of getting past your typical, generic job description that fails to accurately define the duties and responsibilities of a role, we at Excelsior created the P3, which breaks down a job’s primary tasks into categories and then matches those tasks with the specific knowledge and skills needed to accomplish each category, how success is defined in executing the tasks in that category, what the ideal and/or required behavioral traits are for each category, and the estimated amount of time that the employee will spend doing the tasks in each category. With this detail, “finding” the right person becomes much easier. It’s like having a GPS for finding and identify top talent.
2.    Have a structured hiring process.
By this we mean step by step details of what, where, when and how you will conduct the hiring process from start to finish. Don’t wing it.
3.    During the interview, know what questions to ask, and more importantly, know what a good response to the question is.
There are a lot of mistakes interviewers tend to make, but one prominent one is asking hypothetical questions like “If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want?” These types of questions are designed to determine critical thinking skills, and while they can be useful, they tell you very little about the candidate’s ability to execute the role successfully. To understand that, you need to ask specific questions about the actual tasks they will perform and the results they have created doing these in the past, e.g., tell me when, where, and how you did this, and most importantly, what were the results of your efforts?
Just as important as a great question is a great answer. When listening to candidates responses, you should be listening for the following:
  • The ideal candidate should be able to describe a process that resulted in them achieving a result rather than just talking about tasks they worked on.
  • Listen for both “we” and “I” language. Top talent will share credit and work as part of a cohesive team; however they are also confident and will let you know what specifically they did to contribute to the result. When only “we” is used, it can be a sign that they may not have actually done it. 
  • They should describe the specific methodology and steps they use to evaluate, develop a plan for improvements and track and measure the progress to achieve the end result.
4.    Take note of cultural fit.
Company culture is a “special blend of values, visions, mission, and personality” that is developed over time within a company. Cultural fit is one of the most important factors in hiring decisions, and a candidate’s personal and professional values certainly tie into this. Today, it’s not just about finding the person that can do the jobit is also about finding someone who can fit into the corporate culture
5.    Take time to determine if the candidate “wants to do the job.”
Typically, this is where most recruiters and hiring managers get the hire wrong. They find people who can do the job but not people who want to do the job. The way to do this is be sure and let the candidate know precisely what they will have to do, what resources they will or won’t have and who they will be working with. This allows them to make a good decision about if they want to do the job.
Hiring top talent is an objective, logical, and even scientific approach, when done properly. Most people take a subjective approach and rely too much on “gut” feelings or vague interview questions.
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