It’s a Matter of Style! Look Beyond Technical Competence When Recruiting in Today’s Market

Publication 16, Issue 3

How many times in your career have you heard or said the words, “This employee just isn’t the right fit.” Organizations spend a lot of money recruiting, hiring and training staff to be successful. Unless you hire the right person from the “get-go” you could be wasting a lot of time and effort onboarding and training someone who may not be a good fit for your organization. Traditional interviews were meant to screen candidates who could type 60 words per minute, write Java code or conduct in-depth science experiments. If they passed the technical hurdles, they were hired.

Today, teamwork and collaboration are understood to be integral to business success. Assessing technical competence alone just doesn’t cut it. Managers who have changed the way they interview have had greater success in finding that candidate who is technically competent and whose style complements or “fits” the organization’s culture. Here’s my formula for success:

technical skills + candidate’s style + match to company culture = successful candidate

And, here’s how to use it!

The need for strong technical skills is a given, so let’s talk about personality style and culture. Keep my Playground Personalities in mind as you listen and observe candidates. For example:

Peacemakers – may preface remarks with “I feel,” and will reference people and the importance of working relationships in their responses. Peacemakers will have great eye contact! They can answer this question with ease: Give me an example of how you and your staff have celebrated success in the past. What was the occasion? So if your company focuses on customer service and everything that goes along with it, pay extra attention to these responses.

Organizers – may preface responses with “I think,” and will reference bullet points or short phrases. Their answers will be clear and precise. Organizers will bring extra copies of their resume to the interview to be sure the interviewer has the latest version! Here’s a question they will be able to answer, spot on: Tell me about a project that called on your organizational skills. What happened? Organizers usually thrive in companies that specialize in rigor around protocols and/or processes.

Revolutionaries – will be brief, to the point, and use action-packed language in responses. It’s about “turning on a dime” at work and keeping things moving on a project. Revolutionaries may grow more fidgety as the number of questions mounts! So don’t torture them. Get out in front of their fidgeting and ask: What do you do when priorities change quickly? Give me one example of when this happened. Revolutionaries make great emergency room staffers, firefighters and police officers. They’re at their best in a career when the next move is a surprise!

Steamrollers – may speak in philosophical terms about beliefs or opinions. Steamrollers tend to be “big picture” thinkers who may not offer a lot of detail. A Steamroller may draw a picture or diagram during the interview! Don’t kill their spirit by asking “ordinary” questions. After all they’re super-smart, so challenge their thinking with this question: Give me an example of how you have been creative with a process improvement project when no one else could figure it out. Steamrollers stand out in organizations where creativity produces value to the organization and its clientele.

Be honest in your assessment of your company’s culture. Whether it’s friendly, bureaucratic, always in motion or entrepreneurial – own it! This shouldn’t be a value judgment, but an analysis that will help you avoid a mismatch in the hiring process. Get it right and there is a greater likelihood that the manager and the new hire will be happy and productive at work.

Remember this, we all want a candidate to have that machine-like work ethic, but assessing a candidate on workload alone might be shortsighted. Using my Playground Personalities and combining them with my “hiring formula for success,” will make interviewing easier and save you time and money so you hire the right person from the “get-go!”

Good luck!

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