3 Considerations For Your Candidate Selection Strategy

Assessment 3 Considerations For Your Candidate Selection Strategy

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Candidate Interviewing With a New Team

You have a great candidate lined up for your open Project Manager role that you’re really excited about.

In fact, you’ve even interviewed her, had her complete your pre-employment assessments, and are ready to move on to reference checks when your top-performer salesperson announces that his friend, an established Project Management professional has just relocated from out of state nearby and is looking for a new place to call home. He provides you with his friend’s resume. It’s phenomenal.

You call the friend for a quick chat and hit it off right away. He’s planning to come in tomorrow morning to meet with you and promises to complete the assessments tonight before your meeting.

Now what? What if this guy’s just as good? What if he crushes your assessments? How will you choose between the two?

You searched for at least a month and a half before finding your first candidate, and now suddenly you have two great candidates vying for the same role, and unfortunately, only one position available, despite wishing you could hire both.

Having two qualified candidates for the same position isn’t the most terrible spot to be in as a hiring manager, but it is difficult to decide between two seemingly perfect candidates who both have the right skills and experience, as well as recommendations behind them. How do you choose?

Previous Performance

One way we evaluate candidates is by looking at their past performance to determine if they’ve successfully navigated the challenges of their previous position with ease. Did they learn from their challenges and were they able to overcome obstacles? Lou Adler suggests asking the only real interview question that matters: “What is your most significant achievement?”

The answer to this question reveals a lot. Not only do you learn about what the candidate believes is the most significant milestone in their career or previous position, but you learn a bit about the candidate, their personality, humility, and line of thinking.

From there, you can then ask, like, 93046 follow-up questions to gather more information.


Reference checks are a fantastic way to verify previous work performance. Especially if the candidate was a top-performer.

We know that many firms shy away from asking for references because of some unspoken taboo associated with reference-checking, but we want to ensure you that obtaining references from a previous supervisor or manager is one of the best ways to learn more about your candidate’s work performance and successes.

Bradford Smart talks of the TORC Technique as a way to avoid candidates who aren’t going to be a good fit for fear of having to provide a reference in the first place!

Potential & Flexibility

Using pre-employment assessments allows you to further assess your candidate’s skills, competencies, and behavioral preferences that may lend insight into their potential as a long-term member of your company.

Oftentimes, these pre-hire assessments measure emotional competency, attitude and integrity, and personality so that you know what kind of candidate you’re considering and whether they’ll have the potential to learn and grow into different positions and take on new challenges within your company.

Choosing between candidates can be tough, and sometimes it really comes down to forcing a decision. Taking into consideration your candidate’s previous achievements in their career, assessing their personality fit and competence, and being able to review with previous supervisors will help you narrow down who would be the best fit for the long-term objectives of your business.

Another strategy after you decide who you’ll hire this time is to keep in touch with your other qualified candidate(s). Stay in touch with them and check in regularly to take their temperature and see what they’re up to. The next time you’re ready to add to the team, they’ll be a good resource for you. Either they’ll be interested again or likely know someone who is!

I guess if that doesn’t work you can always flip a coin too!

What if one of your candidates is the stereotypical “millennial,” a term that has garnered a bad reputation in the global workforce? How should you retain them? Read on to find out more.

What Are Millennials Looking For in a Career?

Ahhhh, millennials.

The technology and social media-obsessed, “all about me” generation that somehow managed to finagle LOL and OMG into the dictionary. They’re literally taking over. In fact, Pew Research notes that more than one in three American workers are between the ages of 18-34 and surpassed Gen X as the largest share of the workforce in 2015.

What are these wacky 20 and early 30-somethings looking for in a career anyway? Of course, if they’re not running their own business, that is…

They Want Their Work to Mean Something

Millennials want to spend their time doing what’s enjoyable. If they are to invest their precious time working, it better be something that encourages both personal and professional growth. Millennials are often deemed more selfish than older generations, which means that in order to keep them interested, they need to see the benefit for them.

If a job or task isn’t utilizing their strengths and allowing them to flourish, they won’t stick around for long. So if you want to keep your millennial workforce intact, make sure you can offer them the opportunity to do meaningful work and allow them to see how their efforts make a significant impact on your business.

Predilection Towards Leadership

Millennials want to rise through the ranks and become leaders within your company. They aren’t satisfied with working in one position for long. They’re restless and eager. They may have ideas and concepts for various improvements within the workplace and want their chance to shine.

In order to keep millennials interested in sticking it out with your company, offer them opportunities for growth, where they can continue developing skills needed to be successful in life and the workplace.

Respect for Personal Values

Millennials value a collaborative work environment and thrive in work relationships that value teamwork as well. In a boss or supervisor, they want to feel like they have a mentor and someone who they can both look up to and who teaches and develops them rather than someone who simply barks orders.

In a boss, millennials want someone who can empower his or her employees both personally and professionally, so approach your millennial employees with this in mind.

They Want to Make a Difference

As noted earlier, millennials want their work to mean something. They want to have an impact and be able to consistently work toward this vision within the workplace.

Just as importantly, they want the company or institution they work for both respect and encourage this expression of values. Millennials value values. 

Surprisingly, money is not the prime motivator within the millennial generation, but instead making a difference and a focus on making the world a better place is. What an empathetic bunch!

Flexible Schedules and Work/Life Balance

Millennials are very concerned with the success of their personal and familial relationships. While they aspire to be successful in their careers, they want to be equally as successful in their relationships and value a flexible schedule that allows for the balance of these priorities.

Millennial attitudes toward work flexibility also have to do with the beliefs that the effort and results of their work should be measured over the actual hours put in at the office. Millennials are concerned with the fact that as long as the work gets done, their schedule should be flexible and left up to them to determine what the actual hours look like.

Create a list of performance objectives and other necessary duties, and allow them the freedom to determine their scheduled hours (if this is practical for your business, of course). The opportunity will be appreciated!

Owning a Business or Being Their Own Boss

Because this group learned during the recession that nothing is guaranteed, not even that dream job they envisioned when finishing college, the idea of owning their own business is appealing. Of course, it also pretty much means they can have and do all of the above whenever and however they please.

Close Collaboration and Teamwork

Working in teams is second nature to Millennials after years of group projects in school. Take advantage of this by paring younger workers together on collaborative projects or establishing mentor relationships with older employees.

Setting up younger workers with an older mentor provides a great opportunity for each generation to learn from the other. An older employee can learn about the latest technology while a Millennial can learn how to form business relationships and make difficult decisions.

A formalized mentor program is also a great thing to list on your organization’s recruiting strategy and will help you stand out from the crowd in an increasingly competitive job market.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

This is the generation that grew up idolizing Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and other Silicon Valley superstars. Everyone thinks they can be an innovator, no matter where they work or what their role is within an organization.

Rather than pushing back against this, embrace it. Give your younger team members time and space to innovate when it makes sense to do so. You never know what ideas might come from a fresh perspective or someone who is willing to challenge the status quo.

Pre-employment testing can help you determine how much of an entrepreneurial spirit a candidate has so you can structure your relationship accordingly. Depending on your organization, you might even consider adding entrepreneurship to your checklist of things to look for in a candidate.

Professional Development

Despite stereotypes to the contrary, many Millennials are ambitious and goal-oriented. They know what they want to accomplish professionally and are looking for a roadmap to help get there. You can use this to your advantage by making sure your organization serves as a key stepping stone on that path toward success.

A little extra investment in professional development will go a long way with this group. Allow them to build skills that will be useful to your organization and wherever else their career path may lead. This generation does not expect to be in a job forever and is always looking to improve the skills that help them now and in their next position.

Transparency and Authenticity

In a generation that shares everything on social media, transparency and authenticity are critically important. They know that life is not always perfect and can tell perhaps better than any other generation when the wool is being pulled over their eyes.

Think twice before you make a statement to a Millennial that you can’t back up, especially if it’s something that can be verified online. If they think something is awry, they will find the truth and be heading for the door before you know what happened.

But, if you can be transparent and authentic, you’ll quickly build trust and earn affinity that will help boost your reputation among other potential hires.

Remember that this generation is more connected than ever before and will not hesitate to lift up or knock down your organization in their networks.

Millennials make up 1/3 of the workforce currently, and with that number expected to grow, flexible working schedules will quickly become the expectation for all employees, rather than the exception. A little work now to adjust your business operations will pay off in the long run.

So, What Do We Do With Them?

Millennials, or those aged 21-36, are now the largest segment of the U.S. workforce. As Baby Boomers retire, this generation is only going to grow in its power and influence.

The lifestyle of these digital natives is very different than the generations that came before them, which can lead to conflicts and misunderstandings in the hiring process and at work.

Pre-employment testing can help identify some of the personality traits that Millennials exhibit and help you understand what to expect about working with younger employees.

Millennials are viewed by some as self-centered and difficult to work with. Maybe it’s because they’re so independent and find it difficult to follow the rules. Maybe it’s because they want to create their own rules and can’t be tamed.

Either way, the well-educated and iron-willed millennial generation is changing the workforce as we know it and companies would be wise to tailor their recruiting and talent acquisition efforts toward appealing to these candidates if they want to maintain a solid company.

Speaking about a solid company, it is extraordinarily important to establish a healthy company culture for your employees to thrive in. Otherwise, the age range of your hires is going to be your last worry.

3 Basics You Need to Know to Drive Company Culture

Throughout history, the most successful businesses have in common a solid sense of “who we are,” and, “how we do things.” We call this uniformity of purpose and commitment to certain core values a company culture.

Investopedia.com defines corporate culture this way:

“Corporate Culture: the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions.”

Just as every family has its own way of getting things done, every company does too. Every daycare center, grocery store, and each of the Fortune 500 Corporations has a company culture. Some know they have it. Others do not. 

Strong cultures are those in which the employees reflect the values, ethics, attitudes, and standards of the top dogs. The bad ones are those that go broke and close up shop.

To continue, the good ones have an internal strength that comes from shared commitment. The bad ones have no structure upon which to hang the mantle of success.

Attributes Common to Strong Company Cultures

Companies that have established themselves as leaders in their fields all have some basic attributes in common:

A well-established and constantly communicated set of core values.

Heroes to emulate: GE has Jack Welch. Microsoft has Bill Gates. The hardware store downtown has Big Walter, who sets the pace every day.

Rites, rituals, and codes – This can be as simple as the ritual of saying, “Welcome to Rite Aid” every time the door chimes. It is expected and becomes a common language creating a bond between co-workers.

Consider the little bakery on the corner. It’s been run by the same family since 1934 when Papa and Mama came to this country from Italy. The culture of this business has been in play for many generations. The culture here is the family culture.

Papa and Mama hire their own children and grandchildren to do the work and, because these children cut their teeth on, “this is how we do things in our family,” the way the bakery operates is changeless. Here, there is only one culture to learn and it cannot be escaped.

Other businesses do not have the luxury of a rock-solid, ready-made culture. They must find ways to communicate their values and aspirations to new employees who come from many divergent backgrounds. 

These hirelings bring with them to the workplace all manner of attitudes, some of which are not helpful. It is management’s job to instill in them a sense of “how we do things here,” if the business is to continue to thrive. These lessons begin long before the applicant enters your office for his first interview.

Cultivate Keepers not Chameleons

If you’ve been in business for longer than, say, twenty-three minutes, you already know that your people are your most valuable resource.

Unless you’ve done an exceptional job of hiring people who think the way you do, you almost certainly have people in your operation who don’t play by the rules you’ve established. These folks tend to see you like a rich, fat cat who sucks up all the money.

To this individual, there is probably no commitment to the business or his fellow employees. To him, it’s all about his paycheck and there is little else binding him to your operation. This worker is the black sheep in your work family and a bigger danger to your corporate culture than you might imagine.

This individual happily goes about sowing the seeds of discontent among your other well and wisely chosen team members. Like all weeds, his attitude can infect your garden and choke out the healthy, happy others.

Naturally, when you offered Dan D. Lion a job, you were convinced that he would fit right in. But even managers with polished interview skills occasionally get taken in by applicants who are chameleons by nature. They look at the operation, take your “corporate temperature” and quickly put on the skin you want to see in a color that matches your own. This is called ‘mirroring’ and it’s a very effective way of bagging that new job.

Dan’s bad attitude may take weeks or months to reveal itself and, perhaps, by that time he will have proven himself to be very good at doing the work he was hired to do. Now you are faced with the painful decision of showing your best salesman the door or allowing him to continue to erode your corporate foundation.

Never Stop Developing your Company Culture

If your own corporate culture is teetering on the brink, gnashing your teeth is not the answer. Even strong charismatic leaders can fail to inspire and create loyalty among their employees if there are bad hires among them.

The chameleons are very clever and, perhaps even more so in this wobbly economy. No matter how careful you’ve been, you may be sure there are, indeed, bad hires in your group. Don’t beat yourself up over it.

Fortunately for entrepreneurs like you who are committed to achieving the dream, there’s help available. Read more on developing and reinforcing company culture then create a game plan for its execution. A little focus on this important aspect of your business will go a long way.

We offer several tools to assist you and your leadership team to prevent these bad hires. Check out our eBook “Hiring Talented Team Players”. Using a well-structured selection process in conjunction with powerful attitude and behavioral assessment tools like our IC and SL Behavioral assessments can help you combat these problem generators.

Here are some questions to get you thinking about where you are at with building a strong company culture:

What’s Your Own Company Culture?

  • Does my company have a primary philosophy? (For example, employees at General Electric believe they bring good things to light.)
  • Is this philosophy clearly and continually visible in my (shop, store, warehouse, delivery trucks, packaging materials, and/or aircraft?)
  • How effectively do I communicate that belief to employees?
  • Do my employees share the company philosophy?
  • How do we do things here? Is it effective?
  • Does my company have a system in place to reward and recognize achievement?
  • Does Dan work for me?

Just as millennials don’t matter without the proper company culture, so does culture not matter without knowing how to correctly approach hiring your employees. Read on to find out more!

5 Hot Recruiting and Hiring Trends

In some ways, the hiring process seems out of sync with the way we live the rest of our lives. You can order something on Amazon with a few taps of your phone, but you need to log onto a computer to submit a cover letter and resume to most job sites.

Technology-Fueled Talent Searches

If you are one of the 48 million people in the U.S. who regularly listen to podcasts, you’ve probably heard ads for ZipRecruiter, a service that matches candidates with open positions. Expect more of this as companies let AI and other technologies take the work out of finding the best candidates to interview.

If you decide to utilize one of these services, remember that even the most advanced technology can’t completely replace the human element that’s essential to job searches. A computer might find the perfect candidate on paper, but it cannot scan for emotional intelligence and other important features the way pre-hire testing or behavioral interviews can.

Increased Recruitment Advertising

Thanks to a low unemployment rate at the end of 2018, employers will step up their efforts to lure people away from other companies in the coming months. People who already have jobs are not likely to be scanning job boards, so you need to meet them where they are.

There’s no reason job ads can only appear on job boards or recruiting websites. You can advertise an open position on any website, just like a company would promote a product or service.

If you decide to venture into recruitment advertising in the next year, keep in mind that doing so requires an attractive or catchy job ad and job description that will make people want to click and apply.

Mobile First

Increased recruitment advertising and changes to Google’s search process increase the likelihood that a candidate’s first interaction with your open position will be on their phone. With this in mind, make sure your job description is mobile-friendly and easy to read.

For a more outside-the-box approach, consider abandoning the requirement for cover letters and resumes in document form in favor of videos and links to social media profiles. The former requires logging onto a computer, while the latter is possible entirely on a mobile device.

More Employment Tests

As companies simplify the recruitment process on the front end, they will need additional tools during the interview process to help ensure that candidates have the right skills for the job.

Pre-employment assessments offer one way to do this across a variety of industries. A social media profile can’t tell you about a person’s critical thinking, emotional intelligence, or communication skills — but hiring assessments can.

Focus on Company Culture

It’s more some time since the biggest Me Too stories captured media attention, but that does not mean the sentiment behind the movement is going away anytime soon. Your organization needs to have a company culture that makes everyone feel welcome and provides equal opportunities for advancement.

What happens if you don’t do these things? As you’ve seen, it will become easier for other companies to recruit your talent away in the coming year. Focusing on company culture and employee retention will help ensure that you are not searching for more candidates than you need to.

And if you’re not pulling it off? Something must be wrong with your recruiting: here are some of the most common mistakes.

Rookie Mistakes Interviewers Make

You mean interviewers make mistakes? Whaaaaat? I thought we were perfect…

It’s true. Interviewing is truly a skill that takes practice. Adhering to a plan of how the process will generally go with well-thought-out questions can significantly improve your approach. Here is a list of 4 of the most common mistakes interviewers make when interviewing candidates:

  1. Talking too much.
  2. Emotionally believing you’ve found the perfect candidate.
  3. Jumping to conclusions.
  4. Telegraphing what you want or the answer you want.

Talking Too Much

The purpose of interviewing is to find out faults.  How can you do that when you’re the one doing the talking? Also, you can be easily manipulated if you’re talking too much.  So talking too much wastes time, and opens the interviewer up to being manipulated.

Another fault with talking is the tendency to turn candidates off from wanting the job as they hear things they don’t like.  On the other hand, when you question, you’re inferring you have a great job to offer without directly saying it.  If the candidate can get you talking about your favorite ideas, you’re much more likely to be sold on the candidate.  The one doing the talking is the one being sold.  If interviewers are doing the talking then they will tend to be sold on the applicants regardless of how qualified they are.

When the candidates talk they want the job more and more as they talk and talk.  We know this sounds unbelievable but notice how your feelings for candidates change depending on whom was doing the talking. 

Also, rather than giving a long speech on how great your company is, just give a short summary that does not expose your requirements.  The more you question and listen, the more you’ll find out, and the more you’ll know about the appropriateness of the candidate.

Emotionally Believing You’ve Found the Perfect Candidate

If you feel you have the perfect candidate before thoroughly testing, interviewing, and reference checking, you’re making a mistake. The problem with this interview fault is the difficulty seeing or hearing anything negative after you’re in love with the candidate. You know the person will be perfect, so why bother checking the person out anymore? 

For example, let’s say you are sold on the applicant but the applicant tells you he has problems arriving on time.  Great honesty is seen as a plus even though arriving late is a reason for termination in the company.  Realize that when you fall in love you have been blinded.

When we feel like we have a perfect candidate, we do thorough testing and reference checking before thorough interviewing, or we have another expert interviewer check the person out.  This fault is far more likely to happen if the candidate is meant to work for you directly.  You should definitely have an objective interview, and/or reference checks the person. 

Think back to all the so-called “perfect people” you’ve hired, and how they turned out in reality.

Jumping to Conclusions

Not only are there challenges from applicants trying to look good, but also from interviewers’ urges to make up their minds too fast and on too little information.  It takes more than one incident or statement to judge anything.

Avoid making generalized judgments of people.  Learn to detect specific flaws, good job qualification fits, or personality traits.  For best results, both legally and effectively, find out the specifics before deciding anything.

Interviewers typically form opinions about the person at first sight.  They also form opinions too quickly after applicants convince them of the success they’ll bring to their company.  Interviewers would be wise to convince themselves they don’t know how suitable the applicant is until all the interview questions have been answered.

 Even then one would be wise to take a two-hour break after the interview to let any sales hype go out of one’s mind and a more objective look to take over.  In this new state of mind look over the test results, reference check results, and interview answers.  Now decide about the candidate.

After a new interviewer has had the experience of being thoroughly impressed by an applicant, who later turns out to be unsuitable, he’ll become less likely to jump to conclusions.  Doing a complete in-depth interview is the best answer.

Telegraphing The Answer You Want

This is a huge subject in the interview process.  Skill in this area makes the most difference between the expert and the ineffective interviewer. 

Telegraphing is the act of letting the candidate know what you want them to say or giving them clues of your concerns so they can effectively reduce your concerns and sidestep the truth.  In some ways, it is another form of talking too much. 

When you explain to the candidate the type of person you’re looking for, the candidate can’t help but become the ideal.  If you tell the candidate you’re looking for a high-energy, aggressive person, the candidate will try to convince you he’s energetic and aggressive. If you ask the candidate if he’s honest, he now knows that’s part of the profile. He’ll not only say he is but will attempt to convince of that. 

At some level, everyone thinks they are energetic, aggressive, and honest, so it’s easy to say so – the biggest problem with this common fault is the interviewer’s belief in the candidate’s response without realizing how easy it was for the candidate to know what to say. 

To make matters worse the interviewers think they are asking great questions and that the candidate’s answers are very meaningful.

The best way to avoid this problem is to ask broad questions about the subject you are concerned about. 

For example, if you think a supervisor candidate may not actually supervise their people, you could ask what they like most and dislike most about supervising.  The candidate doesn’t have a clue what you want them to say.

 So if they say they hate having to listen to employees’ concerns and problems you now have more confirmation of what you wanted to check. 

On the other hand, if asking them if they actually supervise their people will be met with, “Of course I do….”  then the interviewers may think this was a false concern they had, until four to twelve months later they find out the truth when the damage and expense have already happened.

If we all just follow these four golden rules we would all make better hiring decisions right away.

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