interviewing

Improve The Efficiency Of Your Recruiting Process With These 4 Steps

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Talent fuels the success of your organization. That’s why your process must be efficient. In this episode, I detail the four steps for improving recruiting and hiring efficiency.

Scott WintripImprove The Efficiency Of Your Recruiting Process With These 4 Steps
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Here’s When It’s Okay To Be Slow To Hire

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Being slow to hire often means a job goes unfilled for awhile. But it doesn’t have to. There’s a way to be slow to hire that’s fast and effective. It starts with understanding the real meaning of the idea.

The Unintended Consequences of Slow to Hire
The idea of slow to hire has been around for years. I noticed it gained traction as leaders became increasingly aware of the significant costs of a bad hire. The financial cost alone has been estimated as a five- to six-figure sum. Then there’s the lost time, missed opportunities, wasted effort, and added stress. Because of these costs, it made sense to make hiring decisions carefully.

That was the original intent of being slow to hire—taking the time necessary to make smart hiring decisions.

Unfortunately, the idea of careful hiring took on a life of its own. One or two rounds of interviews with prospective hires expanded to three, four, five, sometimes six separate rounds before making a hiring decision. Then there are additional steps including testing, reference checking, and background checks.

Finally, if all goes well, a job offer is made to the most qualified person. However, if that offer is declined and the second choice candidate has already taken another job (which often happens after a long, drawn-out hiring process) the whole process starts all over again. That adds more time, more effort, more expense, and more interviews, making slow to hire even slower.

Has this cautious approach to hiring worked? Not if you’re a leader with an unfilled job. Certainly not if you’re in HR and can’t find enough qualified people. Definitely not if you’re in staffing or talent acquisition and your best candidate was just hired by a faster competitor. The time it takes to fill just one job has reached an all-time high, and there’s been no improvement in employee turnover.

Because of this misunderstanding about slow to hire, the world has been operating on a faulty premise. People have mistakenly been equating time and effort spent on hiring with making a quality hire. The more take they take, the more energy they expend, the better the hire will be. It’s given them a false sense of control. Taking lots of time to hire doesn’t save companies from bad hires; it only saves people from making a decision they’re afraid may be wrong.

Slow to hire became something unintended. It turned into being slow to fill.

You can break your organization out of this cycle, while still taking a prudent approach to decision-making. You do that by being slow to hire and fast to fill. Here are 6 steps that will help.

Recruit ahead
Pick one role and start cultivating talent for it right now, even if there are no current openings. It’s not if that job will open, but when. You’re preparing for the when.

Build rapport
Let candidates know you hire differently, getting to know people before jobs open. You’ll typically find that talented people welcome this approach since this gives them an option for their future.

Interview actively
Just as you try on clothes before buying them, you can have people try-on opportunities. Invite people to experience your company and culture. Having them try out sample work lets you both determine if a role in your organization may be a future fit.

Maintain contact
Touch base with prospective hires at least monthly. Use the few minutes you spend to pass along valuable information, such as marketplace updates or news on a trend you’ve seen. This keeps your relationship top of mind while also making her better off just from having spoken with you.

Fill fast
When a job opens, offer it to the top person with whom you’ve stayed in touch. If she’s unable to say “yes,” offer it to the next best candidate on your list.

Repeat
As you maintain contact with candidates who are ready-to-hire, you can repeat these steps with another role (if you like). And then another. And then another.

Smart decision-making and a speedy process can work hand in hand when you’re slow to hire and fast to fill. This balanced approach lets your organization make prudent hiring decisions while filling jobs the moment they become open.

Scott WintripHere’s When It’s Okay To Be Slow To Hire
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Want to Hire Faster? Eliminate These 3 Obstacles.

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Many organizations are struggling to fill open positions. It takes them weeks or months to fill just one job. The skills shortage often gets the blame. Because there are more jobs than people to fill them, leaders have come to expect that hiring will be a time-consuming challenge.

Another group of companies is having a different hiring experience. These organizations fill their open seats with relative ease and speed, even though there aren’t enough qualified people to go around. What makes these organizations different isn’t their reputation, location, work environment, or pay and benefits. It’s how they’ve chosen to address the talent shortage. They’ve overcome three common obstacles that slow down fast hiring.

THE REAL PROBLEM
While the global talent shortage is an ongoing reality, it’s not the real problem. The skills shortage is merely a challenge that can be solved by a better process.

The critical problem—the only one you can control—is having the right kind of hiring process. The right process taps into a sufficient pool of talent and efficiently moves candidates toward hire.

To fill jobs quickly with top talent, your hiring process must overcome these three obstacles.

Obstacle #1: Tapping into a candidate pool that’s too small
If you asked employers why they can’t fill jobs, over a third will tell you they’re not getting enough applicants, or they’re getting no applicants at all. Yet, only 10 percent of these employers leverage untapped talent pools.

Faster hiring requires mass: You must build a critical mass of candidates to select from. Building mass requires tapping into overlooked pools of people.

To determine if your organization is tapping into a candidate pool that’s too small, take these three steps.

Step #1: Review the eight talent streams
There are eight streams of talent. Each stream provides access to unique people. Compare these streams to how your company acquires candidates.

Step #2: Determine which streams lead to successful hires
Review your organization’s hires over the past six to 12 months. Note which streams these hires came from and which streams didn’t produce any successful hires.

Step #3: Assess which streams are being under-used or overlooked
Every talent stream should be producing candidates, some of whom become quality hires. Those that don’t are under-used or overlooked.

Obstacle #2: Employing interviewing methods that are inaccurate and slow
During typical interviews, candidates are on their best behavior. As a result, interviews are often a poor barometer as to who will fail or succeed in a given role. Some “newer” interview methods, such as behavioral interviewing, have only made the process longer. Hundreds of books and articles have been written on how to beat behavioral interviews. These books and articles demonstrate simple methods for telling interviewers exactly what they want to hear.

Interviews cannot be a conceptual exercise. They must allow you to see proof then-and-there that a candidate can do the job and do it well.

Take time to evaluate the speed and accuracy of your interviewing methods by reviewing each step of the process, evaluating the effectiveness of techniques used by interviewers. Answer these questions.

  • Does the interviewing technique consistently uncover irrefutable proof about a candidate’s fitness for the job?
  • If “no,” how can we replace or eliminate that technique to get a better result?
  • If “yes,” what can we do to streamline this technique and still get the same consistent irrefutable proof?

Obstacle #3: Failing to build and maintain a prospective employee pipeline
When a seat opens suddenly, the amount of activity it generates can feel overwhelming. Without an active talent pipeline, a frantic dance ensues. Managers have to handle extra work as the company tries to find suitable candidates. Days later, schedules have to be coordinated for phone screenings and interviews. Work piles up, good candidates take other jobs, and nerves fray.

Maintaining a pipeline of ready-to-hire prospective employees eliminates the dance. When jobs open, there’s no rush, panic, or chaos. Instead, you can hire from your overflowing pipeline.

It’s vital that your organization assess its pipelining strategies. Starting with the most critical roles in your organization, answer these questions.

  • For each role, how many people are ready to hire right now?
  • For any roles where there aren’t people ready to hire now, where is the pipelining process failing? For example, are there viable candidates who are stuck at the interview stage? Is there a lack of suitable candidates to interview? Is recruiting failing to generate candidates? Use what you learn to address those process problems.

Speed is no longer a competitive advantage. In today’s fast-paced competitive world, it’s a requirement for doing business and hiring quality employees. The importance of having talented people exactly when they’re needed makes fast and accurate hiring a strategic imperative.

Scott WintripWant to Hire Faster? Eliminate These 3 Obstacles.
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Want to Keep Candidates Fully Engaged During the Hiring Process? Do What Teachers Do.

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Teachers have a secret weapon for keeping students engaged—homework. As students do their homework, the subject matter stays top of mind even though the teacher isn’t present. That’s the benefit of giving candidates homework during the hiring process. You and your company remain top of mind even though you’re not present physically.

Why is this important? You rarely make a hire in the very first interaction with someone. There will be some downtime between your initial connection and each step of the hiring process. These gaps in interaction are when doubts arise, concerns develop, or people simply forget to think about your company and the opportunity.

Candidates jump on the internet to research other jobs, recall conversations they’ve had with other companies, and get feedback from friends and colleagues about what you’ve put on the table thus far.

It’s important to shape that downtime, as much as you can, into something that benefits the candidate, the hiring process, and your developing relationship. That’s where assigning homework comes in.

You may be thinking, “How in the world am I supposed to get candidates to do homework? Especially in this competitive job market.” That’s a common reaction. Which is why any homework you give has to be in the best interest of the candidate.

When you design candidate homework, each question, task, or thought assignment is geared toward benefiting the candidate. People are much more likely to engage in a process when they can see the obvious benefit for themselves in completing the task.

How’s this work? My interactions with Melissa are a good example. We were introduced at a social event by a mutual friend who thought Melissa would fit in well at my company.

My first conversation with Melissa was brief, but it was clear there was mutual interest. We set up a time the next day for a phone interview. In preparation for that, I asked Melissa to do two things. First, send me her resume. Second, think about her objectives if we had the chance to work together and be ready to discuss those in our call.

This particular homework assignment was mutually beneficial in four ways:

Benefit #1
If Melissa were considering other jobs, she’d still be thinking about the possibility of working with me.

Benefit #2
The homework assignment was about visualizing a positive, successful working relationship together.

Benefit #3
Melissa would come to our call with specific needs and goals, allowing me to share specific details of how a job on my team could address those.

Benefit #4
I’d get a real experience of Melissa’s ability to take direction and follow through, both important traits among people who’d succeeded on my team.

Our phone interview, including our discussion of how her wants and needs matched up with our company, went well. We scheduled a face-to-face interview for the next day. In preparation for that, I gave her another homework assignment: think about what she’d learned so far about our company and come prepared to discuss how we fit her professional and personal goals.

This second homework assignment kept our company top of mind. Plus, it gave me another opportunity to experience her ability to take direction and follow-through.

The face-to-face interview also well and, you guessed it, included more homework…with a twist. She appeared to be a good fit, so I wasn’t going to delay taking action. While expediting her background check that afternoon, I gave her two questions to ponder and asked her to call me a few hours later with the answers. Those questions were

Question #1
If we work together, how can we make it mutually beneficial?

Question #2
If we both agree to proceed, when could you start and what will you need to do to make that happen?

Like the previous homework, these questions kept up the mindfulness and momentum. This assignment also let the better closer close “the deal.” That was her, not me. I knew she’d believe everything she said but may or may not believe me. Rather than trying to talk her into accepting an offer, I let her do it instead. All the while keeping me, the opportunity, and the company top of mind until we spoke again in that final conversation.

I did make Melissa an offer in that final call, which she accepted on the spot. Shortly after she started the job, she told me, “It won’t have made sense to say no. I was considering other opportunities, two of which paid more money. But I couldn’t get the job on your team out of my head. I’m so glad I said yes.”

Giving homework to candidates allows them to continue to experience the benefit of remembering you, your company, and the potential value of working together. Instead of being out of sight and out of mind, which could push you out of contention of landing a talented person, meaningful homework improves your chances of celebrating your latest, greatest hire.

 

Scott WintripWant to Keep Candidates Fully Engaged During the Hiring Process? Do What Teachers Do.
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Hiring Staffing Salespeople? Look For These 5 Attributes.

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Making quality sales hires continues to be a challenge for leaders in staffing and recruitment. This episode of my podcast will help you accurately identify people who will be successful on your sales team.

 

Scott WintripHiring Staffing Salespeople? Look For These 5 Attributes.
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The Magic Question: How to Use 3 Powerful Words to Get Anyone Involved in Hiring to Change Their Mind

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There are no silver bullets to fill a job, but there is a silver lining when someone tells you “no.” Everyone in the hiring process hires is told “no” at one point or another. Hiring managers hear candidates reject rock-solid job offers. HR and staffing pros deal with managers who turn down well-qualified candidates. The silver lining in these situations is that you can ask people who say “no” a magic question that lets them talk themselves into a different perspective.

The magic question helps hiring managers see past their initial objections about a potentially good hire. This powerful query gives candidates the opportunity to consider shifting their point of view. The 3 words that comprise the magic question can even allow HR, talent acquisition, and staffing leaders to change their mind about adjustments to the hiring process.

Those 3 words are

Under what circumstances…

If there are circumstances under which someone will change her mind, she knows what those circumstances are. By letting her do the talking, you’re giving her the chance to convince herself while also informing you of the details.

The magic within these 3 words is this: the person who just said “no” always believes her own point of view. She may not believe yours. Because of this, she is the most qualified person to overcome the reasons why she said “no” in the first place.

How’s the magic question work? Here are four common situations.

Candidate has unrealistic expectations
Brad fit the job but wanted $10,000 more than Ivan, the manager, could offer. Ivan asked Brad

Under what circumstances would you take this job for $10,000 less?

He then let Brad do the talking. Turns out there was a circumstance. One that Ivan couldn’t have anticipated. Brad had a three-week family trip scheduled. He said it would be worth taking 10k less if he could take that trip as planned.

Ivan went on to use this question over and over again with success. When a candidate said “no” because of a long commute the magic question let the candidate talk herself into a flex schedule. Then there was the highly talented individual who objected to some of the job responsibilities. Ivan’s use of the magic question allowed the candidate to talk himself into the fact that every job comes with a mix of desirable and undesirable tasks.

Hiring manager has unrealistic expectations
A hiring manager having pie in the sky expectations had sunk many candidate submissions by a financial services firm’s HR team. That is, until they used a little magic.

Now, every time a manager makes requests that cannot be fulfilled, they ask “Under what circumstances…” about that request.

Under what circumstances would you consider someone with less experience?

Under what circumstances would someone from a different college be okay?

Under what circumstances would you pay a bit more in salary?

Under what circumstances could someone without a degree do the job?

Time and time again, these managers would talk themselves into changing their own mind.

Staffing team is stuck in counterproductive habits
Just because you’ve always done something the same way doesn’t make it right. Cecilia, the new COO of a global staffing company, discovered that many of the challenges of the firm were rooted in ineffective business practices. Many of these business practices, including feature-benefit selling and most placeable candidate presentations, had been in place for years. Even though these practices weren’t working, her management team was convinced it was a bad idea to abandon these “best practices.”

Rather than managing by mandate (“change this because I said so”), she asked the management team the magic question.

Under what circumstances would it make sense for us to change these business practices?

Over the next 30 minutes, the managers told one another, instead of being told by the boss, all the reasons it would make sense to change long-treasured parts of their process. Within 60 days, the ideas from this meeting had replaced the ineffective business practices.

HR or talent acquisition team is stuck in counterproductive habits
“Behavioral interviewing has made our hiring better,” said Gilbert, the VP of HR for a manufacturing company. When pressed for details, Gilbert couldn’t provide them. His department had never measured the impact of behavioral interviews. He believed in this style of interviewing. This and this alone was enough proof.

What happened next? The magic question (no surprise).

Under what circumstances would it make sense to change how your company interviews?

Gilbert responded, “Proof. I’d want to see proof there was something better.”

Proof is what he got during the next round of machinist interviews. One group of candidates went through behavioral interviews. At the same time, another group went through experiential interviews. The result? Gilbert said it best: “It was so clear and obvious who we should hire from the experiential interviews. We could see proof that the people we picked could do the job. Behavioral interviews never provided that kind of definitive evidence.”

Talk is cheap when we’re the ones doing the talking. When we allow others to convince themselves, their words are priceless. Everything they say, they believe. Next time you want a job candidate, hiring manager, staffing pro, or HR exec to change their mind, let the most credible person do the talking That’s them, not you.

Scott WintripThe Magic Question: How to Use 3 Powerful Words to Get Anyone Involved in Hiring to Change Their Mind
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Want Proof Someone Fits a Job? Do What Todd Bavol Does.

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Want proof someone fits a job? Do what Todd Bavol of Integrity Staffing Solutions does. He can get quick and accurate proof whether or not a candidate meets his needs. During this brief chat, Todd shares an example of how his company conducts the most accurate form of interviewing–the experiential interview.

 

Scott WintripWant Proof Someone Fits a Job? Do What Todd Bavol Does.
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5 Common Interviewing Mistakes

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The best way to solve a problem is to keep it from happening. By avoiding common mistakes, we can avert all kinds of problems including those of the hiring variety. Interviews are a frequent part of the hiring process where people make avoidable mistakes.

How most of us were taught to interview is inherently flawed. During a typical interview a job candidate is on his best behavior. He tells you the right things and shares only the best parts of his background. We get a mere glimpse of the real person. This is top reason why so many hires fail. The conversations that take place during an interview fall short of determining, with certainty, if the candidate will succeed or fail at the job.

Here are five common interviewing mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Mistake #1
Picking the wrong people to interview

Some interviews shouldn’t have happened in the first place. When they do, there’s a common cause—the resume. Resumes reduce a person to a piece of paper, giving you but a peek of their true potential. Some candidates make matters worse by creating their own version of fake news when they lie or exaggerate details. Resumes are an incomplete tool for deciding who to invite for an interview.

Don’t rely solely on resumes when determining which candidates to include in your first round of interviews. In addition to having candidates submit their resume, ask them to follow simple directions and answer a few questions.

Here’s one of my favorite ways to do this.

When submitting your resume, answer the following questions. Keep each response to no more than 3 or 4 sentences.

Why does this job interest you?

Why are you looking for a job right now?

The responses can be insightful. You begin to see his knowledge of the company and the industry. You discover some of the motives driving his job search. You may learn he is happy and open to being happier. Or you may determine that he is desperate and throwing out lots of resumes so he can pay his bills. By including simple directions, you will also begin to assess his ability to follow directions.

Your questions and directions allow you to start comparing how his motives match your needs and culture. If he’s dishonest in his response, it’s likely that he’ll contradict himself later in the process. Plus, if he doesn’t follow the directions when answering your questions that’s a red flag. Following directions doesn’t get better after you hire someone.

Mistake #2
Expecting too much from a phone interview

Phone interviews are a conversation. Nothing more. During a conversation candidates do what I call the tell, sell, and swell. They tell you what they think you want to hear. They sell you on the best parts of their background. They try to swell your ego. Does this mean all of them are being dishonest? Of course not. It’s natural for candidates to position themselves in the best light. The problem with this very human behavior is that it interferes with determining if someone is worth bringing in for a face-to-face interview.

Given the limitations of conversations, phone interviews are best used only as a confirmation tool—you’re confirming he has abilities you can’t teach. These typically include effective verbal and aural communication, personality, and rapport. By focusing phone interviews on these important attributes, you’ll have short and powerful conversations that make it clear who’s worth bringing in and who’s not.

Mistake #3
Asking lots of questions during a face-to-face interview

Talking about doing work during a face-to-face interview is a waste of time. The candidate, given the opportunity, will continue his tell, sell, and swell. This creates a conceptual experience instead of providing you with an accurate reflection of whether or not he can perform well in the job.

Do this instead—have the candidate perform sample work. Work that allows you to see, hear, and experience him in action. You’ll see if he has the requisite skills, hear if he will fit in, and experience the quality of his work.

How do you set up sample work? Have candidates for sales jobs show how they sell. Let people interviewing for a supervisor role conduct a mock employee meeting. Have marketing candidates create a sample campaign. Direct accounting candidates to audit sanitized financials. By creating scenarios based upon past situations, you can let candidates try on the role while you try out their skills.

Mistake #4
Conducting face-to-face interviews alone

There’s too much for one person to see, hear, and experience during an interview. Plus, according to researchers Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, there are limits to our perception. A team approach to face-to-face interviews counters these problems.

A hiring team should have four people with complementary hiring styles (you can learn more about hiring styles in this post). All four people are present in the interview, giving you a complete picture from their unique perspectives.

Mistake #5
Overlooking a prime opportunity during a face-to-face interview

Success in most jobs happens because the employee improves over time. Improvement is initiated from feedback and coaching given by the manager. Not all hires are coachable, yet, most interviewers neglect to assess this trait.

You can assess the candidate’s coachability during a face-to-face interview. Have the candidate perform sample work. Then, provide feedback and coaching. Follow that with a second opportunity to do the sample work, watching if he applies your feedback. If he doesn’t, his coachability won’t improve once hired.

Mistake-free interviews are possible when you avoid these common errors. Instead of relying on the candidate’s tell, sell, and swell, you’ll see, hear, and experience your way to making fast and accurate hires.

Scott Wintrip5 Common Interviewing Mistakes
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