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Overcoming Resistance of Faster Hiring

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People often resist change, especially when you try to change a longstanding way of doing something. This is certainly true in recruiting and hiring. Speeding up the process can be met with intense resistance. Case in point…

At a meeting of the leadership team of a health insurance company, Paul thought the idea of fast hiring was “repulsive.” As we discussed how to plan the process, Paul started making passive-aggressive comments. After he said, “What’s next? We’re going to replace our employees with robots, like in that Will Smith movie?” I knew our discussion wasn’t addressing all of his concerns. I asked Paul to explain.

“People aren’t products,” he said angrily. “I can’t believe we’re even discussing such a dehumanizing approach. Picking the right people takes time. Interviews, even if they last all day, are a good investment of our time. We must make sure we’re picking the best people. Besides, good candidates won’t want to be rushed through the process. I’m finding this whole conversation repulsive. I’m sure my team will feel the same way.”           

Instead of trying to convince Paul to change his mind, I decided to let him change it himself.

“Paul, thanks for your honesty. I bet you’re not the only one with concerns about a faster approach.” Two other leaders nodded their heads in agreement. “What would you need to determine if this could work for the company?”

Paul thoughtfully paused before responding, “I’d need to see proof. Absolute proof that this will work for us.”

That led to a conversation about rolling out a faster hiring process on a limited basis to start. Two leaders, who didn’t share Paul’s concerns, agreed to test the process. Choosing a job common to both of their departments, we designed a plan and timeline that could be implemented without interrupting day-to-day business. Two other leaders, including Paul, were designated as auditors, outside observers who would monitor and document the pros and cons as the process was rolled out.

I met again with the leadership team after the beginning of the rollout. The two managers testing the process gave updates, sharing mostly positive news. They had made a few missteps along the way; however, both were upbeat. Both had filled two open jobs and lined up several additional candidates in their pipelines as potential future hires.

During their updates, I watched Paul out of the corner of my eye. He spent the entire time looking down at his notes. He appeared angry, even angrier than when he shared his concerns in our first meeting. I learned why when it was Paul’s turn to share pros and cons as an auditor of the test.

“I hate being wrong,” he said. “But, there it is. I was flat out wrong. There was nothing dehumanizing about a faster approach. If anything, it enabled interviewers to focus on people, not process. This shorter, simpler process allowed them to get to know each other better. Our new hires told me they loved our efficient process, and that it was a factor in choosing to work here.”

When recruiting and hiring, speed and accuracy are not mutually exclusive. Nor are speed and intimacy. A well-designed, well-executed hiring process allows people to be fully present and have conversations that matter. These interactions build trust as candidates learn they are dealing with confident professionals, and hiring managers discover which candidates are ready to make a job change. This trust becomes the foundation for the employment relationship, one built on a professionally intimate hiring experience.

To help navigate through resistance as you work to speed up hiring in your organization, do one or more the following:

Support people in changing their own mind
Trying to convince someone to see things differently is hard, sometimes impossible. Instead, let him or her do the heavy lifting. Ask a question like I did of Paul: What would you need to determine if faster hiring could work for your company? Integrate the responses into additional questions until you understand the root of the resistance and what will make it go away.

Suggest a limited approach
Resistance isn’t always about the change itself. There are times when people want to change but are fearful of the overwhelm it may cause. A limited scope can help. Start with one role; run a short-term test; bring in outside help to lighten the load. By working together, you can drive forward a faster hiring process without driving people crazy with overwhelm and fear.

Find a different path
Sometimes the path of least resistance is another person. Seek out an early adopter in your organization, someone who’s known for being first in line to implement new ideas. Work together to plan and execute the rollout. Make adjustments as you learn what works and what does not. Once the speedier process is in place and producing positive results, ask your early adopter to share their experience with others. Nothing enrolls doubters faster than proof positive.

Resistance is futile (yes, for you Star Trek fans, that was intentional), especially when you’re the one trying to overcome it. Don’t go it alone and avoid doing all the heavy lifting. Effective hiring is a team sport. Speeding up hiring requires a team effort.

Scott WintripOvercoming Resistance of Faster Hiring
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Rejected by a Talented Candidate? Do This

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It’s inevitable that someone you want to interview or hire will say “no.” However, that “no” isn’t permanent. You can get a talented person to change his or her mind by applying a powerful principle of selling.

I first witnessed this principle during a conversation with a longtime client. He called to say there was somebody else. Another company had approached him, offering similar services for 5% less.

My client explained that he had to watch his budget and decided to seriously consider making a change. He further explained to me that he didn’t really want to, but if I couldn’t meet that price, he’d have to go with the other company.

Now of course, I felt a bit betrayed. Rather than give in to this feeling, which was valid but unhelpful for solving the problem, I kept the conversation going.

“Harvey, I want to thank you for calling and being candid with me. I’m curious. What would it make it worth staying with us, paying what you are now?”

There was a pregnant pause. He didn’t just dismiss the question out of hand, which was a good sign.

“That’s an interesting question,” he said. “There is something. Our payables department has been on us about getting longer payment terms to help with cash flow. If we had a bit longer to pay, that might make it worth that 5%.”

Playing off his idea, I simply asked:

“Okay, what’s longer?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe 10 more days?”

Harvey’s voice had gone from conciliatory and resigned to hopeful in a matter of seconds. Now, instead of prompting me to adjust my price or lose him as a client, he asked me for accommodations in order to maintain our relationship. This created a productive conversation in place of a “break up” phone call.

Harvey’s company had always paid on time and often, in less than 30 days so his request was by no means unreasonable. Now, I needed only one more question to close the deal.

“If I can get you those 10 additional days, then can we continue working together in the way we always have?”

“Yes, Scott. Thank you! That’s such a relief. I really wasn’t looking forward to the transition.”

I remember ending that phone call with a smile on my face. I had just experienced the value of allowing Harvey to sell himself on an idea, rather than trying to do the heavy lifting myself. I let the better salesperson sell. Him. Not me. He sold himself on changing his own mind.

Yes, I kept Harvey as a client. More importantly, I’d experienced a powerful sales principle. A principle that became an important focus in my recruiting and hiring. That principle:

Buyers always believe themselves, but only sometimes believe you.

Job candidates are buyers. They’re buying into opportunities. When they say “no,” they’re the most qualified person in the conversation to change it into a “yes.”

How does this work in recruiting and hiring? Well, there was the project manager who wanted a higher salary than we could offer. I asked, “What would make it worth taking the job for what we originally offered?” He talked himself into that number after asking for an extra week of vacation.

Then there was the accountant who didn’t want to drive across town for a job. I posed the following: “Under what circumstances would you consider commuting that far?” The accountant offered up the idea of a flex schedule sealing the deal for her to accept the role.

Candidates always believe themselves, but only sometimes believe you. Let the better salesperson sell, especially when it’s a candidate who just said “no.” If there’s anyone who can get them to change their own mind, it’s them, not you.

Scott WintripRejected by a Talented Candidate? Do This
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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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