All posts tagged: interviewing

Interviews Are Rooted in Lies. Here’s How to Stop Participating in the Deception

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It has been said of some salespeople that you can easily spot when they’re lying–their lips are moving. Salespeople aren’t the only ones giving lip service to the truth. Job interviews are frequently built on one or more lies.

The lying is happening on both sides of the table. Candidates misrepresent their abilities. Companies overstate the facts. Both parties omit details.

The farcical dance that defines many interviews undermines effective selection. Candidates accept ill-fitting jobs based upon incomplete information. Companies end up having good interviews that turn into bad hires.

Are the lies told by candidates and companies intentional? Sometimes. Often the deception is unconscious. People are simply doing things the way they’ve always been done, unaware of the consequences.

Stopping the deception requires understanding and interrupting these lies. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of lying common in the hiring process.

Omission
Lies of omission are the most common as people leave out details they believe could become a deal breaker. Candidates choose not to share a past mistake they think could end their chances. Interviewers avoid talking about negative aspects of the job out of fear they’ll turn off a talented person. Both parties neglect sharing the full truth hoping it will bolster their chances of a positive hiring outcome.

Exaggeration
Rooted in the truth, lies of exaggeration bend the facts in an effort to make someone or something look better than it is. Employers amplify advancement opportunities; candidates magnify the depth of their experience; both sides distort details. Instead of painting an accurate picture, companies and candidates take liberties that misinform and mislead.

Deception
Lies of deception are a form of hiring magic. Like a magician who diverts your attention to create an illusion, deception in hiring is an attempt to divert attention away from negative details. Jobseekers change dates on resumes to cover up employment gaps. Companies misrepresent job details to make a role seem more attractive. Candidates and companies engage in a hiring version of fake news out of fear of the impact of the truth.

Promises
It has been said that promises were made to be broken. That’s being lived out daily in interviews. Managers openly acknowledge an organizational problem, promising it will soon be rectified even though they have no authority to keep that promise. Candidates commit to improving weak skills if hired, knowing full well they lack the time and resources to keep the commitment. Promises in interviews are a common workaround for real issues that aren’t really going to be resolved.

Plagiarism
When in school, using ideas or work that is not your own will get you a failing grade. When hiring, plagiarism will get you a failed hire. Hiring-related plagiarism is being perpetrated by both parties. Jobseekers provide work samples that aren’t their own and have friends take online skills tests. Employers copy and use other companies’ well-written job descriptions knowing that these documents are a far cry from the job they’re offering.

White Lies
Believed to be harmless, white lies are relatively minor omissions, exaggerations, deceptions, promises, and plagiarism. Although minor, white lies still distort the facts thereby undermining sound decision-making.

Accuracy in hiring requires accurate information. Without that, companies and candidates end up making choices they later regret.

You can put a stop to these regrets by taking three steps.

Step #1
Commit to rigorous honesty
Teach everyone involved in hiring about the 6 types of lies, making it clear that these are often unintentional habits. Share how you’ve made these errors; your vulnerability can elicit the same from your colleagues. Support one another in a commitment to a hiring process that is grounded in rigorous honesty.

Step #2
Be appropriately transparent
Rigorous honesty doesn’t mean engaging in blind transparency. A productive hiring process should give candidates (and you) the details needed to make a prudent decision. Take time to determine the information that a candidate needs to know including job responsibilities, role expectations, company culture, compensation, and career development and advancement opportunities. Appropriate transparency that is rigorously honest will help them make an informed choice. 

Step #3
Clean up mistakes
You’re human and you’ll make mistakes, including when you’ve been in the practice of unintentional deception. Breaking this habit may take time, which means you may make some missteps along the way. Seize this as an opportunity. When you tell one of the 6 lies acknowledge it and clean it up. Remember that mistakes are your chance to demonstrate your excellence at problem-solving.

In a world filled with fakery your organization’s commitment to stopping all forms of deception is an opportunity. An opportunity to strengthen your brand, improve the hiring experience, and deepen engagement from the very first interaction. Those benefits alone are worth letting go of the lies.

 

Scott WintripInterviews Are Rooted in Lies. Here’s How to Stop Participating in the Deception
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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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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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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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Advice From a Sales Expert on How to Get Top Talent to Pick Your Job

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Tony Mayo is a sales expert and executive coach to business owners. In this interview, he delivers golden nugget after golden nugget on how to effectively sell during interviews. Get your pen ready, because you don’t want to miss a detail.

Here are the additional resources Tony spoke of in the interview:

Tough Talk – Conversations That Make A Difference

WEBINAR: The Conversation Contract™

WEBINAR: Be More Curious, Effective, & Empathetic

Scott WintripAdvice From a Sales Expert on How to Get Top Talent to Pick Your Job
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