It’s time to replace a member of your staff or expand your team. So, you dust off the job description, sift through countless resumes, and choose a handful of candidates to interview. But before you meet with anyone, read through the interview horror stories below. That way, you can avoid scaring off the talent that you need.
It may be hard to believe, but some hiring managers still ask candidates about their marital status, plans to start a family, and other personal topics. Unfortunately, these questions could cause the interviewee to suspect discrimination, badmouth the company publicly, or sue the organization. Plus, they’re irrelevant to whether the prospective employee can fulfill the role.
Lesson: As a best practice, your line of questioning should be solely focused on each candidate’s skills, experience, education, and other qualifications.
Desperate hiring managers sometimes bend the truth, embellish the positives, downplay the negatives, or flat-out lie to convince talent to work for the firm. But, this horror story rarely has a happy ending. Job seekers can often detect the deception up front, causing them to withdraw from the hiring process and tell their friends to avoid the company. If they do accept the position, they’ll quickly learn the truth, which means the organization will soon have to deal with a disgruntled employee or recruit a replacement.
Lesson: To keep the employees you hire, be sure to give them an honest and realistic preview of what it’s like to work for your company.
Everyone is biased. That's just human nature. But, when an interviewer lets their biases inform their hiring decision, it’s a scary scenario, indeed. For example, a leader could hire an unqualified candidate because they build an instant rapport with them. But, on the other hand, they may overlook an all-star because the interviewee is different from the rest of the team. In either case, both the company and the candidate lose.
Lesson: To mitigate your biases, be aware that you have them and consciously challenge each decision you make. You can also involve other people in the hiring process so that various perspectives get considered.
Hiring managers expect job seekers to be prepared for interviews. Yet, sometimes interviewers fail to do their homework before the conversation. An ill-prepared leader can’t ask effective questions or properly assess whether the candidate would be a good fit for the position. The lack of preparation is also rude because it indicates to the potential employee that the meeting wasn’t important enough for the hiring manager to put in any effort. The interaction was doomed before it even started.
Lesson: Show a genuine interest in the hiring process by reviewing the interview materials (job description, application, resume, etc.), creating a list of questions to ask, and preparing responses to potential candidate inquiries ahead of time.
Hiring managers should lead the conversation and keep it on track. But, some leaders are natural talkers that may dominate the discussion without realizing it. When that happens, candidates won’t have the opportunity to showcase their skills or provide the interviewer with the information they need to make a hiring decision. It also gives the job seeker a poor impression of the company, which likely means they won’t apply again — or recommend the organization to their network.
Lesson: To get the most out of an interview, listen more than you talk. Give the candidate a chance to wow you.
An interview can be nerve-wracking for a job seeker. But, some hiring managers don’t consider this when they set up the environment and interact with the candidate. They may hold the meeting in a cramped room, use negative body language, interrogate the interviewee, or otherwise make the prospective new team member feel ill at ease or unwelcome. Under those conditions, the candidate can’t perform at their best, so the hiring manager won’t see their true potential. Plus, the experience may leave a bad taste in the job seeker's mouth.
Lesson: Make your candidate feel welcome by greeting them warmly, offering them a drink of water, asking thoughtful, appropriate questions, and having the conversation in a comfortable space.
Finding a new position can be a hard journey for many candidates. So, after a job seeker interviews with an organization, they deserve to know the outcome — even if the answer is no. Unfortunately, some hiring managers are overwhelmed, forgetful, or inconsiderate and fail to follow up with their interviewees. For a while, the lack of communication may leave a candidate wondering what’s happening, perhaps giving them a false sense of hope. Eventually, they’ll realize that they’ve gotten ghosted, which could cause them to resent the company and question where they went wrong. Ultimately, the organization looks bad and likely loses a supporter.
Lesson: Even though it’s not fun, follow up with every interviewee to inform them of your hiring decision. If possible, give rejected candidates some pointers to be more successful in future interviews.
While it’s the hiring manager's role to set the tone for the meeting and make the job seeker feel welcome, the potential new employee needs to mind their interview manners, too. Here’s some spooky candidate behavior that probably won’t win them the job:
As you can see, each party involved in the hiring process has a certain protocol that they need to follow. If they don’t, they may just find themselves playing a role in an interview horror story.
Selecting the right candidate can be a daunting challenge. We’re here to help! Our research-backed and time-tested behavioral and cognitive assessments can be a valuable supplement to your interview process.
When your interviewee takes our fast and simple tests, you’ll gain deeper insight into their abilities, personality traits, and tendencies. With this knowledge, you can be more confident about your hiring decisions. Plus, since our results are rooted in science, we can help you mitigate any natural biases you have.
If you ask any hiring manager or job seeker, they’re sure to have at least one interview horror story to tell. Fortunately, with some awareness, preparation, and a smile, you can ensure that your candidates have a good interview experience — whether you hire them or not.
Securing the talent you need doesn’t have to be a frightening undertaking. So if you’re getting the chills just thinking about making your next hire, call us!
Is it a trick or a treat? With interviewing, you never know. But you can increase the reliability of a great hire by using some behavioral interviewing tactics throughout the selection process.
Behavioral assessments and well-thought-out interview questions partner with the interview impression to dive below what a candidate says and give insight into how they will perform. Traditional questions work with behavioral questions to create a solid interview foundation.
Traditional questions are best used when your candidate has very little experience and/or job specific requirements, or when you need concrete facts to move the candidate through the interview pipeline. For example: Do you have the necessary license/education? What is your salary range?
Make sure you have a good blend of traditional and behavioral questions to invite conversation. Never make an interview feel like an interrogation.
Behavioral interviewing helps you learn the most throughout the interview process. Asking candidates how they would act in hypothetical situations is a surefire way to get exaggerated answers or even untruths. Asking about past behavior is a better predictor of future behavior and often provides a more honest response. You’ll hopefully walk away with a set of facts to make employment decisions.
The idea is to ask thought-provoking questions that require candidates to give their best examples. As a result, be prepared to wait while they search their memories. This might mean an awkward silence, and that’s okay. Often, people will feel the need to let the candidate or themselves off the hook when there is a long pause. End the question with…”take your time, I know it can be challenging to recall situations under pressure. I can wait.” Then wait. Of course, there is a thin line between patience and annoyance. If the candidate is content to wait 10 minutes until you cave, that’s a problem.
Here are some ways to start a behavioral question:
Tell me about a time when...
Describe what you did…
Give me an example of when…
Walk me through…
As you listen to their story unfold are you hearing examples of:
Questions should be clear and concise. The lengthier they are, the easier it is to confuse the candidate and intensify an already stressful situation. If a candidate is extroverted, you may find that they “fake it until they make it.” If a candidate is analytical, they may need more time to think through the answer before talking.
Use the W-H-O framework to get all the information you need from the question. Ask follow-up questions to fill in gaps.
A great thing about behavioral questions is that you will know when a piece of information you want is missing from the story, follow-up questions will happen naturally. Just be sure to:
Also, you can always rephrase the question if the candidate clearly doesn’t grasp the point of the question. But know when to stop if you aren’t getting the information you want; that in and of itself is a lot of information!
Candidates should use answers that indicate ownership, responsibility, and personal involvement. You’re asking about situations they were in, so if there is a lot of deflecting and blaming when you ask questions about failure, for example, that could be a problem. Speaking of which, ask questions about both successes and failures. We all have things that did not turn out as planned. It’s a great way to see how they handled it and what they learned from it.
Finally, be as prepared as you expect the candidate to be. Be on time, have a clear workspace (or a tidy background if the interview is virtual), and have your questions planned out before the interview. Know going in what you want to learn to avoid being tricked!
We couldn't help it; we had to have ONE listicle to end the year. What better week than between Christmas and New Year's? I'm sure many of us are wrapping up projects, finalizing details, and checking our to-do lists so frequently even Santa would be impressed. If you are lucky, you may be in that easy limbo of having work wrapped up, and you are taking a breath. Whatever your situation, we hope you’ll take a break with us and catch up on the topics that kept people coming back. Maybe you've visited these already, or perhaps they're new to you. Either way, these articles are worth your time and can help you gear up for the new year!
In the current times, you may have had to furlough or lay off employees. Now that you're able to hire again, you're considering a rehire. You find yourself weighing the pros and cons of bringing previous employees back to your team. Will this decision be a good move, or is it better to start again?
Join us as we uncover the pros and cons of rehiring and offer food for thought as you thumb through applications.
While it's unlikely you'll ever actually look forward to conducting a review, they're a necessary part of the job that, if done correctly, can drive high performance. Part of an effective onboarding process is providing honest, actionable feedback. Without feedback, employees don't know whether they're doing a good job or how they could do a better job. According to a recent survey, 32 percent of employees must wait more than three months to get feedback from their manager. However, 96 percent felt that regular feedback was helpful. We offer a painless way to do just that.
Suppose you work for an aggressive personality type. In that case, you probably need answers and solutions to help you get through the day. Why does your boss do what he does? Why is she so difficult? Is there an effective way to work with someone who can never be wrong? What if your aggressive manager is also hypersensitive to all criticism? We answer these questions and more in the article.
Soft skills were the MVP of the year. And we understand why! An employee's soft skills can make or break their job performance, especially in leadership positions. Technical or "hard" skills are undoubtedly essential. However, having good soft skills — characteristics like agreeableness, empathy, the ability to influence and listen, likeability, and the ability to resolve conflict — can impact far more than the individuals' daily tasks. Measuring soft skills will help determine whether an employee can enlist the necessary cooperation and buy-in from peers, direct reports, leadership, clients, and vendors. If your new hire will engage with anyone, it's good to know which skills are innate and which may need coaching.
You may be a computer whiz, a scientific genius, or a Master of Mathematical Theories. However, to be successful, you need more than just expertise in your given specialty. You might need to hone your soft skills. Soft skills are broadly classified as a combination of personality traits, behaviors, and social attitudes that allow people to communicate effectively, collaborate, and successfully manage conflict. People with good soft skills tend to have strong situational awareness and emotional intelligence to navigate challenging work environments while still producing positive results. This is especially important for leadership positions. Good leadership is about managing people and directing their efforts toward the desired outcome, more so than applying specific technical skills.
So, there you have it. 2020 was a year of questions and answers, challenges, and solutions. We all had adjustments to make. Some people started new jobs, some may soon return to previous ones, and still, others are deciding what’s next. Most of us were handling new and unusual stressors, and because we're human, we didn't always get it right. And if there was one thing that made a difference across the board, it was leadership's ability to leverage their soft skills.
The most successful organizations periodically audit and amend their business procedures for both compliance and effectiveness. By doing so, firms continuously improve their operations and retain a competitive edge. However, these audits often overlook one critical area: the interview and hiring process.
You might be thinking that your company’s interview and hiring process is perfectly fine -- that if it’s not broke, why fix it? However, best practices have changed over the years. Since your employees are the lifeblood of your organization, it’s a good idea to review what your hiring teams are doing -- and make any needed adjustments.
Let’s start by exploring the potential pitfalls of the traditional interview.
Interviews are a crucial component of the hiring process. However, if they’re not conducted strategically, they’re little more than a rehash of the candidate’s resume, with a few tired, ineffective questions peppered in. Questions like “what’s your greatest strength?” or “what’s your greatest weakness?” result in an answer that the candidate thinks you want to hear, yielding no useful insight into their projected performance.
Research shows that the best interview questions reveal how a prospective hire would handle a given situation based on how they’ve approached similar scenarios in the past. Implementing the behavioral interviewing technique, you ask the interviewee to recount specific stories from their work experience. Then, what they say reveals a lot about their personality and soft skills.
Some examples of behavioral-based interview questions include:
To compare candidates effectively and fairly, you must put all of them through an identical interview and hiring process. That means interviewers need to ask each person the same questions in the initial interview and score their responses according to a predetermined standard. A scoring rubric can help interviewers provide a consistent and fair interview experience for all job candidates.
Further reading: Need a little help refining your interview process? Check out our Resources Page for interview guides, interview question ideas, and more.
Depending on your firm’s procedures, your interview process may be long and tedious, requiring extensive candidate research and interaction. So, even though hiring the right people is a worthwhile pursuit, it can be draining. And, when you’re fatigued, you’re not an effective interviewer. You may rush through interviews, fail to process what candidates tell you, and make hasty hiring decisions -- a disservice to the candidates and your company.
You’re biased. We all are. Your personal experience and upbringing have cultivated long-standing beliefs about people. Unfortunately, your biases could cause you to hire -- or decline -- a candidate based on a hunch. The key is recognizing this fact and actively nipping those biases in the bud when they creep in.
So, how do you reduce fatigue, mitigate bias, and truly know your candidates so you can make informed fair hiring decisions? That’s where a behavioral assessment comes in. The assessment takes an inventory of each candidate’s traits, compares it to your current high performers' benchmark data, and translates the findings into useful insight about the candidate’s predicted performance. If administered at the beginning of the hiring process, a behavioral assessment can help you:
Omnia offers an easy-to-implement behavioral assessment so you can get started right away. Results are instant, digestible, and actionable. If you want even more insight, our team can provide you with an in-depth analysis of your assessment data. Remember: we’re here to help you improve your hiring and interview process so that your company continues to thrive!
If you haven’t looked at your hiring or interview process in a while, chances are it could use some help. When implemented together, behavioral interviewing techniques and behavioral assessments provide you with more reliable and valid information than the standard interview. And behavioral assessments reduce interviewer bias and fatigue. That means your hiring and interview process is more efficient, fairer and results in better quality hire for your organization. Talk about a win-win-win!
As a hiring manager, you’ve probably seen it all… the no-shows, the ones who walk in late as if they are on time (no explanation, no apology), the ones who can’t answer a single question thoroughly, to the ones who spend a very, very long time answering your first question.
I once started an interview with my standard icebreaker – so tell me a little about yourself – and the candidate deep dove into his professional history from his first job at the DQ to every company thereafter. It was the director’s cut of his resume and lasted a full 40 minutes, the highlights punctuated by him rapping his knuckles loudly on the table. I’d never been bored and startled at the same time before. But you know the saying, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before one turns into your next A-player or something like that.
Some candidates are super helpful and tell you all you need to know with honesty to decide. I recently had someone tell me he’d always answer the phone at the end of the day unless it were a Friday before a three-day weekend because why risk it. Who says that?! Of course, it did make my job easier. Here are 9 more tips your interview is going nowhere.
But some candidates are more … creative. Take these scenarios, for example.
"I work through problems collaboratively," which you later discover means the candidate will be spending lots of time discussing weekend plans in the break room.
"I build consensus through multiple organizational levels," and that turns out to be "I plan to stop in everyone’s office at least once a day to discuss Game of Thrones and how much I miss it."
"I have high customer satisfaction across many industries," which ends up being a nice way of saying, "I have yet to find what I’m good at, so I change jobs… A LOT."
And finally, you discover that the candidate’s eloquent discussion of their thoughtful due diligence and contemplative attitude means they will sit and ponder things like;
“Why do we call them cupcakes and not babycakes?”
Interviewing is one way we get to know candidates to decide if they are the right fit for the job and our work culture. But a couple of hour-long meetings aren’t really enough time to peel back the layers and see the true person. As we all know, it’s easy to spin negatives into positives on a resume and even in person. Still, interviews are an essential selection tool and should represent about 30% of your overall hiring decision. But what about that other 70%?
Good question. That boils down to several other selection tools.
First, you examine the candidate’s work experience and skills, along with the potential for learning and growing in the job and organization. Some of that is done in the interview, but we also suggest testing for those hard skills that you require in the job. For example, if you are hiring an accountant, you might want to test some basic accounting tasks to ensure the candidate knows the difference between a debit and a credit. You might also consider a cognitive assessment – Omnia has a great one – to determine general mental aptitude.
Do they have the cognitive wherewithal to work through problems and take logical action? All of that should make up another 25% of your overall decision.
You might look at:
Employment personality testing is a great way to complement the interview process. First, because it really does compliment the process; it doesn’t replace it. You want the icing and the cake. I’m all about getting my hands on as much data and insight as possible when hiring. When you’re dealing with people and human behavior, it’s complex, so the more you know, the better off you’ll be.
The Omnia assessment provides data insight into your candidate's innate behaviors, which you can use to determine the fit and future potential. For example, if you are hiring a salesperson, you want to make sure your candidate has the best innate talent for the job. Omnia’s pre-employment personality test can tell you the level of assertiveness your sales candidate has. A high level of assertiveness is the key behavioral trait found in most successful salespeople. Highly assertive people have the drive and competitive spirit of pushing past obstacles and closing deals repeatedly.
If you hire someone with a high level of caution, they might “go after” only the low-hanging fruit or take orders rather than make them. There is also a higher than average chance the employee will burn out quickly. It takes a lot of energy to work against your natural “grain.” Knowing in advance if your candidates have the basic competitiveness for sales is the first step towards hiring the best candidate.
Omnia’s personality assessment measures four behaviors – assertiveness, communication/thinking style, pace, and need for structure. Before the hire, you'll know if your candidate has the natural analytical aptitude to work as your bookkeeper or the strong attention to detail you want for your order entry CSR. Looking for a bold leader who can brush off criticism and make decisions with limited information? The Omnia assessment can give you that insight. And best of all, you can use this data for employee development throughout the employee’s entire professional journey within your organization. A behavioral assessment can be used for employee engagement, motivation, and workforce optimization.
Of course, there’s a catch. There’s always a catch. The candidate must be willing to use those innate talents for good (and not ignore that last phone call the Friday before a long weekend), which speaks to work ethic and integrity. The right candidate has all the right ingredients to be successful. By using a personality assessment, a cognitive aptitude test, skills tests, and a well-thought-out interview, you’ll have all the pieces you need to make the best decisions for your team, department, and company.
Using various tools to help make your next hiring decision, you increase your hiring odds and zero in more easily on the best candidate. When deciding who you want to work with you, availing yourself of as many tools and as much information as possible is the best way to hire successfully.
As a company leader, you feel confident in your ability to hire and manage talent. After all, you’ve been interviewing candidates and delegating tasks for years, building solid, effective teams. Sure, you’ve had to endure a few inevitable hiccups. Statistically, some employees just don’t work out and some initiatives are bound to fail.
So, when you were approached about incorporating employee personality testing into your company’s talent management program, you scoffed. You’ve always been skeptical of those newfangled approaches to dealing with people.
But there are several reasons why you shouldn’t be. Using a personality test for employment decisions can really help you:
The hiring process often focuses on the more technical aspects of a job opening such as experience and know-how. While these are certainly important, it’s critical for your new hire to have the right innate traits for the position – and for meshing with the team. You can teach technical skills to the right candidate, but you can’t teach innate behaviors.
For example, a sales candidate may be able to articulate the correct steps to close a deal in an interview, but if they’re not assertive enough, goal-oriented, or motivated by competition, their actual performance will likely fall flat. In addition, if your organization has a laid back atmosphere, but your candidate thrives in a fast-paced, dynamic environment, they probably won’t be happy there. Knowing what makes a person really tick will allow you to hire the very best fit – and say ‘no thank you’ to those who aren’t.
It’s common sense -- delegating the right task to the right person is going to yield the best results. But unless you’ve managed someone for years, it can be tough to do this effectively. Knowing how an employee works best ahead of time will enable you to put them in a position to succeed right from the start.
For example, an employee with perfectionist tendencies is likely doomed to fail at a task that requires quick decision making with limited information. But, if you ask the same person to carefully research three options and prepare a detailed recommendation for the best one, you’ll probably be pleased with the results. Further, your best multitasker will love working on a variety of things at a brisk pace but would be bored stiff having to sift through a single data set all day. Leveraging this information will improve the efficiency and quality of your team’s output.
While encouraging improvement in areas of opportunity can help an employee grow, studies show that the best performance arises from capitalizing on strengths. These strengths are driven by a person’s natural disposition and are very much ingrained. As a leader, your employee development efforts should be focused on building upon these inherent capabilities.
For example, your assertive, decisive employee is poised to do well in a leadership development program. On the other hand, your cautious, methodical team member is likely better suited to take on increasingly important, behind-the-scenes tasks, rather than manage a group of employees. Having a clear view of each employee’s strengths will facilitate development that benefits both of them and the company as a whole.
Your team members contribute to the success of the organization, so you understandably want to acknowledge a job well done. However, not all people like to be recognized or rewarded in the same way. Understanding each employee’s personality will enable you to provide meaningful praise and feedback.
For example, your analytical employee probably isn’t interested in emotional public praise (and they may actually dislike it). Instead, offer your sincere thanks in a private setting. On the other hand, your more social team member would likely enjoy a shout-out at your next team meeting. Recognizing your people in their preferred way shows them respect – and increases the likelihood of continued positive performance.
Also Popular: Introduction to Employee Personality Testing
As you can see, employee personality testing is a tool to help you hire, manage, develop, and reward staff more effectively. It yields the insight that improves the employee-company relationship at every stage which leads to greater productivity, higher morale, and lower turnover. These positive outcomes will also improve the company’s bottom line, making the time and money investment of personality testing worthwhile.
If you’re intrigued about employee personality testing, Omnia can provide more detail into how it works and what it can do for your company. And, if you decide to give it a try, Omnia will administer their proven assessment to your job candidates or employees, distilling the results into actionable information you can use right away. Employee personality testing is your key to making the right hiring decisions, getting the most out of your employees, and building teams to help your organization thrive.