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Remember when you were a kid, and your little sister (or brother) decided it would be fun to spend the day doing everything you did with relentless commitment. All. Day. Long. “Mom! Deanna is copying me!” By the end of the day, you were beside yourself with rage, and there was lots of yelling and fighting. Your parents may have stepped in, but only to tell you (the victim of this ridiculous crime) that “imitation is the highest form of flattery” so don’t be angry, be honored, and take that noise outside.

Today we realize there is truth to this after all; maybe I should go hug my sister. In business, when something works well, you want to repeat it; you want to do the actions that got great results. Benchmarking is finding out what works and using it as the model for making future things work. That’s my inarticulate, nontechnical definition; you won’t find it in the dictionary. What you will find in the dictionary is “evaluate or check (something) by comparison with a standard.”

So, benchmarking is the adulting, less rage-inducing version of copycatting.

Here at Omnia, we create standards for job roles. We call those standards “targets.” This gives our clients a way to evaluate candidates against a target and it’s another valuable data point for the decision-making process. We do this in a couple of different ways.

Omnia for Selection

Level 1: The Job Questionnaire and Position Description

When our clients use the Omnia Assessment as a selection tool, we start the benchmarking process by collecting a job questionnaire as well as an internal position description. Our “job setup” form helps us build an 8-column personality graph of the job so we can compare a candidate’s 8 columns to the job’s 8 columns. This is the first step towards building a job benchmark that works for you. Our team of customer success managers and analysts review every job questionnaire and reach out to clients with any questions or suggestions. We want to be sure we have an accurate, updated understanding of each job, as well as your culture, peer, and supervisor comparison needs.

Industry Standard Catalog for Target Clients

The setup form and position description is level 1 benchmarking and happens across the board unless you choose to use one of our generic industry standards. With over 35 years in the business, we have a tremendous amount of historical data on successful traits for a multitude of positions.

For example, our data has shown, and continues to show, that certain traits are strong contributors to sales success. The first trait is a high level of assertiveness, which the Omnia assessment measures. Individuals with a high level of assertive, competitive behavior (column 1) are consistently more successful than those with a low level of assertive behavior. The other trait is resilience, the ability to brush off rejection without letting it impact confidence. We also measure that and see it show up time and again in top sales performers. That’s why all our industry standard sales targets have a tall column 1 and the right amount of resilience (column 7).

Level 2: Benchmark Study Using Performance Data

If you want to level up, we also look at your unique requirements by assessing your top performers. This is a benchmark study; it’s one of my favorite things to do. Nothing beats data. By assessing top, proven performers, we build a benchmark that is specific to what is working for you. We copy what works!

Best of all, we make the benchmarking process as easy as possible. We provide you with a unique web link to our assessment site for collecting assessment data. Employees can take the assessment online anytime that’s convenient for them and requires only about 10 minutes of their time. The link is active 24/7 for as long as you want to keep the collection process open. Employees are notified of the project and timelines from your leadership; we can provide sample communication pieces.

While the collection process is underway, if not before, we get the job setup form and internal position description for the job from you. We want to see everything, plus we use your internal job description to write the narratives for your reports.

Upon completion of the data collection, results are compiled using our exclusive benchmarking software and reviewed by Omnia analysts. We recommend the target benchmark ranges based on the position description and the assessment results of your top performers in the role. Next, we present our findings and recommendations to you. Once approved, Omnia analysts prepare custom narratives so every report you receive is aligned to the role description.

Follow-up and Results

Omnia provides training on administering the assessment and interpretation of assessment results via phone call, video conferencing or webinar. Training includes a thorough understanding of the Omnia personality measurements and how to use the reports for selection, coaching and development. In addition, we offer interpretation training via webinar to all clients on the first Friday of every month. Our customer success team is also available to review results and answer questions.

Finally, we encourage a periodic evaluation of results against new performance data to ensure target benchmark alignment.

If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to our customer success team. And go hug your little sister.

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.

Horror Story #1: Asking Inappropriate Questions

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.

Horror Story #2: Lying About the Position or Company

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.

Horror Story #3: Ignoring Personal Bias

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.

Horror Story #4: Being Unprepared for the Meeting

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.

Horror Story #5: Dominating the Discussion

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.

Horror Story #6: Setting an Uncomfortable Stage

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.

Horror Story #7: Ghosting the Candidate

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.

Candidates Can Be Spooky, Too

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.

How Omnia Can Help

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Trick or Treat? Use Behavioral Interviewing to Avoid the Trick of a Bad Hire

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!

Interviewing is generally just one job of dozens you need to tackle as a manager. It’s something you have to do only when a position has been vacated or a new position is created, only once you’ve been through a stack of resumes, and only after you and your top few picks have played phone tag for a while.

Possibly, you don’t even think about what you’re going to ask until you’re just about to step into the interview (perhaps rushing from a meeting that ran long or right after putting out the latest fire). You may be clutching the person’s resume and have a list of old-standby questions in your mind: How’d you hear about us? What are your greatest strengths? Weakness? Aw man – where’s my coffee? (If they can answer that, go ahead and hire them).

The usual questions are an effective warm up. People should be prepared for them, and they’re a good way to ease into the conversation. These questions can also help you weed out the wrong person for your company: “My greatest weakness? Leaving my phone on mute on Friday afternoons so a customer call doesn’t cause me to stay late.” (This was an actual answer, by the way). They usually won’t help you find the right person for the job, though. That’s where behavioral interviewing comes in.

What is Behavioral Interviewing?

It sounds odd. Maybe it conjures up images of candidates being kept in a room with a one-way mirror and a bag of marshmallows. Will they eat one? Who can hold out the longest? Will they start talking to themselves? Don’t worry. No need to get Mr. Stay Puft involved. Behavioral interviewing is a simple strategy you can use to find your next star performer. It means targeting questions to the key traits needed for the position and finding people whose motivators closely match what the role and your company offer.

How can you conduct a behavioral interview (without a one-way mirror)? Follow these steps.

1. Identify what traits you actually need. What are one or two characteristics that are essential for the position?

Consider the type of work: A sales job generally calls for a competitive drive and resilience. Service calls for a drive to help people and attention to detail. Finance and/or technology requires an analytical mindset.

Also consider the environment: High pressure, high productivity means you need someone with initiative and urgency. A team environment where people rely on each other to get work done calls for someone collaborative and willing to share assignments and glory.

2. Ask the questions: Once you have pinpointed what you need, prepare a set of open-ended questions to address them. When possible, use real world examples of situations the candidate could encounter in the position.

3. Listen for the right kind of answer. The best answers are thoughtful and specific. They indicate the person is listening to you and came prepared, and they indicate the person has the trait/traits you need.

Here are some question examples and what to listen for.

Assertiveness for management:  In your previous role as a manager, tell me about a time you experienced resistance either from above or below. How did you handle it?
Listen for: Example of standing firm/not acquiescing but not getting aggressive or showing a temper.

Supportiveness: Imagine you are extremely busy with your own work, and you notice someone else is struggling to complete a task you know how to do well. What would you do?
Listen for: Empathy for the other person’s struggle. A willingness to offer help and expertise, even if it means falling a little behind.

Analytical resourcefulness: Talk about a time you successfully solved a complicated problem. How did you know your solution would be a good one?
Listen for: Enthusiasm for having solved the problem and specific examples of how the person came up with the solution.

Time management: What tools, if any, do you use to make sure you meet deadlines? Tell me about a time when your plan for an assignment was abruptly changed?
Listen for: An understanding of the need to be organized and an ability to reprioritize.

Resilience: Tell me about a setback you experienced in the past. What were the immediate next steps you took?
Listen for: Quick recovery, an openness to learn from the mistake.

Attention to detail: What personal standards do you set for yourself? How do you make sure you meet them?
Listen for: an investment in doing the job accurately, and a willingness to check over work to ensure accuracy.

4. Notice the wrong kind of answer. The ideal candidate should be able to find and convey examples of the kind of traits you want. They should show interest in the question and the situations you pose. If the situations don’t hold a candidate’s attention, the position is unlikely to as well. Be mindful of other “wrong” kinds of answers -- ones that include inappropriate information, suggest poor judgment, are overly negative, or indicate an unwillingness to take responsibility for personal actions. Also, listen for the interviewee’s ability to communicate in a professional way.

5. Do all your other due diligence before hiring. Administer cognitive and behavioral assessments, call references and conduct background checks.

If any of this seems overwhelming, don’t worry, help is here! Did you know Omnia offers assistance with writing job postings and coming up with interview questions? In fact, all of our assessments come with a set of interview questions based on the position and the person’s assessment responses. Going beyond the standard questions and following these steps will help you find your next star performer, no need to stock up on marshmallows!

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.

3 Ways the Traditional Interview Falls Short

1. Ineffective Questions

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:

2. Inconsistent Questioning

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.

3. Interviewer Fatigue and Bias

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.

How Behavioral Assessments Improve the Hiring Process

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:

How Omnia Can Help

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!

Final Thoughts

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!


Other popular blog posts to read:

Enhance Workplace Effectiveness through Behavioral Assessments
How Behavioral Assessments Reduce Employee Turnover
How Cognitive Reports Support Behavioral Assessments to Predict Job Performance
Five Steps for Effective Behavioral Interviewing

As more and more organizations shift to using a remote workforce, the traditional in-person interview is also shifting into a virtual context. Remote interviews may not seem like they’re all that different from a physical interview. Still, they introduce many factors that can make them more difficult to manage if a company doesn’t put a lot of thought into implementing them. 

Fortunately, several strategies are easy to put in place and will make remote interviews more likely to select the ideal candidate.

5 Strategies for Conducting Successful Remote Interviews

1. Use Pre-Employment Assessments

One valuable step to include in any remote interview process is leveraging tools to narrow down the candidate pool to qualified and suitable applicants. Pre-employment assessments are instrumental in this regard because they can help organizations screen out candidates who lack the competencies necessary for the position. Cognitive testing measures a candidate’s ability to think abstractly, comprehend new ideas, and solve problems, which is often critical to success in any new position. Behavioral assessments allow interviewers to determine which candidates are likely to be a good long-term fit for an organization. These assessments measure a candidate’s core traits and intrinsic motivators. Hiring managers gain valuable insight into fit for the job and how to effectively manage and motivate each employee once they are on board.

The results of these tests can be used together as part of the initial decision-making process. For example, if someone possesses all the hard skills necessary for success in the role but exhibits behavior that suggests they will quickly be looking for another job, it might make sense to prioritize other candidates. These assessments are easy to implement remotely and can be used as a screening tool to determine who moves on to more time-intensive interviews.

2. Select the Right Communication Tools

When an organization commits to remote interviews, it needs to make sure it can support that process. Many video conferencing platforms are available to choose from, but it’s a good idea for the company to choose one and stick with it. This helps to avoid any implementation problems and ensures that everyone involved in the interview process knows how to use the technology.

Some organizations may get by with a phone call or straightforward video conferencing software, but some positions may require additional features. For example, a candidate for a programming job may need access to developmental tools to complete a sample project as part of the interview process. It’s important to understand what tools will be needed ahead of time so that the interview process can be designed around the organization’s technology.

3. Communicate Details to the Candidate

Going through the interview process is stressful, but the stress can be even greater when the applicant must use unfamiliar or complicated technology. Organizations need to be clear when providing interview details. If the applicant has to download a special application to conduct the interview or be in a specific location (such as a quiet room rather than a bustling cafe), that information must be communicated early and clearly in the interview process.

If assessments need to be completed before a live remote interview, the interviewer must provide reasonable deadlines to ensure that testing is completed in time for them to evaluate the results. They should also provide a resource list if video conferencing software is unfamiliar or complicated to launch. For example, many companies use Zoom, which is simple to set up and use, while Skype is robust but requires all users to have an account and software downloaded. This ensures that any potential problems are sorted out before the interview begins and avoids losing precious time to troubleshoot technical issues. 

4. Involve the Right People

Having more people involved in the hiring process generally leads to better outcomes. According to a UK-based Behavioural Insights Team study, having more than one person involved in evaluating a candidate is far more likely to result in a good hire. In cases where applicants are very similarly qualified and have few “easy” differentiators, just involving two people in the interview process increases the likelihood of making the best choice by almost ten percent. Having four people involved improves the odds by almost twenty percent. 

That’s because having different perspectives involved can reduce the chance of bias and raise concerns that a single person might overlook. However, the challenge of remote interviews is determining when having more people involved will make communication difficult. Hosting a video conferencing meeting with a large group increases the likelihood of interruptions and can make it difficult for the candidate to know who to focus on. When possible, the remote interview process should only involve the core team that will make the final decision. Having an agenda and communicating who speaks when is also helpful. 

5. Use a Structured Approach

The same soft skills required in in-person interviews are necessary for remote interviews. It’s important to have a system in place to give the interview structure. That could include assigning specific questions to different interviewers or implementing a system for recognizing people who want to speak (such as a raised hand icon). The person leading the interview needs to have a very organized approach to ensure the conversation runs smoothly.

As with a live interview, it’s imperative to plan. Rather than relying on off-the-cuff Q&A, a structured interview focuses on specific areas and ensures that the interviewer gets the candidate's information. 90% of all questions asked during an interview should be related to the position or the company. Having behavioral assessment data can be especially helpful in pre-planning because the interviewer can ask questions better to evaluate the organization’s cultural fit.

Conduct Better Remote Interviews with Omnia Assessments

In addition to distilling the applicants' pool to the most qualified and best fit before the interview, assessment data helps guide the interview process. It saves time and resources but cutting out unnecessary questions and identifying the top candidates. Whether it’s measuring an applicant’s overall mental aptitude with cognitive testing or getting a better picture of their personality with behavioral testing, Omnia assessments can help organizations improve their interview techniques and make better overall hiring decisions.

To learn more about incorporating our scientifically validated assessments into your remote interviews, contact our team today.

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