The quarterly investment statements arrived this week. I love that dark reminder at the bottom in tiny print: Past performance does not necessarily predict future results.
I can be confident of my investment choices based on my observations of circumstances, environment, and other factors influencing results. Investment comes down to informed guesses.
It is impossible to predict financial future results with 100% accuracy but it is possible to make informed guesses that move me in the direction I want to go.
We place a great deal of emphasis on past performance in a lot of areas of our lives. In recruiting and job search we are trying to guess which candidate will help us achieve our future goals. Short of throwing a dart, the only evidence we can evaluate to make an informed guess is the candidate’s behavior during the interview and a peek into past performance.
I had two experiences recently from both sides of the job search spectrum seeking to utilize past performance to predict future results.
- A client searching for a Social Media Designer called to understand how to ask questions that will help him hire the right person based on past performance.
- The other day my daughter Marissa called to prep for interviews in distribution and supply chain for summer internships in her MBA program. She was told to prepare for behavioral interviews.
We start at the same place in each situation: What is the outcome, the positive, wonderful thing that happens because someone is in this job? We can call this the performance expectation or the critical success factor. Think big picture.
What is the performance outcome that happens because we hire a social media expert in a small business? The client thought this through and figured that probably 1) revenue goes up because the market expands, 2) brand recognition grows, and 3) more people are exposed to the product through different mediums.
What is the performance outcome that happens in the distribution and supply chain business interviewing Marissa? Marissa got out a pencil and paper and figured that probably 1) able to anticipate customer needs leading to increased customer satisfaction and increased revenue, 2) upsell between divisions through better coordination, and 3) increase collaboration and proactive market responsiveness.
By understanding the performance expectations, the company can create questions that will see whether the candidate has prior performance that predicts whether he or she can also perform in this job. The candidate can be prepared with stories that demonstrate whether he or she can perform in this job.
It gets down to the stories. Do the stories the candidate tells about his or her prior experiences convince you that he or she can do the job successfully in your company?
We created a little chart to help Marissa prepare for her interview. From the candidate’s perspective, by understanding the performance expectations and company culture Marissa can prepare stories to support her experience.
The same kind of chart works for the client company preparing for interviews. Understanding the performance expectations and company culture, the company can prepare questions to solicit stories about performance experience. For the sake of simplicity, let’s look at Marissa’s job from the company’s point of view.
The stories are the way candidates share their experiences and companies evaluate past performance to see whether that past performance predicts whether that candidate can reasonably deliver on the performance expectations.
In this way we turn behavioral interviewing on its ear by making the behavioral interview fit the performance expectations! Are you interviewing smartly to get at the performance behind the behavior? What are you learning from the 30 Frequently Asked Questions about the ability to perform or fit into your organization?