We have been speaking to many groups lately about how companies can conduct a strategic job search. It is my big challenge to help companies organize job searches better so they can make a better match.
As I look at it, I can help as many job seekers as I can but we won’t make real progress making great employment matches until hiring managers conduct job searches aware of what they want and asking smarter questions.
Recently I met a recruiter we will call Tess. She is very frustrated with the length of time it takes to fill a position at her company. Believe me she is not alone. Most candidates are frustrated too. This process takes way too long.
In her company, candidates have to be interviewed by at least 6 people in separate interviews. They discourage telephone interviews so scheduling can be a nightmare. Even with such a long interview process they still manage to hire the wrong person more often than they like. Her situation is not unusual.
We explored what might be going on. We zeroed in on why the large number of interviews was still not yielding the right candidate. Perhaps they were not asking the right questions to get at what they really needed from a new team member.
We looked at one specific difficult position that had been open for over one year. Apparently the right candidate needs a unique combination of detail oriented / analytics coupled with high relationship skills and a stable style to work with lots of different kinds of people. The right candidate needs to be promotable to a director level in a few years. The standard FAQ was not revealing what they needed to know.
If behavior was more important than skills in this situation, then we need to ask different questions.
What if we looked at emotional intelligence? The five emotional Intelligence domains are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. If Tess could find a candidate who exhibited strong behavior in these areas and also could handle market data and spreadsheets then she might have a winner.
But finding the candidates is easy compared to getting them through the interview gauntlet. So Tess will adjust the process a bit. She will create some behavioral questions based on emotional intelligence then enlist her interview team to ask these questions instead of the FAQs they had been asking.
We found a great PDF on the topic: Emotional Intelligence: Assessment Questions and Key Points to Consider When Assessing Answers by Joann Corley.
Here are some sample questions she could ask to get at the behavior needed in this job:
- Tell me about a time when you did or said something and it had a position impact on a coworkers, customer or employee.
- Tell me about a time when you were able to avoid a negative situation at work. How did you know it was going to be negative? Tell me what you did.
- Tell me about a time when you missed an opportunity to set the tone in a discussion. What happened? What did you learn?
- Tell me about a time when you sensed that an employee was struggling. How did you know? What did you do?
We can create many questions that explore how a candidate thinks or responds to situations. Questions requiring the candidate to relate stories about past experiences help us better predict whether the candidate can do the job, will love the job, and will get along well with the team.