Among the first of many tasks leaders face is to recruit and select candidates to join their organization. These are the most critical building blocks to creating a great culture for your organization. An opportunity we often see across the industries in which we consult, teach, and coach leadership development is a lack of intention and purpose in the selection process.
The first step in making sure you set out to recruit and select the right candidates to join your organization is to be more strategic in defining what characteristics and personality traits you’re looking for. To do this, we recommend considering both the candidate’s job fit and cultural match. Job fit means the candidate has the skills, expertise, and experience to do a job. Cultural match means the candidate adheres to a set of values and has a personality and disposition aligned with your organization’s way of working.
If you want to create a positive, productive, and purposeful culture, it only makes sense to find people who are not only capable of doing the work but also have the personality and character you want your organization to present to the world.
Most people utilize some type of interview during the selection process. However, a traditional interview—whereby a single manager asks a candidate about their resume and experience—is probably not the best way to ensure you hire the right candidate. Flaws in traditional interviewing techniques include manager bias, the candidate’s ability to pretend to be authentic during the interview, and that ideal answers to interview questions are easily available online.
Here are three interviewing tips to overcome these flaws and make sure you find and ultimately select people who fit the job and culture for which you are hiring:
1. Behavioral Interview Questions
You can’t teach character. Most other skills for the job can be learned with the right aptitude and attitude. Behavioral interview questions focus on past experiences to determine job fit as well as cultural match.
Effective behavioral interview questions uncover whether a candidate’s past experiences and behaviors align with the organization’s values. Consider the great work you or your organization has put into determining your company values and the specific behaviors that bring each value to life. Put them to use—they serve as a guide for leaders as they search for the right people to hire.
2. Activity-Based Interviews
Having candidates participate in activities allows you to observe character traits that are aligned (or not) with your organization’s values. You can also see specific skills and attitudes at play during the activity. Michael Henman, a recruitment expert, accurately explained the effectiveness of these types of interviews: “A group activity setting means there’s little opportunity for rehearsed answers as candidates have to think on their feet and react to the situation at hand. Their natural inclinations and instincts will come forward when participating in an activity. It’s harder to fake it when you’re engrossed in action!”
3. Group Interviews
A group interview is a great way to see how a person handles pressure and engages with different people. The group interview removes personal bias, and, when staff is involved, they become more invested in making the person they advocated for successful.
The key to organizing and executing successful group interviews is in the individuals you choose to be on your panel of interviewers. Be sure to create a panel of leaders who embody the company’s values and personality traits you want to become more prevalent in your culture. These individuals will be able to recognize the character and potential of candidates during the interview process.
Make Your Interview Process Memorable
People who have a bad interview experience will post about it online. Your reputation as an employer is often judged first during the interview process. Even if and when candidates turn down an offer, or if they are not selected, they may be a future customer. However, as a result of a successful interview, they may tell a great story about your brand, and they may even refer talented people who are a great cultural match and job fit in the future.
• Remember, how you get there is almost more important than where you’re taking your team.
• Determine your personal values and develop a clear picture of who you want to be, and that will guide you in how you do what you do. How you do what you do and who you’re becoming will tell the tale of your leadership brand.
• Understand and live your company’s values every day. The more you live them, the more you lift them off the poster in the back office and put them into play in real-life, meaningful situations.
Focusing on how you do the work will lead you and your organization exactly where you need to go every single time.