Do you dislike interviewing candidates for an open position? I know I did until I learned to do behavioral interviewing. With behavioral science, you know the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses even before you meet the person. Now, I enjoy interviewing because I am getting to the answer at hand, and that is whether the person is a good fit for the position.
We like to call it “getting the candidate in his underwear”. A customized and candid interview to understand if this person is the best fit for the position. It is all good because it is in the best interest of both the candidate and the company to be the right fit. Not being behaviorally fit for the position is typically not a happy place to be. And having a resume that looks like a job hopper is not good for the candidate. For the company, considering that hiring costs is roughly three to five times the position’s annual salary, hiring the right person is critical to the bottom line.
The key to getting the candidate in their proverbial underwear is using behavioral science. Each candidate takes an online behavioral assessment. At SM Advisors, we are certified in and apply four behavioral sciences. Can you imagine having 72 pages of content on each candidate and the customized interview questions you can create from it? You are able to tailor your questions to what you really need to know to make the right decision. In many cases, it gives you more information about the candidate than he or she knows themselves. Its’ science.
One of the first steps we recommend in behavioral interviewing is to look for transparency and honesty. You can do that by asking a question that you already know the answer to from the behavioral assessments.
It is important to remember that every candidate will have weaknesses in their style. The question is whether those weaknesses will impact a key requirement of the position. Any style can be in any position but all styles are more comfortable in certain positions. The greatest level of success comes from matching your natural behavioral style to the position.
In behavioral interviewing you ask questions that the candidate has never heard before. You get what we call “Dog Ears”. You know how when you talk to your dog he turns his head. That is what the candidate does because they don’t have a pre-rehearsed answer to the question. Watching how they think through the question can be as equally important as to how they answer it. When you ask a unique question, you are more likely to get an honest, heartfelt answer.
Here’s an example: If you are interviewing someone for a leadership position and the candidate has a low dominance in their behavioral style, you would ask questions to see how they handle employee issues. So you could ask: “What was the toughest personnel situation that you ever dealt with and what did you learn from it?” Typically, someone with a lower dominance style will avoid conflict and consequently will let underperforming situations linger.
Every individual has strengths in their style that make him a better fit for certain positons. Your job as the hiring manager, leader or HR is to match the candidate’s style with the requirements of the position.
A process to make the right hire the first time looks like this:
1) Narrow down the list of candidates to the top three or four, based on their hard skills (education and experience on resume).
2) Have them take a behavioral assessment of your choice
3) Review their assessment results and create customized interview questions for each candidate.
4) Complete your interview and do not share the assessment results with the candidate.
5) Rank candidates based on hard skills, behavioral fit and their interview/cultural fit
6) Make an informed and confident hiring decision.
7) Use the assessment results to create a first year development plan for the candidate you select
Behavioral interviewing has been a breakthrough for many companies. Talent becomes part of your competitive advantage. Research shows that if you use one behavioral science, your chance of hiring the right candidate is 60-percent. If you use two sciences, that goes up to 80-percent. And if you use three behavioral science tools, the hiring success rate goes up to 94-percent. How many hiring decisions do you ever make with this level of confidence?
Behavioral science does not make decisions for you, but it does help you make more informed decisions. Which is your job! Turn interviewing from something that is a chore for you into something that is a strength of yours and your company. Become an identifier, developer and retainer of talent. Remember: Those who plan, profit!