Monday, September 26, 2016

Interviewing Skills Training for When You Want the Very Best

A business man is climbing stairs labeled "good enough" to "better" to "best"

Would you ever hire anyone but the very best candidate? Interviewing skills training can help you sort through the good enough candidates, through the better hires  and finally identify the very best…the “A” players who will strengthen your organization and enable its success.

First, according to behavior-based interviewing skills training experts you need to know exactly who that ideal candidate would be. Work with the hiring team to design a clear profile of success in the specific job and corporate culture you are hiring for. You can easily figure out what technical capabilities they should have. But we maintain that, even more important than their technical expertise, are their attitude, working style and cultural fit

Over and above these “better” employees is the very best, the one who has all the competencies required, shares the same values and work ethic as the company, and exhibits a high degree of emotional intelligence or EQ. We believe that employees with this rare skill help organizations grow faster than companies without them.

Here, based upon behavior-based interviewing skills training experts, is what they can offer:
  1. A highly developed people sense
    They genuinely care about people and want to understand them better… what makes them tick, what are their passions, and what are their ambitions. Their empathy makes EQ employees highly desirable for key, customer-facing jobs.
  2. A natural ability to lead
    They know how to get along with all types and are people magnets. People like to be with them because they are so good at communicating, solving problems and cooperating with others. They know how to both give and receive feedback and are well respected because they respect themselves.
  3. An overall perspective
    Employees with high EQ seem to be able to capture the essence of a problem easily. They can cut through the people issues to see the root cause. And then they are able to pull together differing factions to focus on common goals and solutions.
  4. Strong interpersonal relationship skills
    Not only will they enhance the relationships within the company, but they also build strong external relationships. They have an innate sense of how to connect with clients and customers so that the relationship is not merely established but grows and is sustained. They help build customer loyalty. What could be more valuable to a business?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Guard Against Hiring a Toxic Employee

cartoon of a manager selecting the next new associate by putting the candidates through an old-fashioned egg race

OK, so presumably you have a more sophisticated process for interviewing and evaluating candidates than this old-fashioned egg race. But how well do you really get to know your interviewees? Are you confident that your interviewing skills training is helping you to ferret out top talent and guard against hiring a bad employee?

Have you noticed how it seems an even mildly irritating, rude person can have a stronger effect on the environment than the nice guys? It’s actually been proven. Don’t risk the organizational culture you have worked so hard to create with even one toxic personality. It will cost you dearly…not only in the negative vibes they spread but in real dollars. While “A” players add to a company’s profit in terms of productivity, a bad employee erases those gains more than two-fold. And that’s not even counting the decrease in their coworkers’ morale and the negative effect on customers.

So let’s agree that bad hires should be avoided by interviewing with the resolve to ferret out bad candidates who display toxic behaviors regardless of their skills and experience. Basic behavioral interviewing skills training can help with tips like the following:

  1. Check with every employee who has come in contact with the job candidate. How, for instance, did they treat the receptionist when they were asked to wait? Or how did they interact with the janitor who could have used help opening the door as they were carrying equipment? You want an employee who is naturally courteous with everyone.

  2. How does the candidate discuss former bosses and coworkers? Do they blame others for their failures? You want a candidate who, though their previous situation may have been difficult, is ready to take responsibility for their share of what went wrong and who is loyal to those who are not present.

  3. Ask questions that uncover how good they are at building relationships or recognizing areas for improvement. Here are a few that can reveal weaknesses…If I talked to Sara (the candidate’s former boss), what would she say about you? What would you like to improve most about the way you interact with others? Tell me about a time when you were under a great deal of stress and how you handled it. Think of a person you found difficult to work with and tell me how you dealt with the situation.

    In each case, probe for further behavior-based competencies so you begin to predict how the candidate would behave in your organization.

  4. Train your team to conduct behavior-based interviews effectively and get them involved. The hire should be a team decision. Establish a structured interviewing process based upon an agreed-upon job profile and see that each interviewer probes for different behaviors and competencies. Set up a common rating scale and then gather to discuss results.

  5. Check references thoroughly and don’t just ask about technical expertise. Find out about the candidate’s attitude, work ethic and behavior on a team.

Once you accept that talent and skill can’t make up for a difficult-to-work-with employee, you can refine your interviewing process to weed out the folks that won’t fit.



Friday, June 24, 2016

4 Sales Interviewing Best Practices to Rise Above the Rest

One red hot air balloon rises above all the others colored grey

In our work with clients who are trying to hire top sales talent for their sales team, we find that they often make the same mistakes over and over again. These are common sales interviewing mistakes that could be overcome with some targeted interviewing skills training. And, if overcome, companies could avoid adding to the unfortunate statistic that has awarded sales the highest turnover rate of more than 20% annually in any industry. 

Come on…you can rise above the rest if you only follow these four best practices for interviewing and hiring top sales talent for your sales team:

  1. Hire for attitude, not industry-specific knowledge.The true fundamental drivers of sales success are often motivation and empathy. These are the qualities that support knowing how to help clients to succeed. You can always teach a new sales rep what they need to know about your markets, products and services, but you cannot always change their attitude.

  2. Don’t hire for their so-called book of business.It is so tempting when you are in a hurry to increase sales to bring someone aboard who promises new clients and valuable contacts with an impressive Rolodex. But rarely is their network as transferable, forthcoming or valuable as you hope. Again, hire for their ability to share in customers’ thoughts and feelings and their innate drive, preparation, dedication and training rather than for their claims of new and easy business.

  3. Simply “liking” a candidate is not enough reason to hire.While cultural fit is certainly important, there should be some objective measure of culture fit rather than the interviewer’s biased assessment if they “like them” or not. Please. You are running a business here, not a popularity or dating contest.  You need to know that your new hire can solve problems and can get things done. Sure, they should be a fit for your sales culture, but they do not need to qualify as your new BFF.

  4. Apply and heed the results of a proven sales assessment tool.Know what critical few sales competencies are needed for success in your specific market and environment. Then find a way to measure how strong candidates are in these few, critical behaviors. It is worth your time and investment to put each candidate through their paces. Rate them objectively so you develop a track record of what works and what doesn’t. Monitor the results and adjust as needed. This is the way to improve your sales hiring process and to hire “right” the first time.
Invest the time required to hire top talent.  And above all else, do not settle.

Learn more at: http://www.lsaglobal.com/behavior-based-interviewing-training/

Friday, May 27, 2016

Interviewing – When Sales Skills and Experience Really Matter

A man points to the word "Skills"

The focus of any job interview should be on what is needed to succeed at the specific job you are hiring for. 

You should always begin with a very detailed job description that defines the intellectual, motivational and performance competencies required for success. For some jobs, skills and experience are critical; for others, they are less important. When you are hiring for a sales position for example, consider carefully what you will be asking your new hires to sell, to whom and how.

If your new sales reps will be involved in transactional sales at a rather junior level, you can probably train them in the sales skills they need and teach them what they need to know about their products, services and their customers. They can learn a viable sales approach and process and pick up the skills of how to communicate effectively and move toward success. Interviewing for this kind of selling where sales and products are relatively simple should focus on attitude more than experience. 

But if you are hiring a sales rep who will be selling more complex and solution-based offerings B2B, the vote of interviewing skills training experts weighs heavily in favor of both attitude and successful experience at selling. You cannot afford to wait until your new hires get fully trained to ramp up to speed and be productive. You need them, from the “get-go,” to know how to

  • research the customer’s industry, their business and your likely competition 
  • articulate your value proposition and solutions that are unique to each customer
  • follow a proven sales methodology
  • understand the customer’s buying process and identify key buyers
  • bring value to each interaction and present persuasively
  • prioritize accounts
  • negotiate and close
  • maintain and grow customer relationships

So how do you find all this out in your interviews? Practice behavior based interviewing. If this is new to you, your time in an interviewing skills training program will pay off quickly. You will learn how to dig beneath the “black and white” claims on the resume to the “flesh and blood” experience of the job candidate. You learn how to ask questions and probe for the truth behind the candidate’s effort to impress. 

When you can uncover what truly motivates them, their fit for your sales culture and their commitment to your company through superior interviewing skills, you are much more likely to hire someone who can help clients succeed, build a loyal customer base, and hit their sales targets. 

Learn more at: http://www.lsaglobal.com/behavior-based-interviewing-training/

Saturday, April 30, 2016

What Resumes Don’t Tell You About a Job Candidate

The cartoon interviewer asks, "Everything on your resume is true, right?" of the man whose nose grows longer

Even if every fact on a resume is true, most of what you learn about a candidate cannot be learned from what’s printed in black and white. You need to find a way to interview the candidate in person…to get up close and personal. 

There are so many ways to sabotage your own hiring process and end up with an employee who is far less than what you hoped for. Doesn’t everyone who engages in the interviewing game want to find the top talent, that “A” player, who will enhance the team with just the right attitude, skills and fit? And yet how often are we disappointed? 

Here are some of the reasons we make the wrong new hire choices.

1. We don’t know how to get to the candidate’s real story.
You need a proven, fair, balanced behavior-based interview process. Each interviewer should have attended a behavior based interviewing skills training that teaches how to dig beneath the surface. Sure, a candidate may be able to legitimately claim that they were part of a successful sales initiative that increased revenue by 250%. But you need to understand exactly how they were involved. Did they lead the project or were they just in charge of filing orders?

2. We are pressured to hire someone as soon as possible.
This one is very common and, admittedly, it is hard to be really discriminating when a key stakeholder is breathing down your neck to find a replacement for the critical team member who just left. Our advice? Don’t ever settle. Be patient and hang in there until you find just the right person. Otherwise you will be stuck with a mediocre hire that will drag the team down for a long time to come.

3. We rely too much on referrals and too little on our own judgment.
Employee referrals are great. They eliminate the time it takes to identify a person we want to investigate as a potential hire and typically result in people who are apt to be a higher cultural fit. But that should be as far as it goes. Don’t shorten the interview process because of an enthusiastic recommendation. Recognize the bias and follow the same procedure you would with any other candidate.

4. We focus more on skills than on attitude.
Sure, you need to begin the conversation about relevant skills, competencies and experience. After all, you want to ensure that the necessary capabilities for the desired job performance are all there. But what really matters in the end is the candidate’s attitude and cultural fit with the team and the organization. Skills can for the most part be taught. Attitudes and values, however, rarely change significantly. Be sure you hire for a candidate’s work ethic, values, change agility, motivation, enthusiasm and willingness to learn. 

After twenty years of work helping clients hire successfully, we know that the best new hires are those based on the talent you need that fits in your unique corporate culture and that supports your business strategy. That’s where effective behavior-based interviewing should lead you.

Learn more at: http://www.lsaglobal.com/behavior-based-interviewing-training/

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Hiring Mistake #1 – Making the Interview Process Too Difficult

cartoon of 3 job candidates forced into an egg-on-the-spoon race to win the position

Every leader knows that hiring top talent is a critical ingredient for success.  Most also know from experience that hiring talent that fits is a 50/50 proposition.  In order to “get it right,” how many interviewing tests do you expect your interviewees to endure? Certainly not the egg race in the cartoon above. 

Because we advocate the critical importance of hiring “right,” we would never recommend less than a thorough evaluation of potential candidates. But, take a close look at the interview hurdles you expect them to leap and make sure that they matter in terms of measuring how well they will do on the job and in your organizational culture. With all the competition for “A” players, you don’t want to wear out your top candidates by subjecting them to unnecessary and unproductive screening that tells you little about their ability to succeed.

The interviewing process has grown lengthier in recent years…by quite a bit. Glassdoor, the online job and recruiting site, has published a research report that says “the average overall job interview process takes 22.9 days in the U.S.” And, of course, it can take much longer according to the job level and title. Think back to the last time you interviewed for a job. It can be agonizing to wait for the decision to be made. Try to expedite the process so you don’t lose the candidate you want; and make sure that you do not antagonize the candidate you don’t intend to hire but don’t yet want to let go. 

Depending upon your organization’s interviewing process and the law, there may be screenings that are unavoidable, such as drug tests, skill tests and background checks. Then, of course, there will be a series of behavior-based interviews by phone or video and, ultimately, in person. The further down the path the candidate proceeds, the closer they get to the offer. 

Make sure that each step in the interview counts. Do this by designing and implementing interviewing skills training that teaches your hiring managers and interviewers how to focus on the behavior-based competencies and attitudes that are necessary for success. They need to know what to look for and how to dig beneath the surface to get real answers. All interviewees should, of course, be treated with respect and courtesy. Put them through paces that will inform you as to their suitability for the job, the team and your organizational culture. But don’t unnecessarily lengthen the process. Get organized with schedules. Marshall your forces and assemble your team. A well-oiled interviewing process will result in a top-notch selection and a candidate who is excited about joining your firm.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Where to Look if Your Hiring is Falling Short

A newspaper classified ad in large print says, Wanted Skilled Labor

It’s sad. Most companies really struggle to recruit and hire the top talent they want and need to thrive. Hiring is a process that is critical to success; yet few organizations are really good at it. 

Of course, your hiring team should be well versed in interviewing skills training so they have a consistent process to follow and an effective rating system that focuses on the specific behavior-based competencies needed for the specific job and your organizational culture. But beyond preparing your interviewers well, how good are you at the other important components in the hiring process from sourcing to screening to making the offer? Do you know? If not, you should. You should have a system in place so you can evaluate where your hiring process is successful and where it needs bolstering. 

Here are ways some recruiting experts suggest you assess your success:

1. Take a close look at your overall hiring process.
Define the key stages from attracting to hiring. Make sure that you have a good idea about how many candidates on average you will need to source, screen and interview to hit your hiring forecast.  Then plan and allocate resources accordingly.  And please be smart about how many interviews you subject a candidate to.  Our research tells us that you only need four people to interview a candidate to understand if they have the behavioral competencies needed to succeed.  Anyone else you add to the mix is for team buy-in.   Unfortunately, some companies have 10 or more interviews and turn off great candidates before they can get them on board.

2. Take a close look at your candidate sourcing channels. 
You want to ensure that you have an active and robust pipeline of potential employees who may fit. Know where your best candidates come from and keep in touch. 

Referrals are probably the most favored route because they come with recommendations from people who know them and who know the company. Be sure you actively promote referrals by asking employees frequently to review their network for likely talent and by rewarding them when a referral hire is made. Other helpful sourcing channels include social media, internet job marketplaces, and hiring agencies (especially good for identifying qualified candidates for senior positions).  Just make sure your job descriptions are accurate, compelling and reflect your true corporate culture.  You do not want to fill your candidate pipeline with unqualified talent.

3. Take a good look at your candidate screening process. 
Capture all the information you can about each candidate so you can track them at each point in the hiring process. Use validated assessment tools and time-tested behavioral interviewing techniques to qualify potential new hires.

Remember that, with each candidate interaction, you have a chance to learn more about their potential fit while selling the benefits of the job and leaving a good impression. Regardless of whether or not the candidate is hired, be sure that you represent your organization professionally. Who knows where the candidate will end up and who they will talk to next?

4. Take a close look at the final interview stage. 
Make sure your interviewing team is fully prepared to effectively and accurately assess the behavioral competencies that the job demands.  Ensure that you can rate short- and long-term fit in terms of the job, the team, their potential new boss and the overall corporate culture.

Breaking the hiring and interviewing process down into key stages allows you to evaluate each step and improve where you may be falling short. 

Learn more at: http://www.lsaglobal.com/behavior-based-interviewing-training/