…Recruitment Using Performance-Based Measures
Welcome back! In our previous article, we explored some strategies how leaders can influence ways that employees can leave an organization responsibly.
Now that there is a vacancy that needs to be filled, we will explore an approach that leaders can take to fill the position in an effective way. Often, I have seen organizations choose to replace the role with the same skills, knowledge, and characteristics of the departing employee. As we know over time the needs of an organization may change, and if the individual was in the role for some time, rarely the employee and their role are disrupted to make significant changes (outside of restructuring initiatives). With a vacancy to fill it is a prime opportunity to step back and reflect about what skills, experience, and behaviors are most desirable.
We have had so much talk about the Five Conditions of Great Performance, the degree to which the employee Knows What to, Are Able to do it, Are Equipped to do it, Want to do it, and Have Positive Interactions that foster healthy working relationships. So, how does this apply to the recruitment process? Read on….
When the stack of resumes hit your desk it is time to wade through them to develop your ‘A’ pile (and possibly ‘B’ pile) of candidates that you will ultimately select to interview. For most of us we typically screen resumes looking for a few key factors, which is predominantly the related work experience (role, industry, level of position), a key skill and/or educational requirement, and then we look at other factors such as the organizations where the candidate has worked, relevant size or type of business, leading teams, etc.
Undoubtedly these are important criteria but let’s shift our thinking, just slightly, about the value of a good fit and how to find it by looking through a different lens. We have learned more and more over time that while skills and knowledge are critical to executing the work objectives, but also that the fit of the individual is equally as important. We have seen employees who may not possess a certain level of skills and knowledge, but if their approach to teamwork, style of communication, and their motivation to do the work is aligned to the culture and needs of the organization, not only do they produce excellent performance results but they develop productive working relationships too. Isn’t that what every leader wants??
Very rarely a candidate’s resume will spell out clearly if they will be a good fit for the organization, let alone a good fit under your leadership. If fit is important to your team dynamics, let’s tear apart the Five Conditions to help you plan the interview process. To sleuth this out the only way is to ask relevant open-ended and behavioral questions during the interview, additional to the questions that you know already work well for you. Below are some suggestions questions to achieve this.
1. Assuming the candidate really knows what is expected of them in this new role (ensuring the candidate is aware of the performance expectations of this role). Questions to ask in the interview in the interview:
- How different is our work environment compared to your current or previous work environment? Tell me about a time when you have had to quickly adapt to a new work environment? From that experience, what steps you will take to adapt quickly to our work environment?
- Tell me how you always were aware of what was expected of you? If this was a challenge what steps did you take to know? (this establishes accountability and being proactive to knowing what their expectations were vs. just ‘going with the flow’)
- Did you and your team understand clearly the Core Values of the organization? How did these Core Values impact your work style and performance outcomes?
- How was your performance and results being measured? Did you discuss these measurements regularly, and what influence did you have to determine your measures and results?
2. The candidate is able to perform the duties of the job under your leadership (will their skills and knowledge transfer over effectively under your leadership?). Questions to ask in the interview:
- Tell me how your current skills and knowledge helped you be successful in your current or previous job? Did you experience any challenges utilizing your skills and knowledge?
- Do/did you have opportunities to expand your capabilities as a <job title>? What opportunities for growth did/do you have in your current or previous role? How did you take advantage of those opportunities?
- What aspects of your current or previous role were aligned with your interests and career goals? How will this role align with your interests and career goals? How do you anticipate this to shift over the short and long term?
3. Will the candidate have the tools and resources that they will need to work effectively in this role (will they adapt to the tools and resources that are available in your organization)? Questions to ask in the interview:
- How efficient were the tools, resources, and information that you used in your current or previous role? What steps did you take to ensure that you had the tools, resources, and information to do your job well? How did this affect your overall performance outcomes?
- Did you utilize a variety of tools and resources in your current or previous role? Tell me how you adapted to utilizing these tools and resources effectively?
- What requests would you have of our organization to ensure that you had the tools, resources, and information to do your job well?
4. Does the candidate really want to do this role (what is motivating them to apply for this role)? Questions to ask in the interview:
- What aspects of this role do you find particularly enjoyable? What aspects of the role to you find to be a challenge? Tell me about a time when you had to adjust how you work or shift your thinking towards these challenging tasks?
- Tell me about a role that you have had where it was important to give and receive regular feedback. How did this situation suit your needs to give and receive feedback?
- Tell me about a leader that you have worked for that motivate and inspired you to do your best? What were their characteristics that suited your work style the best? What do you need the most from your leader and your organization? What steps do you take to stay motivated personally?
5. Do they foster healthy and productive interactions in their team and/or organization (what is their go-to style of communication)? Questions to ask in the interview:
- What style of communication and interaction did/do you experience with teams that you have worked with? How did that style work for you, or not, to achieve your goals?
- Tell me about a team that you have worked with that had a high level of respect and effective interaction. What was your contribution to uphold that level of respect and interaction?
- What characteristics and communication style will be most effective for you now in your career? What steps will you take to establish your place in the team?
Please note the recruitment process doesn’t stop there! Pull some of these questions into the Reference Checking process. I have played devil’s advocate on many occasions with leaders who believe that the Reference Checking process is a mere formality to gain biased and cordial information from people who the candidate trusts will speak highly of them. While that is true, if the Reference Check is geared to discussing details and live examples about someone’s behaviors, you might take away some different information that you might not receive otherwise. If you are going to do a Reference Check make the most of out what it can do for you.
Essentially, both skills/knowledge and fit are important, and in some situations one more than the other, if we recognize this and make our recruitment decisions accordingly. We have two sayings in our profession that have proven to be accurate measures of success: “hire for skill, fire for fit” and “the best predictor of future performance is past performance in similar situations”.
It is a balancing act to find the right skills and knowledge AND someone who is a good fit. It is possible, we just need to ask the right questions.
I love to help!!
Always, we are here to help our colleagues. We want your feedback, comments and questions about your Performance Management experience. If you have any questions about how these Performance Improvement concepts can be applied to your work group and/or your organization, please let us know and we will be happy to assist.
We want to write about on-demand topics. Please drop us a note if you have any topics of interest and we will work to incorporate this information into our newsletter series.
Please watch out for our April article: “You have Hired Them, Now to Quickly Incorporate Them”.