Ask the right questions

Look beyond your candidates’ resumés to ensure you are getting the people you want

Ask the right questions

 

A FAIRLY recent survey revealed that most organisations end up with bad hires — but most don’t know why. As a result, these organisations end up suffering high employee attrition rates, low employee morale, poor employee engagement and sub-standard performance.
Here are three reasons why organisations end up with so many bad hires:
Hiring the resumé
The most common mistake most human resource (HR) and hiring managers make is to fall in love with the candidate’s resumé or curriculum vitae (CV). I always tell my workshop participants that it is nothing but a sales document that is used by all job-seeking candidates to “sell” themselves.
In all my years hiring and interviewing job candidates, I have yet to come across a candidate who would say negative things about himself in his resumé or CV. 
For instance, who would ever say in their resumé that they persistently fail to implement projects? Or that other people find them a nightmare to work with? Or that they made huge losses for the company they last worked for?
It is vital that HR and hiring managers be prudent and not be swayed entirely by the glowing resumés of the candidates they are interviewing.
Poor interview preparation
Prepare, prepare, prepare! Interviewers need to be thoroughly prepared prior to meeting any potential candidates for an interview.
Unfortunately, many HR and hiring managers fail to do this. A common reason is a lack of time, but there is one particular reason that seems to always stand out — over-confidence. 
Many HR and hiring managers are over-confident because they feel that they have done interviews many times before and therefore feel there is no need to prepare for the next one.
This over-confidence also results in failing to conduct suitable background checks of the candidates. The importance of background checks cannot be over-emphasised. 
HR and hiring managers receive tons of resumés from applicants all over the world. Not giving background checks sufficient attention may have costly consequences if the candidate hired is not up to doing the job and needs to be replaced.
Poor questioning techniques
One of the most crucial determinants of successful hiring is how questions are phrased. With vast information available on the Internet today, candidates come to interviews extremely well prepared. Many come with rote answers to standard questions. 
Asking standard questions such as “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” are no longer as effective as before, because candidates will come well prepared with answers to such questions.
The purpose of the interview is for the recruiter/hiring manager to understand the candidate better. The key is to ask open-ended questions to encourage and allow the candidates to open up and talk. The more they talk, the better the opportunity to understand them.
Most HR and hiring managers are able to ask very good opening questions, but most begin to stumble after the candidates provide an answer. Many don’t know how to ask effective follow-up questions. It is at this juncture that they lose the opportunity to obtain greater insights into their candidates.
So if you are looking to minimise the employee attrition rate in your organisation, it would be prudent to begin looking at your interview questioning techniques and to look beyond the candidate’s resumé.
It doesn’t matter whether you are using Competency Based Interviewing Techniques or Behavioural Interviewing Techniques because the most crucial determinant of your hiring success is what questions you ask, how you ask your questions and what you can find out about the candidates apart from the information in their resumés. 
Article by Steven Lock, a high performance strategist of FutureTHINK! Training & Consultancy LLP, and the author of Hiring for Performance: The CAAP® Model to Hiring and Building High-Performance Teams. Steven is conducting a workshop on May 9 on “How to Avoid the Common Mistakes Most Interviewers Make: Proven Interviewing Techniques for HR & Hiring Managers”. To register, visit www.futurethink.com.sg

A FAIRLY recent survey revealed that most organisations end up with bad hires — but most don’t know why. As a result, these organisations end up suffering high employee attrition rates, low employee morale, poor employee engagement and sub-standard performance.

Here are three reasons why organisations end up with so many bad hires:

Hiring the resumé

The most common mistake most human resource (HR) and hiring managers make is to fall in love with the candidate’s resumé or curriculum vitae (CV). I always tell my workshop participants that it is nothing but a sales document that is used by all job-seeking candidates to “sell” themselves.

In all my years hiring and interviewing job candidates, I have yet to come across a candidate who would say negative things about himself in his resumé or CV. 

For instance, who would ever say in their resumé that they persistently fail to implement projects? Or that other people find them a nightmare to work with? Or that they made huge losses for the company they last worked for?

It is vital that HR and hiring managers be prudent and not be swayed entirely by the glowing resumés of the candidates they are interviewing.

Poor interview preparation

Prepare, prepare, prepare! Interviewers need to be thoroughly prepared prior to meeting any potential candidates for an interview.

Unfortunately, many HR and hiring managers fail to do this. A common reason is a lack of time, but there is one particular reason that seems to always stand out — over-confidence. 

Many HR and hiring managers are over-confident because they feel that they have done interviews many times before and therefore feel there is no need to prepare for the next one.

This over-confidence also results in failing to conduct suitable background checks of the candidates. The importance of background checks cannot be over-emphasised. 

HR and hiring managers receive tons of resumés from applicants all over the world. Not giving background checks sufficient attention may have costly consequences if the candidate hired is not up to doing the job and needs to be replaced.

Poor questioning techniques

One of the most crucial determinants of successful hiring is how questions are phrased. With vast information available on the Internet today, candidates come to interviews extremely well prepared. Many come with rote answers to standard questions. 

Asking standard questions such as “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” are no longer as effective as before, because candidates will come well prepared with answers to such questions.

The purpose of the interview is for the recruiter/hiring manager to understand the candidate better. The key is to ask open-ended questions to encourage and allow the candidates to open up and talk. The more they talk, the better the opportunity to understand them.

Most HR and hiring managers are able to ask very good opening questions, but most begin to stumble after the candidates provide an answer. Many don’t know how to ask effective follow-up questions. It is at this juncture that they lose the opportunity to obtain greater insights into their candidates.

So if you are looking to minimise the employee attrition rate in your organisation, it would be prudent to begin looking at your interview questioning techniques and to look beyond the candidate’s resumé.

It doesn’t matter whether you are using Competency Based Interviewing Techniques or Behavioural Interviewing Techniques because the most crucial determinant of your hiring success is what questions you ask, how you ask your questions and what you can find out about the candidates apart from the information in their resumés. 

Article by Steven Lock, a high performance strategist of FutureTHINK! Training & Consultancy LLP, and the author of Hiring for Performance: The CAAP® Model to Hiring and Building High-Performance Teams. Steven is conducting a workshop on May 9 on “How to Avoid the Common Mistakes Most Interviewers Make: Proven Interviewing Techniques for HR & Hiring Managers”. To register, visit www.futurethink.com.sg

 

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