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Monday, February 28, 2011

"Attitude": An Important Component of the Hiring Decision

A candidate's "attitude" can be a strong predictor of their future performance, however, not all interviewers probe this dimension of an applicant's capabilities during the interview process.  This is especially relevant given attitude is closely tied to motivation and job performance.
A three-part behavioural-based skills assessment can be utilized during the applicant screening process to access for effective attitude: 
  1. Firstly, the interviewer needs to design a behavioural question that is based on a real life challenge the applicant will face in their new role at your organization.  This will allow you to assess the candidate's effectiveness of managing through adversity.
  2. Secondly, the interviewer must be prepared to explore or probe the response the candidate provided in responding to the "challenging situational-based" question as stated above.
  3. Thirdly, the interviewer should ask the candidate what end result they expect to achieve from their proposed actions.
 This approach to questioning is known as the "O-SAE" approach to behavioural-based interviewing:
  • O-S, stands for "obstacle situation" (e.g., "tell me about a time when you faced _____?")
  • A, stands for "action taken"  (e.g., "what actions did you take?")
  • E, stands for "end result" (e.g., "what was the end result?")
How the applicant responds to these behavioural-based interview questions will provide the interviewer with indicators of whether they have a "can do attitude" and will persevere to achieve their goals, or choose to explain why the goal could/can not be obtained.  Interviewers who utilize this approach to screening and selection will increase their odds of hiring a candidate with the right "attitude", and thus, right fit for the organization.

Friday, February 18, 2011

When is it time to move on?

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."         

While there are many reasons why people stay in jobs that they no longer like, there comes a time when people need to question the value of staying with an employer where they may be over-invested.

If you are experiencing any of the following, you should seriously think about exploring alternative career options: 
  1. Lack of upward mobility.
  2. Waning support from your manager.
  3. Offering of "so-called" opportunities that do not align with your career aspirations.
  4. Biased, unfair or overly critical performance reviews based on hearsay or unsubstantiated allegations.
  5. Reduced decision-making autonomy. 
  6. Shrinking scope of key accountabilities/responsibilities. 
  7. Lesser qualified and/or experienced co-workers are promoted in advance of you.
  8. Pay increases or bonuses cease or are not reflective of your performance or the organization's performance. 
  9. Continuing lack of support to deliver on mandates.
  10. Your "political position" within the organization is demoted. 
True talent know they are free agents and have the right to demand organizational investment in their career growth, and likewise, great organizations "get this" and find ways to enable true talent to realize their full potential!

For an interesting article on how many managers violate common rules of workplace etiquette, see the following article appearing in the February 14, 2011 edition of The Wall Street JournalFive signs you're a bad boss

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What Not To Say On Your Resume

The following are examples of what some highly qualified applicants have included on their resumes and/or cover letters that most likely led to their de-selection from prospective employers:
  1. Exaggerated or misrepresented skills, experience and/or qualifications.
  2. Salary expectations in their career objective statement.
  3. Pointing out the fact they were terminated from a job.
  4. Fabricated business relationships.
  5. Listing political, religious or other affiliations.
  6. Including any personal information (e.g., age, marital status, etc.).
  7. Having spelling and/or grammatical errors. 
While the foregoing examples may seem rudimentary to many, it is surprising how often these seemingly "common knowledge" mistakes seep into job seekers' documentation however unintentional (or, in some cases, intentional) it may be!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Importance of a Competency-Based Approach to Recruitment and Employee Development

Definition of Competencies

Competencies are defined as "the measurable characteristics of a person (e.g., behavioural skills, technical skills, attributes, attitude, etc.) that are related to success at work" .

"Lominger", Example of a Tool for Assessing Comptencies

Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger, co-founders of Lominger Limited Inc., have conducted significant research in the area of management and executive development, and co-created the Leadership Architect Suite of management, executive and organizational development tools.  These tools can be used to access existing and prospective employees' level of capability in relation to leadership competencies. They can also be used to diagnosis developmental needs and create development plans.

Once an organization has determined what leadership competencies are critical to to driving business results, they can  conduct a competency-based assessment of their current talent pool in order to identify how best to approach leadership development and organizational succession planning initiatives.

The Importance of a Competency-Based Approach to Recruitment and Employee Development
  1. To recruit for specific leadership competencies that are lacking in your current employee group, enabling you to bolster the current capabilities within your team or organization.
  2. To be more strategic in how you deploy development dollars or opportunities to ensure you maximize your return on investment.  (For example, research has determined that the most difficult leadership competencies to develop at the executive level are conflict management, innovation management, personal learning and understanding others.  The same research also suggests that these competencies are the least prevalent within the general population.  Therefore, assuming these are competencies critical to your organization, you would realize a greater benefit by hiring candidates into your organization who are already strong in these competencies, rather than trying to develop current employees who are weak in them.)
  3. To develop concrete developmental action plans that will have a much greater chance of success and thus greater level of credibility with employees.
  4. To support your organizational succession planning efforts in a more structured and fact-based manner, which will yield better results in these efforts.
Neale Harrison*
*Neale Harrison, President of Talent Matters Inc., has been certified and licensed in the Lominger Leadership Architect Suite since 2003.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Are You a Strategic Partner or a Bureaucrat?

What are some of the important indicators that would suggest you are a strategic partner versus a bureaucrat?

1) Do you know what your businesses key performance indicators are, and more importantly, how to influence them?

2) To what degree have you developed your business and financial acumen skills?

3) Can you articulate what your organization's point of sustainable competitive advantage is?

4) Are you able to demonstrate how your efforts are directly or indirectly linked to driving increased profitability, market share or decrease operating costs?

5) Do you know, study or have competitive intelligence that outlines how and in what way your competitors out-perform your business?

6) Are your opinions or insights sought out by business leaders within your organization?

If you are able to positively answer the majority of these six indicators, then you are most likely a strategic partner who is able to demonstrate how you add value to your organization.  Conversely, if you struggle with most of these questions, then you may be a bureaucrat and you need to question the value your organization derives from your efforts!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Common Recruitment Missteps

During my 20 + years of recruiting top talent, I have observed a number of common recruitment missteps that led to either the derailment of the recruitment process or the hiring of suboptimal talent. 

The following are some of the most problematic recruitment missteps that should be avoided: 

(1)  Task vs. Strategic Opportunity:  Treating the recruitment process as a task rather than a strategic opportunity to enhance the team's or business' capabilities. Hiring managers should not expect exceptional results from the process if they approach it from a place of mediocrity - "effort equals reward".

(2)  Like Me Hire:  The "like me hire" (i.e., hiring the candidate with similar skills, capabilities and personality traits as the hiring manager). As I identified in my previous blog, a strategic hiring manager will target an applicant that possesses "complimentary capabilities" versus perpetuating homogeneity. 

(3)  Rushing or DelayingRushing the hiring decision to get a seat in a chair versus the best seat in a chair or, conversely, delaying, procrastinating or not placing high importance on the process, thereby losing momentum and in either case missing an opportunity to hire top talent.

(4)  Unrealistic Job PreviewFailing to provide the candidate with a realistic job preview. This critical step in the recruitment process should enable the job applicant to gain a clear picture of the rewarding aspects of the job, as well as the challenges one will face operating within the organization.  This step should enable the hiring manager and applicant to access suitability factors of importance to both parties.

(5)  Failure to Conduct Reference ChecksFailure to conduct reference checks or the verification of candidate credentials.  Under ideal circumstances, the hiring manager should conduct at least two reference checks themselves to ensure the applicant has accurately portrayed their work experience and achievements, as well as probing for specific developmental themes of the applicant .  Equally important, applicants should be asked to produce original documents or acceptable copies of their accreditations and other relevant credentials given various studies have suggested that between 5% to 10% percent of all applicants misrepresent credentials on their resumes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What Else Should I Consider When I Screen Candidates? "Complementary Capabilities"

Most hiring managers approach the interview and screening process with a focus on the candidate's job experience, educational credentials and fit. While these criteria are key considerations in the hiring decision, the notion of a candidate's fit is usually looked at from the perspective of personality and organizational fit versus "complimentary capabilities".

Complimentary capabilities can be broadly defined as skills, knowledge, behaviours and/or attributes that are strengths of an applicant, which the hiring manager and the team may possess, but are not considered strengths

The need for "complementary capabilities" is heightened when the incumbent is required to work in a team environment.  In such a team environment, the team will always drive far better business results when it is comprised of members having "complimentary capabilities", rather than a group of people having similar capabilities. 
So, why should hiring managers focus on "complementary capabilities"?  Here's why (1) it forces the hiring manager to ensure they clearly understand the strengths and limitations of their team and acknowledge and self reflect on their own capabilities, (2) if appropriately applied, hiring  managers will be more strategic in their hiring practices which will lead to better hiring decisions, and (3) it will avoid creating or perpetuating a homogeneous group that possess limited divergence within their skills and/or thinking, and ultimately impedes the ability of their group to drive accelerated business results.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Launch of Talent Matters - Specialized Recruitment and Human Resources Consulting Firm

After more than 20 years working as a human resources professional, specializing in the recruitment and coaching of top talent at several fortune 500 companies, I am excited to let you know that I have launched my own consulting business.

Going forward, I will be providing regular updates on insights, tips, best in class practices, practical solutions, links and other useful information to hiring managers and job seekers. I also intend to report on current trends, new research findings and other interesting facts that I believe you will find invaluable, and fascinating at times.

Ultimately, I hope that this information will enable hiring managers and job seekers to not only make more informed hiring and job acceptance decisions, but will lead to the hiring of higher quality candidates and the acceptance of higher quality assignments.

Neale Harrison