Who should you hire? It might be the most important question you ask at work. Forget meeting your quarterly goals or expanding into new markets; if you don’t find the right people for your team, you’re going to be out of the ballgame pretty quickly.
That’s why this week we have double the insight for you. We’re joined by two amazing guests who are working toward creating a less stressful, more predictable hiring process. Our first guest, Carol Quinn, is the pioneer behind motivation-based interviewing (MBI), a re-imagination of the job interview.
Our second guest, Nick Martin, is director of global products and analytics at Aon. He tells us about the doors that technology is opening for us in assessment. And though both of our guests approach the hiring process from different perspectives, they have very similar thoughts on what you should be looking for when evaluating candidates.
Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.
The Problem with Interviews
We’ve all been there: We hire a highly qualified candidate whose interview blows us away — but whose subsequent job performance leaves much to be desired. It’s confusing, frustrating and sometimes just plain confounding. How can someone who checked off every box be so disappointing?
To Quinn there’s a reason for this. “Skill level alone does not determine future performance,” she says. “If it was about skill, we could just hire anyone, not interview them, teach them the skill and everybody would be high-performers.”
That’s why Quinn developed MBI, which she says assesses candidates more effectively than the behavior-based interview model we’re all so familiar with. MBI addresses things that Quinn says behavior-based interviews can’t. “What’s missing is the motivation piece,” she says. “Behavior-based interviewing will not allow an interviewer to accurately assess a candidate’s motivation.”
She has another word for it, too: “attitude.”
Why the Attitude?
So what does Quinn mean by “attitude”? “It’s a person’s response to adversity and difficulty, and on-the-job challenges and obstacles,” she says.
You don’t need to take many leaps of logic to understand that someone’s ability to handle the unexpected is important to a company’s success. MBI offers a methodology for evaluating these skills in a candidate. And it’s designed specifically to address the issue of being fooled by Oscar-caliber performances in job interviews “That’s that the whole goal, to see the difference between the true high-performers and the pretenders,” Quinn says, noting that her research shows that the “actors” we’re trying to avoid actually answer MBI questions much differently compared with the high-performing candidates we’re seeking.
Although MBI may sound a bit daunting, it’s just a different strategy. Your interviews will take the same amount of time; all that changes are the categories of assessment. There are numerous resources available to learn more about MBI. Courses are easy to find, both in-person and online, and Quinn has written a book that breaks down her methodology.
Even More Shiny New Tools
So we all want highly motivated candidates. But what if one of those candidates wears pajamas to their interview? Martin says some companies are already allowing this, by employing digital interviews, where candidates complete self-administered assessments, all from the privacy of their own home — and, yes, perhaps while lounging in their sleepwear.
As bizarre as it might sound, Martin says these tools actually allow a company to evaluate candidates more efficiently. The reason isn’t the automation behind the process, he says. It’s that the process creates a better candidate experience. “You want to meet them on their time and in their space,” he says. Taking things a step further, some assessments even incorporate texting and instant messaging in order to simulate the digital communications methods we have in the modern workplace.
But this doesn’t mean that technology eliminates the need for human interaction. These tools simply enhance the evaluation process, giving organizations new means of collecting data on candidates more effectively and efficiently. They also save everyone time, and as Martin points out, organizations save something else as well: money.
The Soft Skills
Of course, an innovator like Martin also has his own opinions on what organizations should look for when hiring. For example, he says companies need to look beyond traditional skills assessments and focus more on soft skills. “Without jumping into a particular job or role, I would say problem solving, decision making, oral communication and collaboration are probably some of the top skills that employers, or hiring officials, should probably keep an eye out for,” he says.
On this topic he sounds a lot like Quinn — they may use different terminology but they’re speaking about the same traits. “If you have good decision-makers, you can train people from a technical perspective,” Martin says. “You’ve got people who can be tossed in any sort of situation and figure it out.”