Is your hiring process valid?

A productive selection process is a valid process. Let me define the term “valid” clearly. In the case of a selection, evidence of validity means the selection process demonstrates that it:

  • Makes sense to all parties including the candidate;
  • Is reflective of the job and the tasks associated with the job;
  • Measures content that is reflective of the job;
  • Is predictive of success; and
  • Measures what it intends to measure.

A strong selection process contributes to decisions, positive or negative, that reflect a candidate’s ability to do a job and be productive in the organizational culture.

How have you ensured your selection process meets the above criteria?


8 Signs It Is Time to Hire

A top performer feeling overworked is just one sign it may be time to hire more staff. Here are seven more reasons for talent managers to consider.

Every manager has the same goal: to have just the right number of people on staff to keep up with the workload. When demands are growing, though, it can be difficult to know what to do. Is it time to hire, or should existing employees be asked to take on more?

Most companies experience the same situations when they’re understaffed. Here are eight common signs that it’s time to hire:

1. Top employees are struggling: Every team has its go-to people –– those reliable individuals who always exceed expectations. Supervisors may notice these top performers are missing deadlines or asking for extensions with their projects. If the best-of-the-best can’t keep up with workloads, chances are the entire team is sinking under the pressure.

2. Growth isn’t good news: Business is booming and the company is set to open 20 new offices in the next year. However, no one is happy, including department leaders. Instead, the overwhelming thought is worry about the impact of that growth. How will employees keep up? Expansion should bring smiles, not feelings of anxiety.

3. Opportunities are turned down: The money is there to market to new clients, upgrade outdated technology and make other changes that support the business, but people prefer the status quo. Managers opt not to take advantage of improved finances by making changes because there simply aren’t enough employees to handle those changes.

4. Managers are juggling multiple jobs: The team is at its breaking point, so supervisors are stepping in to help. Instead of focusing entirely on management issues, leaders are seen at the copy machine, answering phones and finishing reports for staff. Throw in an employee absence or two and managers are in a real bind. They may never get to their own work.

5. Overtime is the norm: Overtime isn’t a problem when it’s occasional, but it can be when it’s no longer tied to peak seasons or big projects. If supervisors regularly receive emails from employees in the evening or on weekends — and often respond back immediately because they’re working too — that can be a major red flag that it’s time to hire.

6. Complaints are on the rise: Unexpected delays, lack of responsiveness and poor-quality work are becoming noticeable. Managers are starting to hear complaints from internal staff and clients that their employees aren’t meeting standards. In fact, the company may already be losing business because personnel are stretched too thin and can’t keep up with demands.

7. Mistakes are commonplace: There is so much to do that employees are producing as much as they can, as quickly as they can — with the end result being lot of mistakes. People who are in a rush to check off items on their ever-growing to-do lists won’t pay attention to detail. Unless mistakes are normally par for the course, this is a clear sign it’s time to hire.

8. Employees are out sick more often: Finally, supervisors should watch for the personal impact of stress and burnout on staff. There may be a noticeable uptick in the use of sick days. Employees may not necessarily be using the time to relax, either. Those who’ve been asked to give 110 percent for too long may feel the impact on their health, being more susceptible to colds and ailments.

Originally published in Talent Management

Losing Face: Interviews That Don’t Measure Up

Losing FaceSeveral years ago a friend of mine was interviewing for a job.  She was actually interviewing at a hospital to work as a doctor in the emergency room.  She was seated in a large room on one side of a table with a group of people that faced her on the other side.  The room was hot and the interview seemed more like an interrogation rather than an interview.  She was uncomfortable and became frustrated because while she understood there were pressures in the ER, the pressures that they were trying to make her face in the interview were nothing like what she would experience on the job.

As the room became more and more stifling and uncomfortable it seemed that the interviewers were uncomfortable as well.  At one point during the interview they asked her if she would open the window.  She walked over to the window and tried to open it.  She was unable to. She continued to try making every effort possible, struggling to open the window and to cool the room.  At this point she was getting angry and beginning to lose her patience.  She happened to glance down at the windowsill and what she saw was the last straw.  She noticed some of the paint on the windowsill had chipped off and as she looked more closely she saw the head of a nail.  It was clear that opening the window was actually part of the interview process.  It was a test.  They had purposely nailed the window shut, raised the temperature in the room and asked her to open the window in order to see how she would deal with stress under difficult circumstances.  Now she was irritated, livid, and disillusioned in the actions that this employer was taking in the interview process.  So she walked over to a chair, picked it up, lifted it over her head, aimed it towards the window and asked, “How badly do you want this window opened?”  Needless to say, she did not take that job and she didn’t care whether she got the job or not.  In her mind the interview process was stupid, silly and made no sense.

In selection circles, professionals call that face validity.  Essentially face validity means, does the process make sense to the candidate.  Too many times we build selection procedures that make no sense to our candidates. We ask them questions that are ridiculous, inane, and have no right answer.  We make them jump through hoops that have nothing to do with the skills of the job.  We play junior psychologist even though we are not educated in psychology.  When we make candidates respond to questions and tests that have no face validity in their minds and make no sense to them, we only hurt ourselves, as employers.  Typically, asking questions and behaving in this manner creates four obstacles in the selection process:

1.         We lower our offer acceptance rates.  Candidates typically tell us no, I don’t want this job.  I don’t want to work for you.

2.         We don’t hire the best people.  We make offers to those people that make us happy. They figure out what makes us tick or are lucky enough to give us the answer that we like.  But, we really don’t know if they will be good at the job. We are flipping a coin when it comes to hiring the individuals in this manner.

3.         We create discomfort and confusion in candidates.  The candidates don’t understand the reasoning behind the questions, and wonder why we behave the way we do in the interview and selection process.  That doesn’t breed confidence or goodwill.  It actually does the opposite.

4.         We put ourselves and our business at risk when the selection process and questions we ask do not make sense to candidates.  It creates doubt in those candidate’s minds about whether they were treated fairly.  It raises our chances of being sued because people don’t feel like they were treated fairly and equitably.

So, if you want people to work for you, you want to get the very best candidates out there, you want your selection process to breed goodwill with those that you hire and with those that you don’t, and most importantly you want to stay legal…the next time you think about interviewing or hiring someone, ask yourself, “Will this make sense to the candidate?”


Mistake No. 6:                       Not Involving Employees

Many times organizations believe that hiring is a function of HR or a function of the hiring manager.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t take into account that the rest of the team has to work with and live with the individual you hire.  They also know the job best.  They should be involved in the hiring process.  Their input is invaluable – find a way to involve as many of the employees in the hiring process as possible.

Mistake No. 7:                       Taking the Bodies

Too many times we want to fill a slot.  We will rush through an interview.  We won’t even interview strongly and in many cases we will believe that most anybody could do this job.  We feel there are not enough people in the market place who can handle this job, so we sacrifice or give in, and don’t hold ourselves to the needed criteria.  When we don’t use criteria for the job there’s no reason for a hiring process.  We are looking to fill in with a body.  The problem is that those types of people and that kind of hiring process leads to a lot of turnover and to a never ending cycle of continuously filling roles and positions.  It decreases morale, uses up resources and over time kills an organization.

Mistake No. 8:                       Looking for Superman or Wonder Woman

Certain organizations and managers look for people that are impossible to find in the market place.  We are never going to find the perfect human being who has every competency that we could ever think of, use or need.  It’s important that we really know what is essential to success on the job.  When we know what is essential to success on the job we have a strong measuring stick for what we are looking for.  When we know what we are looking for and we’re clear on it we are able to find those people.  We tend to look for superman or wonder woman because we’re looking for a fix rather than what we need.  We need to know what we don’t need in order to know what we do need and that’s what defining the job means.

Mistake No. 9:                       Treating Candidates like Candidates

First rule in hiring – it’s a 2-way street.  They are making a decision and we’re making a decision.  We need to treat them with respect, not only as a candidate, but as if they are the marketing department.  We want them to walk away with a received the position or did not receive the position and have a relationship with this person that helps them and helps us.  We want them to give referrals to other candidates because they had such a great experience in the process.  So, we need to make sure that this is not a test.  We need to make sure that this is not a one way street.  We want to make sure they are treated like a human being and that our approach demonstrates respect for every candidate that walks in our door.

Mistake No. 10:                     Viewing On Boarding as Separate from Hiring and Selection

Think about it.  Most of us when interviewing candidates use tests and a variety of other measures during the interview and selection process.  If we have great, strong interviews and use good assessments, then we will have enough information from what we have collected during our hiring process that we could actually work with them from almost day one, at least within the first week, on what a strong development plan would be for that individual.  Imagine being able to sit down with the person and say, here’s what we saw in your interview process, here’s why we hired you and why we think you will be successful, and here are some things that we think you may need to work on.  What are your thoughts? Then, together, collaboratively, put together a development plan for the next six months to a year.  That’s powerful.  That creates an interest in wanting to stay, confidence in that employee and that employee having confidence in the organization and it will create discretionary effort and a shorter learning curve.  Use the information you collected in the hiring process to help the employee get off to a good, strong start.


Mistake No. 1                      Hiring for skills, attitude or culture

You have to hire for all three.  In today’s fast-paced, collaborative culture we need people with shorter learning curves who can play in the sandbox with others, work with the grain of the Company and help energize others.  In essence, we have to look at the whole person when hiring.  To do this we need a strong selection process with multiple components.

Mistake No. 2.                       Selling the job or business

If you want someone to quit within a few months sell them in the interview process.  It is like a movie that cannot live up to the trailer.  If you want to identify people that will want the job and will stick around, share with them the challenges of the job and working at that organization.  Most importantly, use that process to help make the candidate make a decision about whether or not they want to work there.  A structured, consistent and productive way to do this is to use a tool for this process called a realistic job preview.

Mistake No. 3.                       Trusting your intuition

Most research has demonstrated that when we hire using our gut feeling we have about a 50/50 chance of hiring the best person for the job.  Those are lousy odds.  We want to do better than flip a coin.  We want to make sure that we are hiring the very best person, that we have confidence in them and they have confidence in us and our organization.  The only way to breed that confidence is to use a structured process to help us make the very best decision possible.

Mistake No. 4.                       Ignoring your intuition

Now that seems counter intuitive because I just talked about it being a mistake to trust your intuition, and now I am saying ignoring your intuition is a mistake.  I never want you to ignore your intuition.  I want you to use your intuition as a vehicle to understand that you see, hear or identify a red flag.  Now your key issue must be to verify your gut feeling and understand why it is there.  It may be a bias or it may be something real.  If it is a bias we obviously want to avoid using our bias in selection decisions.  But if it is something real we want to follow that gut feeling, get good information about it and verify it.  So, don’t completely ignore your intuition.

Mistake No. 5.                       Not training people on how to hire

Too many companies rely on picking a set of questions.  They even use some form of behavior-based interviewing.  However, they really are not using the true process of behavior-based interviewing.  To do that people need to be trained and there’s an entire process on how to define what a role looks like and what questions would specifically be used for that role.  There’s a certain way to probe for more information and a very specific way to rate the information that you collect from your candidates.  If you don’t go through training and learn the entire process and learn it well you’re bound to make mistakes which will cause you two challenges:  (1) hiring people who are not necessarily appropriate for that position, and (2) putting yourself at a legal risk.

If you want to find a job…

Top 5 ways to improve your resume.

Here are some tips that will help you more successfully apply for and find a job:

  1.  Snail mail is dead.  Email or upload your resume.
  2. Computers read your resume first.  These programs use algorithms and keyword searches to sort the resumes in categories related to best fit.  You want your resume seen use the right keywords.
  3. To find the right keywords look at the job description and pull words directly from the job description posted by the company.  If they do not have a clear description of the job look up similar positions and use those to develop your keyword list.
  4. Customize your resume to the job and the company, even if that means you apply for less positions.  Remember, your resume is a marketing tool so make it about their needs while marketing yourself.
  5. Know your red flags.  Have you switched jobs a great deal?  Did you get fired?  Whatever the concern stop trying to hide it.  Deal with the issue upfront.  There are ways to position these challenges positively or as learning experiences.

On-boarding: Are you enacting the lemon law strategy or rallying the troops?

Do you know?  Do you know the difference? 

Recently I was working with a company on their talent management strategy and I heard a number of things from the focus groups I ran for them.  A couple of items stood out:

  • People took the position because it was a job, not for any higher purpose
  • When they started they were never told why they were hired and what would make them successful
  • The orientation was short and administrative driven not learner or employee centered

The way we bring people on makes a big difference in how they perform, how they feel about their choice and whether or not they will stay.  Some of your employees may feel like people do after buying a used car…buyer’s remorse.  They may even want to take advantage of the lemon law and go find a new job.  Other employees may feel a sense of pride from day one.  What is the difference?

  • Job fit
  • Their manager
  • The employer’s on-boarding practice

Typically the last item, the employer’s on-boarding practice, or lack thereof, impacts the first two bullets.  Too many times we have a poor selection process and leave our manager out in the cold when supporting them around the on-boarding process.  Any on-boarding process should include:

  • Clear reason why they were hired and why they will be successful
  • At least a 3-6 month plan
  • Developmental plan based on information collected in the selection process
  • A buddy, mentoring, and/or coaching component
  • Self paced learning component
  • Connections to people and various departments in the organization
  • And a quick win!

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. How do you make a new employee feel welcome?
  2. How do you help a new employee feel connected?
  3. What do you do to inspire and stir the passion of a new employee?
  4. To what extent are new employees encourage and even supported in meeting and talking with key executives?
  5. How do you help illustrate the big picture and strategy to your new employees?
  6. How interactive is your process?
  7. To what extent can you off-load paperwork and other items to technology?
  8. Is your orientation effort design for HR’s ease or the employee’s benefit?
  9. How much information do make a new employee swallow and in what amount of time?
  10. What symbols, stories, and rituals do you utilize to demonstrate the value your company brings to the community, employees, and customers?