In the recruiting profession I have the luxury or the misery of looking at resumes all day long. There have definitely been times when someone looks perfect on paper to find that they just aren’t the right person for the job, and sometimes the people who don’t look great on paper seem to be the right fit.
Assessing talent is a tricky business, but I wanted to share with you the model I use in evaluating candidates. I try my best to make sure candidates fit in three categories: Motivational Fit, Functional Fit, and Cultural Fit.
Motivational Fit is very important, and I start with evaluating this almost every time. If the person isn’t a motivational fit, nothing else matters. A person’s motivation is the reason why the person is considering a job change. It is what is driving them to interview with your company. Let me ask you this, have you ever interviewed someone who you know didn’t even take the time to research your company? That’s a very obvious example of someone who might not be motivated to make a job change even though they are interviewing.
Most clues are a lot more subtle than the above example. Finding out what has motivated them to make changes before, can be a great way to find out what might be motivating them now. One way to do this is the ole “walk me through your resume”. Dig deep on why they went from company to company. Believe it or not, some companies and recruiters assume that if the person is interviewing, they are truly interested and motivated to make a job change. That is not always the case.
When I prepare candidates for interviews and approaching Motivational Fit questions, I have them be ready to answer three basic questions: why me? (Why am I a fit for your company); why you? (Why am I interested in your specific company); and why now? (What has changed in their current situation that dictates they change jobs). So, as an employer, you shouldn’t leave the interview without knowing the answers to these questions. Here are some open-ended questions you can ask to get to the heart of their Motivational Fit:
-What did you find most compelling about our company after researching us?
-What motivated you to leave ABC company, a very stable organization, to join XYZ company, a start-up?
-I notice you had to part ways with 123 Company after just a year, can you help me understand what led to that decision?
Functional Fit is usually easier to identify on paper. Assessing this fit is of course vital because if they don’t meet this area, they can’t do the job! Even though this seems easy to evaluate, still this is where the biggest mistakes are made by companies and recruiters. We assume that all companies function the same way as our company does – a pitfall we should avoid. In the Functional assessment, it’s best to ask a mix of open-ended and behavioral based questions. Here are some examples:
-Can you give me an example of a time when you had to (perform a specific function)?
-What typical interactions might you have with your colleagues in other departments (cross-functional team interaction)?
Cultural Fit is the main reason we have face-to-face interviews. We need to assess whether or not this candidate is going to do well in our corporate culture. If you work with a recruiter consistently, you should invest the money in bringing him/her to your headquarters to get a feel for your company culture. How else can your recruiter assess whether or not the candidate might be a good fit culturally for your group?
Every company has a unique corporate culture that trickles down from the top. No two are alike. Some candidates can only thrive in a company where there are a lot of clearly defined processes already in place, and others would feel completely stifled in such a culture.
Your management style is another key component to the make-up of your team. You have to take a look in the mirror and be realistic about the type of manager you are. Are you the type of manager who gives your employees tons of autonomy, or do you like to keep fairly close tabs on their daily activities? Finding out what types of managers the candidate has had in situations where they were successful is vital for assessing whether or not the candidate is a culture fit for your company.
In learning about how a person may or may not fit with your company, you definitely want to keep the questions open-ended and you don’t want to preface the questions with any clues as to what the culture might be like at your company. So you want to avoid asking questions like this, “Here at ABC we have a very fast-paced environment and not everybody can do well here, what is the best environment for you?” That is a leading question that won’t get you a true answer.
It is far better to ask something like, “I see that you spent four years at XYZ company, how would you describe the culture and environment of that organization?”
Here are some others:
-Of all of your managers at XYZ, who did you report to the longest? How would you describe their management style? How does that style affect your level of achievement?
-In your career I’m sure you’ve had many different managers who had different strengths and weaknesses, if you could take the best parts from them all and build the best manager, what characteristics would your ideal manager have?
You can see that asking open-ended questions can really lead to proper assessment of candidates. Also, assessing whether they are a Motivational Fit, Functional Fit, and a Cultural Fit can save you time and money when hiring and training. In the grand scheme of things, it is my job as your recruiter to make sure the people I help you hire “stick” and they are lasting members of your organization. I strongly feel that if we both keep a close eye on the three areas covered in this newsletter, we will celebrate great success.