3 Tough Interview Questions for Employers

These 3 interview questions are often not asked, but I find very helpful to identify the best candidate to hire.

Let’s back up a second. Interviews offer a micro-opportunity for you – an employer – to assess a prospective employees’ abilities and compatibility with the work, the organizational culture and the customers / clients. During the interview you are looking to hire a person who will:

A: Go above and beyond, be creative, be dependable, be respected by co-workers/customers/clients.
B: Manage their responsibilities well, be respected by co-workers/customers/clients.
C/D: Nobody wants to hire a C or D option, so I won’t even talk about the employee that just gets by.

A or B would be great… but really, we want to hire the A employee every time – and we want them to stay with us for more than 2 years.Storytelling Word Mix By Bruce Mayhew

These examples follow the Behavioral Event Interview (BEI). What is a behavioral interview question? A BEI is a structured interview usually used when selecting employees. It gathers information about the history of an applicant as a means of predicting future performance. A Behavioral Event Interview asks for examples of a candidates past actions / behaviors… not answers to hypothetical situations.

A BEI can easily have 10 to 15 prepared interview questions that the interviewer asks every candidate. The following are 3 interview questions I find very helpful to find A-class candidates.

Behavioral Event Interview (BEI)

1: Tell me about a time when you have been promoted or given more responsibility?

A-class employees are hard workers who look for opportunities to grow and do great work. This often leads to being promoted – or at least frequently being given more responsibility and greater challenges.

Sub-Questions Level II:

  1. Why did your supervisors / leaders give you this promotion / more responsibility?
  2. How did you feel about being given this promotion / more responsibility?

2: Share a large project or challenge you have led.

A-class employees often find themselves running large or important projects; even introverted A-class employees. Why? Because they are creative, collaborative, dependable and have a high work-quality ethic.

Sub-Questions Level II:

  1. Please share the key deliverables and what you did to achieve them.
  2. Discuss any crisis that came along and what you did to correct it.
  3. Share experiences you had with delegating tasks and/or collaboration. Questions b&c explore leadership abilities/qualities in forming, leading and mentoring teams.
  4. What did you do to create something new? Here you are looking for them to demonstrate that they are a thought leaders… by either coming up with a new idea/process… or repurposing something that exists into a new format/purpose (like taking blog posts and creating a webinar from them for team training).

3: Are you committed to continual learning??

A-class employees love learning – especially Millennials; they want to gain experience. In addition, most exceptional employees also want to meet new people to add to their professional network. Learning can be books they read, courses they took or Professional Development they participated in… or a combination.

Sub-Questions Level II:

  1. How do you learn best? What is your learning style?
  2. Describe something that pushed your limits – engaged you to learn in your previous role.

Conclusion:

Interview questions are critically important and often not given the forethought they deserve.

It’s important employers look beyond a list of credentials and education and discover how candidates will act in the future by explaining what they’ve done in the past. Look for how they think, their personal and professional values and how they communicate.

Encourage candidates to share stories about their past experiences – both work experiences and perhaps (especially for Millennials), experiences they’ve had elsewhere (volunteering, education, vacation etc). Look for their expressed behavior in situations – because if they can tell you how they handled a stressful situation in the past, it’s a very good indicator that they will handle stressful situations in a similar way in the future.

Happy communicating… interviewing… mentoring… and training.

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How To Hire An Employee Who Will Stay More Than 12 Months.

Have you ever interviewed and hired an employee who had all the right experience but in the end were a poor fit… or quit after less than a year?

Not only is this a huge cost for your company – it’s an enormous opportunity lost in productivity. The cost to interview, hire an employee and train them is expensive. Many studies suggest an employee begins to become financially valuable only after 1 to 1.5 years. 

If you hired an employee who seemed to be the right fit but quickly became a disappointment, chances are their needs were different than what your organization could offer, and their values were never compatible with your organization. The gap between what employees want and what they get is most often not money; instead most common reasons for leaving a company include:

  • Flexible work hours/environment
  • The office is outside of their preferred geographic area
  • They felt they were overqualified vs. responsibilities
  • Clear opportunities to learn and advancement opportunities
  • Recognition of their contribution (not enough)

In most cases employees realize there is a poor fit before employers do… and as soon as they do, they begin job-hunting again.

The Old Way Of Interviewing Holds Too Much Risk

Your company wants to / needs to invest in smart, dedicated employees and too often, the old way of interviewing leads to the wrong person being hired.

PWC What Millennials Want

Study by PWC

Most interviews evaluate past experience and a candidates response to hypothetical questions like “What would you do if….” Unfortunately, this approach provides an unreliable evaluation process – especially when it comes to Millennials (1980 – 2000) and Gen Z (2001 – present) since even the oldest Millennials likely have less than 10 years work experience.

A recent study by PWC demonstrates less than 30% of Millennial employees are satisfied with their jobs (see the red line in the image). I believe this is partially because they accepted job offers that didn’t match their needs and values. A BEI Interview structure would have saved you (and the employee), time, money and opportunity.

Your organization and work structure depends on measured deliverables.
Shouldn’t your hiring practices also be based on measured deliverables?

To hire an employee who will happily embrace the work they do for more than a year, explore their needs and values based on past behaviour. A BEI job interview structure evaluates a candidate’s true core competency, values and needs by asking ‘how’ and ‘why’ a candidate has done ‘what’ they’ve done.

BEI helps you explore how they’ve managed real situations in the past. Lived experience and past behavior is a far better predictor of future behavior than exploring hypothetical situations. 

The Benefit

I’ve already discussed a few benefits, but here’s a full list. Not only will you hire the right employee, a BEI system:

  • Happens quickly (hiring decisions made more quickly because you will see quickly who is the best fit)
  • Uses an interview assessment scorecard which provides consistent, quantifiable proof
  • Is cost effectively (the right employees get up-to-speed fast, are happier, are more passionate about the job)
  • Employees produce more and make fewer mistakes
  • Happy employees stay longer and are more creative
  • The hiring decision is defendable / measurable / stands up to scrutiny
  • Gaps in skill set are identified. Gaps aren’t bad – they are places where an investment of education or mentoring will make the biggest gain. 

What If A Candidate Has A Gap In Skills But Great Values?

The beauty with a BEI is that it does a great job of uncovering all the strengths a person has, and it also lets you list all their gaps.

If a candidate is lacking one or two minor skills that may not be a problem. Values and personality traits like respect and attention to detail are difficult to learn (or fake), whereas many skills can be quickly learned by highly motivated employees. If you have identified skill gaps in a high potential new employee, you can put in place an effective education plan to teach the stills they are lacking; far better than losing the time and costs associated with re-teaching them skills they already have OR miss teaching them skills they are lacking.

Also, if you hire an employee that knows everything don’t be surprised if they get bored and quickly move on. A participant in one my recent BEI training workshops shared with the class that this recently happened to her – hence her desire to learn a new, more reliable interview system.

Conclusion:

Does your company have an approved structure for hiring people? Do you usually hire people because you like them or because they will fit in?

While many organizations struggle to increase employee loyalty – and there is lots of benefit to identifying and hiring motivated employees.

Happy communicating and business email etiquette for your office.

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Millennials And Empathy At Work

It’s hard to have a discussion about Millennials without someone mentioning Millennials and empathy at work and how Millennials are less empathetic than Boomers and Gen X.

Successful business leaders know this is an important conversation that can’t be ignored and are finding ways to:

  • Use Behaviour Event modeling (BEI) to hire Millennials who will demonstrate empathy at work
  • Engage Millennial employees – and all staff – with meaningful work
  • Nurture Millennial employees – and all staff – by providing frequent training (including soft skills like mindfulness)
  • Retain Millennial employees – and all staff – by treating and rewarding them as individuals

Successful business leaders are adjusting their hiring and management style because they know employees are an investment. And, on the topic of Millennials, more and more business leaders also recognize Millennials are highly motivated to invest in ‘their career’ and the organization that can advance that career, but Millennials do not invest in ‘a job’. 

So, how does empathy fit into todays business model?

As I mentioned above, more and more successful business leaders are hiring employees who will demonstrate soft skills like empathy and flexibility as well as technical skills, education and experience. Adding empathy and soft skills to their hiring mix is no surprise considering the work of biologist, professor of psychology and author Frans de Waal, PhD.  de Wall writes in his book, The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons For A Kinder Society that Empathy is the social glue that holds human society together.” And  business leaders want employees who will innovate and support each other and their customers… which requires empathic, compassionate, collaborative and motivated individuals.

To begin this blog series dedicated to helping business leaders and Millennials explore empathy, I’m going to start by questioning the word empathy. 

Is Empathy The Right Word?

There is a lot of confusion about the word empathy… and therefore, what is empathy at work. To build this discussion on a good foundation, I offer the following descriptions of three words that are often misused: ‘What is Sympathy,’ ‘What is Empathy,’ and ‘What is Compassion.’What Is Empathy?

  • What is Sympathy? Sympathy is a person’s ability to be aware of and correctly understand or imagine how another person is feeling but it’s not important that you share their feelings and you certainly do not take action to assist.
  • What is Empathy? Empathy is a person’s ability to be aware of and correctly understand or imagine how another person is feelings and you are able to share their feelings. A common example/saying is being able to imagine ‘being in another person’s shoes.’
  • What is Compassion? Compassion involves taking action to assist. You feel all the things associated with empathy… and then if you choose to help, you feel compassion. If you say ‘I want to help them,’… and do help them… you demonstrate compassion… especially if you give up something of yourself (time, emotional wellbeing, money).

Based on these descriptions, I believe when most people speak of Millennials and empathy at work, they actually mean compassion because they expect the employee to take action to assist. For example, the Millennial may be:

  • A sales person who is listening to a customer’s needs so they can recommend the best solution.
  • A manager giving a performance review that falls short of an employee’s expectations and must find a way to demonstrate this is a learning opportunity for the employee.

Do you agree these are examples of compassion at work – not empathy at work?

Conclusion

By 2025, three out of four workers worldwide are expected to be Millennials according to Time Magazine. The time is now for us all to help each other understand and safely express emotions like sympathy, empathy and compassion at work… and at home.  Being listened to and understood is very important to feeling respected. Being listened to and understood also goes a long – long way to building trusting relationships and calming people who are upset. 

In upcoming posts within this blog series I will continue to explore questions concerning empathy and Millennials. This will include how we can all become more empathic and… compassionate.

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Happy communicating.

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

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How Executives Lead: Finding Three, Four or Five Generations Working Side-by-Side

Imagine… for the first time in history we’re finding three, four or five generations working side-by-side.

Generational differences at work create fantastic opportunities that are critical to sustained peak performance and reduced workplace turnover. Yet morale issues, productivity and financial setbacks are rising from the different generational goals, experiences and communication styles.

Managing a team with diverse personalities, responsibilities, ambitions and expectations can seem overwhelming – yet this diversity is an amazing competitive advantage for your business.

Organizations that embrace generational differences are able to cultivate a great employee/employer working relationship by helping employees at all levels focus on shared objectives as they motivate, mentor and even rely on each other from a perspective of collaboration. When different generations cooperate there are more opportunities to experience high-impact change with low economic and emotional risk.

Gen Z – Millennial – Gen X – Boomer – Traditionalist

Hire The Right People: Share The Company Vision

With the high cost of hiring and training new talent, companies cannot afford to lose employees after only 1 or 2 years. And while Gen X and Boomers will often stay longer, we see from experience that even with high unemployment levels, Millennials and now Gen Z seem ever ready to quit in search of greener pastures.

The best first step to increase employee retention, satisfaction, productivity and multigenerational collaboration is to hire the right people. Don’t hire the people you like… that is old-school. Teach everyone who are responsible for hiring a formal interview process like Behaviour Event Interview (BEI Training), so your leaders can hire the people with the right skills AND those who are the best cultural fit.

Once you hire the right person then treat them well. Happy employees will be more productive and treat your customers well. Share the company vision, provide clear direction and expectations, then measure results and expectations regularly. Do not wait for quarterly or especially annual reviews…. things are moving far too quickly for that. In many cases weekly project reviews are quite valuable.

Help Different Generations Recognize Each Others Strengths: Everyone Is Valuable

Whether you are an owner or you are working your first job, you are valuable or you would not be there. What is important to realize is that everyone has a unique set of experiences and skills; all are great and all are required. This is where collaborative teams are important.

When you work in a collaborative team it’s imperative that everyone understands the project objectives. In addition, everyone within the collaborative team is there for a reason – either because of his or her expertise and/or experience. The goal is for members of a collaborative team to support each other AND the project in order to achieve the project objectives.

For example: Millennials are often technologically proficient but they may have only a few years work experience. Boomers have lots of work experience but may be challenged with technology and social media. A collaborative team Leader can support and encourage multigenerational mentoring and collaborative teams by helping each member recognize the others strength and not feel threatened.

Reward & Motivation

In the last 40 years our choices of how we live, work and learn have increased exponentially. Some traditionalists are embracing technology. Others – like my mother refuse to have a computer in the house or a mobile phone.

It’s important to look beyond generational and cultural stereotypes and to ask each employee what they want. Are they looking for job security, money, to learn (which might include additional training/education), workplace flexibility and/or the opportunity to be creative or to travel?Bruce Mayhew on Global TV discussing Millennials

Different people from the same generation and cultural background will want different things. If you know what employees want – you will be able to motivate and reward them properly. For example, a salaried employee who loves to travel may be thrilled to work an extra ½ hour each day as this would add up to between 2 and 3 weeks of additional time off each year. As I mention in my interview on Global television, this may be far more motivating to them than a bigger bonus (which they will lose half of in taxes), and financially less expensive for the company… a Win-Win.

Don’t assume you already know how to motivate employees who are older or younger — ask them and then develop incentive plans that reflect your employees.

As I write in my articleTrain Employees Well Enough So They Can Leavewhen you make employees feel valued and respected they will be loyal. Your employees will work hard AND they will not want to leave because their personal and career needs are being met.

Conclusion

Employees from every generation are changing rapidly. Lets learn to step back and work with and for each other.

Happy Hiring, Keeping and Motivating Employees. 

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts. If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

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Hire The Best Employee… Ever! Every time!

The next time you conduct a job interview you will have an amazing experience because you’ve decided that from now on… you will always hire the best employee.

For most employers, job interview questions focus on one or two specific skill sets. Job interview questions explore ‘what’ a candidate has done in the past. Even if a few hypothetical questions were asked… like “What would you do if you had an angry customer on the phone?” a critical piece of analysis is missed.

The Job Interview Solution

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

To hire the best employee, focus the job interview questions on ‘how’ or ‘why’ the candidate has done ‘what’ they’ve done. In addition, change hypothetical questions into questions about real experiences. This process is called Behavioural Event Interview or BEI.

Example Interview Questions:
Don’t Ask / Do Ask

Instead of asking one-off skill based questions like: “What were your main responsibilities as Manager Customer Service?” design a series of open-ended job interview questions. For example:

  1. “Explain your main responsibilities as Manager Customer Service?”
  2. “Describe the situation and circumstances when, as a Manager Customer Service, you had to calm down an angry customer.”
    1. “Describe the steps you took to calm down that angry customer
    2. “Explain why that was the best outcome – for the company and for the customer.

As you listen to their answers, consider how they are representing their values and goals as well as the values and goals of the organization they work / worked for.

It’s important to note – the last three example interview questions (above), are designed to ask the candidate to give real examples – they are not hypothetical. If the candidate doesn’t have direct experience, that’s fine… ask them to give examples from volunteer work or even a personal situation. What is most important here is to explore:

  • How the candidate responds to stressful situations… by looking at past behaviour
  • How the candidate represents values and goals… by looking at past behaviour

Again – what we’re doing is focusing job interview questions on ‘how’ and ‘why’ a candidate done things in the past. Exploring ‘how’ and ‘why’ is effective because exploring past behaviour is a far better predictor of future behaviour than exploring only skill set and hypothetical situations.

The Benefit

Whoops, I’ve already covered some benefits… but let me continue.

Not only will you hire the right person, the whole process happens:

  • Quickly (hiring decisions made more quickly because you will see quickly who is the best fit)
  • Cost effectively (the right employees get up-to-speed fast, are happier, are more passionate about the job and stay longer)
  • The process can be measured / stands up to scrutiny. Gaps in skill set are identified. Gaps aren’t bad – they are places where an investment of education or mentoring will make the biggest gain.

What If A Candidate Has A Gap In Skills But Great Values?

Great employees are passionate about learning and adding to their abilities. If you hire an employee that knows everything already, don’t be surprised if they get bored and move on sooner rather than later.

You want employees that will respect your brand and your clients. Like I said above, if they are lacking one or two minor skills – no big problem – most skills can be learned quickly… but personality traits like passion, respect and attention to detail are traits you want to be sure your employees have.

Conclusion:

In today’s highly competitive business market, companies and employees are being held up to higher standards.

The old way of interviewing holds too much risk – for the company (who might miss the best fit), and for the candidate who might experience longer-term career challenges because they spend time working a job that is not right for them.

Hire the best employee…every time. Sure you want to evaluate skills, but be sure to evaluate ‘how’ and ‘why’ people do what they do.

Happy communication and job interviewing. 

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts. If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

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A Guide For Business Executives: How To Hire AND Retain Millennials.

How to hire and retain Millennials is a great combination of topics that few business executives are yet exploring – but it’s an approach that makes a big difference to your competitive structure and profitability. Traditionally, employee retention is the only focus.

IF you have the right people in place, then focusing on employee retention is great… otherwise, focusing only on employee retention is like trying to use all-season tires on a racecar. No matter how much you care for them, you’re not going to get the performance you need… and they aren’t going to last.

But when business executives learn to change the way they hire people and combine that with Multigenerational communication and retention, great things happen. In my training workshops I’ve seen first-hand the energy that builds as a team of business executives learn BEI (Behaviour Event Interview), best practices and work together to re-evaluate their hiring and retention strategy. This process begins with changing the way all interviews are conducted and moves onto learning what’s important to Millennials.

Combining hiring best practices & employee retention is very effective.

What Can Business Executives Do To Hire AND Retain Millennials?

Step 1. Change the way all interviews are conducted.

Even if your organization is using personality assessment tools – your success is improving only a small amount. Your interview needs to consistently look for AND measure the core competencies you need within every candidate. Learning to conduct a BEI does that for you.

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A BEI system provides a consistent, fair and effective interview system. BEI ALSO uses a reliable assessment tool so that each candidates’ strengths and weaknesses can be scored and measured without bias – for example: Subject Matter Expert, Team Player, Creativity – you can measure them all.

In addition, being able to defend your final decision is becoming increasingly important for all employers. Because of the interview assessment scorecard, BEI (Behaviour Event Interview), provides consistent, quantifiable proof why the successful candidate was chosen. There is even more value that BEI provides and if you’re interested lets connect, because I’m happy to discuss these… and I could go on and on and on.

Step 2. Learn what’s important to Millennials and use BEI to add further insight.

Most Millennials are roughly 20 to 40 years younger than their bosses. The rate of technological and social evolution is staggering. Products and services that were leading edge five years ago are commonplace today; tablets for example.

So it’s no surprise that Millennials (and the newly emerging Gen Z workforce), don’t want to be rewarded the same way their parents… or even older siblings do. Even more challenging – their needs may change year over year.

The solution is to treat each person (no matter what generation they’re from), as an individual and ask him or her what’s important. Lets say you’re doing quarterly or semi-annual reviews (which is another best practice when working with Millennials). This is a perfect time to have a discussion about their personal and professional needs – as well as your corporate needs. Ask them if they feel:

  • Respected
  • Mentored
  • Inspired
  • Stimulated
  • Happy

Do they want to be rewarded with:

  • Vacation
  • Salary
  • Workplace Flexibility
  • Bonus Potential
  • Additional Work Responsibilities (As an opportunity to develop / grow)

Conclusion:

A BEI system that I’ve taught to many business executives and teams empowers everyone within the organization to conduct successful interviews. Learning how to hire and retain Millennials provides an organization with a consistent – reliable approach to hiring the right people for the work – turning your job opportunity into a career move for the right candidate.

It is expensive for employers to hire and train new employees. Hiring and retaining the right person makes good business sense.

Happy communicating, harmony and email reading. 

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

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The Return Of Soft Skills At Work

Are soft skills the new must have by potential employers?

Many Millennials and Generation Z’s are graduating college and university and not finding work – all the while many corporate executives are saying they are having a difficult time finding qualified employees. How could this be? Todays young adults are the most educated and most worldly 20 something’s… ever.

Could part of the answer be a soft skills at work deficiency?  Some employers are saying yes.

I’m not saying degrees are not valuable. People with degrees are still more highly employed and earn higher salaries than individuals without a degrees.  But employers are starting to look for something more than technical / scholastic knowledge. In a 2014 article written by Anita Bruzzese of USA Today, Bruzzese suggests many businesses are frustrated with younger workers because they, “lack the proper business skills and other professional abilities that will help make them good employees.” And if soft skills are in demand, then its no surprise that schools – from high schools to universities – are beginning to offer (supply), courses that teach soft-skills.

hard skills and soft skills at work

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In a 2013 interview with The New York Times, Google (who are actively measuring soft skills and looking for ways to improve them), revealed that the number of their degree-less hires is increasing.  Many business leaders agree with Google’s Senior Vice President for People Operations Laszlo Bock when she suggests “After two or three years, your ability to perform at Google is completely unrelated to how you performed when you were in school, because the skills you required in college are very different. You’re also fundamentally a different person. You learn and grow, you think about things differently.” 

When I interview potential employees I use a BEI interview framework. A BEI lets me measure a candidate’s core competency in the soft skills and hard skills I identify as important for success. I’m looking for candidates to demonstrate real (not hypothetical) examples of skills like:

  • Communication – Soft Skill
  • Economic (Supply/Demand) theories – Hard Skill
  • Creativity – Soft Skill
  • Strategy & project plans – Hard Skill
  • Ability to collaborate and work independently – Soft Skill
  • Accounting, finance & spreadsheets – Hard Skill

What Are Hard Skills and Soft Skills?

Hard skills are easy for an employer to recognize. Examples of hard skills include:

  1. Proficiency in a foreign language
  2. Proven skill like a doctor, engineer or architect
  3. Typing speed
  4. Machine operation
  5. Computer programming

Soft skills are also known as ‘People Skills’ or ‘Interpersonal Skills’. Examples of soft skills include:

  1. Teamwork / Motivation
  2. Customer service approach / Communication
  3. Flexibility
  4. Patience
  5. Time management

There are certainly some careers like doctors, engineers and architects where a formal education and technical knowledge is mandatory; but they also need to have respectful awareness of soft skills. Don’t you want the architect who designs your house to emphatically listen to your needs?

Employers are looking increasingly for job applicants who can confidently demonstrate soft skills.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Example

Bethany Perkins, HR Manager at Software Advice says, “We’ve found that being good at school and being good at your job aren’t mutually exclusive.” An example of the jobs they are hiring for are Inside Sales, Media Relations and Client Success Coordinators. Perkins continues, “Real work experience is typically much more valuable than a degree. A proven history of success in the workplace provides better benchmarks for us to evaluate the potential success of a candidate than a GPA can. Even more specialized roles, such as a UX Designer, Managing Editors don’t require a degree at Software Advice. I love seeing people who are self-taught in their field because it demonstrates a true passion for their work.”

Perkins brings up a good point; real work experience is desirable! So, this provides three additional options when hiring externally:

  • Look for candidates who have worked for a while getting real work experience and then gone back to school (which happens quite a bit when the market takes a down-turn… like it has over the last 6+ years).
  • Look for candidates who have participated in education intern programs. This gives them some experience along with their education.
  • Lastly, look for candidates who took a year or two off before finishing their degree. It doesn’t seem to matter if they traveled or worked in a restaurant; any real work experiences seem to help communicate and work with others.

Conclusion

More and more organizations are making client experience a promise, which means empathy, mutual respect, mindful communication and mindful listening are essential for your long-term professional AND personal success. It’s important to know what clients, co-workers and your associates want… and how they feel.

In a recent post in aol jobs written by Kate Lorenz, she identifies that human resources expert Lori Kocon, “Advises all job candidates — especially those who aspire to managerial positions — to get in touch with their soft sides.” Some of the soft skills employers are looking for include:

  1. Strong Work Ethic: Dedicated to getting the job done
  2. Good Communication Skills: One-on-one or in a team – are verbally articulate, a patient listener and can write professionally
  3. Time Management Abilities: Know how to prioritize responsibilities
  4. Problem-Solving Skills: Can creatively solve problems inline with corporate brand and values
  5. Uses Feedback As A Learning Opportunity: Able to handle criticism from a boss, coach or mentor 

So, as an employer – know you are not alone in your Trek for employees with both soft and hard skills and for potential employees, be sure you demonstrate your hard and soft skills on your resume and in your job interview.

Happy communicating and creating workplace harmony.

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If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

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Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

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Increase Employee Loyalty In 1 Step. Hire The Right Person

Employee Loyalty is a growing challenge for organizations.  And while many organizations struggle to increase employee loyalty, I believe a significant part of the challenge is that the wrong people are being hired.  As employee needs and choices increase, it’s increasingly difficult to find the right fit to match the competencies for the job you are hiring for AND your corporate culture.  When a poor selection is made, it’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole… so no wonder the employee loyalty (and employee satisfaction), drops as employees are often the first to realize the fit is poor.

Behavior Event Interview Can Increase Employee Loyalty

A Behavior Event Interview (BEI) is a very powerful tool for employee assessment and selection that is structured, formal, measurable and consistently delivers exceptional hiring results. Since the best indicator of future behavior and performance is past behavior, BEI explores a persons past behavior.

Behavior Event Interview questions usually begin with: ‘Tell me about a time when…’ or ‘Describe a situation where…

Behavior Event Interview training (BEI training), guides participants through the steps to be able to prepare and conduct an interview where they:

  • Measure key competencies
  • Identify performance strengths
  • Identify performance gaps (and potential training needs), of high potential candidates
  • Forecast a candidates future behavior
  • Create a standardized framework that can be used by one person or a interview panel
  • Deliver consistent results
  • Eliminate bias in assessment
  • Provide quantitative and qualitative feedback which can be referred to days, months or years later

Being measurable is increasingly important for all employers as it provides consistent, quantifiable proof that the best candidate has been chosen and the final decision is defendable. The root of a BEI is therefore in the development and delivery of standardized questions that allow each candidate to be measured based on their own responses.

Creating BEI Questions:Increase Employee Loyalty

Whether you are creating BEI questions to be used by one person in one location – or many people in many locations, to increase employee loyalty each question should have a specific purpose to measure a pre-identified, desirable behavior and competency that is in line with the job deliverables.

During a BEI interview, candidates should always refer to ‘I’ to demonstrate their personal involvement.  This is not a place for ‘we’. While team involvement is often a desirable trait, this is one place you are looking to identify and measure individual achievement and potential.

As you prepare your interview questions, consider the core competency you need.  For example:

  • Managing multiple priorities
  • Sharing responsibility as part of a team
  • Resolving conflict
  • Demonstrating leadership
  • Mentoring one or more people
  • Increasing ROI

What Do Behavior Event Interview Questions Look Like?

When developing your BEI questions use the STAR model as your guide: “S” – situation, “T” – task, “A” – action, “R” result. Note: The following are not properly phrased interview questions.

Situation – Ask the candidate to describe:

  • What happened?
  • Who was involved?
  • How did you feel?

 Task – Ask the candidate to describe:

  • What needed to be done?
  • How did you arrive at that assessment?
  • How did you feel?

Action – Ask the candidate to describe:

  • What did you do to solve the situation?
  • Why did you choose that option?
  • How did you feel?

Result – Ask the candidate to describe:

  • What was the end result?
  • What did you learn from the situation?
  • How did you feel about the outcome or your participation / decisions?

You will note in my attempt to improve employee loyalty I like to explore how a candidate feels about the situation, assessment and their actions.

The following are ‘Situation’ based examples of Behavior Event Interview questions:

  • Describe an example when you were faced with problems involving an important client deliverable.
  • Give an example of a time when you had to quickly make an important decision.
  • Describe how you prioritize multiple projects.
  • Tell us of a time when you could not make a client happy despite your best efforts.

What Should The Candidates Answers Look Like?

The candidate is guided to describe successful (and unsuccessful) outcomes. Outcomes can be:

  • Business experience
  • Personal experience

While business examples are preferred, personal outcomes are also valid for two very good reasons:

  • A candidate may not have the professional experience (Millennials and Generation Z for example), but may still be able to describe events that demonstrate the fundamental values, behavior and/or desirable core competencies you are looking for.
  • People are… people.  More and more businesses are recognizing that employee loyalty and employee satisfaction increase when we embrace feelings like pride, respect and empathy.

Conclusion to Increase Employee Loyalty:

A Behavior Event Interview is the first step your organization can take to increase employee loyalty by enabling you to hire the right person – the first time. A happy, motivated employee stays longer, works harder, makes clients happy, expresses positive energy and decreases hiring and overall training (retraining), costs.

For more information on our Behavior Event Interview training and how BEI improves employee loyalty, please click here.

What BMC Can Offer Regarding Behavior Event Interview.

Would you like to know more about how to plan, lead and evaluate candidates or existing employees using BEI?

Do you want to assess and evaluate candidates using Behavior Event Interview but don’t have a trained staff or free time? We can:

  1. Train your staff
  2. Conduct the interview
  3. Partner in the planning and execution including creating the questions and evaluation matrix

Happy communicating.

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

2 Steps To Hiring And Retaining The Right Millennial


Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 5.11.38 PM
It is possible to hire a Millennial employee that sticks around and actively contributes as a member of your team… or… you might find yourself:

  • Reading their resignation email
  • Repeating the interview process
  • Suffering low productivity and the opportunity loss during the interview period
  • Managing the learning curve of yet another new employee

Are you asking yourself “What is with these Millennials? They have no loyalty?” Well, perhaps their loyalty isn’t the challenge – perhaps you are hiring the wrong Millennial.

To hire AND retain the Millennial who has the core competencies and values that ‘fit’ with the job – most organizations and managers must shift how they interview and engage employees. They also need to consider what strong Millennial candidates look for in an employer… and what their organization has to offer.

Here are 2 Steps To Hiring And Retaining The Right Millennial

Step 1. The Interview Process

Conduct a structured – formal – measurable interview.  Most interview processes do two critical mistakes:

  1. Accept hypothetical answers to the questions
  2. Don’t measure the quality of the answers across all interviewees

Discovering the best person to hire… especially with Millennials… is where a Behaviour Event Interview (BEI), is an invaluable tool to identify predictable behaviour.

Millennials realize their past work experience might not be extensive – but that doesn’t mean you can’t discover great potential and a great corporate fit.  When someone doesn’t have lots of work experience you have to look for predictable behaviour in their life experiences. Even family events can demonstrate how an individual did handle a situation – be it stress, confrontation, deadlines, hierarchy or and standing up for your values… whatever is important for the position you are filling.

The key to a BEI is that it avoids hypothetical answers and lets you uncover real past behaviour… and past behaviour will give you clear insight how they will  behave in the future… or predictable future behaviour.

There is also a side benefit to a BEI.  As the interview progresses you learn valuable information that helps you build a valuable relationship / partnership and understanding of their past experience (stories), abilities… which leads us to Step 2.

Step 2. Leave Time To Discuss Expectations

Within the first interview, leave time to discuss your expectations… and ask them about theirs. For example:

  • Hours / Overtime (is overtime compensated?)
  • Training You’ll Offer
  • Their need to be patient… typically how long it takes to learn the ropes
  • Opportunities for advancement / compensation / travel

More and more candidates are also coming to the interview with their own questions. Therefore, be prepared to answer questions like:

  • Why should they join your company vs. your competition (from their perspective)?
  • What exposure (to people / work), will they have that will expand their skill, knowledge and experience?
  • How will working here satisfy their work/life balance? 
    • Perhaps they like to ski and you are close to a ski hill… could they do flex hours in the winter?
  • What about the benefits package? 
  • When can they begin taking courses that the company will pay for?
  • They volunteer a lot? Would your company offer a week off (no pay), to do volunteer work?

You are looking for younger – savvy employees who can help your company creatively respond to a quickly changing market while providing excellent customer service and brand pride.  So, show them you are a winning company that can keep up with them.Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 10.07.57 AM

If you have a great place to work then show it, let them see it, live your product and corporate values.  It’s part of the value proposition of your organization.

Now, let’s say you are at the end of your second interview.  You still like the candidate and you have already checked references. Now might be the perfect time to go deeper in the area of expectation management. So, before you hire them build an even deeper relationship with them and have another conversation with them:

  • Share why you think they might be the right candidate
  • Ask them why they think you are their right employer
  • Ask them why they think they are the right employee

Example 1. Uniqueness

The Mini Cooper retail success story because of their ability to ‘personalize’ each car.  A great example of ‘fitting in’ and ‘uniqueness’.  It doesn’t stop there… their advertising is unique when compared to other car companies. At the time of this post (winter), they have an advertising campaign that says “Seize Winter By The Snowballs” which is bold, playful and unique… just like Millennials.Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 2.52.16 PM

Example 2. Benefits

Multigenerational misunderstanding goes both ways. I was speaking with a Millennial about priorities just the other day and he was puzzled that priorities like Work/Life balance and financial reward might be different for a Boomer than the Millennial.  He asked for an example – so… I suggested the following.

Assuming everyone’s basic shelter needs are being satisfactorily met, it’s salary review / raise time. Our Millennial has a choice of a $4,000 raise OR a $2,000 raise plus 1 extra week over the next 12 months where they would do either volunteer or education activity. Without blinking he chose the lower amount and the opportunity to volunteer for a week. He seemed surprised when I suggested that when most Boomers were his age would have likely taken the $4,000. Simple reality is that personal values, goals and the employment market have changed.

Step 2 Summary: What one Millennial will see as a benefit might not satisfy the next Millennial. Salary and vacation are only one part of what employees are looking for. Millennials especially are looking for:

  • Ongoing training / personal and professional improvement
  • Incentives / recognition / reward… which may be money – or may something else of value

Are you able to offer employees benefits and a progressive environment that meet their lifestyle and career goals?

Conclusion:

Changing your interview process to include a Behaviour Event Interview (BEI), will have great impact – but don’t let it stop there.  After you hire them, have another interview like conversation with them.

  • Ask Questions
  • Provide Feedback / Ideas
  • Weekly one-on-one strategic meetings
  • Give your process a 360 evaluation – ask them why they said yes?  What was important to them?

Even if we come from similar backgrounds – today more than ever it’s likely the things that fulfill us will be VERY different. While Millennials have more social pressure to ‘fit in’, they have also always had more desire and more opportunity to be unique.  That’s one reason why the Mini Cooper © is such a success for this younger audience… and an example how to give Millennials choice.

Happy Hiring… and Communicating.

Imagine work being easier. Imagine work being more productive.

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

Mini Cooper © 2001 BMW Canada Inc. All rights reserved.

What is Behavior Event Interviewing?

Behavior event interviewing can be one of the most reliable tools in predicting an applicant’s future on-the-job performance.

The theory of behavior event interviewing (BEI) is simple. It considers the best way for an organization to predict an individuals future behavior and performance is to have the individual talk about their past behavior and performance.

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This interview style is based in the belief that hypothetical responses – which are what most people give and what most interviewers ask for – do not predict how a person will act in a future situation. In fact, most of the time the answers an interviewee provides are what they believe the interviewer wants to hear.

Employers need to hire the candidate who has the best skills for the job, therefore, BEI’s also provide the opportunity for HR departments and interview panels to use a standardized assessment method to measure the responses and qualifications of their prospects. Being measurable is important as it provides consistent, quantifiable proof that the best candidate has been chosen and that the final decision is defendable. The root of a BEI is therefore in the design and the delivery of standardized questions.

What are your responsibilities… if you are interviewing?

Prior to the interview all of the questions should be designed and (if you are part of a small panel), agreed upon. Each question should have a specific purpose to measure a desirable behavior and competency that is in line with the job deliverables. It should go without saying that BEI questions are open-ended questions. BEI questions should be designed so they evoke responses that are based within the interviewees’ own personal experiences and abilities, and hopefully the interviewee will offer concrete examples of their past achievements.

The interviewers must also review and agree upon the measurement form they will use during the interviews. You can design a form based on your offices requirement, however, a sample of a very simple form is as follows.

Name of Interviewee _______________________ Position _________________________

Names of Interviewers 1. _______________________ 2. __________________________

Names of Interviewers 3. _______________________ 4. __________________________

Date _________________________________

Question

Response Rating
1 2 3 4 5

Notes (Strengths / Weaknesses)

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

During a behavioral interview, and interviewee should be informed their responses should be in relation to their own real life events. I recommend this as much as a courtesy as well as a time saver for the interviewers. An interviewer may to need to guide personal responses at first as by nature, many of us commonly downplay our own achievements and offer credit to others or discuss the goals of ‘the team’.

What are your responsibilities… if you are being interviewed?

In behavior-based interviews, you need to be prepared to give specific examples of when you demonstrated particular behaviors or skills. You should describe in detail a particular event, project, or experience. You should elaborate on how you dealt with the situation, your feelings and observations about your feelings, what the outcome of the project were, and if appropriate what you learned from the experience. If it was a negative experience, describe what you learned from the negative experience. Your responses should also be relevant to your potential employer’s industry and market whenever possible.

Focus on actual past behaviors rather than on hypothetical actions or hypothetical behavior. General answers about behavior are not important and will likely detract from your overall BEI measurement score. If you don’t have an example, consider the skill they are looking for and suggest a solution, but tie your solution to your behavior in another situation. For example, if you don’t have leadership experiences at work discuss your leadership experience volunteering.

During the interview you want to impress the interviewers by providing brief, to-the-point answers that relate your skills and experience to their needs.

Note that during a BEI interview, candidates that always refer to ‘we’ or ‘they’ or ‘I would’ demonstrate that they either do not listen to instruction, can not adjust to new environments, or even do not have the experience required.

Practice for the interview by addressing several questions most interviewers ask.

As you prepare for your interview, consider situations where you:

    • Demonstrated leadership
    • Mentored someone
    • Solved a problem
    • Increased company profits
    • Made a good decision/made a poor decision
    • Worked through organizational change
    • Met a deadline/missed a deadline
    • Worked as part of a team

What do Behavior Event Interview questions look like?

Behavioral questions usually begin with a statement like: ‘Tell me about a time when…’ or ‘Describe a situation where…’

The following are some examples of behavioral questions:

    • Describe a time when you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your coping skills.
      • What did you do?
    • Give an example of a time when you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.
    • Describe the system you use to keep track of multiple projects.
    • Tell me about a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a challenge.
      • What was the challenge?
      • What was the outcome?
      • What role did you play?
      • What role did others play?
    • Describe the most creative work-related project you have completed.
    • Tell me about a situation where you worked with an upset customer or co-worker.
    • Describe a difficult problem that you faced.
      • How did you identify the problem?
      • How did you go about trying to solve it?

Happy communicating… and happy interviewing.

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

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