Hiring Smart is a Win-Win!
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By Cheryl Lyon-Hislop
Smart hiring is featuring on the strategic agenda in most board meetings, and the reason why? Top
talent is scarce and the war for talent is raging! It might sound over-the- top, but the fact is that the
recruitment industry has surged back past its pre-recession peak. Companies have acknowledged
the significant skills gap within their teams. Sourcing talent is a harder task than ever, and a robust
selection process is critical. Let’s explore why!
The success of your organisation depends on the qualifications, skills, knowledge, personalities,
attitudes and commitment of its people. Your people are your single most important asset and you
have to ensure through your recruitment process that you get the very best that you can afford and,
through ongoing effective HR processes and management practices, that you retain them.
Competency-based interviewing, therefore, features heavily in effective selection processes.
Describing past experiences; the ‘what’; the ‘how’; should be a good predictor of how you, as a
candidate, will perform in the future role. We are also interested in the ‘why’ because that also gives
us evidence of activities you like or what you might avoid doing. It provides guidance to HR
professionals, on whether or not you’d fit the culture and the teams you’ll be working in.
Competencies can be complex, so let’s break them down further for the sake of simplicity:
Knowledge, independence, the level of emotional control and personal integrity are some key
This includes the ability to lead, inspire and motivate others, the ability to delegate and to manage
Decision-making, analytical thinking, spatial awareness, judgement and problem-solving are
examples. Sometimes psychometric tests are used to assess this too! Basically, the employer wants
to know if you have the intellectual horse-power to do the level of thinking required in the job.
Social competence is explored, such as building rapport and the ability to negotiate and influence
others. This helps to understand the level of team fit too!
Initiative, drive and ambition. This is linked to ‘why’ you like or dislike facets of a job and the
assessor will be exploring fit for the job, the team and the organisation. Interviews which focus on
what you ‘enjoy’ or not enjoy’ are also known as “Strength interviews.” That doesn’t mean you are
involved in some sort of triathlon, but candidates will be posed with questions like the following:
- What things give you energy?
- When did you achieve something you were really proud of?
- Do you prefer to start tasks or to finish them?
- Do you find you have enough hours in the day to complete all the things you want to do?
I would only use these in conjunction with specific, real examples, so you are not assessing
theoretical examples. In order to achieve that, remember to use the STAR technique. This explores
the situation or context, tasks involved, actions you’ve undertaken and results of this activity in
Whilst the pressure to find a suitable candidate is enormous, keep your standards high. Take the
time necessary to match candidates with the specific positions you have open. Putting the wrong
person in the job will just cost the organisation more in the long run!