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That’s Not The Person I Hired

Many of us have been here before. We go through the interview and hiring process happy with our final choice, only to be confused months later thinking “Who is this person? This is not the person that I thought I hired!”

The hiring process is not a fun time for many leaders. If we are looking for someone new to join the team, it’s highly likely we currently have too much work and not enough people. Whether it’s due to a team member moving on or to fantastic business growth, time is usually something we don’t have a lot of, yet the whole hiring process is extremely time-consuming and expensive.

If we get the hire wrong, it instantly becomes an even greater expense and time problem. Research shows that it takes on average 82 days and $21,000 to fill a position so we want to make sure the time and money is well spent. A wrong hire can also lead to complicated and frustrating performance management down the track.

Interviews have come a long way. Pretty much all interviews now include many behavioural and situational questions giving us insight into ‘how’ people apply their skills. These situational and behavioural questions were extremely effective when they were first introduced as they weren’t ‘standard’ and were unexpected. Yet now, they are creating new challenges based on the human mind.

Let’s discuss 2 of these challenges:

1.    Interview Bluffing

As the person being interviewed, we can get caught up answering the question in the way we believe it is expected. In fact, a person can effectively bluff their way through interview questions, providing a stream of responses that they think the interviewer wants to hear. It’s very common now for the interviewee to prepare for the interview with several situations or stories ready to answer these questions. They certainly are not going to share examples that don’t show themselves in a good light.

We are seeing more and more instances where someone absolutely nails an interview yet is a completely different person in the role simply because they knew how to answer the set questions in the interview.

2.    Unconscious Bias Clone Hire

As the interviewer, our subconscious mind automatically thinks about how we would answer the situational question. Through the interview process, our subconscious mind tends to pre-empt the answer based on how we would respond.

If the interviewee’s answer differs from our answer, our subconscious mind tends to judge them as having delivered the wrong response, simply because it is different to what we would do. This can then lead to us hiring a team full of people just like ourselves. A team of the ‘same people’ creates limitations, restrictions on our thinking and on our performance.

These two challenges are becoming more prominent and identified as the cause of many organisations struggling with cultural and/or performance issues.

So how can we avoid these issues and ensure we hire right in the very beginning?

1.    Interview the Subconscious Mind

To really get to know who someone else is and to hear what they are thinking, we must be engaging their subconscious mind. This requires breaking through the conscious mind and rehearsed answers.

Talk to them as human beings. Ask questions about them, rather than all of the questions being about the role, their skills or the workplace. How we do things outside of work is a great insight into us as a person. These character traits can always be related back to the work environment.

Create a comfortable conversation and a feeling of trust in the room so they can be themselves. After asking a question… pause! The longer we pause the more they will talk and the deeper they will go into their subconscious mind. Then simply listen! Listen to not only what is said but also what is not said.

2.    The Right Interviewer

In every interview, there should be someone that is interviewing for the technical aspects of the role and a second person who is interviewing their emotional intelligence to understand them as a person.

People with great EI should be able to read the room and the person, knowing what will motivate them, their default modality, communication style, required type of leadership, personality and behaviours.

Having great technical skills is not enough.

Rarely is it a lack of technical skills or ability that causes issues in roles? Often it is attitude, behaviour, ability to learn, communication, drive etc. that impacts the quality and performance of the person and of the team. Therefore, interviewing these areas are just as important as knowing they have the technical skills required.

As human beings, our minds can be very complex. Especially when we are in a situation that is causing emotional angst such as interviews. The conscious mind is like an autopilot and an interview conducted between two conscious minds is simply transactional and a waste of time.

Effective interviews recruit in the subconscious mind to understand not only what they know and what they can do but also how and why they do it.

About the Author

Amy Jacobson is an experienced Emotional Intelligence specialist, passionate speaker, inspirational leadership trainer and highly sought Coach at Finding your ‘Y’.

She works with businesses and career-minded people to achieve outstanding results, ignite passion and develop strengths. Furthermore, Amy guides her clients on how to use Emotional Intelligence to create a clear career path to high performance and success. Amy has a burning passion and drives to see people reach their full potential, embrace their strengths and find their ‘why’. Whether it’s running a business, creating inspiring leaders and mentors or working one on one, everyone needs a ‘why’.

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