Hiring top-level people and bringing them into your organization can be a difficult process. I have experienced how difficult this can be for organizations during the times they have hired me to assist in hiring their talent.
Often, I have found that the hiring manager or team simply enjoys having a conversation with the candidate when they interview them. The problem with that is that a candidate has about 1.5 hours that is all rehearsed conversation. Whether intentional or not, top-level candidates are very rehearsed and polished in interviews and create a level of comfort through conversation. However, that comfort often sways people. Because of this, companies end up hiring the person they like. And the person that they like is the person that knows that they have to sell himself or herself in the first 45 minutes to an hour of the interview.
When I am brought in to do a pre-hire interview, I often discover things about the candidate’s personality that I bring to the attention of the hiring team. But when I present a different perspective about the candidate to the hiring manager, they don’t question their own assumptions, they question my assumptions. However, what I am really doing is looking at it with no assumptions. This is what I am trained to do. I look at a candidate and understand their personality, and can read who this person is.
A lot of managers are very good having a conversation. The problem with that is it’s just a conversation. They are not interviewing, they are not looking for nonverbal cues, or how fast or slow the person is talking, or what kinds of words that they use. They just enjoy the conversation. But when they enjoy the conversation, they say, “I like him, he’s going to be a great fit,” without really understanding who this person is or what makes them tick.
For example, I made an assessment of an individual and the very first thing that came out of the assessment is that he sells himself very well. It’s a characteristic that some people have. But the next level of analysis said he fundamentally likes to work alone, he was not a team player, he was very urgent, and he wants the accolades—he’s a protagonist. The position they are hiring for is someone to lead a team that is in very bad shape. If this candidate likes to work alone and likes the attention, how is he going to bring this team together? How is he going to make people feel good about themselves when he wants to push it, drive it, make it happen, and then say “I achieved this!” When I presented this to the hiring team, the people were very upset with me because of this. I didn’t pass judgment about whether he was a good guy or bad guy. I simply pointed out that he had these tendencies and in this environment it may or may not work.
I often find that I have that kind of an experience with people. The purpose of a pre-hiring interview is not to confirm what the hiring team already knows. The purpose is to bring out the things that people may not see because of their own training. It is difficult for them to overcome their own set of paradigms without giving the benefit of the doubt that the data I am presenting may have some validity. I am not just referring to my opinion, but the assessments I do as well. Most people end up hiring the person that is more familiar with them, someone that reminds them of something about them, someone that is comfortable to them. If you are able to recognize that and have a clear understanding of what you are looking for in a candidate, you will have a much better chance at hiring the right person for the position.
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