Getting Hired

Most people have the attention span of a goldfish.

In the last behavioral interviewing blog post, I described how interviewers could use behavioral interviewing in order to make quality hiring decisions. In this blog post, I will describe how interviewee’s can nail their dream job.

The best targeted story tellers will win the job. Target the job skills that make the difference. In preparation for the interview, make a list of the critical skills which the interviewer will be searching for. Examine all written materials looking for examples of these skills. Then, write down a specific example of when you have demonstrated each of these skills. In the story tell the situation, the action, and the result.

Practice the story until you can deliver it in an elevator speech. An elevator speech can be delivered before you arrive at your desired floor. It must be targeted and to the point. Make your point in 30 seconds or less. Research shows that most people have the attention span of a goldfish. Your goal is to get the job offer from this goldfish who is interviewing you.

Good luck and please let me know your story!

Select the Best Job Candidate

Behavioral Interviewing

The best way to hire the most qualified candidate is to use behavioral interviewing. This blog post will describe the characteristics of behavioral interviewing and how to use it successfully.

A bad hire costs the hiring organization 35-100% of the jobs annual salary. These costs include recruiting, best cialis click screening, best viagra sale interviewing, sovaldi training, lost business, and morale of others.

When hiring candidates, spend the time to do it right the first time. If you don’t take the time to hire right, it takes 10X more time training the wrong person, getting rid of them, and starting over.

In Japan, the average graduate spends 150 hours interviewing for an entry level job.

What behaviors are required to be successful in the position?

What behaviors would differentiate between average performers and exemplary ones?

Perhaps interview exemplary performers individually or in focus groups to determine these important behaviors.

Here’s a list of selection methods and their predictive validity. The higher percentages suggest better selection methods.

Which Methods Predict Behavior On The Job?

The best predictor of future performance is past behavior in similar circumstances. Interviewers should look for behavior that was recent, frequent, similar, and verifiable.

When opening the interview, put the applicant at ease, establish some rapport and give an overview for the rest of the interview. I prefer to give the candidate a one sentence description of behavioral interviewing such as

“We prefer to ask questions that ask for a specific example of when you have performed certain tasks or skills. We find that it’s the best way to get to know you and your job experience.”

Here’s an example of an opening statement:

“Shall we get started, my job here at the City of Plano is Senior HR Director.
I have been with the City for About 2 years now. As you know, I’m
interviewing today for an opening we have for an Associate HR Director.
I would like to spend the next 30 min. going over your background
and qualifications. Then I will give you the opportunity to
ask any questions you may have about the position or working
With the City of Plano. I will be seeing several applicants, so I hope you won’t mind my taking notes. It’s the best way I know to make sure
I won’t forget the important matters we are discussing today.
One more item: the questions we use often ask you to recall a
specific event or accomplishment from your past. Sometimes, it
takes a bit of time to remember when a particular event happened.
Please take your time. We find these examples useful in getting
to know you better.”

The interview body should be 30-45 min. of an hour interview. The questions should focus on critical job experiences. Some examples of behavioral interviewing questions can be found at this website.

An example behavioral interviewing question might be: Tell me about a time when you came up with an idea to improve something at work.

Listen for 3 things from the interviewee.
1. What was the situation?
2. What was the action that the person took?
3. What was the result or outcome of the person’s action?

In other words, get a complete SAR (Situation, Action, Result). Interviewers should ask good follow up questions to ensure a complete SAR. Follow up questions might solicit their role, frequency, verifiability, and recency.

Phrases to elicit the situation include
Describe a recent situation in which…..
Tell me about a time when you…..
Give me an example of a recent event……

Phrases to elicit the action include
What did you do?
What was your role?
What did you say?
What happened next?
What action did you take?
Who was involved?

Phrases to elicit results include
What were the results?
How did that work out?
How did the situation get resolved?

Occasionally, the interviewer will encounter silence, the bluff, or the slip. Whenever the interviewee has a tough time coming up with an answer, reassure them, give them a You’re OK statement, and then restate the question. Sometimes the interviewee will state that they do it all the time. Use sympathetic persistence. Perhaps restate the question and use a calculated pause. A slip occurs when an interviewee gives a hypothetical example rather than a real example. Assume responsibility for the misunderstanding by saying something like, “Maybe I wasn’t very clear, I was really looking for a specific example when you encountered conflict. Take your time.”

Spend the majority of the interview time actively listening. Empathic listening involves rephrasing or reflecting the content that you have heard.

Here are some personal biases to be avoided.

Avoiding Personal Biases

When closing the interview, give a realistic idea of what the job entails.
Also address any questions that the interviewee might have. Here is a post from Virginia Tech that will guide you about questions that interviewees might ask. In the closing statement, thank the applicant, summarize the next steps, and escort them out.

Here’s an example closing statement:
I’d like to thank you for your time and interest Peter. We hope to make a decision by next Friday. You should hear from us at that time.

What are your favorite behavioral interviewing questions? Please leave them in the comments section.

I hope that this information helps you to make better hiring decisions. I offer a half day training session that can be offered live or in a webinar. Contact me for more information.

Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

Is transparency a good thing? In my quest to increase my authenticity, viagra usa prescription I thought I would do a blog post with a little self disclosure.

Johari Window

Johari Window

This is a diagram of the Johari Awareness window. Johari sounds like some guru on top of a mountain somewhere that would reveal the secrets of life. Actually it was created by a guy named Joe and a guy named Harry. The model was created by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955. The size of the 4 windows may vary depending upon an individuals style. If a person has a high awareness of self and self discloses a lot, doctor the upper left box is biggest and that individual is known as healthy. A person who knows very little about themselves and others know a great deal, the upper right box is large and they have a large blind spot. If an individual has a large amount of self awareness but reveals very little, the upper left box is large and they have a large hidden area. If the individual is low in self awareness and others know very little, the lower right is larger and the unknown arena is large. A large blindspot can create a bull in the china shop where things are constantly breaking but the individual is out of touch. A turtle personality type might have a large unknown arena.

I remember years ago, I knew a leader who believed that it was not important that others knew anything about him. This “leader” was a turtle personality type.

In the spirit of self awareness and self disclosure, here’s a list of 11 things that you probably don’t know about me.

1. I hate onions. I can say “no onions” in English, Spanish, Russian, and Vietnamese.
2. I did stand up comedy in college. I once had to follow a guy that juggled live mice. I think it was before PETA.
3. I’m a 4th generation Oklahoma pioneer. My Great Grandfather staked his claim during the land rush.
4. I was once stranded on a ski mountain in a white out snowstorm and given a 2% chance of being found alive.
5. I played in the poker game with Phil Laak and Jennifer Tilley where Phil set the world record for the longest poker session.
6. I climbed the Grand Teton in Jackson, Wyoming (13,776 feet) on summer break from college. Did it in one day.
7. I trained to be a white water raft guide one summer.
8. I took Karate when I was in high school.
9. I was elected senior class president in high school.
10. During a business trip to NJ, a friend of mine went with me and took second place at the US poker championship.
11. My wife is Turkish.

What are some things that I probably don’t know about you?

It’s Time For The Country to Come Together #Election2012

A house divided cannot stand

As Abraham Lincoln said, A house divided cannot stand. The country is divided. Just like during the civil war, families are divided. The one thing that is different about this country is that we don’t take to the streets. Governments transition peacefully. My hope and prayers are for this country to come together to solve the significant problems that it faces.

I’m reminded of a cartoon that I saw once. You see there were 4 guys in a boat. The boat was sinking. Two guys on one end were bailing water. The two guys on the other end had their feet propped up and the caption read, “I’m sure glad that the leak is not in our side of the boat”. When you’re in the same boat, it doesn’t matter which side of the boat has a leak in it. You get busy bailing water or patching the boat or putting your life jacket on.

My hope is that everyone will find something to do to make this country great again.

‘If everybody cleaned their doorstep, the whole world would be clean’

As Mother Theresa said, “If everybody cleaned their doorstep, the whole world would be clean”.

I must say that it’s not easy to encourage others to come together. In fact, expect that some from your team will accuse you of switching sides. Refuse to drink from the cup of bitterness and hatred. It is impossible to accomplish justice through injustice.

As Einstein said, “The significant problems that we face, cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that we were at when we created them”.

Are you willing to help me to heal the wounds and encourage the country to break through the red states and the blue states. We are the United States.

Disaster Averted Through Good People Skills

Disaster Averted With Good People Skills

Today is Halloween. Does it seem like Halloween is becoming an increasingly important holiday? Has some 10 year old with a huge sweet tooth been appointed Halloween Czar?

I was thinking of some scary story that I could tell that would be consistent with the Halloween theme. I love a good story. In fact, my life mantra is, “Life is a funny story, embellish it.”

Every now and then trainers get together at leadership conferences and trade stories. Here are 2 stories that I heard from colleagues that I thought fit with the Halloween them.

An HR manager told of a manager who was having an affair with his secretary. He began driving his motor home to work and would go to the parking lot during work hours and take a siesta (if you know what I mean). His wife became suspicious about why he was driving his RV to work. His wife came to his work, caught her husband and his secretary inside, and parked the car against the RV door preventing their escape. She then began to douse gasoline on the camper threatening to roast them both inside. Police were called and the lovers averted becoming Kentucky Fried.

The second story involved an HR manager who was forced to terminate employees as part of an employer cost reduction program. In the middle of one of the terminations, one man reached inside his jacket, pulled out a gun and sat it on the table. The man replied, “Well, I guess I won’t be needing this”. The HR manager said that it was the first time that he realized that his good people skills were more than just nice to have. You see the terminated employee had intended to take himself out and take a few others with him if things went badly. Wheeew…..disaster averted!

May your Halloween be a safe one and remember that good interpersonal skills may someday come in handy!

Rat Attack Taught Me About Leadership

What the Farm Taught Me About Leadership

My last blog post described the beginning and ending of my rodeo career. This blog post describes Dale vs. the Rats. It was the second life experience that convinced me to live in the city.

My father is one hard working tough son of a buck. On his first day of school, his mom asked if he could whip every boy in his school. Dad said, “All but one, and he’s tough….cause he cusses in front of women”. His favorite saying is, “I’ve had worse than that on the end of my nose”. He was riding on the hood of a car as a kid, slid off and lost most of the hide on his nose. This nose line is usually delivered to anyone who is complaining about anything. Pops is 85 years old and a second generation Oklahoma pioneer. He was late for his 85th birthday party because he was pulling a calf. When I say pulling a calf, I don’t mean straining his muscles below the knee. He was assisting a mother bovine in the birthing process.

Flashback to an earlier time, about 40 years earlier. I was 8-9 years old and was tagging along helping my father with his farm chores. We both walked up to the wheat bin. He hands me a stick and says, “When I open up this wheat bin, a bunch of rats are gonna come out, kill as many as you can”. I guess I thought he as kidding. The rats poured out of there like the 1971 movie Willard. Perhaps, this scene inspired the movie. Here’s a video clip from a Discovery channel episode called Infestation, just in case you want to see a bunch of rats to get a feel for what this experience was like.

I didn’t kill one rat! And these weren’t some skinny city rats. These rats had been eating at the all-you-can-eat wheat bin! They looked like a herd of possums to a 9 year old. I looked like the kid on Home Alone!

So what did I learn?

Well let me tell you about Strategic Moments. A Strategic Moment is a moment where if you don’t take the correct action, it will change everything. When my father handed me the stick, and told me what was about to happen, that was a strategic moment. My response should have been like Meatloaf said, “Stop right there!” “Are you kidding me? No, get that stick away from me, I don’t want any part of this!” “Does my mother know what you’re up to? She loves me and she’s told me so”. Of course, I was 9 and couldn’t put together that kind of persuasive articulate response. But nevertheless, remember the concept of strategic moments (SM). When a SM occurs, feel the fear and ask the tough questions. Feel the fear and do it anyway when it’s the right thing to do.

Experiences and Choices Shape Leadership

Experience and choices shape leadership. Some experiences are chosen and others seem to land on us without much choice. As we look back at life, we can begin to see how we’ve been shaped by both the school of hard knocks and our chosen response to these bruises.

Oklahoma Land Rush

Oklahoma land rush

I was raised by the descendants of pioneers. The Oklahoma land rush started in 1889 and a couple of my relatives were among the group making a made dash to stake their claim. The settlers were required to improve the land and live there for a period of time. There was a reason that they were giving the land away for free. It was a rough life. Children died of illnesses, doctors were several hours or days away, and there wasn’t a home depot on every corner. My great grandparents stacked one flat rock upon another one and built a half dugout home and corral. The land is still in our family today. I’m the fourth generation. Here’s what it looks like today.

What the homestead looks like today.

Americans compared to other cultures are an independent culture. Pioneers are even more independent. An independent upbringing reinforced a sense of rugged independence.

I remember when I was around 9 years old, I told my Grandfather that I wanted to be in the rodeo. He said, “Great, there’s a cow out in the lot. Why don’t you get started this afternoon”. Where were my “not so protective” parents. I guess if your a descendant of pioneers, they expect you to exercise independent judgement. I guess this was my vision of what was about to happen.

bull riding

What I thought was about to happen

Somehow I managed to jump onto the back of the pink eye cow. By the way, for all you city slickers, “pink eye” is an eye illness described here by Wikipedia.

But back to the story, I’m now on the back of the pink eyed cow. I’m sure it was quite shocking for the cow, having no predators who had ever managed to leap onto it’s back. The cow didn’t seem too excited. It ducked its head and I slid off the front into a big pile of cow manure. As I washed myself in the horse trough, I reflected upon this life lesson. That was the beginning and ending of my rodeo career. I’m sure it served as good farm humor for my grandfather. For me, it helped shape a perspective on experiencing the consequences of my own choices and actions. I had no one to blame. I made the choice and the bruises were natural law consequences of those actions.

By the way, it was one of several experiences that eventually convinced me that I wasn’t much of a country guy. I’m more of a city slicker. Sorry pioneers of the past, I’m a city slicker pioneer now! In a future blog post I’ll tell you about the city slicker kid vs. a bunch of scary rats. That was my second traumatic, “let’s move to the city” story.

As a leader, some lessons have fallen into our lap or over the head of an unsuspecting pink eyed cow. While other experiences can be orchestrated purposefully to engineer the leadership skills required to create the future.

Role of Moderator in Presidential Debate

What is the role of a facilitator? A facilitator has been defined as a person who frees you up from the process so that you can focus on the content of the discussion. Many believe that if you are over 50% involved in the content of a discussion, it’s helpful to have an outside facilitator that can guide the discussion. As a meeting facilitator, it’s important to understand the appropriate role or function. What is the appropriate role? That’s a trick question. The appropriate facilitator role is whatever is needed.

The word facile means “to make it easier”.

Two important factors include process and content. A person who is low on process and low on content might be a neutral observer. A person who is high on process, but low on content would be a facilitator/moderator. A person who is high on process and high on content would be a consultant/coach.

During last Tuesdays debate, I admit that I was multi-tasking. I was observing twitter responses during the debate. I was listening and conversing with Dan Harley via telephone and broadcasting through our blog talk radio show Technology Tuesday. I was listening to Dan Harley with my left ear. I was listening to Obama and Romney with my right ear. I was posting responses in Facebook, Twitter, and in our blog talk radio chat room. It was information overload. I’ve heard that we get more information in one day than a 16th century peasant receives in an entire lifetime. I must have beat these peasants during one presidential debate.

Then while watching the debate, Candy Crowley intervenes. What? and she seems to agree with Obama? Obama even asks her to repeat it…..and she does! Was that Candy’s role? I tend to think not. I view the role of the moderator to be an impartial facilitator. Candy Crowley’s role is to ensure fairness, keep time, enforce the rules of the debate, and ask the tough questions. When the moderator begins to interject his/her opinion…..well that’s not his/her role! Watch for yourself and tell me if you agree or not.

It seems pretty clear that this intervention deviates from the appropriate role of Presidential debate moderator.

Here is a diagram of what I believe are the appropriate roles of the Presidential candidates, moderator, and town hall attendees.

Role of Moderator in Presidential Debate

What are your thoughts? Was it appropriate for Candy Crowley to intervene the way she did?

Prepare For Your Next Meeting

Preparing For Your Next Meeting

Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Meetings are no exception. Here are some suggestions as you prepare for your next meeting:

1. Decide if the meeting is necessary. Meetings can be costly and unnecessary meetings can be a huge drain on the scarce resource of time.

2. Be clear about your key meeting result or outcome. Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland most eloquently stated, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there”.

3. Review your list of invitees. Be sure that the right people will be attending. Who could block your progress if they are not on board. Be sure to have a plan for involvement of key stakeholders. Be sure to invite the following people. Who are the right people to attend?

Relevant subject matter experts
Empowered decision makers
Key stakeholders
Important implementers

4. Consider room setup and materials needed. Rooms set up in a circle tend to encourage equality and discussion. Classroom set ups tend to lull people into a passive listening mindset.

5. Distribute the meeting notice and agenda prior to the meeting. MMP Plan and MyMeetingPro HD iPhone and iPad apps make agenda creation quick and easy.

6. Determine the decision-making method. Have you ever worked hard in a committee and presented your recommendation, only to have management say…..Naaaah….let’s do this other thing. What words describe your emotional reaction? Disillusionment, anger, pissed? Perhaps you were expecting that the decision making method was “Delegate with Constraints”. Unknowingly, the decision making method was “Gather Input from Team and Leader Decides”. Disappointment is as much about expectations as anything. It’s essential to set an appropriate decision making expectation. Here’s a list of decision making methods.

Decide and announce
Gather input from individuals and leader decides
Gather input from team and leader decides
Delegate to team with constraints

7. Identify the relevant ground rules.

Practice these relevant suggestions as you prepare for your next meeting. Together we can work together to eradicate bad meetings and seal the productivity drain that rob companies of precious time. If you would like to join me in this quest, join MyMeetingPro Facebook group dedicated to the eradication of bad meetings.

What has been your experience with meeting preparation?