There was a time when a college degree or GPA was seen as one of the sole measures of job readiness. That time has passed. There are now too many other, more effective, ways to locate and vet the best talent for an organization. In some cases, a college degree or past job can be a key hiring factor. But in today’s hiring and business environment, there is an intense need for specific skill sets which require a different approach to hiring. Here is how some innovative companies and hiring managers have already retooled their hiring practices to attract the best talent.
The Importance of Culture Fit
Whether a business is considered small or multinational, each department is its own microcosm, and hiring managers are now beginning to understand the importance of culture fit. In fact, the perfect hire on skill sets that doesn’t fit into the company’s culture can be a disaster for the business.
A recent interview of some of Forbes’ annual America’s Best Small Companies focused on hiring strategies. For example, Radio Flyer strives to bring smiles to kids of all ages and create warm lifetime memories. The company has a certain value system that it wants its employees to share. Job candidates are given specific assignments that assess culture fit. Robert Pasin, the company’s CEO or “Chief Wagon Officer” also interviews each candidate to determine culture match and help identify competencies.
Interview and Hire for Competencies
If you’ve ever seen the movie, “The Internship,” you know that Google has a reputation for asking brainteaser interview questions and demanding college transcripts of job candidates. This is changing as the tech giant has figured out that “they don’t predict anything.” In fact, Lazlo Bock, Google’s Senior VP for people operations is a strong proponent of behavior-based interviewing.
Behavioral interviewing is designed to discover how job candidates behaved in past situations, with the logic that this is a good predictor of future behavior. The employer determines particular skill sets or competencies and then asks the candidate to describe past situations or results that demonstrate those specific skills.
Behavioral interviews can focus on such things as leadership, teamwork, time management, and even personality traits. For example, Walt Bettinger, President & CEO at Charles Schwab is primarily interested in character and heart. According to Bettinger, a good leader cares about their employees and works to create a stable and hopeful environment.
Likewise, Lex Fenwick, CEO of Dow Jones sees resumes as “puff pieces,” and believes that “the ‘good on paper’ candidate is rarely the right fit for the job.” Instead, Fenwick believes that the best approach is to hire someone who has a fresh perspective and who “is ready to try the impossible things that no one else will.”
Innovative Hiring Techniques
Beyond behavioral interviews that flesh out competencies, specific skill sets, and even culture fit, many organizations also have candidates complete unique exercises as part of the hiring process. For example, Bi-Rite Market, another company on that Forbes’ list, has candidates work on their floor for two days to assess culture fit.
Salesforce has a particular process that it uses to hire new account executives. After several interview rounds, a successful candidate will be invited to give a 30-minute presentation, where they essentially sell themselves to the panel. The key parts of the presentation include describing their background, telling a story, demonstration and description of competencies, the layout of a 90-day plan, and an effective closing.
Hiring is a difficult enough process, but putting the wrong people into key positions is both expensive and damaging to an organization. Making the shift to hire for culture fit and use behavioral interviewing techniques to identify particular competencies is increasingly seen as the best approach to filling open positions with the right candidates.