Recruiting based on behaviour and fit

RecruitingIt surprises me when I talk with people about their approach to personnel selection. So often there is an over focus on skills. This is surprising given that so often when things don’t work out it’s as a result of behaviour and attitude.  There’s an obvious yet overlooked point – the skills element can be taught. Particularly when the candidate has the right attitude. Here’s three suggestions to help you understand more about a persons fit.

1) It starts before you even think about recruiting. Have you consciously thought about the type of environment you need to create success? Often this is skipped over. And often this is to the detriment of team performance. So spend some time thinking and articulating what you want to see. Involving others and developing a written team ethos can help here. Use this as a reference point in the selection process. The added bonus here is that you can use it to drive the existing team performance too. I use the ABC approach to get this conversation going – Attitude, Behaviours & Characteristics.

2) When discussing things with the perspective candidates use questions that help you get beneath the typical prepared answers about past experience. Here’s some examples:
– what are you like to be around when everything is going well?
– what do you do that gets in the way of being your best?
– what about others frustrates you? What behaviour does this provoke in you?

3) Get diversity into the selection approach. A good example of this I’ve seen in one organisation recruiting for a senior position is to use more junior members of staff as part of a panel in an interview. If successful the senior person will need to work with and sell concepts to more junior staff.  Why not start that early. This will bring a more varied perspective to the panel.

There are many ways you could go about the selection process. They will all have pros and cons. Just make sure you are objectively achieving the right balance. Jim Collins in Good to Great describes this as “getting the right people on the bus”. The All Blacks are more upfront about it in their selection with the simple “no dickheads” approach. I’ll leave it to you to determine what criteria they use for assessing that.

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