This is the perfect time for an article on hiring as so many companies are staffing up at a time when the U.S. unemployment rate has fallen to 3.8%. When the economy is robust and the unemployment rate is low, the supply and demand model favors the job seeker, not the employer. Companies can struggle just to fill all of their job openings. In any labor market however, the goal is always the same - to hire passionate, driven employees who will achieve great results. Unfortunately, no matter the quantity of job applicants – few or plenty - there are times when poor hiring decisions are made. More important than the number of qualified applicants is our ability to correctly recognize quality. Being able to distinguish between who is motivated to do the job from who is motivated just to get the job involves more than just assessing a candidate's skills.  Without knowing how to accurately identify the best, many untrained or inadequately trained interviewers rely only on nothing more than their gut instinct to tell them which candidate to select. This wouldn’t be a problem of course if it consistently produced good hiring results…but it doesn’t. Too often, marginal and poor job performers are mistaken as good hires and extended job offers.

It’s important to realize that not all methods of interviewing are equal.  Both behavior and competency-based interviewing focuses almost solely on a candidate's level of skill. Skill level may be important, but it takes more than just skill to succeed. If skill were the be-all-end-all when it comes to achieving great success, it wouldn't matter who we hired because we could teach anyone the skill, and everyone would be high achievers. But we know it doesn’t work that way. Having the skill to do the job doesn't necessarily mean a person will be highly self-motivated and will go above and beyond to achieve extraordinary results. Skill level does NOT consistently equate to job performance level. For example, you could have a highly skilled individual who performs no better than average and a lesser-skilled person who is willing to learn and go the extra mile.  Having the right skill set at the exact time of your job opening is not an indicator of a great hire. Thinking that it is, is why many employers have such a mixture of employee performance levels from high to low.  

Gathering motivation information, in addition to skill, produces much better hiring results. Motivation assessment is not a new concept, however assessing motivation correctly is. You cannot ask a candidate outright, "Are you highly self-motivated?" Everyone, even the most unmotivated candidates, will give a resounding “YES!” Asking for an example of a time when the candidate demonstrated initiative, drive or being a starter doesn’t work either. That’s because no one is 100% absent of motivation. Even a low performer can share one example (and will likely say so during a job interview) but that’s mean he or she will be a highly self-motivated individual once onboard. Interviewing methods that don’t enable interviewers to correctly distinguish between incremental performance differences (high performer - average performer - low performer) will not consistently produce great hiring results. But that’s not the case using MBI. “MBI” is short for motivation-based interviewing. It’s an interviewing method that goes beyond skill assessment as the sole criteria for hiring. It was specifically developed for hiring  high achievers and is already being used globally. It is fast replacing those other lesser-effective interviewing methods, and for good reason - it’s better!  MBI is a common sense, easy-to-use, structured interviewing process that assesses the three components that ALL high achievers share in common: skill, "I can" attitude, and passion (it's the attitude and passion that join forces to create a high level of self-motivation which gets funneled into the job).

One of the biggest roadblocks to improving hiring is convincing organizations and their interviewers that there is room for improvement when it comes to hiring.  If an organization is already filled with top performers, then indeed interviewer training is unnecessary. However, if you track and review hiring statistics, many companies find that they have too few top performers and too many disengaged employees. It's no wonder when you take a closer look at the hiring practices of many organizations.  Employers often have no clue whether their hiring managers have even been properly trained on how to conduct job interviews and make quality hiring decisions.  Research found more than 80% of those involved in hiring had little or no formal training. For those who had received some kind of training, typically it included legal do's and don'ts, behavior-based interviewing or other interviewing basics…none of which help interviewers to consistently hire high achievers. Do employers really believe hiring decisions have no impact on organizational productivity or success? Or that a hiring manager’s skillfulness at interviewing, or better said - lack of skillfulness – has no ill-effect? Yet, according to Career Builder research, "more than two-thirds (68 percent) of employers surveyed said they were negatively affected by a bad hire in the past year" costing the company upwards of $25,000 for each one.  Once organizations make the connection between their employee’s performance and their decisions to hire and recognize the profound effect their interviewers have on the overall success of the organization, either in a negative or positive way, only then will a sense of urgency to train their interviewers occur.  

This article was written by Hiring Expert, Carol Quin. 

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