A New Approach to Effective Interviewing

January 31, 2018 © Copyright Glomacs

Why a Process?

If you were to ask ten of your managers “what’s the best way to interview” I suspect you would get ten different answers, each convinced that their way was the best.

Every time you recruit, you have the opportunity to make a decision – either good or bad. You can recruit talented people, average people or people who are and are likely always be poor performers. The financial crunch between 2012-2014 has shown all of us that most organizations were over staffed, reductions in organizational numbers in many cases resulted in higher productivity and greater organizational efficiency. The reason that numbers could and have been reduced is that those companies had a disproportionate amount of poor and average performers – and yes someone had recruited them.

A survey completed in 2016 in the Middle East of over 1000 employees in 110 large companies showed that talented people do almost 6 times more work than poor performers; the financial implications of inadequate recruitment are massive.

In a case study a company employing 3000 employees examined what the cost of poor performers were in one year. Out of the 3000 employees 22% were classed as poor performers, so who recruited them? The financial cost to the company in lost hours worked amounted to £48 million each financial year.

The process approach introduced in 2017 replicates what some of the world’s most successful companies use and the latest in psychological research. Companies who use this process approach to recruitment include Intel, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook. What have they in common? They are vastly rich and successful, have low turnover and the bulk of the workforce is what would be called Talented.

The traditional face-to-face interview

The reasons that just face-to-face recruitment fails are a combination of the following. This is not an opinion but based on reliable current studies and fact. 

1. Validity

The unreliability of the face to face interview due to bias and the fact they do not measure what they are designed to do.

2. Interviewer motivation 

Because interviews are a long process attentions spans wane. Accuracy of the interview is based on the interviewer’s ability to pick the right applicant. If testing is omitted this becomes an unreliable method.

3. Office politics

Can result in a significant blow to interview validity. Interviews to be relatively easy to ‘fix’ due to interviewers favouring certain candidates; they can nod and smile to encourage those they like, whilst provoking unfavorable applicants with negative or blunt remarks.

4. Lack of training

The vast majority of people who interview have been inadequately trained, or not trained at all. The results are apparent as interviewers do not tell candidates what dimensions will be covered/assessed in the interviews as this will cause applicants to prepare answers that say the right thing/what interviewers want to hear.

5. Unstructured interviews

An unstructured interview with potential future employees is a method used by managers in order to ‘Read between the lines’, size them up, and ascertain whether or not they are the right person for the position. Managers have a heavy preference for unstructured interviews because it allows them to go with their gut and use their intuition, potentially spotting idiosyncrasies that would be missed in analytical measures. Managers commonly overestimate the influence of intuition, whilst dramatically underestimate the validity of more robust measures.

6. The Panel Interview

It is one of the most potentially ineffective ways of interviewing, yet many organizations are still using it. The reason they do is to avoid accountability, to be seen to be involved and in some instances people are on the panel so they can show their peers how clever they are.

Candidates often find the panel interview overwhelming and intimidating and for that reason introverts do not perform well in such conditions. The most effective would be two people interviewing.

A Process Approach

A process approach helps to avoid most of our problem areas and the underlying issue that managers, in the main, only recruit people they like.

One of the most significant changes in the process is testing. Regretfully we live in an age where forgeries are easy to come by and candidates seem to master the art of telling lies or vastly over sell their strengths very well, in fact everything is stacked against the untrained gullible interviewer. Testing gets right down to what people know now. Branded tests exist for almost every job at every level and are very accurate. Talented people relish tests, average people put up with them and poor performers always complain about them; that should tell you something.

The interview itself is based on pre-written and scoreable questions. Each candidate gets the same question delivered in the same way. The replies are then scored at the point of reply. How do you know if a candidate is not telling the truth, we employ two techniques? Probing questions designed to find out more detail and the use of body language observation.

  • Body Language

Understanding and being able to decode body language is a very important and useful skill to have. Men always want to know how to tell if women like them and women always want to know how to tell when men are lying. Although these are interesting thing to know, finding out more about body language is a complex and involved subject. Here are some areas that will help.

  • Telling Lies

Detecting when people tell lies is very important.

The simple signs:

– When people tell lies the simple signs are:
– Hand over the mouth or close to the mouth
– Breaking off eye contact
– Shifting around (squirming)
– Men get sensitive in the neck area and will some time touch or rub their necks
– Women sometimes get red in the front of the neck

More complex signals 

Most people believe that liars give themselves away by what they do/rather than what they say or how they say it. The best indicators of complex lying are to be found in people’s speech and in their body language.

CIRCUMLOCUTION. Liars often beat about the bush. They tend to give long-winded explanations with lots of digressions, but when they’re asked a question they’re likely to give a short answer.

OUTLINING. Liars’ explanations are painted with broad brushstrokes, with very little attention to detail. There’s seldom any mention of time, place or people’s feelings. For example, a liar will tell you that he went for a pizza, but he probably won’t tell you where he went or what kind of pizza he ordered. When liars do provide details they are seldom in a position to elaborate on them. So, if you ask a liar to expand on his account, ifs very likely that he’ll simply repeat himself. When a truth-teller is asked the same question, he usually offers lots of new information.

SMOKESCREENS. Liars often produce answers that are designed to confuse – they sound as if they make sense, but they don’t. Examples of remarks that don’t make sense include Bill Clinton’s famous response during the Paula Jones harassment case, when he was asked about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, and answered, ‘That depends on what the meaning of “is” is.’ Another example is the justification that the Ex-mayor of New York City, David Dinkins, gave when he was accused of failing to pay his taxes: ‘I haven’t committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law.’

NEGATIVES. Political lies are frequently couched in the form of a denial – remember Bill Clinton’s famous denial, ‘1 did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.’ When a politician denies that he is going to  introduce a new measure, like raising taxes, you can usually take this as a sign that the measure is about to be introduced. As Otto von Bismarck said, ‘Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.’

Liars are more likely to use negative statements. For example, during the Watergate scandal, President Nixon said, I am not a crook.’ He didn’t say, ‘I am an honest man.’

WORD CHOICE. Liars make fewer references to them-selves – they use words like ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘mine’ less frequently than people who are telling the truth. Liars also    tend to generalize by making frequent use of words like ‘always’, ‘never’, ‘nobody’ and ‘everyone’, thereby mentally distancing them from the lie. DISCLAIMERS. Liars are more likely to use disclaimers such as ‘You won’t believe this’, ‘I know this sounds strange, but’ and ‘Let me assure you’. Disclaimers like these are designed to acknowledge any suspicion the other person may feel in order to discount it.

FORMALITY. When people are telling the truth in an informal situation they are more likely to use an elided form – for example, to say ‘don’t instead of ‘do not’. Someone who is telling a lie in the same situation is more likely to say, ‘do not‘ instead of ‘don’t’. That’s because people become more tense and formal when they lie.

TENSE. Without realizing it, liars have a tendency to increase the psychological distance between themselves and the event they’re describing. As we have seen, one way they do this is by their choice of words. Another is by using the past tense rather than the present tense.

SPEED. Telling a lie requires a lot of mental work because, in addition to constructing a credible line, the liar needs to keep the truth separated from the lie. This places demands on the capacities of the liar, which in turn can slow him down. That’s why people pause before producing a lie, and why lies tend to be delivered at a slower pace than the truth – unless, of course, the lie has been carefully rehearsed, in which case there should be no difference in speed.

PAUSES. Liars also produce more pauses between their words and sentences, and some of these pauses are filled with speech disfluencies like ‘urn’ and u’m

PITCH. The pitch of someone’s voice is often a very good indicator of their emotional state, because when people get upset the pitch of their voice starts to rise.

How to become a Professional Recruitment Analyst?

GLOMACS have the process, expertise and training to help you take control of recruitment and show the long – term benefit to your organization.

British Psychologist, Dr Tony Miller, with many years’ experience in HR and business improvement will be delivering this GLOMACS training. He is an expert in adding value to businesses by improving performance, productivity and procedures through manpower planning, performance and motivation. Dr Miller is acclaimed as the No. 1 authority on this topic and has written 2 books specifically on this topic.

In addition, the Advanced Recruitment and Selection Course is accredited by the ‘Institute of Leadership and Management’ and offers successful delegates to gain and internationally recognized certificate of competence.

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