“What is Hire GREAT and Why we do it?”

Hiring the right people impacts both the business and the people in the organization. It is a key business process that can have significant economical value and can determine future success. Hiring employees with the right mix of performance and technical skill is critical to the business strategy. Moreover, it creates a competitive advantage. Today’s customer-centric economy is raising candidates’ expectations. Candidates demand more: they look for access to diverse and culturally stimulating environments, great leaders and exciting employee experience.

Hire Great is a robust talent process that helps us consistently select candidates who are the right fit for the job and the company. A core concept is that behavior predicts. The behavioral approach helps us predict performance based on how candidates performed a certain competency or skill in the past. Thus, we are not relying on first impressions or gut feelings. Behavioral-based interviewing provides an objective framework to maximize hiring success by making effective factual-based hiring decisions.

What is GREAT?

A strong hire is attained when an individual’s talents and passions for a certain job meet with the business needs and values of an organization. There are three reflections to evaluate behavior:

  • Talent: what is the behavior required to be successful in this position? “What can you do?”
  • Passions: what are person’s motivations and aspirations? “Who are you?”
  • Organization: person’s knowledge and experience needed to be successful on the job: “What do you know?” & “What have you done?”

These three considerations can be identified through measurable competences. To hire a great talent, we always need to recognize the importance of performance competences/skills, as well as technical competences/skills. Identifying both skill-sets will help us create objective, unbiased hiring criteria.

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Why is behavioral-based interviewing important?

Most of us believe we are objective, unbiased decision makers. In fact, many of us have unconscious bias. 99.9999% of the information we receive is processed unconsciously.

Can we bring our biases to a more conscious level and to think about the choices we make when hiring?

Human beings are faced with 11 million bits of information at any given moment, per Timothy Wilson, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, author of “Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious.” As the brain can process only 40 bits of information at a time, it creates shortcuts using our past knowledge to make assumptions an connect the dots, being very powerfully guided by all the things we expect to be true in the world. While those algorithms are good – they help us get through the day – when it comes to people, we need to step back, pause and consciously process the information.

We want to approach our hiring plan in a way that helps us avoid hiring errors, so we can best predict job performance. The behavioral approach helps us validate or invalidate our first impressions and make objective decisions. It helps interviewers evaluate the candidate’s ability to perform the job, not his or her personality.

“Never hire or promote in your own image. It is foolish to replicate your strength and idiotic to replicate your weakness.”

- Dee Hock

On June 11th and 12th we held a Hire Great training session for a group of hiring managers. Together with learning the concept, they had the opportunity to work in teams to practice the behavioral interviewing approach. Team interviews (or panel interviews) have proven to be very efficient format. They save time and make the hiring decision easier due to many benefits like: representation of diverse functions and groups; more depth and clarity; increased assessment accuracy; balanced decision-making process.

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An effective behavioral-based interview goes through 4 stages:

  • Setting the stage for the interview by establishing rapport and describing the interview process.
  • Applying the Behavioral Approach and Learning Probes to gain behavioral examples and take notes.
  • Getting a balanced picture of a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Closing the interview on a positive and professional note.

It is a challenge to find the perfect candidate who fully matches the profile for the role—some skills will need to be learned on the job. The team learned how to assess “Learning agility” as a key to predicting how well a person can make changes and acquire new skills.

After we have interviewed the candidate, we make an assessment whether the individual is suitable for the role, based on his or her experience, expertise, and ability to demonstrate skill in the competencies critical to the role. There are many things to consider when evaluating the candidate’s responses.

Here are some useful tips to follow:

  • Stay focused on the objective hiring criteria. Manage personal biases and avoid relying on
  • First impressions or gut feelings. Bring your unconscious to more conscious level.
  • Maintain objectivity. Be careful not to reach conclusions impulsively. Continue listening through all the follow-up probing questions.
  • Weigh data sufficiently. Strive to look at positive and negative observations objectively.
  • Align your observations. Make sure that what you are observing pertains to the competency you are evaluating.
  • Consider what isn’t said. Sometimes the absence of behaviors or information you would otherwise expect is suggestive to an underdeveloped competency.
  • Evaluate the broader context. Behaviors don’t exist in a vacuum. Remember to look at the bigger picture.
  • Pay attention to past and present. Don’t just examine what happened in the past; take a look at the candidate’s behavior in the present situation now.
  • Contemplate future scenarios. Project past and present behavior into on-the-job situations.
  • Look for patterns and themes. Look for similarities between information shared.

Interviewing is a kind of people mastery. In a planned conversation, you need to evaluate whether a candidate is the right fit for a job, or not. How we are certain we make the right judgment? It is helpful to think of competencies this way:

  • Skill of most people – is it common for people to be skilled in this competency?
  • Developmental difficulty – how difficult is it for a person to develop this competency? What is their learning agility?

To gain the most value out of the interview, it is advisable to focus on the competencies that will make a difference and contribute to high performance in the role. This will create a differentiator factor for both the candidate as talent, and the company as employer. 

Why we decided to Hire GREAT!?

In the digital age, hiring talent is a key for organizational success and competitive advantage. There are number of reasons why a behavior-based interviewing process help hire high performers. 94% of recent hires either agreed or strongly agreed that the interview was objective and fair. Having a consistent and common hiring philosophy will empower hiring managers to become ambassadors of Hire great.  No matter whether you are a candidate in Bulgaria, or elsewhere on the global Ingram Micro map, you will go through the same process and have the exact same positive interview experience. The purpose is to build a continuous hiring culture of excellence as we recognize the promise of talent.

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