Raising the Hiring, Productivity and Retention Bar by using In-depth Work Style & Personality Assessment Tools

By Dana Borowka, MA

The wrong hiring decision can cost your company well over two to three times the individual’s salary according to Vistage International speaker, Barry Deutsch. This figure may be a conservative estimate because of factors like training, evaluation, termination, re-initiating the hiring process, and lost opportunity costs. There is also an emotional factor involved in a bad hire situation. Not only can it cause stress and anxiety for both management and employees, but it also takes brain on crane to headaway focus from your company’s primary goals. Essentially, a bad hire can have a negative impact on your company’s bottom line and that won’t benefit you or your workforce.

These circumstances can be minimized during the initial hiring process by using several techniques including effective recruitment programs, skilled interviewing and in-depth work style and personality assessment tests. An in-depth assessment is a highly effective tool and an efficient use of company resources at this crucial point of the decision making process.

This article focuses on in-depth assessment tests and how your company can benefit from them during the interview process, before a potential new hire turns into the wrong decision. An in-depth profile, in conjunction with a thorough interview process and good background check, can reduce the possibility of a hiring error. It also can provide your company with quantifiable information on a candidate’s specific strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, an assessment will offer objective, expert guidance on how best to manage and place that individual within your organization.

Personality Assessment Testing – A Standard in Recruiting

In-depth work style and personality assessments are a standard recruiting practice for many branches of the government and military, as well as many Fortune 500 companies when assessing potential hires for key or critical positions. They are used to reduce employee turnover and improve department effectiveness. Correctly interpreted, professionals can help guide your organization on how to best manage, communicate and train new hires and staff members.

As with any business decision, having the right information is critical. Work style and personality assessment testing can provide insight into potential hires, as well as your current workforce, in several ways:

  1. Identify potential red flags: An in-depth work style and personality assessment can discover issues that are sometimes overlooked during the interviewing process and can quantify an intuition or feeling the interviewer may have about a particular candidate. It can be used to identify potential red flags concerning behavioral issues, help understand how to manage individuals for greater work performance and compare interpersonal dynamics of teams, departments and candidates.
  2. Learn how to optimize employees’ work performance: An in-depth assessment can provide extensive information on an individual’s ability to work with their job responsibilities, team dynamics and company culture. Additionally, the assessment can show effective strategies to gain optimal performance from that individual within their particular work environment. It can also be employed to quickly identify the most effective management style for a new employee or predict how team members are likely to interact.
  3. Ensure you have the right people in the right positions: Additionally, personality assessments can be utilized in rehires, or situations which call for employees to re-apply for their current jobs, as in the case of a corporate merger or restructuring. A personality assessment test can also ensure that your company continues to have the right people in the right positions and distribute assets & talents effectively.

Which Assessment Tool Should My Organization Use?

The following are some things to think about when reviewing various work style & personality profiles:woman holding questionmark

  1. Training or degrees of those who are providing the debrief/interpretation of the data.
  2. A copy of the resume and job description should be supplied to the testing company.
  3. Scale for “Impression Management”
  4. What is the history of the profile?
  5. Cultural bias
  6. Does the profile meet U.S. government employment standards? Has it been reviewed for ADA compliance & gender, culture & racial bias?
  7. Reading level required (5th grade English, etc.)
  8. Number of actual scales (minimum of 12+ primary scales – 16 is optimal)
  9. Does the data provide an understanding on how an individual is wired?

These are some general questions and if a profile falls short in any one area, we strongly suggest additional research into the accuracy of the data being generated.

Frequently Asked Questions

A frequent question from companies and organizations concerns the legal guidelines in administering assessments to potential employees. Industry regulations can vary and the best option is to consult with your company’s trade association or legal department. As a general rule, if your company uses an assessment, any test or set of hiring questions must be administered to all of the final candidates in order to assure that discrimination is not present. Additional information can be found online at the EEOC website, in the Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations of Employees section: http://www.eeoc.gov/docs/guidance-inquiries.html.

An additional question concerns how a new hire may feel about taking an in-depth personality and work style assessment. There is a certain amount of “test anxiety” that can be common. However, the test demonstrates that your company is serious about who they hire. If your company explains that the goal of the assessment is to reduce turnover and is only one of several factors involved in the hiring decision, the individual usually responds very well. In many cases, the candidate may accept a position from the organization they perceive to be more thoughtful during the hiring process.

Conclusion

An in-depth assessment is only one component needed for a successful recruitment and hiring program. It can provide valuable information for critical personnel decisions. Combined with an effective recruitment program and skilled interview techniques, it can benefit your company as a whole, in addition to your individual employees. Armed with accurate and man with magnify glassquantifiable data from an in-depth personality assessment, the interview process becomes much more reliable. Ultimately, this only adds to your organization’s bottom line, allowing more effective management of your existing workforce and limiting the potential for wrong hiring decisions. For more information, please call (310) 453-6556, ext. 403 or email us at dana@lighthouseconsulting.com.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. Dana has over 25 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics.  He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

Attract the Best Talent by Writing Outrageously Creative Ads

By Barry Deutsch

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]I[/dropcaps]f you’re only seeing the bottom third of all possible candidates, that’s who you’ll hire, even if you’re great at using all the other techniques we’ve mentioned, such as defining superior performance or conducting a performance-based interview. As a manager or executive, don’t assume that your current man running on up arrowcandidate sourcing programs are adequate to find the best people. A good sourcing program is a critical component of an effective hiring program and it needs to operate on several levels. Attracting the interest of top people right from the start is the key to eventually getting the right person into the job. Our experience in conducting hiring process audits over the last 10 years has shown that most companies are only using at best 20% of their internal candidate sourcing capability. Many of the techniques for acquiring top talent are simple to implement and do not require a large investment of time or expense.

The best candidates don’t look for jobs in the same way typical candidates do. A new job for a top candidate is always a strategic decision based on an opportunity for personal growth. For the typical candidate, the primary motivating need is to get another job. Most sourcing programs don’t take this difference into account, and as a result never attract enough top candidates. Managing motivation is a critical aspect of every successful search assignment. You must focus on the needs of the best to attract a bigger pool of talented candidates.

The primary method of getting the attention of top candidates is through writing outrageous and compelling marketing statements (we don’t call them ads since we’re going to use them on an escalating level that transcends simple classified job advertising).

Here are the five key ingredients to writing outrageous and compelling marketing statements that will dramatically increase your pool of candidates:

1. The Doing

Get as much action into your compelling marketing statement as possible; focus on what the candidate will have to do once they’re hired. This is the heart of your compelling marketing statement – setting up what you expect the person to accomplish. If you make the “doing” sound exciting, you’ll prompt all of those qualified candidates who aren’t actively job-seeking to sit up and take notice. (You’ll also discourage people who don’t want to work very hard.) If you want to motivate people to excellence, devote at least 50% of the ad to the “doing”. Add lines like this to your compelling marketing statements: “Get set to rebuild a electro-mechanical consumer product line with lots of potential, but little direction.” or “Take over a customer service department of 10 people that needs an energizing force and a new direction.”

2. The Becoming

Use your imagination to paint a clear and attractive picture of how the person can grow and develop over the first year. Give them something to reach for. People stay at jobs when they can see a compelling future. Often they’ll take less of a salary increase: The career opportunity more than compensates for an additional 10% salary. The “becoming” needs to be mentioned subtly in line with some salesmanship about the company. For example, “Become an e-commerce guru as you lead the launch of our state-of-the-art Internet application.” Here’s another, “Enhance your UNIX Systems Administrator skills as you take on one of the biggest IT challenges to come to Austin.”

3. The Having

Don’t pack your compelling marketing statements with lists of requirements, skills, academics or duties. These are a big turn-off and exclude the best from even applying. Not surprisingly, unqualified people, who often only read the title, apply in great numbers (Do you get too many responses?). “Experience” is a poor predictor of on the job success, so minimize this in your ads — no more than one general sentence. Something like, “Send in your resume if you have a few years in our industry, solid academics, and a track record of building awesome teams” works best, we’ve found. Keep this part simple and vague.

4. Outrageous Titlesbizman with pen

Use interesting and exciting titles for your positions. Be a bit creative here. Instead of “UNIX Administrator” use “UNIX Guru”. Instead of “Sales Manager”, use “Sales General” or “Decorated Road Warrior”. An “Inside Sales Person” could become a “Tele-sales Wizard”. This causes candidates to read the advertisement or compelling marketing statement to learn more.

5. Qualify Candidates Right from the Start

At the end of your compelling marketing statement, ask the candidate to submit a one-page write-up of their most significant comparable accomplishment (or add this request to an auto-email response). This is a more meaningful way to filter candidates. The quality of the accomplishment is more predictive of success than all the degrees and experiences in the world.

You can also take this document and pass it out to all your employees, asking them to forward it to individuals who might like to hear about the compelling opportunity in your company. Using this compelling marketing statement will dramatically boost your internal employee referrals. We’ve always felt that the greatest source of new candidates can come from your existing group of employees. Your best people already know other great people. Unfortunately, most companies don’t give their employees a vehicle (such as the compelling marketing statement) to distribute to people they know. When your employees start emailing this compelling statement of work, you’ll be amazed at how many great candidates start raising their hands to be considered for the position.

This compelling marketing statement you’ve just written can be used far beyond simply placing the ad in the newspaper or on-line. Once you’ve prepared this document, you can send it to a specialty trade organization, user forum, or other special interest group, both on-line and off-line. We call this approach “Sourcing by one degree of separation”.

Final Thoughts

According to Dana Borowka, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC (www.lighthouseconsulting.com), hiring the right people is key to future growth. If you would like additional information on hiring, please click here to see an article on this subject.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and Impact Hiring Solutions to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Barry Deutsch, MA is a well-known thought leader in hiring and peak performance management. He is a frequent and sought-after speaker for management meetings, trade associations, and CEO forums, such as Vistage International, formerly known as TEC, a worldwide CEO membership organization of more than 15,000 CEOs and senior executives. Many of his clients view him as their virtual Chief Talent Officer. Vistage International named Barry “IMPACT Speaker of the Year”… Barry is also frequently asked to present IMPACT Hiring Solutions award-winning programs on hiring, retention, and motivating top talent and leverages a vast knowledge base of 25 years in the executive search field, with a track record of successful placements in multi-billion dollar Fortune 100 companies, entrepreneurial firms, and middle-market high-growth businesses. He has worked closely with thousands of CEOs and key executives to help improve hiring success, leverage human capital, and raise the bar on talent acquisition. Barry earned his BA and MA from the American University in Washington, D.C. Prior to his executive search career, Barry held positions of responsibility in Finance and General Management with Mattel, Beatrice Foods, and Westinghouse Cable. Barry is a co-author of the book, You’re Not The Person I Hired. You can reach him at barry@impacthiringsolutions.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Having Problems Finding Qualified Candidates?

By Dana Borowka, MA

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]W[/dropcaps]elcome to the 21st Century!  We are hearing from many of our clients, both domestically and globally, that it is getting to be more and more difficult to find qualified candidates. A number of years ago while attending the Milken Global Conference, one of the speakers projected this very issue and man watching on boat bowcommented that it would likely get worse. With so much unemployment, that didn’t seem to make sense, but that is what we are starting to see right now.

According to Barry Deutsch of Impact Hiring Solutions a number of factors are causing this situation:

“Fewer top talent candidates are using job boards to respond to job advertisements, which are the primary method by which companies use to attract candidates. Increasing top talent is turned off and disgusted by the traditional approach of a posted job description masquerading as an job ad. Many companies are recognizing the importance and impact of top talent, are doing everything within their power to motivate, empower, engage, and stimulate their best performers. Finding and attracting these “game changers” requires a completely different approach to sourcing and recruiting. If you desire to attract better performers, you’ve got to have a hiring process designed for top talent. Great performers respond to compelling marketing-oriented ad copy, they get excited to learn about the challenges and obstacles in their new job, and they want to know they’ll have a significant impact on the success of your company, department, or team. A process lacking the ability to communicate and discuss these issues in-depth results in hiring average and mediocre candidates.”

A New Perspective

Many companies are realizing that they are going to need to look from within and identify potential talent that they can nurture. Albert Einstein provides some insight as to what an organization needs to do when looking at future talent: “The significant problems we have today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them”. Talent acquisition will need to be reviewed through a new set of eyes and ears. The following is an exercise that you can use to begin this process.

Pick three A, B and C players that are currently in your organization and list out their key characteristics:

[ws_table id=”19″]

Exploring Different Avenues

Take a close look at the characteristics and look for commonalities. In order to attract those individuals, you will need to market, brand, network and reach out to those that reflect what you want. A few questions to ask:

  1. Why are those individuals staying with our organization?man at crossroads
  2. What attracted them in the first place?
  3. Have they grown from within and what helped them to get to the next level?
  4. Why would they leave?

In order to begin to develop a coaching plan, you can consider what would it take to help a C Player to become a C+ Player or a B Player to become a B+ Player, etc. To design a retention and succession plan, you’ll need to know your people by understanding why they are with you, why they stay, where they want to go and then manage to all three areas. It is vital to know the strengths and weaknesses and to help them to fulfill their vision.

Some Tools To Cultivate Your Future Team Players:

  1. Define who you’d like onboard – look at the characteristics that you want in your organization.
  2. Define expectations by creating a 30-60-90-180 day expectation list (3-6 items under each timeline).
  3. Develop a PR and advertising plan around what you want to attract.
  4. Interview to those standards.
  5. Manage to the individual’s vision and help them to succeed based on their strengths and weaknesses.

A Perceptive Tool

In-depth work style and personality assessments can reveal deep insight into new hires and mentoring current team members. Assessments can help in:people holding up symbols

  1. Gaining insights into strengths and weaknesses of candidates and staff.
  2. Providing probing interview questions that might be overlooked.
  3. Identifying potential red flags for human behavioral issues during the hiring process.
  4. Reducing the learning curve for understanding how to manage individuals for greater work performance.
  5. Comparing the dynamics of teams, departments and candidates.

One of the best ways to learn how to use an in-depth work style assessment as part of the hiring, mentoring and managing process is to take a few minutes to listen to our podcast interviews at the following links:

“How to Lose your Most Valuable Resources” – This interview is about keeping employees engaged, respecting them for their talents and allowing them to contribute and participate in the growth of the company. Please click on the link below or copy and paste the link into your internet browser address bar. It will start Media or Quicktime Player and play the interview for you.
https://lighthouseconsulting.com/Radio/Vistage-HiringRecruitingandRetention.mp3

“Putting In-depth Work Style & Personality Assessments to Work” – This interview is about utilizing in-depth work style and personality assessments in the hiring process. Please click on the link below or copy and paste the link into your internet browser address bar.
It will start Media or Quicktime Player and play the interview for you.
https://lighthouseconsulting.com/Radio/2005-11-07.mp3

If you would like to learn more about in-depth work style assessments, please contact us at dana@lighthouseconsulting.com or (310) 453-6556, ext. 403.

Final Thoughts

Finally, hiring the right people is key to future growth. If you would like additional information on raising the hiring bar, please click here to see an article on this subject.  By using these tools and exploring the characteristics and needs of your top performers, you can then design an effective plan to finding and cultivating qualified candidates.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. Dana has over 25 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics. He provides workshops on hiring, managing for the future, and techniques to improve interpersonal communications that have a proven ROI. He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

The Remote Worker Dilemma

By Dana D. Borowka, MA

Why You Should Desire, Hire, and Inspire Remote Workers

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]M[/dropcaps]elissa Meyer will long remember the firestorm she created over remote workers. Soon after starting her position as the new CEO of Yahoo, Mayer instituted a policy to eliminate remote working and bring employees back to the offices. This caused quite a bit of anger among employees, who leaked the memo to the press. A major debate on the issue ensued in the media with the merits of telecommuting being discussed from the front page of the New York Times to parenting blogs.

img001Despite the new policy at Yahoo — which Mayer defended as “right for Yahoo right now” as opposed to an industry standard (because perhaps the remote worker policy at her company was broken and needed fixing) — there is a growing body of research that indicates there are some major benefits to allowing employees to work remotely. A study from Stanford University indicated that call center employees who worked from home increased their productivity by about 13 percent and had more job satisfaction and lower turnover. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found similar results in a study released last year. These studies also suggest this may lead to longer hours worked and less sick days taken. Additionally, it can save a business real estate costs and broaden the pool of available talent (since location is no longer a major factor).

The book, “Remote: No Office Required” (fall of 2013) by the company 37Signals says, “As an employer, restricting your hiring to a small geographic region means you’re not getting the best people you can. As an employee, restricting your job search to companies within a reasonable commute means you’re not working for the best company you can.”

Could there be an opportunity for remote workers in your company? If you are interested in incorporating remote workers into your organization, it is vital that you find the people best suited to it and then manage them properly. Here are some suggestions on how you can benefit from some of that increased productivity and job satisfaction.

How to Test Potential Remote Workers

Obviously, working remotely is not for everyone. Working away from the watchful eyes of the office requires autonomy and a limited need for social interaction that, to be frank, some just do not possess. Some workers are pretty good at it and others are pretty ugly. The trick is to find the great people who are self-motivating and can concentrate better without the distractions of a traditional office. The payoffs can be huge. But how can you find the ideal people who will thrive in a remote environment?As a trial experiment, you could start with current employees who may do well working from home. Many people may volunteer to do this, but that doesn’t mean they are the best candidates for it. As part of your initial set up of remote workers, try using an in-depth work style and personality assessment to gain objective information about your employees.

Our research for our book, Cracking the Personality Code, reveals that this is not guesswork or an untested science. Work style assessments are a standard recruiting practice for bizwoman under magnifyglassmany branches of the government and military, as well as many Fortune 500 companies when assessing potential hires for key or critical positions. We will discuss hiring in the next section, but you can start with evaluating current employees.

What are you looking for in an ideal remote worker? First of all, be sure to use an established assessment company that utilizes multiple rating scales and evaluators with comprehensive training. The assessment company you choose should help you create tailored interview questions based on the candidate’s specific personality. The purpose is to probe facets of the work style and personality you need more details on. The assessment organization should also have a copy of the job description and resume as part of the debrief discussion.

Here are some areas you may want to focus on for a work style assessment:

Determine patterns for coping with stress.

Stress is a force that tends to distort the body, a factor that induces bodily or mental tension, or an automatic physical reaction to a danger or demand in the environment. As one physician stated, “Stress is any demand, either internal, external or both, that causes us to mentally and physically readjust in order to maintain a sense of balance within our life.” Without a doubt, stress is a fact of life in today’s work world. So determining a candidate’s or employee’s ability to cope with stress is critical for a manager.

Assess their problem-solving resources.

Is this person a problem solver? If so, what kind of problem solver? Each of us has unique problem-solving resources on which we rely. Determine what the candidate’s strengths are when it comes to problem solving. What are the usual approaches this person will use to resolve these problems?

Examine their interpersonal interaction styles.

Breakdowns in communication are never good for an organization. So take a good look at the individual’s style for relating and communicating with others. How do they usually react in dealing with others? What is their comfort level in interacting and connecting with others? Personality assessments can tell you the person’s major sources of gratification and satisfaction when building relationships. Since remote workers are isolated, they need to be very effective at communicating when they do interact with managers and other employees. This is an area to really focus on in the evaluation.

Explore thought flow.

Of course, not everyone thinks and processes information the same way. A good personality test will give you insight into an individual’s thought flow. This not only helps with hiring, but understanding how someone’s thoughts naturally flow is also a very powerful management tool. Sharing this information amongst the team helps employees communicate more effectively with other members of the team.

Investigate career matching.

Certain personality tests help you gain information which may either support the person’s present career choices or assist them to explore, consider and plan for another career direction. Ask your assessment company if they have specific remote working questions that can help indicate this aspect of career suitability. A personality test can give you an indication of which jobs match the candidate’s personality type and which careers they may have an aptitude for. You do need to remember that the test results are only an indicator and should not be relied on as an absolute assessment of which career is best for the person.

Evaluate Strengths and Weaknesses.

Personality testing is a proven and effective way to create highly functional teams. This starts with a summary of each person’s strengths and weaknesses. Once you know which personality types work best together, you can mix and match your people so that you get the worker handoffmost out of each of them. For every strength a person possesses there is a corresponding weakness. Being assertive is a strength. However, a person can be too assertive and off putting for some people or in some situations. This may be useful in matching your remote workers with managers and colleagues in the office.

Since remote workers can be a bit isolated, it is essential that they be proactive, problem solvers. Additionally, they need to be happy without the social aspects of the workplace. Above all, they need to be excellent at written communication, since so much will need to done through e-mail.

How to Recruit Remote Workers

If you don’t have any suitable candidates in your office now, or you’d like to expand your remote working talent pool, you may need to recruit.

“The recruitment and sourcing is easier since you’re not asking candidates to consider relocation,” says Barry Deutsch, executive recruiter and author of You’re Not the Person I Hired. “This is particularly important to candidates with ten plus years of experience who most likely have put down roots in their local community through schools, non-profit involvement, friends and neighbors, religious organizations, and sporting organizations, such as little league or AYSO soccer.”

You can start your search in the same ways you would for in-house workers: networking, employee referrals, job board advertising, and broadcasting through social media. But since remote workers can be so specialized, you need to avoid common pitfalls of the hiring process.

Deutsch commissioned a study to identify the most common mistakes executives make in their hiring process. The top ten are:

  1. Inadequate Job Descriptions
  2. Superficial Interviewing
  3. Inappropriate Prerequisites
  4. Snap Judgments
  5. Historical Bias
  6. Performance Bias
  7. Fishing in Shallow Waters
  8. Lack of Probing Questions
  9. Ignoring Candidate Needs
  10. Desperate Hiring

Many of these mistakes apply to hiring remote workers as well. Here is some advice from Deutsch to improve your odds of hiring the right remote workers.

Inadequate job descriptions.

The job description you write for these positions will be extremely important. Not only does the description need to be clear about the situation, it should be crafted to entice the right kinds of people to apply.

Inappropriate prerequisites.

First, compare their resume against your job description. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Surprising how easy it is to blow right past this step in the hiring process. Past experience alone is not what you are looking for when you review the resume. You are looking at how well they performed, what their successes were, and how adaptable they might be to the job that needs to be done for your organization. Experience is nice, but results are what really count.

According to Deutsch, “It’s very important to understand the environment and culture remote workers come from. For example, if someone has never worked remotely before, it’s likely the transition to remote working might end up being a failure since they are learning on your watch.”

Superficial interviewing/Lack of probing questions.

To be sure they have the experience or attitudes you are looking for, ask the right questions. Ask them about working independently from home or an executive suite. Are they able to manage themselves? How do they maintain productivity remotely? Deutsch also recommends discussing how they were managed in prior remote positions to avoid clashes in corporate culture or style. “Probe for examples of how they are managed: rigor of reporting, calling into bosses for discussions – daily-weekly, formal and informal updates, tracking of activities worker cooperationand productivity. What are the process/tools in your company compared to their prior environments and cultures? “As a means of avoiding these mistakes, many employers are now doing “behavioral interviews.” Rather than focusing on resume and accomplishments alone, use the personality test as a jumping off point to ask open-ended questions that will cause the job candidate to describe real circumstances and their responses to them. Ask them to describe in detail a particular event, project, or experience and how they dealt with the situation, and what the outcome was. This type of interviewing is the most accurate predictor of future performance.

How to Manage Remote Workers

If you would like to use remote workers, be prepared to change your own management style. Since you can’t just walk by their desk to check in, it is crucial that tools and processes be put into place that will allow you and your employees to remain connected.

First of all, be sure that your remote worker has a dedicated workspace, whether that is a room in their home or a rented space. If they are trying to concentrate while their kids run around them playing, it simply will not work in the long run. Many companies stress that remote working should not be considered an alternative to childcare. Be sure your employee understands that they are expected to focus on their work.

Have managers and remote workers take personality tests. The results of the tests can be used as tools for productive conversations on workplace styles and expectations. Helping a remote worker understand how best to communicate with managers and supervisors can be invaluable.

Also, be sure they have all the tools they will need to complete their work. It may be a wise investment to provide the employee with a computer and printer, or whatever other technology is necessary to their job. Additionally, you should be sure they have access to online technologies that will enable you to communicate with and keep track of them. Google has some helpful free tools, but there are many other solutions that could also be helpful for your business.

Remember that communication is key. Although your remote staff will need to be able to manage their own day-to-day workflow, you and the team (whether also remote or in the office) need to be appraised of the status of their projects. Establish consistent check-ins with your remote staff (via phone or an online tool like Skype) and be sure to include them in departmental meetings, so they are in the loop.

Although they may be fine without the daily water cooler conversations of an office, you want to ensure that your remote staff can maintain social connections with the other employees of the company. Encourage them to have discussions with other staff members so that they can continue to collaborate. Also, it would be wise to bring your remote workers together at the office a couple times a year so that they can have some face time with you and their colleagues.

Since you won’t interact with them daily, it is important that you are clearly setting goals and measuring results to evaluate remote worker progress. It is important that you give feedback to remote workers, either as part of your regular check-ins, or in established performance review sessions. This will obviously require more effort on your part but will help your remote workers understand how they are doing and how they can improve.

Lastly, don’t let your remote workers be “out of sight, out of mind.” One of the biggest challenges to job satisfaction for remote workers is the perceived lack of advancement in the company. Be sure you are evaluating their results and considering them for work that would help them with career development. Do not forget to include them on projects or committees where their expertise would be useful.

To get a copy of an action item list, 10 Things to Do for Managing a Remote Workforce, please click here and sign up for our Keeping on Track Newsletter.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article.  © 2014

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.  To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” & “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Identifying Sales and Marketing People Who Flourish in Today’s Environment

By Dana Borowka, MA

Not all sales and marketing people are created equal. In a challenging economy, you want to hire people who are creative, image001innovative and can get results despite the roadblocks. After all, today is a new day with new opportunities for those that are open to them. To improve hiring decisions, many companies have found out how to crack the personality code by using robust in-depth work style personality testing. Work style assessments are a standard recruiting practice for many branches of the government and military, as well as many Fortune 500 companies when assessing potential hires for key or critical positions.

Our research for our book, Cracking the Personality Code, reveals that this is not guesswork or an untested science. Here are eight proven ways to use in-depth work style personality testing to hire the right sales and marketing people who are willing to fight for market share.

1. Compare Their Resume Against Your Job Description

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Surprising how easy it is to blow right past this step in the hiring process. Past experience alone is not what you are looking for when you review the resume. You are looking at how well they performed, what were their successes, and how adaptable they might be to the job that needs to be done for your organization. Experience is nice, but it is results that really count.

2. Assess Their Problem-Solving Resources

Is this person a problem solver? If so, what kind of problem solver? Each of us has unique problem-solving resources on which we rely. You will want to determine what the person’s strengths are when it comes to problem solving. What are the usual approaches this person will use to resolve these problems?

3. Determine Their Patterns For Coping With Stress

Stress is a force that tends to distort the body, a factor that induces bodily or mental tension, or an automatic physical reaction to a danger or demand in the environment. As one physician stated, “Stress is any demand, either internal, external or both, that causes us to mentally and physically readjust in order to maintain a sense of balance within our life.”

Without a doubt, stress is a fact of life in today’s work world. So determining a candidate’s or employee’s ability to cope with stress is critical for a manager.

4. Examine Their Interpersonal Interaction Styles

Breakdowns in communication are never good for an organization. So take a good look at the individual’s style for relating and communicating with others. How do they usually react in dealing with others? What is their comfort level in interacting and personal connection with others? Personality assessments can tell you the person’s major sources of gratification and satisfaction when building relationships with each other.

This is the time to identify potential red flags. A personality assessment can discover issues that are sometimes overlooked during the traditional interviewing process and can quantifybizman opening door a hunch or feeling the interviewer may have about a particular candidate. Knowing interpersonal interaction styles can also help understand how to manage individuals for greater work performance. A comparison of the interpersonal dynamics of teams, departments, employees and candidates is well worth the effort.

5. Analyze Career Activity Interests

Certain personality tests help you gain information which may either support the person’s present career choices or assist them to explore, consider and plan for another career direction. This is not to say you will be recommending another career choice to someone you are considering hiring or currently managing. Rather, you are using this information to determine fit. All organizations want to ensure that they have the right people in the right positions and effectively distribute these human assets and talents.

6. Assess How They Respond To Tests

You should also use tests with scales for what is known as “impression management.” This is necessary in order to understand the accuracy of results and whether someone is trying to “fake good” or misrepresent themselves. A critical element in predicting a potential candidate’s success is measuring real personality and style in an interview. An in-depth work style and personality assessment presents a fairly accurate picture of a candidate’s personality, work style and fit within a company’s culture.

If a profile does not have an impression management scale, then it is difficult to tell how accurate the data is. A profile needs to have at least 165 questions in order to gather enough data for this scale.

7. Chronicle Strengths & Weakness Ledger

Benjamin Franklin reportedly had a decision-making process when he was faced with important challenges. Franklin divided a sheet of paper into two columns, and on the left side listed the reasons for doing something and on the right side the reasons against. Much like a bank ledger with credits and debits, this simple tool greatly aided the analysis of information. Often a quick scan of the two lists gave him the information he needed to make the right choice.

We recommend you do the same for the personality of a job candidate or an employee under your supervision. Like a bank ledger, every credit should have a corresponding debit. That is because for every strength a person possesses there is a corresponding weakness. Being assertive is a strength; however, that personality can be too assertive and off putting for some people they deal with.

8. Create Personality Probing Interview Questions

So, what have you learned about the job candidate so far through personality assessments? What remains to learn? To find out, developinterview questions that probe facets of the personality you need more details on

pen on bookForget those old standby questions like, ‘Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses’. Instead, let’s say you wanted to determine how they cope with stress. You might ask the candidate to give an example of when they made a terrible mistake and how they handled it. Ask them how they think others perceive them when they are under stress. For making a mistake, did they blame others or take responsibility for the outcome? Listen for their process. Do they ask for help? Watch body language and tone of voice to see how much insecurity the candidate expresses at the idea of making a mistake or having stress..

As consultants trained in psychology, this is something we help our clients create for new candidates. To help you create questions, here are some preliminary interview questions for a candidate. Naturally, these are not meant to be questions to ask all candidates, but are indicative of the types of questions you might ask:

What process do you think helps you to learn? Give an example of how you learn a very complex system or skill and what your process was?

How would you handle a situation that brought up many different changes? How do you like to see change take place? Give an example when change was implemented and it just didn’t work out.

Have you ever worked with individuals who are abstract thinkers? How did you deal with that kind of thought process?

Give an example of when you have had to make an exception to the guidelines or rules. How have you handled that?

What was the most challenging sales situation you have ever faced and won? Give an example of when you lost a sale and what you could have done differently.

Whew, seems like a lot to worry about. As with any business decision, having and organizing the right information is critical. Work style and personality assessment testing can key in door lockprovide insight into potential hires, as well as the current workforce. The trick is to gather the information and then look at it in an organized fashion.

 

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2021

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your business”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style & personality assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication, stress & time management, sales & customer service training and negotiation skills as well as our full-service Business Consulting Division. Dana has over 30 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics. He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style & personality assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication, stress & time management, sales & customer service training and negotiation skills as well as our full-service Business Consulting Division.

Are You Being Commoditized?

By Patrick McClure

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]T[/dropcaps]he number one issue I hear about from associates, clients, and partners is a very real and growing fear of becoming commoditized.

Here is an all-too-familiar scenario:

After numerous meetings with your client, detailed fact finding, many internal team planning sessions, and a heck of a lot of hard work writing and submitting your proposal, you have been given the distressing news that the business was awarded to another vendor. You thought you had the best solution and a good price, excellent relationships and a good team in place. So why did you lose?

pull ropeDuring your follow up investigation, you find out your prospect went out on the internet, researched all your competitors and “shopped” your proposal seeking a lower price. At the last minute, another company who knew nothing about your customer and their business needs submitted a lowball bid and snatched the deal away. In short, you were lumped into the mix and got commoditized.

Is there anything you could have done to change the outcome? What steps could you take to avoid being treated as “just another vendor”? Is there any way to separate your company from the pack? Read on…

The Commoditization Conundrum

In his recently published book “Entering the Shift Age”, futurist David Houle writes about the epic transformations that are changing our lives as we proceed into the 21st century, shifting from the Information Age into the “Shift Age.” In this age (circa 2010-2050), change is the norm, the individual has the power, and traditional methods of decision making and authority are disappearing just like dinosaurs.

digital worldOne of the biggest changes (no surprise here!!) is universal access to massive amounts of information instantly available on any device, located anywhere and at any time globally. Even ancient “Baby Boomers” such as myself have learned how to quickly navigate the internet to find information about practically anything. Quick access to business data via Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and hundreds of other information portals guarantee that we never go into a business meeting unprepared. It is staggering how much information exists and is being created in this “Big Data” environment. And the future generations – the Millennials and the Digital Natives – demonstrate amazing familiarity and expertise as they effortlessly cruise through Cyberspace.

Since anyone can access this vast amount of free data, it’s a snap to check out competitors and shop for information and bids online. There are dozens of apps available to help with reverse auctions, finding discounts or deals, and evaluating the best bargains. In short, the Internet has trained all of us to shop online and to research online to find the best deals. Why would we expect our prospects to be any different?

The problem, it seems, is how to differentiate yourself and your company from “everyone else.” Since everyone is online, and everyone is offering very similar products/services at basically the same price (or cheaper), what can we do to stand out? How can we avoid being made a commodity? Furthermore, if your entire sales effort can be negated with someone else’s cheaper price, why bother to hire and train a sales team? Why not just sell everything as cheaply as possible on the internet? Why not eliminate sales entirely and do everything over the web?

The Difference is You

Despite all of the self-serving attempts being made to commoditize everything, I maintain that business is personal. People still buy from people they trust and respect, and I hope and pray that will never change. There are millions of real estate agents, bankers, insurance agents, financial planners, dentists and doctors. So why do we stay with the same company year after year? It’s because someone inside that company at some point made a personal impact on our lives, and we made an emotional decision that we could trust that person, and therefore we could trust that company.

workers-cityIn the B2B world, most businesses pretend to make acquisitions based just on the facts. They put together complicated RFP’s, assemble selection teams to evaluate and score each and every buying criteria, and they pride themselves on making decisions completely devoid of “personalities.” Yet in almost every major decision, we find that it comes down to one person (CEO, President, key board member) deciding that they like and can trust another person. At the end of the day, we need to trust that that company will honor their commitment and will deliver what they promised.

One of my former clients was an international oil company. On the day before Christmas, there was a significant incident at one of their refineries, and my company received the emergency call. Our service department (personally assigned, on a first name basis, on-call 24×7) responded immediately, called in top level software engineers over the holiday, and fixed the problem within a few short hours. That prompt action saved our client almost $1 MM in what would have been lost revenue. What do you think happened when that service contract came up for renewal? Do you think our client would seriously entertain a lower cost bid?

The major difference between your company and the competition is YOU! Part of the unique value proposition (UVP) that you bring to the market is yourself. The biggest challenge we all face as sales professionals is how to differentiate ourselves and show our unique value. If we understand that we are a key part of the business solution, then we need to figure out how to tell our story better. If business is personal, what are we doing to make it MORE personal? How are we improving our relationships with our existing and future clients? What steps are we taking to connect with our clients in a meaningful way? How are we adding value to the relationship?

Your major defense against losing business, and your chief weapon at winning new clients, is your ability to establish trust and rapport. As we enter the Shift Age, and more and more prospects are learning about you online, it’s important to use online tools to help create this positive image and visibility. If you’re getting introduced “online”, then make the effort to present a professional image which builds trust and rapport. This will lay the proper groundwork for future personal interactions.

Remember, the initial impressions your prospect receives are critical, so make sure that your online impression is positive.

There are dozens of ways to improve how you connect with your prospects and customers, limited only to your imagination. Business people make decisions emotionally, and then justify them with the facts. Make sure you’re establishing trust and rapport — online and personally – and you’ll win a greater share of those deals!

Final Thoughts

According to Dana Borowka, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC (www.lighthouseconsulting.com) and author of Cracking the Personality Code, hiring the right people is keystariway to clouds to future growth. If you would like additional information on raising the hiring bar, please click here to see an article on this subject.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Patrick McClure is a Senior Sales & Customer Service Training Consultant of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC, and is a speaker, trainer, consultant, and author who enjoys working with individuals and corporations to help them achieve maximum performance. He has dedicated his practice to helping others become more successful. To learn more, email patrick@lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA  90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, workshops, and executive & employee coaching.  To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.