If you hire a brilliant programmer who is blaming, negative, dramatic, and demotivated, have you really improved your business? If you want your business to win the war for talent, you can’t hire just for skills. Yes, smart people are important, but it’s even more important that your very talented recruits have the right attitudes.
As we learned from the Hiring For Attitude research, only 11% of hiring failures are the result of people lacking skills. The remaining 89% of hiring failures are the result of applicants with the wrong or bad attitudes.
Now here’s the problem: Most of the interview questions your hiring managers use ruin your ability to hire for your attitude. I’m not talking about weird questions (eg, “If you could be a tree, what kind of tree would you be”); Instead, I focus on popular behavioral interview questions.
In theory, behavioral interview questions are excellent; asking candidates about their past experiences is a good way to predict future performance.
But in practice, the overwhelming majority of hiring managers spoil these questions with a few simple words. Let’s take a look at some popular interview questions:
- Tell me about a time when you didn’t agree with a decision, what did you do?
- Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss and how you resolved it?
- Tell me about a time when you had a conflict at work, how did you deal with it?
There is nothing wrong with asking candidates about conflicts or disagreements. But each of these popular interview questions has four, five, or six words that absolutely ruin their effectiveness.
Can you spot the words? Here’s a hint: Question 1 has four problematic words, Question 2 has five, and Question 3 uses six words that ruin the question.
In question # 1, the problematic words are: “what did you do? “In question # 2, the problematic words are:” and how did you solve it? “And in question # 3, the problematic words are:” how did you deal with this? “
Each of these sentences reveals the correct answer to the candidate. They make it clear to the candidate that the only acceptable answers are those where the candidate did something, or solved something, or dealt with something. Ideally, we would only hire people who have done something, solved or dealt with their problems. But if we dissuade candidates from telling us that they have failed to resolve a disagreement, we lose valuable information.
In other words, I want to identify candidates who did nothing when they disagreed with a decision, who failed to resolve a dispute with their boss, and who failed to manage a conflict at work. I need to hear their experiences loud and clear, so I have no doubt that they are not suitable for my business.
The only way to solicit these wrong answers is to eliminate these problematic words and phrases. Instead of asking a candidate how they handled a conflict at work, I will simply ask them, “Could you tell me about a time when you had a conflict at work?” “
This question is really open-ended, requires the candidate to give a specific example, and focuses on a difficult situation. And those are the three hallmarks of good interview questions. You can test questions like this for yourself in the “Could you pass this job interview?” Online quiz. “
This edited question removes all nudging and tricks and prompts the candidate to describe their latest conflict without providing a resolution. However, lest you think this is unnecessarily cruel, the practical reality is that great candidates will never discuss an issue without automatically telling you how they solved it.
Some candidates, when asked to describe a time when they had a conflict, will say, “Oh yes, there was that one colleague, and we were never able to be on the same length of time. ‘wave. It went on like this for a few years, just fight after fight. It got so bad that we ended up missing some project deadlines and had to move to HR. ”
Does this sound like a candidate you want to hire? And this is not hyperbole; if you stop giving the right answers to your interview questions, i guarantee you will hear absolutely crazy answers. I get thousands of messages a year from executives who have implemented this approach, and they always include some really shocking interview responses.
So, your next step is simple. Go through each interview question used by your hiring managers and look for phrases like “and how you solved it” or “what did you do” or “how did you overcome it”. Then just delete those sentences.
Remember that one of the keys to attitude hiring is allowing candidates to share their bad attitudes. If you nudge candidates and give advice that makes their responses sound better, you are ruining your ability to hire effectively.