How to uncover candidates' invisible traits

Hiring has never been easy. Today's fast economy makes it even more challenging. Demand for talented people is increasing while supply seems to be diminishing. In addition, the breakdown of international borders has increased the movement of professionals from different backgrounds worldwide.
International mergers add to the challenge: one must find traits that will not show in a resume or in a casual 30-60 minute interview.

To be prepared, a hiring manager needs to be reminded that
a structured approach to interviewing is more important now than ever
before. In our "Hiring Top Performers" workshops, we build on a structured approach that starts with defining the job objectives and asking specific questions about past achievements that bring out universal and job specific traits of success.
In addition, we concentrate on bringing out invisible traits that are as
important in a successful hire.

One of these traits is the cultural trait: how can the person fit into
our culture and how will his/her skills and past experience fare in our
environment? A similar set of traits has to do with how a person can
meet deadlines, can work under pressure, can think strategically.
We call these the invisible traits of success.

How does one bring out these traits? Obviously,by asking questions. You can devise your own questionnaire.
To help you, here is a sample list of questions that I would consider to be very important for uncovering the invisibles.

Ability to meet deadlines/pressures
Tell me about a task or project where you had to meet a deadline and how you overcame time and people pressures.

Ability to fit culturally and deal with issues fast
If you were to start with us two weeks from now, how would you implement our need to establish a new sales office, staff it with 4 new staff, able to generate $50000 per
month within 6 months from your appointment?

Ability to think strategically
Explain some of the strategic issues your current employer is facing...tell us how you have helped them deal with these issues.

Ability to solve problems
Describe a situation where you had to solve a problem and what you did to overcome it.

Have a list of questions and stick to a structured approach.
Ask specifics and get to spend at least 8-10 minutes on each question. A rating sheet to rate the candidates could be very helpful, too.

Bringing out invisible traits can make the difference between a succesful and not so successful hire.
Past experience is only a guide to future success. If you understand the job well and ask job specific questions and are able to unearth some of the important invisible traits will make you a much more successful hiring manager.
I know some of my clients concentrate on asking these questions...these are the managers that are successful year after year and these are the people that bring out the best in other people.

 

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