other words, stop trying to fit the employee into the box and start
creating the shape of the box around the employee.
How do you do this?
Let’s begin at the gateway to any company: the interview process.
1. CREATE JOB DESCRIPTIONS THAT ACCURATELY
DESCRIBE THE DUTIES REQUIRED TO FULFILL THE
Companies often unknowingly eliminate talented candidates by
creating job descriptions with what is deemed “default” or “filler”
requirements. Requirements such as “team player” or “excellent
communication skills” are usually not imperative for the successful
completion of many jobs. Such descriptions also don’t provide the
details of when those skills would actually be used. These are not
skills that need to be exercised daily nor does the required “com-munication”
need to be verbal in many cases. Some people who
may not be confident in their social abilities may interpret this
more literally and feel they can’t work closely in a tight-knit team
on a daily basis or do not feel comfortable verbally communicat-ing
each step of their progress. These people are less likely to apply
even though they are more than qualified to perform the actual
duties of the job.
2. PROVIDE OPTIONS IN THE DEMONSTRATION
Companies have forever relied upon resumes and verbal dialogue
to make concrete decisions about a candidate’s competencies. Take
one minute to Google “interview questions” and have a quick look
at the millions of hits providing readers with scripted answers
for antiquated and predictable questions. If we’re simply gauging
how well candidates regurgitate rehearsed scripts, is that a valid
strategy for testing one’s overall abilities? Talk is cheap, especially
in an interview. Instead, allow candidates to physically demon-strate
their competence. A series of small, hands-on tasks could be
required or a few hours of on-job observation. This change would
provide for a much more accurate and truthful understanding of
each person’s abilities. Also, don’t forget video or phone interviews,
these do not need to be used for only the out-of-towners, many
people would benefit from this type of interview.
3. RETHINK THE EFFECTIVENESS OF
As if the interview process were not intimidating enough, many
companies engage in panel interviews, wherein two to five people
question each candidate. The perceived advantages are observing
candidate’s stress performance, scheduling ease for panel mem-bers
and a reduction in hiring bias. However, biased decisions
tend to be much higher in panel interviews, cancelling out any
other advantage. Groupthink, a psychological phenomenon that
occurs when a group makes faulty decisions due to group pres-sure,
is more prevalent in groups wherein “members are similar in
background or when the group is insulated from outside opinions”
Further inaccurate decision-making is created when interview-ees
are talked about immediately after they have left the room and
before the scores have been decided or when a boss’ interpreta-tion
of the candidate affects other panel members’ perspectives.
This type of interview can be a huge barrier for candidates who, al-though
highly qualified, may not excel in a socially intense, verbal
barrage of questioning.
HR and managers are often unaware of the hidden barriers that
may not exist for them on a personal level. Viewing the interview
process from various angles enables companies to access people
with unconventional talent and perspectives. Outcomes will still
be met but with varied and unique approaches, leading to more di-verse
problem-solving, productivity and progress. n
Cris Brady is a speaker, writer and award-winning learning
consultant and is the founder of LYV Educational Consulting.
Tim Gouw / Unsplash
WHAT IS DEEMED
‘DEFAULT’ OR ‘FILLER’
32 ❚ JANUARY 2018 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL