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Archive for the ‘interviewing’ Category

I wrote the article below in 2012 and it is just as true today as it was then. It never ceases to amaze me when I read articles about interviewers who think it is cool to ask “junior shrink” questions. I wonder if anyone at their company is tracking results of these types of questions and subsequent hires. We all know how expense just one bad hire can be to a company. In fact, the higher the position the more expense the cost which is why a structured performance based interview is a far better strategy. Enjoy

Are you a Junior Shrink Interviewer? By Lee Koren, PHR

Today I was helping a young lady with her job search. We discussed the typical things – Resume, Job Search and Interview Strategies. She told me about an interview she recently attended wherein the interviewer asked “If you could be a fruit, what type of fruit would you be”. Hmm, I’m surprised these questions are still being asked in interviews. I immediately asked her if the interviewer disclosed herself as a doctor (psychologist or psychiatrist) – she said no – but could not confirm that the interviewer did not hold this distinguished designation. Then I asked her if the interview was with Apple – I mean maybe the interviewer was looking for “apple” as a good faith answer – a little interview humour? However, the company was not Apple.

Ok so here I go – up on my soap box. What in the world does “fruit” have to do with getting a job as a customer service rep? I’d like to see that job description – really how do you incorporate “fruit” into the job requirements? Let’s see – “Must love all fruits” or “Only fruit lovers will be considered” Or “Must be able to deal with all kinds of fruits” – I mean really!!!!

Unless the interviewer is a bona fide psychologist or psychiatrist and knows how to decipher the answer then he/she has no business asking this type of question. These questions, asked by inexperienced interviewers. almost always lead to subjective and bias decisions without any measureable evidence to back up the decision. Think about it – my response might be “peach” – when I’m asked “why a peach” I say” because I like peaches” – little do I know that the interviewer dislikes peaches – or maybe he/she is allergic to peaches – there’s one subjective strike against me.

If you are asking junior shrink questions in the interview try replacing it with a behavioural interview question? It is much better to identify the skills and competencies required to perform the job and develop behavioural/performance based questions to help you evaluate each candidate consistently – so much more objective.

Remember, poor hiring decisions are very costly; and questions about what type of fruit, colour or dog a person prefers will end up costing your company in more ways than one.

Lee Koren is a Human Resource Professional with extensive international experience. She is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) by the Society for Human Resource Management and a Master Trainer in Behavioural Interviewing. Lee possesses over 25 years of experience in selection and recruitment. She has recruited and hired thousands of resources for large global corporations.

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There is a theory circulating that the Resume is on its way out. Over the past six months there seems to be a lot of chatter on the internet. In fact, during a training session 2 weeks ago the facilitator insisted there is no longer a need for the resume. It was not clear exactly what is replacing the resume but did make me ponder this paradox. Hmm, I have been in the recruitment and selection industry for over 25 years and the resume has always been a key part of the process. However, I will be the first to admit that things do change, not always for the better, but they do change.

Of course, I realize this is only my opinion so I set out to conduct research to see what other recruiters and hiring managers think. I spoke to a multitude of people – asking the same questions – “Do you think the resume is on its way out?” and the response was an overwhelming “No”. In fact, Carolina Diaz, Senior Recruiter at Ian Martin says “I have yet to see a substitute for the resume. The hiring managers I work with want to review the resume”. She goes on to say “the format of the resume may have changed, i.e. more attention is given to the “Summary” at the top of the resume outlining key strengths and competencies”. I would definitely agree. Like it or not the “Objective” is outdated and the “Summary” is a value add replacement. A summary or profile situated directly under the heading (eye level) to whoever is reviewing the resume is very important. If done properly, it should catch the reader’s attention creating the interest for more information.

According to Laura Machan, Partner Talent Acquisition at Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions “until I see a substitute the resume will remain a critical part of the hiring process”. Laura goes on to say that in her business she must maintain a strong relationship with her clients in order to be able to help recruit and select the right talent. Once she has done her due diligence, Laura will pick up a phone and have a one-on-one conversation with the hiring authority; however the resume is still a key piece of the process.

Doug Alexander, VP and General Manager at Wing’s Foods states “the resume is the candidate’s business card and an essential tool in candidate selection.” Doug agrees that an effective pre-screen is also required; however the resume is a key piece of the hiring process. Doug questions how a candidate would introduce themselves to a potential employer if not for the resume?

Charolene Hollister, HR Coordinator at Amdocs comments on the fact that the hiring managers at Amdocs want to see a resume. However she acknowledged that the corporate recruiters are required to conduct a thorough pre-screen and only pass on qualified applicants. When an applicant is passed on to the hiring manager the resume is not far behind.

Well by now you can see a trend; the majority of people I spoke with were adamant that the resume is not on its way out anytime soon. Will it happen? Can it happen? My philosophy is “never say never”.

In fact there is probably a talented student working on a web-based software application right now. By the time it is ready to be launched 98% of the population will have some sort of access to a computer and subsequently resume replacement software might just be successful. Until that time, the resume is alive and well; so make the most of it especially if you are in career transition. Remember the resume will not get you the job, but definitely can land you an interview.

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR). She is an expert in recruitment, selection and career transition management.

Interesting Article by Gina Cajucom – she is right on – there will be lots of rejection during a job search -“don’t take it personally”……happy reading!!!

Being Rejected

You may have experienced being rejected quite a few times for positions you’ve applied for.  Each time is no better than the one before.  Rejections sting all the time.  Even when you receive tactfully written emails from companies saying they regret not to consider you for the position, you still wish that you had not received them anyway.  After all, no news is bad news when it comes to job application and you would rather not hear the “rejection” notice at all.

Different people react differently to this kind of rejection.  Some will consider this as a challenge or a motivator to do better and prove them wrong.  However, some people might get demoralized and continue to lose confidence.  They may settle for less pay or less attractive role. A client even asked me one time:  “What’s wrong with me?  I thought I was perfect for that role!”

Some people just give up altogether when they see how many people have applied.  Well, no matter how many people lined up for the role, they would definitely hire someone and that someone could very well be you.  Before you begin a litany of everything that is wrong about you, consider that, to some degree, intuition also plays a role in the selection and rating process.

This is why it is important to remember that recruitment, just like any assessment activity, is subject to biases, prejudices, and error in judgment.  Some companies hire unqualified candidates and miss hiring potential stellar performers.  Some companies correct this phenomenon by using specific metrics and highly structured selection process.  “Selection by scoring is a process whereby   selection factor or component run along a scale and is scored by value previously assigned.   Decision is made based on the total score achieved.  Selection by intuition is getting a feel of how a candidate will fit in based on the dynamics of personality that come out in the selection process, either through interviews or role-plays.”  [i]

It is then important for job seekers not to take this kind of rejection personally.  It is not about you.  It is about the unique demands of the position that the company needs to fill.  Sometimes, it is even about the corporate culture that the hiring company needs to consider. At the end of the day, wherever you end up in is the perfect place for you. Not only did you select that company but that company chose you.

I just read an article by Dawn Papandrea which outlines 3 key reasons why young professionals are not getting hired. I found it to be right on target with one exception. Under the heading “One Size fits all Resume” Dawn suggests the candidate insert a few keywords in their resume from the job posting.  It has been my experience, that if done properly, a person only needs one resume.   First, the individual needs to do his/her homework in advance – i.e., identify key strengths, research the job market and job posting for applicable skills and take the time to produce a resume which accurately  portrays their skills, knowledge and abilities. Couple this with a focused job search strategy based on key strengths and the need for multiple resumes goes away.  In fact, having several different resumes can come back to haunt you!   For instance, I was interviewing a young man for an entry level consultant role. I asked him to please explain his role at ABC Company. He was very quiet and then said “Lee can I please see the resume” I said “of course” and shared my copy. His face turned red as he stated – “I’m so sorry, somehow you have received the wrong copy of my resume”.  Well alrighty then – let’s continue shall we?  Needless to say the interview was cut short – why? because as a recruiter I expect the person I’m interviewing to be able to talk to everything on their resume. Hence my point, if you start customizing a resume for each position you better have a darn good memory.  I understand there may be exceptions; however, as a rule and to be safe, try to have one resume that does an excellent job of representing your strong performance and technical skills.  Remember, the purpose of the resume is to get you the interview then it’s up to you to sell yourself.  You only have one chance to make a good impression so make sure there are no stumbling blocks.

Enjoy the article by Dawn http://bit.ly/X5nq39

 

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources and Master Trainer in Behavioural Interviewing.  Her passion and expertise is selection and recruitment.

Today I was helping a young lady with her job search.  We discussed the typical things – Resume, Job Search and Interview Strategies.   She told me about an interview she recently attended wherein the interviewer asked her “If you could be a fruit, what type of fruit would you be”.   Hmm, I’m surprised these questions are still being asked in interviews.  I immediately asked her if the interviewer disclosed herself as a doctor (psychologist or psychiatrist) – she said no – but could not confirm that the interviewer did not hold this distinguished designation.    Then I asked her if the interview was with Apple – I mean maybe the interviewer was looking for “apple” as a good faith answer – a little interview humour?  However, the company was not Apple.

Ok so here I go – up on my soap box.  What in the world does “fruit” have to do with getting a job as a customer service rep?  I’d like to see that job description – really how do you incorporate “fruit” into the job requirements?  Let’s see – “Must love all fruits” or “Only fruit lovers will be considered” Or “Must be able to deal with all kinds of fruits” – I mean really!!!!

Unless the interviewer is a bona fide psychologist or psychiatrist and knows how to decipher the answer then he/she has no business asking the question.   These types of questions asked by inexperienced interviewers almost always lead to subjective and bias decisions without any measureable evidence to back up the decision.   Think about it – my response might be “a peach” – when I’m asked “why a peach”  I say” because I like peaches” – little do I know that the interviewer dislikes peaches –  or maybe he/she is allergic to peaches – there’s one subjective strike against me.

If you are asking junior shrink questions in the interview try replacing it with a behavioural interview question?  It is much better to identify the skills and competencies required to perform the job and develop behavioural/performance based questions to help you evaluate each candidate consistently – so much more objective.  Remember, poor hiring decisions are very costly; and questions about what type of fruit, colour or dog a person prefers will end up costing your company in more ways than one

Lee Koren is a Human Resource Professional with extensive international experience.  She is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) by the Society for Human Resource Management and a Master Trainer in Behavioural Interviewing.  Lee possesses over 25 years of experience in selection and recruitment.  She has recruited and hired thousands of resources for large global corporations.  Born and raised in Toronto, Lee spent a large portion of her career in Dallas, Texas where she enhanced her knowledge and expertise in behavioural interviewing.   She has facilitated behavioural interviewing workshops worldwide for corporate leaders.  Lee’s passion and talent is “selection” which inspired her to develop and deliver a variety of workshops.   Lee uses a common sense approach in sharing her vast knowledge.  

Over the last 2 years I have worked on assignments to find high calibre management talent within the food manufacturing industry.  I’ve gained a totally new respect for this industry and came to realize that there is a shortage of good talent at the management level; it takes a lot of creative sourcing to uncover this talent.  Subsequently, when it comes to talent acquisition it should be no surprise to learn that my sourcing toolbox is full of social media/networking sites.  I have a very large social network and maintain a presence on the internet via Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.   By utilizing key posting sites and performing creative Boolean searches the days of the old “cold call” are long gone – the only calls I make are very “warm calls” – those individuals who have already responded to my tweet, Linkedin message or email.    Yes it is true; if utilized properly the internet will make a recruiter more productive and visible.

Now Social Media recruitment is not new, at least to me.  Yet, I am surprised at how many placement firms and corporations are not taking total advantage of this valuable method to source talent.    If a company is willing to collaborate to identify the key competencies required for the role, and the recruiter is experienced enough to put together a structured behavioural interview process and a comprehensive sourcing strategy, 9 times out of 10 there is bound to be a successful result.  On the other hand, it is not a secret that unclear expectations lead to a dysfunctional and lengthy search.

I’m passionate about what I do and encourage all companies whether a placement agency or corporation to empower and encourage their recruiters to utilize the power of social recruitment – it is awesome and very rewarding.  In fact, I learn something new every day – a new way to source, a new site to explore, a new resource to add to my professional network.   Whatever the learning it broadens my knowledge; I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

 

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Master Trainer in Behavioural Interviewing.   She is an intuitive professional with extensive and acknowledged expertise in full-life cycle recruitment, selection and behavioural interviewing within Canada and the USA.  Lee is a results-oriented, creative individual who knows how to optimize the selection process.    She is a natural influencer who knows how to ask the right questions to fully engage the candidate.    Proven success in linking selection to performance to help identify and hire the best talent to drive business.  She guides hiring managers and candidates through the selection process with a wide degree of creativity, recruiting vision and understanding.

I just read this article by Sajjad Masud and totally agree; however this is not exactly new stuff.  I’ve been using social media as a part of the talent acquisition strategy for many years now.  If utilized properly it is a great way to find and connect with hidden talent.  Hope you enjoy the article!

http://mashable.com/2012/06/03/talent-acquisition-social/

 

Lee Koren is a certified as a professional in human resources (PHR) and specializes in recruitment and selection/talent acquisition strategy.  She is certified as a Master Trainer in Behavioural Interviewing and recognized as an expert when it comes to social recruiting.


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