candidates

One Interview Question That Cuts Through the BS to Reveal Someone's True Character

By Catherine Lang-Cline

We all try to be so clever when asking interview questions. We might be intentionally trying to trip up a candidate or we might be really wanting to dig deep and see if this person is going to be a fit for our company.  

Inc. Magazine recently said that THE QUESTION to ask in an interview is: Can you give me the names of four people whose careers you have fundamentally improved?  

The idea behind this question is that if the person being interviewed starts listing names of people with more influence than they do, they are “takers.” “Givers” on the other hand will list people that are equal to them or below them, because they like to build up other people.

This is definitely a great question and you can learn a lot about someone if this is asked. You want people on your team that can work well with others. People that will “raise all ships” and be an overall cheerleader of the company and the people that have chosen to work there.

You want a person that is not self-serving, is confident, and is comfortable enough to help others elevate their game. So perhaps this is the one question that cuts through the BS. Perhaps this tells you everything you need to know. But just in case that doesn’t give you exactly all of the answers, I will include some of the questions that I like, that serve a similar purpose.

Did you work while you went to college or in high school?

You can determine if a person is a self-starter, a get-it-done person, or needs to stay focused on one thing at a time. It can also illustrate if they are grateful in any way for any help that they received while going to school. It is difficult to give employees a lot of perks when they are not going to appreciate a single one of them. 

What is your dream job and why?

This question is similar to “what gets you up in the morning?” It digs a bit deeper and allows you to get a peek at what they love to do. Is it to help people, to strategize, to simply make money? This kind of question tells you if what you are offering is going to keep them interested for a long period of time. People want purpose and they will give 100% of themselves if they know they have a purpose with your company.

Can you share some examples of what you’ve done to grow and develop in your current job?

Not only will you find out if this person likes to challenge themselves and grow, making them more of an asset to you, you also have a problem-solver. They will give of their own time to improve their skill set which makes this person more of an asset.

Point being, in every answer, you want the “giver.” You want someone that wants more then taking a paycheck from you, and perhaps an hour or two at the company ping-pong table. Get your one question that is going to cut through the BS asked up front and get yourself a whole team of givers.

Interested in reading the article that inspired this one? Check it out here.

 

Hiring: What’s an “Ideal Fit”?

By Kristen Harris

In hiring it’s important to remember people are not commodities, individuals are not interchangeable. Even with equal skills or experience, every person is unique, and so is every company and role. It’s important to find the right person for the right position– that’s an Ideal Fit.

Imagine this scenario: you’ve interviewed two candidates for a position on your team, equally qualified from a experience and skills set perspective.

Candidate A is an ambitious go-getter that wants to constantly improve things and often questions the status quo.

Candidate B is complacent, likes routine, and doesn’t question rules, challenge assumptions, or make a lot of suggestions.

So, who do you choose? Wait a minute...before you answer that, you should know more about the role.

It’s in a government agency, helping people fill out and file three different forms, using a fairly outdated computer system. This role serves the public, and the people being helped come from all walks of life; some have special needs and require a high level of patience. The role isn’t expected to change much, and there’s little opportunity for advancement, growth or development.

Now, which candidate would you choose? While they may be equally qualified on paper, you had the opportunity to get to know their personalities in your in-person interviews. Candidate A would be frustrated in this role, trying to improve things, questioning the rules, pushing for better technology, and hoping for advancement that never comes. For the same reasons, Candidate B could be an Ideal Fit for this role. They’re more comfortable accepting things as they are, working within a system, don’t mind doing the same thing repeatedly, and are very patient. They could find it rewarding to be the person who helps others navigate a bureaucratic process.

To find an Ideal Fit, it’s important to assess the traditional areas of skill set and experience, as well as soft skills and how they align with your culture.

A client recently said to me “...this resume looks fine...I mean, they seem to have the right experience, but that’s just on paper. I know you’ve met them, and there’s so much more to someone than what’s on their resume.”

Exactly. There’s so much more than what’s on paper— both a candidate’s resume and a company’s job description. To find an Ideal Fit for both sides, you have to dig deeper. You don’t just want to fill a void, you really want someone who is a good fit, and vice versa.

Before you start assessing candidates, answer these questions:

  • What’s the culture of your company or team?

  • What industry are you in, and how that does it affect your culture?

  • Who are your clients? What specific needs do they have or type of service do they expect?

  • Are you growing? If so, how quickly? How will that affect this role?

  • What soft skills are important to your team? What are your values?

  • What soft skills are important in this role? What makes other people in this role successful (or not)?

  • How much opportunity is there for growth or development in your company? In this specific role?

  • What’s your managerial style? What do you expect from people who report to you?

When you hire someone you’re not just filling an empty seat, you’re committing to them and they’re committing to you.

Knowing yourself and company better, what you really need, and what type of person would be successful in the role helps identify an Ideal Fit. Putting the right person together with the right company is critical for long-term success.

Hire People That Believe In What You Do

By Catherine Lang-Cline

If you have ever had to hire anyone in the past, you know that there are many people that will apply. You need to find the right fit. The easy way to find a good candidate is to find someone that matches the skill set that you want. Look at the resume and check off each skill from the list. But that rarely results in a great candidate.

Humans are an intelligent species and typically a person can be taught a skill. It may vary as to how good they can become in that skill, but if they know similar software, for example, they can be taught a new one. What can’t be taught is culture. What can’t be taught is a belief in what you do.

Believe it or not, you can interview for that.

Many companies hire people that fit their job description. The excellent few companies hire people that believe in what the companies believes in. If you company exists because you wanted to make a change, hire others that believe in that change. Here at Portfolio Creative, we believe in providing our clients with the best candidates, the candidates that we would have selected to perform a task when we worked in advertising and marketing. We believe that the people we place should earn fair pay and have access to healthcare plans as well as be eligible for PTO. We believe that artists and the artists that hire them should be treated differently because they are different.

We hire people internally that also believe in our mission. Your mission might be selling fair-trade goods, local goods, organic goods, and providing a really specialized service. What better way to build on that then to hire people that can be evangelists for what you do. The people that really believe in your mission.

So while we could hire people that are merely driven, instead we hire driven people that believe in all that we do. Because a placement is a person and not just a butt in a seat. What are some of the things that your company stands for and believes in, or what do YOU believe in? Find a candidate that is a match and you will have an engaged, involved, and driven employee that is doing more then completing a job.

 

Finding Candidates Through Social Media

By Catherine Lang-Cline

   It’s fast and it can be furious, but social media has become the great connector among us. We use it for everything, including finding candidates for the open role that we have. With access to so many ways to communicate, what works best? Let’s discuss:

   Job Board - Having a job board or job page on your website is a very effective way to communicate to would-be candidates. Many people that look for jobs target specific companies, and if your job postings are up-to-date you will get candidates that specifically want to work for you.

   LinkedIn - LinkedIn is viewed as the most professional of all the social media outlets. If you  and your company don’t have an account, you really don’t exist in business, so make sure that you have one. Once there, you can post a job that will be seen by your entire network and will hopefully be shared by your entire network.

   Twitter - Twitter will allow your job opening to be exposed to even more people in your network and, again, hopefully shared by others. Words in Twitter are limited, so the best thing to do is have a job title, brief description, and a link to where the job description can be seen in its entirety, as in a job board or your website.

   Facebook - Facebook starts to step into the more casual space of social media. Most companies have a page and it can be very easily utilized to post jobs and share it among others. But again, the space here is more casual, so be ready for that. You may also get an opportunity to get future candidates to like your page.

   YouTube - Many companies are finding that having a short video about the position and the company can be very effective. You can create your own company channel and show a variety of things that a candidate might be interested in beyond the job, like culture, values and ownership.

  Word is out and resumes come in. Maybe too many resumes? Maybe not enough of what you need? That age-old problem is the same as it was with the “want ads” it is just a different means of collecting names with new technology. If it becomes difficult or too time consuming, as always, have a staffing company or recruiter help you. Recruiters can do all of this and more for you and can get you that next perfect employee.

Unicorns and Leprechauns: Stop Waiting for the Perfect Candidate

By Kristen Harris

Quick quiz...which of the following really exist?

a. Unicorns
b. Leprechauns 
c. Purple Squirrels
d. Perfect Candidates

Sorry, it’s a trick question. The correct answer is “e. None of the above.” Just like unicorns and leprechauns, no matter how strongly you want to believe, perfect candidates simply don’t exist. No single person has all of the skills you want, the specific years of experience you desire, fits smoothly into your culture, gets stellar reference reviews, positively impacts your business from day one, and wants to be paid exactly what you’re offering. 

I hear you protesting—you believe you HAVE found the perfect candidate. This wonderful, magical person seems to be everything you wished for. Am I saying you shouldn’t hire them? Of course not! Snap them up now before your competitor does. Just be aware, no matter how perfect they seem, here is always something you’ll need to work on. And that’s okay. Imperfection equals opportunity. 

Maybe you believe it’s worth waiting for that perfect person to show up. Please don’t. It’s a futile exercise that eats up valuable time and resources. You could wait forever to find the “perfect person.” Or you could hire someone who is a very close fit, develop them in a few minor areas, and see results quickly. 

When hiring there are always concessions or compromises to be made. The important thing is to know where you’re compromising, and what it will take to develop this candidate to where you need them to be. 

My best advice when adding a new person to your team is to look for the BEST POSSIBLE FIT and then fill in the gaps. What does that look like?

• Find a person who has most of the skills you want, and is eager to learn more.

• Look for someone with the right kind of experience doing the right types of work, without getting too hung up on a specific number of years. 

• Be very particular and focused about screening for culture fit. If they fit your culture, embrace your values, and buy into your mission, they’ll be excited and enthusiastic about learning what they don’t know. I can’t emphasize enough how important culture fit is; the right fit is different for every company.

• Listen very closely to reference reviews; what the reference doesn’t say is as important as what they do say. Also, ask around, don’t just call people provided by the candidate. Reach out to your network; ask people you trust about past experiences and interactions with this person. 

• Consider the potential impact this candidate can make on your organization, and what it will take to get them to that point. How quickly will they be productive? What kind of time and resources will it take to get them there?

• Be realistic and flexible on pay...to a point. Do your research to make sure what you’re offering is appropriate for the role, and consider the value this person will bring to your organization. How does that value compare to what they’re asking for?

No matter what role you’re looking to fill, perfect candidates don’t exist. Find the best possible fit for your needs, identify the areas where they’ll need to improve, and help them grow. Get as close as possible to perfect. In an imperfect world, that’s all you can ask for.