One Simple Thing CEOs Can Do To Improve Interviewing

Q. Are there any tricks to improving the interviewing in our company?

 I wouldn't call it a trick, but there is one thing that impacts interviewing more than anything else and when properly handled can literally change interviewing overnight. The power of  first impressions.  Few things impact the interview more than the interviewer’s first impression of the candidate.

Often the first impression will drive the interview. It can set the tone for the interview before the interview even begins.  A strong first impression can result in an easy interview with soft ball questions. A negative first impression may result in a difficult interview or very short interview since the interviewer has already decided that this is not the right person and they haven't even left the lobby.

I suggest training yourself and your managers to be aware of the power of the first impression. Everybody has first impressions. I have had over 10,000 interviews in my life and I still have first impressions. Only a robot wouldn't have them. The issue is how do we deal with them? I have learned that regardless of a positive or negative first impression I set that aside and still conduct a probing in-depth interview. At the end of that interview I will revisit my first impression to determine if it is still valid. Over half the time I discover that the first impression is not valid and the person can not only do the job, but has such great strengths that they are able to overcome any negative first impression. You could lose a great candidate for the wrong reason.

It all goes back to getting your managers properly trained. Teach them to set aside their first impressions, conduct thorough in-depth probing interviews, and then decide if the first impression is still valid. This trick, as you call it, will dramatically impact your hiring.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You’re NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE  Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

Do Your Employees Trust You?

Dysfunctional boss who has zero trust with his team

In numerous studies, surveys, and research, employees indicate over and over that trusting their immediate supervisor is one of the most important elements of their job satisfaction.

  • Can you honestly say that your direct reports trust you? Do their direct reports trust them?
  • How do you know?
  • Do you cross your fingers hoping they trust you?
  • Have you conducted any anonymous surveys recently? Hired a coach to ask a few tough questions? Solicited feedback from your staff?

Probably NOT.

Implications of a lack of TRUST

The number one reason employees decide to leave their jobs is due to a lack of opportunity. More on this subject in another blog post. The second most common reason is loss of respect for their immediate supervisor/boss. AND there is no faster way to lose respect than the destruction of trust.

How many of the employees in your company have one foot out the door, are actively searching the job boards, or would leave immediately for an appropriate job at a lateral level just to get away from your company?

If general trends hold true for your company, probably about 50% of your staff are open to a better opportunity – they’re trying to see if the grass is greener somewhere else. Of this 50%, what percentage got to the point of seeking greener pastures because they lost respect for their boss — due to no longer trusting that individual?

6 Components of a Trusting Relationship

Let’s delve a little deeper into some of the specific issues that define the level of trust between and employee and her boss. By the way, if I somehow manage to leave out a key issue that you think is important, jump right in and pose your trust issue as a comment.

Communication: I recently put up a blog post on our Leadership Community Blog regarding how communication can affect trust. The more you communicate, the higher the trust. Communication might include telling your staff the reasons behind your requests and commands, it might include tying business results to their activities, it might include conducting one-to-one feedback and coaching sessions.

Being fair: Nothing will destroy a relationship between a boss and her subordinate faster than NOT BEING FAIR. The typical example of a lack of fairness is when the boss sets different levels of performance standards for various team members. When the boss plays favorites, or frequently lets select team members “off the hook”, the rest of the team resents it and loses trust.

Rational and objective: You’ve got your emotions in check. You’re not a mercurial, table-pounding, wall-smacking screamer. You don’t “fly off the handle”. You don’t throw tantrums. The argument with your 17 year old this morning, or the driver who cut you off and then made an obscene gesture at you – doesn’t affect how you treat your people. You never criticize the person or put people down. You’re good at asking questions to solve problems and guiding/coaching your people to solutions.

Their success is important to you: Your staff respects you. They seek your advice on their career. You demonstrate a interest in their success by having occasional conversations about their career – perhaps once a quarter in your one-to-one sessions. You’re able to remove your “boss” hat and put on your “career coach” hat. You can have an deep and objective conversation about their dreams and expectations.

You “have their back”: Your staff will occasionally run into trouble with customers, vendors, suppliers, peers, and those higher up the food chain – like your boss, the board, or other peers on the executive team. Do you “have their back”? Will you stretch your neck out to protect your people. Can they go about the day doing a good job knowing you’ll always have their back.

If not, do they move through the day like frightened rodents, avoiding trouble and trying to fade into the woodwork? Are the members of your team “risk-takers” willing to do what they believe is in the best interest of the company – or do they cower behind you dumping every issue onto your back to solve?

They learn from you: A prime motivator of top talent is that they want to grow and learn. Do you help them reach their potential by giving them challenging assignments, stretching them through coaching to achieve outstanding results, providing meaningful work that is stimulating, learning-oriented, and impactful? Do you send them to classes, webinars, courses to expand their knowledge and skills? For example, do you sit down with each of your direct reports once or twice a year and develop a detailed learning plan to move their capacity to a new level?

Are you failing your team by not focusing on these six components of developing a trusting relationship? When should you decide to stop the typical insanity that takes place in most companies where trust is assumed since people show up for work everyday.

Just showing up is not indicative of trust.

Do you have a plan for how you’ll build trust with your team over the next year? Do you know what to do? If not, pick one of the ideas listed below and start down the path of building a trusting relationship with each of your direct reports.

How to build a Trusting Relationship

Could your executive or managerial team pass a test with flying colors if their staff was asked to score them on the above 6 components. If the answer is anything short of a resounding YES – then perhaps it’s time to conduct an intervention to improve trust:

  • Bring in a resource to teach how to build trust
  • Turn gaining trust into a process
  • Incorporate trust as an element when you conduct 360 degree feedback or employee satisfaction surveys (of course, this is an integral part of your employee engagement and motivation programs – right?)
  • Do you score “TRUST” when you evaluate your executives and managers annually? If you don’t score it, and it’s not a component of determining bonuses, why should anyone care? Most employees will do what you measure and reward. If trust is not measured and rewarded – they’ll assume it’s not important to you.
  • Send your executives and managers to “charm” school to learn how to develop trust with their subordinates
  • Make your team read a book about building trust and discuss it in your next staff meeting
  • Force career management discussions at least quarterly with documentation as part of the one-to-one process
  • Role model the importance of trust through-out the organization by demonstrating it continually with your direct reports (do you consciously and continuously think about building trust with each of your direct reports)
  • Freely distribute information about company performance so everyone can understand the role they play in your overall success
  • Publish and promote trust as one of the core values of your company (I assume you’ve already gone through this exercise and your values are loudly proclaimed through-out the company – handing on a banner in the lobby, on the back of business cards, posted everywhere)

If you’re not actively building and improving trust through-out your organization RIGHT NOW, be prepared for high percentage of your best performers to walk out the door as the job market turns over the issue of lack of trust – lack of respect.

Barry Deutsch

A+B+C = Top Talent. Defining A,B,C.

Top talent = doing the right things, the right way, the first time + ability to get the most from others + intuitive ability to think and work strategically.

Looking deeper into this equation:

A) Do the right things, the right way, the first time deals with the tactical functions of the job. The basic blocking and tackling associated with every position. If a person can’t do these basic functions then everything else is irrelevant. This includes prioritizing the functions of the job or department, dealing timely with the day-to-day issues that arise, eliminating and filtering all the background noise and distractions that come up and ensuring that the job gets done, on time and correctly the first time.

B) The ability to get the most from people begins to separate talent. This deals with not only the ability to manage but also lead. There are hundreds of book on this so I’m going to deal with a very narrow difference between managing and leadership – responsibility and authority.

Managing isn’t as difficult, when as a manager you have responsibility and authority over people. People may not want to do what you need them to do, but often will for fear of the consequences if they don’t. For example, not receive a full bonus, receiving a poor review, risk being fired, lower pay increase or some other discipline. None of these are positive, but the job gets done. At some point your people  will either give up or leave if pushed to far. For this example managing is about fear. How many people in your organization manage this way? I don’t see this meeting the qualification in this equation. In fact, I suggest this is why many people are not and will never be top talent.

Leadership clearly involves managing. Top talent understand this. They are able to get the most out of people and push people beyond what the person thinks they are capable of doing. One aspect of leadership is responsibility without authority. Fear is removed from the equation. Now people do things because they are motivated to perform and want to do the job. It is getting a person you don’t have authority over, that is already working 50 –60 hours a week to do something for you which you have responsibility. Leadership is more about motivating, encouraging, rewarding, respecting, challenging, liking, and communications so everyone understands, than it is fear. People have demonstrate time and time again just how they will exceed everyone,s expectations when they have a leader, instead of a manager.

C) The ability to do A and B  may make a person above average talent, but I don’t think it makes them top talent. C is the area that takes talent to the top level. The intuitive ability to think ahead, anticipate issues, strategically think, see the future and define it, take the theoretical and move it to reality, deal in the vague world of reality, rely on intuition to make correct decision without enough data, respond quickly to crisis without throwing gas on the crisis, use the power of B to rally people, all while improving the department or business. It is this unique set of traits that are hard to define, but everyone knows them when they see them. It isn’t just raw intelligence, although that doesn’t hurt, as much as a blend of intelligence, common sense and intuition.

Interestingly the company’s culture and environment can influence these. That is why someone maybe very successful in one company but not in another.

In order to hire and retain top talent you must first have an effective hiring methodology. One that addresses each of these three. In our experience most companies don’t have a hiring methodology that address all three of these. Most do a good job on A, a fair job on B, and a terrible job on C. In fact, C is rarely addressed in any depth.

Does your hiring process deal effectively with each of these? Are the people involved in hiring properly trained to probe and explore these issues? Do they even agree on these issues? In most companies the hiring team doesn’t even define the culture that same way.

Hiring top talent will never be successful until your organization prioritizes hiring. Once it becomes a priority, an effective hiring methodology for attracting, hiring and retaining top talent will arise.

Want to assess your hiring process. Download our FREE 8 Point Hiring Methodology Assessment Scorecard. How does your company rank on these critical points? CLICK HERE to download.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

Basic Common Sense in Generating Smiles Through-out Your Workforce

Are your employees smiling or frowning?

As an Executive Recruiter, Trainer, and Hiring Process Consultant, I have the privilege of visiting over 50 companies a year and getting to know their executive and managerial teams. I’ve been doing this for over 25 years.

That’s a lot of companies.

Is Your Culture De-Motivating?

I am dumbfounded why so many company environments and cultures are de-motivating. Many company environments and cultures could be described as painful, suffocating, soul crushing and (insert here any word or phrase that conveys negativity).

These company executives then ask me why they are having so much difficulty in attracting and keeping great talent at every level. Duh!

It doesn’t have to be that way. We can climb out of the pit of a dysfunctional and de-motivating culture. It starts with the people who are in charge of managing others in your company.

I was reading one of the blogs we’ve identified as part of our best practice collection on workplace issues, The Smartblog on Workforce.

Smart Blog on Workforce - articles on how to motivate, engage, and retain employees

A guest post caught my eye talking about such fundamental basics in motivation that I wanted to slap my forehead.

Fundamental Elements of Motivating Employees

Sometimes, companies make the process of motivating employees, engaging employees, hiring and retaining great employees – for too complex and difficult.

The guest author was Arne Nathan, who publishes his own blog titled “The Arte of Motivation“.

Let me summarize a few key points that Arne made in his guest post.

  • Welcome Employees Every Day
  • Follow the Golden Rule
  • Explain “why”
  • Catch People Doing Things Right
  • Ask Questions and Really Listen to the Answers
  • Be Fair These simple guidelines or elements could transform your culture. Some of my clients instill these behaviors in their managers and executives, embed these core motivating concepts in the fabric of their culture.

Tough Questions Regarding the Motivation of Your Employees

Here are 6 tough questions that might cause you to lose a few hours a sleep. Are you asking these questions in your company? Is one of your key executives asking these questions? If no one is asking the questions, your culture might be headed in the wrong direction?

  1. Are your managers and executives required to demonstrate competency in a comparable list to the one described above?
  2. Do you train your managers and executives in how to motivate, such as applying the golden rule, or teaching them to explain the “why” of their directions/requests?
  3. What techniques do you use to teach managers and executives to catch employees doing things right?
  4. Listening is one of the most important skills a manager or executive can possess. Do you continually train around deep listening skills?
  5. If you did a 360 review, would your managers and executives get high marks for motivating or would they be tagged as de-motivating?
  6. When was the last time you gave your culture/environment a check-up from the neck up? Is it possible that there is a disconnect between how you perceive the culture and how your rank-and-file perceive it?

Implications for a De-motivating Culture and Next Steps

I’ve been crying “wolf” for sometime about the coming wave of turnover most companies are about to face as the job market begins to reverse itself from an employer’s market to a candidate’s market. We’ve got about 6-12 months before the shift occurs.

Are you ready for some of your best talent to bolt once more jobs start to open up? Now might be the time to revamp your culture and environment so that you can emerge from the recession with a highly motivated workforce.

Starting right now – what’s your first step?

  • Shoot me a note or fill out our contact form and ask for one of our audio programs on motivating and engaging your workforce.
  • If you’re a member of Vistage or TEC, have your Chair book our “You’re the Person I Want to KEEP!” Speaker Program.
  • Review the wealth of information in the Vistage Library on Culture, Motivation, and Employee Engagement.
  • Create an action plan to improve one dysfunctional element of your culture.
  • Take our Culture Survey.
  • Conduct a 360 degree review of your management team or do a employee satisfaction survey.
  • Join our LinkedIn Discussion Group for Hiring and Retaining Top Talent and benchmark yourself against some of the processes, tools, and methods other companies are using to motivate and engage their employees. These are but a few of the hundreds of things you can start to do to create a motivational foundation within your company to begin to create a passionate and engaged workforce.

To read the full article by Arne Nathan, click the following link:

How good managers keep their workers smiling | SmartBlog on Workforce

Barry Deutsch

P.S. Download our FREE Culture Assessment to discover what your culture says about your company – and your ability to hire and retain top talent (There’s a little humor built into the assessment).

Making Successful Changes – Part 1

I’m sure you’ve had times in your life when making a change becomes a big challenge. Perhaps you want to change how you deal with certain situations or a part of your lifestyle like your diet or exercise. Change is very difficult no matter what we want to change. We start out with good intentions then for one reason or another; we go back to the way we’ve always done something. So, how do we make changes that stick?

What is blocking change?

Well, the first piece of the puzzle is looking at what is blocking the change. Sometimes, we just want a problem to disappear, so we make changes as a “fix-it” solution. Fix-its are rarely good changes as they are usually based on unrealistic or unreasonable expectations of a situation or ourselves. Like those times, when we may have stopped eating altogether to lose some weight or took a vacation to fix a troubled relationship. First, it helps to take a realistic view of the situation to be changed and have an understanding of the limitations and strengths involved.

Understanding our limitations

For example, if you want to change a troubled relationship, whether family or work, one should have realistic expectations of both one’s self and those involved. It would be frustrating and unhealthy to expect to be able to change another person or control the relationship to make everyone happy. We can only change our own behavior and ourselves. It’s important to have a balanced perspective of the situation. We can’t expect to make magical changes or to ‘save’ those around us. At the same time, we should not try to underestimate our strengths and abilities. If you have trouble evaluating the situation, then be sure to get feedback from unbiased and supportive friends, counselors or clergy.

Finding our focus

Sometimes, we want to change something that is so big that we feel overwhelmed. So, we end up either trying to put band-aids on this big problem or give up altogether. It’s helpful to focus only on parts of the problem and take one piece at a time. For example, let’s say an individual doesn’t feel good about him or her self. If that person would try to change everything at once, he or she would probably give up. An alternative would be to pick one thing to change, like shyness, and focus on that first. However, whenever making changes in one’s self, please get a realistic viewpoint from others. We are often very demanding of ourselves and may try to change what doesn’t need changing at all. This violates our true self – our style and sense of being, because we deny who we are. Sometimes, the change we have to make is appreciating who we are and that is a big change!

What are my motives for change?

Once you have focused on to a specific and manageable problem, ask yourself some questions about it. Why do you want to change it? What about the situation do you want changed and why? What are you expecting to get out of this change? At this point, motives for the change need to be examined in depth to see if they are healthy reasons. For example, if you want to lose weight to please others or because you don’t like yourself, then there may be bigger issues at stake. Look at what is underneath the problem and ask yourself, “What is really bothering me about this situation?” These issues need to be looked at. Otherwise, the change would only be at the surface, and surface changes do not last very long nor solve the real problem.

Next week we will look at ways to make those changes we desire in our lives.

Check and see if  your hiring methodology is in the zone of attracting top performers. Download our FREE Hiring Methodology Assessment Scorecard. CLICK HERE to get yours.

When was the last time you and your team assessed your culture. Take our Culture Quiz and see if your team all describe the culture the same way. CLICK HERE to download the quiz.

LinkedIN is a powerful tool for hiring top talent. Join our Hire and Retain Top Talent Group. There is a wealth of articles and discussions for you there. CLICK HERE to join.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2010  This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Author's Bio:

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, COO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC have over 25 years experience in the area of business and human behavioral consulting. They have been helping organizations both nationally and internationally in raising the hiring bar through using in-depth work style assessments.  They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They have built a well recognized organization that provides expert interpretation of in-depth work style assessments during the hiring process, providing a variety of workshops and assisting those with communication challenges. They are authors of the book, “Cracking the Personality Code”. To order the book, please go to www.crackingthepersonalitycode.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA  90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, workshops, and executive & employee coaching.