Conducting interviews with new employment candidates is not instinctive. Over the years, I have been astonished to see how they happen while sitting in on many of them (as an observer, of course…). In my last blog we reviewed the criteria for evaluating new job candidates in the seven elements through Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light™. These elements are:
- What is their Primary Motivation?
- What are their Skills and Capabilities? (Worked in the industry?)
- What are the Cognitive Abilities (Intellectual, I.Q., etc.)?
- How great are their “Street Smarts”? (Think on their feet, political savvy, etc.)
- What is their Conative Profile (instinctive problem solving makeup: Kolbe A™)
- How do they manage Risk?
- How much Courage do they possess?
Now the big question: how do you determine an individual’s ratings in these disciplines within the confines of an interviewing process? I have found a great technique that will provide you with worlds of information in a very short period of time. This technique is called SODAR.
SODAR is an acronym for
Ask your employment candidates to tell you a story after you frame the circumstances. For example, if you were interviewing Joe Smith for the position of Compliance Supervisor, you might frame the meeting line this way:
“Joe, your background in compliance work is impressive. The impact of Oxley Sarbanes on the firm today is forcing significant changes in the department. Have you ever been through a major change in your previous positions? Tell me the Situation you found yourself in.”
Joe responds. We are looking for the level of details, how he communicates the situations and challenges he faced.
“What was the Opportunity you saw?”
Joe responds. What kind of a problem solver is Joe? Were the challenges he encountered similar to your own? Did he first map out his solutions or just forge ahead. Was he able to see opportunities beyond just the practical solutions to the changed that were needed?
“What did you Decide to do?”
Joe responds. What were his decisions based on? Would he take on the activity alone, or build teams? How did he weigh the conclusions he was drawing?
“What Actions were you able to take?”
Joe responds. Were Joe’s reactions those of a “doer” or a “delegator”? Did he build consensus? Did he include all the teams, parties, and individuals that went beyond his direct authority or responsibility?
“What were the Results of the efforts?”
Joe responds. Were the results what he anticipated? Did he include results beyond the metrics of immediate performance and include the impact on his team, his department, and other groups in the company and/or marketplace?
After hearing your first SODAR, frame another situation and get a second SODAR. It is important to have the candidate tell at least two success stories. The reason? We want to find out if his problem solving abilities are multi-dimensional, and not just revolving around the same types of situations resulting in the same types of solutions.
Finally after hearing the second SODAR ask the following question. “All of us have been through circumstances that did not turn out well, or the way we hoped. Can you share with me one that happened to you?” again structuring the response as a SODAR.
This is the most critical of the three SODARS. Most people will have success stories. Telling you the success stories will unveil many features in the seven elements, both in what they say and how they say it. The “failure” SODAR is more important. It reveals much about the character and learning factors of the individual.
Finally, I strongly believe that you must have a job description that details the task, duties, and responsibilities of the position. Before making the final offer, I would ask the candidate to take a Kolbe A™ test, not as a condition of employment, but as a means of me, as a supervisor or manager, making sure I understand how to play to an individual’s instinctive strengths and minimize the impact of elements of the position that might quickly wear them out.
Try these tactics, and watch how the success rate of your hiring process goes up!