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Welcome to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast, where we talk about embracing humanity in the workspace. I’m Susan White, a national HR consultant. With me is JoDee Curtis, owner of Purple Ink, an HR consulting firm, and author of “JoyPowered®” and “The JoyPowered® Family.”
So, JoDee, today we’re going to talk about job interviews. We’re hoping this topic will be a value to any of our listeners who actually lead the talent acquisition efforts in their firms, or maybe some of you who are thinking about interviewing for a potential new job.
Yeah, I – one thing I always think is fascinating from the candidate’s perspective, that they feel like it’s all about them, right? That they’re kind of being put on the stage or under the light bulb, but I like your thought about thinking of it from the interviewer’s perspective, too, that it’s an opportunity for them to highlight the organization benefits or offerings or as a sales tool for them and their company as well, so I do think it’s really important to think about it from both perspectives.
Right. I think that’s very fair. And I think that really making sure your interview is a two-way dialogue is one of the best ways to differentiate, you know, a great interview from a okay interview.
Yeah. What are some other things that really in your experience, JoDee, you have seen take the normal old interview to the next level, where it’s really a good two-way conversation, a good assessment for both parties to figure out is this the right person for the job, is this the right place for me?
Yeah, obviously you have to, to get past the skills necessary to do it, right? Sometimes you can, you can garner the basics of that from the resume itself before you ever even interview, but I think it’s, it’s so important to get that candidate to open up and find a connection. I always am looking for the connection that I can make. Is it about sorority that’s on their resume, or that involvement in a community activity, or an employer, of course, or a school that they went to? I just am always searching for a connection that I can break open the interview by talking about something that we have in common or that I might be able to relate to.
I bet that really helps that candidates to let their guard down. Right? And once you have that commonality, they feel more comfortable sharing.
Right, I think so too.
What a nice technique. JoDee, I think it’s really important that every company spends quality time thinking about the candidate experience in an interview. And I think it’s very important, because I don’t care what kind of business you do, you really look at the rest of the world as potential customers.
And if you would invite someone in to interview and they have a bad experience, well, they’re going to walk away from that encounter and they’re not going to want to do business with you. And even if you’re a commercial business, not a consumer business, you probably know people who work in industry and in business who might have the ability to do commercial business with them. So I think that sometimes employers forget that. They get, especially if you’re a hiring manager who doesn’t do a lot of hiring, you think it’s all about me figuring out can that person come work for me.
Stop. There’s a candidate experience to think through, right?
Right. You have to be in a position as the interviewer to woo, especially in today’s age, right?
With unemployment so low.
You have to find people, and you need to be a seller of the, of your company, right, or at least someone throughout the process….
…needs to be that person of not just about trying to discover if they’re the right person, but are you the right company for them, and matching up is that position the best fit for them and their skill sets and their culture, what they they’re looking for in a culture?
I know I’ve discussed one of my pet peeves before on another podcast, but one of them that amplifies itself under this topic is I can’t stand when somebody has applied for a job and they never hear back from the company.
You know, it only gets worse when a candidate goes to an interview. They probably have driven there or found some other type of transportation there. They have usually dressed up, they have been nervous, they’ve practiced, they’ve prepared, and they go have an interview and they – it may have gone well, it may not, they don’t know, but they never hear back.
I think that just destroys. That’s probably the worst candidate experience you can give.
I think so too. And I just, with the technology available… you know, I remember, I’m sure you did too, back in the day, we typed up letters, but now with technology, that applicant tracking systems can automatically respond, and I get that those aren’t always real personal, but there is at least a method out there to automate that process. And then if you’ve physically met with the candidate or had an interview with them, I think you have got to respond with a personal response, or shame on you.
Shame on your company. Shame on you as a recruiter.
Yeah. Now, I’m not quite done preaching yet, but I will, I would say to you that I always felt my rule of thumb was if someone applied for a job and I never had talked to them, I felt comfortable they could get an email back, right? Saying, “I’m sorry, we’ve gone with another candidate,” or whatever you want to say. But if they had physically come in, I believe they deserve to hear a voice telling them, you know.
All right, gosh. Well, hey, let’s get into first off… I guess that’s our interviewing etiquette. But let’s get into really the mechanics of interviews and some ways to look at it that perhaps, whatever your particular approache is now, maybe there’s some things you might want to do to strengthen the structure. So there’s different types of interviewing formats. Of course, there’s the unstructured interview and then there’s a structured interview. The unstructured one, JoDee, I think probably, it’s easy to understand the definition of that. It’s where people will come in, and you just take it from the, shoot from the hip and figure out what kind of questions you want to ask based on what you’re seeing in front of you. Do you know many people who do unstructured interviewing?
Well, as you probably won’t be surprised, I, my style is is very informal, and I like to do an unstructured interview, especially if a couple people are meeting with them. I like, I like for someone else to do it – I think it’s important to have a structured interview. Ideally, for me, personally, I’d rather someone else do the structured interview, I get the results, and then I’m able to do an unstructured one, just because I like to be informal and I like to have conversations, but I think it’s really important to have structure as well. So if I am the only one interviewing them or have been, then I will, I will add structure to it, because I think you need to have some comparison questions to ask different candidates and I think you need to find out, as we’ll talk as you go forward, too, about the more structured interview and what kinds of questions you might ask. I think that’s important, too, to have some, some comparison and make them think a little bit deeper.
Yes, I do think there’s such positives around unstructured, the whole thing about letting the, getting the candidate to let their guard down and…
…building rapport and making it conversational. Sometimes you can elicit information that you had not even thought to put in a prepared question.
So I find that to be really a positive.
As a matter of fact, a lot of times I want to tell people, “you are sharing way too much information.” I think sometimes I can make them feel too comfortable.
That’s a, it’s a gift.
They tell me things I don’t want to know.
That’s funny. When – you I would trust in an unstructured interview. Sometimes if it’s a manager who’s not very well trained, or maybe not as schooled in what is okay to say and not to say, I’ve seen unstructured interviews sometimes really go awry.
And in my opinion, probably 90… well, I don’t know, I’m making up this percentage, but I would say at least 75% of interviewers are not comfortable in the process, and they’re not given a guide or a method to do it, and, yes, that’s when they start asking inappropriate questions or, or not asking enough questions or not talking directly about the position itself.
Yeah. And I’ve seen it where they’ve come out of interviewing maybe three or four people, and I sit down with them, say, “Okay, so what do you think about the candidates?” And they’ll say, “Well, I talked to so-and-so about their education, then I talked to so-and-so about their experience as such-and-such,” and anyway, we ended up with they had four unique conversations and we can’t compare anything about the four people because the conversations went all different directions.
So I think there’s a risk. So I agree, I think that my personal bias is that you should have a structured interview, you should prepare for it in advance if you’re the interviewer, it doesn’t have to be a regimented interview in my mind, but it should be, have some structure and certainly allow for, you know, some, you know, a little bit of freedom and a little bit of just a good conversational feeling.
There’s, there’s a variety of different types of structured interviews, and I think the one that we hear the most about are structured interviews that are based on behavioral interviewing questions, so I’d like to spend some time talking about those. We could also spend some time talking about situational interviewing questions that are used in one form of structured interview, and then I’d love to talk a little bit about a new one that I’m hearing more about, which is CIDS, C-I-D-S, the chronological in depth structured job interview. I’m not sure I’m a fan, but I’d love to talk it through with you.
I’m not familiar with that one, so I’m anxious to hear more about it.
Okay, well, let’s start with behavioral interviewing questions in a structured interview. And for many of those of you who are interviewers, and probably if you are active in SHRM, you’re probably very familiar with these. They are questions that you ask to an individual where you’re asking them to pull a past experience of something that you’re going to need them to do in the role that you’re evaluating them for. So the questions are usually structured in a way, give me a specific example of a time when you had to, and then you fill in the blank. So if it’s, like, work on a project team, or – because the new role you’ll be on a project team, you might, you might insert that there. You might say, “give me a specific example of a time where you worked on a project team, and something went wrong. Share with us specifically what that situation was, what did you do and what was the outcome?” So the interviewee then needs to pull something from their past that’s authentic and share how they went about resolving or solving for it. And that gives the interviewer the opportunity, first of all, did the person really have that kind of experience? You can, you can hear for the authenticity, but also their thought process. How do they approach problems? Can it, can they bring those skills to the job that you need them to do?
And I think that, that on the behavioral interview is how they did it before is most likely how they’ll do it again.
That’s right. They say the past performance is the best predictor, right, of future performance.
Right. I have had some people when I’ve done behavioral interviewing tell me a story, which I think is interesting and, and to me, it seems very honest of, of a situation that they handled a conflict or handled a termination or handled a disagreement and they didn’t feel good about how it happened or what they learned from that experience, and maybe did different the next time. So I think those can be powerful to to share, about a mistake and what they learned from it.
I have to tell you, I have even more respect when a person shares something that didn’t go well and they tell me what they learned, because as an interviewer, I figure, hey, they’ve already learned that lesson, I don’t…
….they don’t have to come here and we’re going to have to train them on…
…how to pick themselves up when something goes wrong. So honestly, that kind of an answer, I think, is very powerful.
Right. I think a mistake that I’ve seen with people in behavioral interview that you mentioned the proper way to do this is to ask them a question about something they’ve done that will be important in the particular role they’re interviewing for. I’ve seen organizations where they have a standard list of behavioral interview questions that they just want to, you know, they’re just asking to everyone, that is not necessarily relevant to the job itself. So.
That, you know, that… I think that’s a wonderful point, that you really do want to start, even before you prepare your interviewing questions, figuring out what are the competencies that we need this individual to be able to perform in the role that we need them to do, that they’re asking them to consider doing. And once you have those competencies, you can develop behavioral interviewing questions around those particular competencies, and if you think, gosh, that sounds like a lot of work, there’s so many resources out there. Oh my gosh. That – I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the State of Kansas Department of Administration website. Anybody listening, just google State of Kansas Administration behavioral interviewing. They have created this website that’s open to everyone, and – actually, anybody who can get on the internet – and you put in the competencies for a job, and I think they call them, they don’t use the word “competency,” but they use some some term very similar to competencies. You checkmark those, and then you hit go or something, a button, and then it gives you behavioral interviewing questions tied to those competencies.
For free. My favorite price. Yeah, I’d recommend that. But you’re right. There’s nothing worse than asking a behavioral interviewing question for a competency that they don’t need to do in that particular role. All right, well, you know what I find sometimes when I ask someone a behavioral interviewing question, and I’ll say, give me a specific example of a time when blah, blah, blah, blah, you know, what did you specifically do, what was the outcome, and then they respond with, “Well, in those kinds of situations, here’s what I usually do.”
They come back with a situ… a situational response or a theoretical response, and you as the interviewer need to stop that and say, “Thank you, but tell me, I need a real situation where you’ve done it.”
Right. Right. I would say at least 50% of the time, candidates come back with that generic response, or a, “Here’s what I would do,” or…yeah.
And when that response comes, I wonder if they’ve ever really done it.
Because they couldn’t come up with… I don’t know. It’s just, it’s, it causes me to pause. And I try to redirect, which really leads us to situational interviewing questions. Sometimes, in a structured interview, it is appropriate to ask a situational interview question as opposed to behavioral and, and asking, “If you were to walk into the office on Monday and you would realize that someone had been at your desk and maybe things were moved, what might you do?” And you’re asking them a question, a theor… a theoretical question or a situational question, because you’re looking to see how they attack problems. Now, that might make sense if the person maybe has never done the type of work that you are asking them to do now, so maybe they haven’t experienced something. But there’s probably other times where situational interviewing questions do make sense.
Yeah. I’m not as comfortable with them, because I think many times we can all sort of make up an answer that sounds good, right? But I – the concept is important in, in certain situations, I think it’s, it’s important to be very specific about what you’re looking for. For example, if you said, “What would you do if you had a conflict with your boss?” Right? I think, I think those can be easy to think, “Well, I would be very professional and I would communicate with them articulately and…” which might really not be what you would do. So I think the more specific those questions can be, the more effective their responses could be to help you determine if they, if you feel they would handle it appropriately.
Very fair, very fair. So the third type of structured interview I’m hearing more about, as I mentioned, is CIDS, the chronological in depth structured job interview. And I’ll tell you, I did a little research on this and found that Brad Smart of topgrading.com is actually the person behind the creation of this structured interview process. The fact is, it’s really in depth. So they’re not kidding about that. It could take up to six months of walking through every job and background checking with every past employer. So when you go to a CIDS interview, you do need to be prepared. It’s probably gonna be a longer than normal interview, they are going to take time and want to walk through every job you’ve had. They’re going to ask you deep questions about each one of them, who you worked for, what the relationship was, and then part of this process is they do go back and talk to every prior employer, and based on the conversation that you had, and the reason it takes so long is that they need to go back and find all these past employers who may not still be working at the firms that they were working at. They focus on 50 different competencies, and they tailor for the particular role, that they believe that they can find in that, in that universe of 50 competencies, the ones that would fit that or match that particular role. So I was, as I was doing the research, I did read a comment from someone who had said, “I just had a CIDS interview, and I think I’ve lost the will to live.”
Oh, my goodness.
Yeah. I don’t think it’s a good candidate experience, necessarily.
Right, well, and certainly if we go back to the comment about in today’s economy, you know, you have to move quick.
To get the right people. And so a six month process, you would definitely need to be in a situation where you are the employer of choice, and that people… it’s a, it’s a process they’re willing to go through because they want to work for your company.
Yes. I – and I have coached hiring managers that if you want to hire the best, you’ve got to move quickly, or else you’re going to be hiring the rest.
Well, good. Well, let’s talk about interviewing process. There’s different types of ways, or there’s kind of a process that you move through, usually, when you are considering a candidate, and the quicker you can make this, the better, as we’ve said, but you also want to do it right. So pre-screening interviews, let’s talk for a moment about those, the ones that are popular today.
Yeah, well, I know when that we’re… of course, we do a lot of phone screens and just even resume screens before then, but short, quick phone screens. We’re likely going to be implementing technology where people record themselves answering, or record themselves with the technology where we send them a link and ask them several questions and they record their response and send it back to us.
I’m familiar with HireVue, I know that they do that. H-I-R-E-V-U-E. What company are you looking at?
Is another one, Spark Technology, and I think there’s several others out there, too. The one benefit I really like about it is not only just to… you know, basically you could have people record them as of a certain time and date and then you could sit and watch them and, you know, go through them pretty quickly. But I think the real benefit that I saw of it is just not having to coordinate the time to, to set up a phone screen, right? They can just record it and send it to you whenever they want, and you can listen to them or watch them whenever you want.
I think there is such value in watching all of them in a row, because I think it lessens the potential bias that you might have for the most recent one you saw, the recency bias, and it just causes you to line them all up and there’s no way in the world you would have been able to do phone screens all in a row.
Right, right. And sometimes we spend as much time scheduling the interview as we do spending time on the interview, so…
For those of you that are listening that maybe have never done a digital self-recording of an interview, the questions are sent along with this link, so you know what you need to be answering, and there’s usually a time clock, you have to have it back in three business days or five business days. JoDee, have you come up with the length of time you’re thinking people will have?
We don’t know yet.
Okay. Fair enough. Well, the good news is – and you get to practice over and over until you feel good enough to hit the send back button, as long as you do it within the timeframe. So I do think that’s very positive. Well, you know, there’s also Canvas that’s headquartered here in Indianapolis that has started doing, actually selling their product, which is doing text screening interviews.
So tell me how that works.
I’ll tell you my understanding of how that works. If anybody from Canvas is listening, feel free to set me straight.
That’s right. We’ll give you the phone number before this podcast is over. What they’re doing is, if you apply for a job, you may get a text message from the company – I know Roche Diagnostics here in Indianapolis is using it, and I think I just read that Community Hospital System’s using it here, and I’m sure there’s others across the US – where they will, that candidate will get a text asking some pre-screening questions, and then they respond. I think there’s some artificial intelligence behind it that will be asking questions relevant to the competencies needed in the job. And from, from there, the recruiter can decide do we bring the individual in. So technology is certainly making strides in this area, and companies that are adopting things that are going to help them do this and speed the, speed up the interviewing process, I think are going to be the winners.
So let’s say you’ve decided you want to bring someone in for an interview. You want to think about, we’ve already talked about probably preparing an, a structure for that interview that are based on the competencies that you need them to do. Additionally, with some maybe personal connecting questions and things that you’ll be asking, but you want to think about do you want to interview each candidate one-on-one so every hiring manager, maybe some other decision makers or key stakeholders, will get a chance to interview that individual, or do you want to bring everybody into the room as a panel and interview the candidate. JoDee, do you have a bias one way or the other?
Well, it’s difficult, because I do think there are pros and cons of each, and having the serial interview where they’re meeting with several different people, I think it gives them time to meet with people personally, one-on-one, have those conversations. You can also ask your interviewers to focus on, on different aspects, right? One, one interviewer could focus more on the sell of the company, another interviewer could focus on the specific job, and another interviewer could focus on cultural, you know, what type of culture is a best fit for them. So I think that can be an advantage. For the candidate, it can be a long day, right? It can be repeating – inevitably, even if you have people ask different questions, inevitably they can repeat themselves…
…all day long with some of the same stories. And, you know, again, people are busy, right, and there’s lots of opportunities out there, and if you’re not quick and efficient to move people through the process, you could lose.
Yeah, I will tell you that I think for a lower level job in the organization, I’m a fan of serial interviews so people have that one-on-one. But if a role is one in which it’s either more senior, or you need the person who takes that job to be able to speak in front of a number of people…
…I’d love a panel, because I love everyone hearing everything in the same – at the same time.
And it gives them a chance to then calibrate afterwards, you know, who heard what, what was your reaction to it. So I…you just have to think, depend on the particular circumstance.
Right. It is interesting, I think, to have a panel interview where everyone hears the same thing at the same time, and yet the panelists still take away very different perspectives of their thoughts. I’ll never forget, one time I had an interview for an HR director position, and they had told me I would be meeting with three different owners, and so I just assumed it was a serial interview, and I walked in and all three of them were in the room at the same time, and I was a little taken aback, intimidated initially, but that didn’t last very long. I mean, they were, they were very kind and it went well. I did – they did hire me, so I guess I did okay.
So they were very smart too. I do believe that if you have a panel interview… I think you should always have really good interviewing etiquette, but in a panel, I think you have to work even harder to help that individual come in and get comfortable. I do have a suggested kind of agenda that I think should be followed in either a serial interview or a panel interview. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share those steps with you. I think the very first thing you do in the interview is make introductions. Make sure that the person knows who either you, you are, what your role is in the company, and if it’s a panel, then make sure they get a chance to say hello to everyone on that panel and understand what their role is. The second thing, I think you should walk through, here’s what we’re going to accomplish while we’re together. As we’ve talked about in our importance of having, running effective meetings, same thing with an interview, the individual should know, I expect we’re going to be here, the next 30 minutes, 45 minutes, hour, however long, and I’m – during this, here’s what the agenda is, I’m going to share a little bit more about the job, I’m going to ask you questions, some of those might be behavioral in nature, and I would say I’m going to ask you to draw upon your past work experience and I may ask you to share specific things you’ve done that are relevant to what I need you to do in this job. I would tell them that I’m going to make sure they have time to ask me questions. Before we close today, I’m going to share with you what the next steps are. I just think that helps people who, their minds are racing. They’re starting to calm down, they think, okay, here’s the roadmap for the next 45 minutes.
Right. Well, and I think, ideally, they would have done that beforehand as well, and then even reiterated that when you get there. What should you expect in the interview before you even arrive? What… what’s the appropriate dress for the interview? Or certainly the candidate should be asking questions, too, if not provided.
I think that is really very classy, if the company lets that person know without them having to ask, you know, here’s what’s gonna happen, here’s where you need to park. Oh my gosh, I can’t tell you how many people go interview for a job and they’re so stressed about where they’re gonna be able to leave their car before they go in there. Take out, you know, make it easier on the person. And I love the fact go ahead and share the agenda for the interview. What a nice, nice step.
Okay, well, JoDee, we, in preparation for today’s call, we put a call out to our listeners to see what types of questions they’re asking when they’re interviewing people, and so we got a list of a few of people’s favorite interviewing questions.
Yeah, I love this.
Will you start us off with the first one?
So Catherine in Michigan asks, “What aspect from your career have you enjoyed the most and least so far? I like this question because it’s a little more lighthearted, but can also yield some great information about whether someone might be a fit for a certain position and shows the applicant that you care about their likes or dislikes.”
I like that one, too.
I do too.
Schoan in Indiana asks, “My go to question when interviewing potential staff is to have them explain to me what makes them and my company a good match, and then that encourages them to share their skills and how they, those skills might fit my company.” Then what she usually follows up with is, you know, why this company? Okay, fair enough. I understand what your skills are and why… how you like to use them, but why do you want to use them here? And that helps her understand if they really understand what I do.
Did they do any preparation work?
Yeah, I think that’s really important. I like that one, as well. I think sometimes the candidate is just thinking, “I want to get a job,” right? Or “I need a job, and this job looks good,” but not… they are not preparing for information about the company and I, I’m very disappointed when that happens.
I say to people who are looking for a job, at least, at the very least before you go to a job, go to the website, the company website, and read it. If there’s the mission, vision, values, memorize it, or at least know it so that you can talk about it. But there’s a lot of other places that you can go. If it’s a consumer facing business, go into that operation and let them know during the interview that you went into their store or you went into their bank or you went into wherever. Or if you use their product, you know, whatever you could do, because employers want to hire people who are going to be part of their brand. Right? So I think that’s an excellent point.
I’ll never forget, one time someone… I worked in a company that was just at one office in Indianapolis, and the candidate told me that he was very interested in our Chicago office. And I told him that I would definitely recommend him to the Chicago office.
Oh! Wherever you are…
I don’t know…
…hope you’re working in Chicago.
I don’t know if he ever figured that out or not.
Erin in Indianapolis asks, “Is there anything I haven’t asked about you that you’d like to share? This answer is telling because it shows what someone really wants you to focus on or remember about them.”
You know, I often ask this question, but I usually say “What is it that I haven’t been smart enough to ask you that I need to know?”
And people usually laugh first and then I actually get something.
Yeah, I think, I think it’s interesting, too, I’ve talked to many candidates before who I’ve said, you know, “What did you tell them about this?” or “Did – Did you get to share this?” or something that I thought was very important about the candidate, and the candidate will say “They never asked me,” or they never felt like they got the opportunity to share something that was really important to them. So I think some version of asking “What else?” is really important.
Good. So Peggy from Carmel asks interviewees, “Tell me about a criticism you received and the changes you made as a result of it.”
Yeah. So that’s kind of a behavioral interview question.
It is, and it’s, I think, a nice way of asking the question, “What are you not good at?” Usually in an interview, people come in and they’re prepared to really sell, which is what we want them to do, sell themselves. However, we do want people to be real. And if someone can share with me that, yeah, you know, here’s something I know about myself, that I, you know, I tend to be too detail oriented, but here’s what I, I do to overcome it. Or even if it’s, you know, I, I’m not one who likes to share a lot about what I’m doing to others, so sometimes I’ve had people say to me that I don’t communicate as much as I should, so here’s what I do differently today. That, to me, is just awesome answer.
Right. I like it, too.
So for anyone who finds themself on the other side of the interviewing table, through the career coaching I do, the questions that I think you have to be prepared for as they come up most frequently are, number one, “Tell me about yourself.” That question has been around longer than I have.
But it continues to get asked.
And I do think that candidates sometimes crash and burn
Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah. “Well, I was born in 1964…” right?
Stick to what’s most important. That, that’s your opportunity, right there, to share what you want them to remember you for.
For sure. The second one, of course, one of our callers already mentioned this, but I think this is asked a lot, you know, “Why this job?”
And then your question.
“What do you want to know about us?”
I think again, shows, shows that they’ve done some homework and are prepared, but have more… What other questions do they have?
Of course that, “What are, what are your weaknesses?” And that’s asked a variety of ways that we’ve talked about.
Yeah. “What are your salary expectations?”
You’re going to want to listen to our podcast on salary negotiations before you answer that.
And then finally, all the technical and behavioral questions relevant to that role. So if you’re getting ready to interview for a job, make sure you look at the job posting and all of the requirements they’re asking for and the responsibilities and think about how have I done things in the past similar to this, so you’re ready to answer those questions. All right, so let’s spend a couple of minutes on questions or topics that interviewers definitely want to avoid saying so that they stay legally compliant.
Well, anything that touches on race, gender, national origin, color, religion, age, pregnancy, disability, veteran status, genetic information, or sexual orientation. And those those can seem really obvious, but those are the ones that get you in trouble when you’re in an unstructured interview and you start asking things about kids and spouses.
It feels very harmless at the time, maybe the person makes a note, or just says something offhanded about one of their children, or they say something offhanded, and then you don’t want to jump into the conversation. You just want to keep moving on. And it does take, I think, some guidance in that area. So if you’re an HR person guiding managers, I think it’s smart to at least annually have some type of interviewing refresher just to remind folks.
Right, right. And certainly, sometimes, there’s state and and local protections where you live, as well, too. I know one law that is catching on rapidly among states, when we mentioned about salary expectations, is a question that many states now have disallowed is to ask what they made previously. What, what is their current salary or what was their last salary? So, be very careful about that one.
Yes. The times I’ve seen people run afoul of some of these “stay away” areas is when they are trying to be friendly, and they might be walking the person into the office and say, “So where are you from?”, and you find out their from their national origin is not the same as yours. Or they say, “I see you graduated from Bishop Chatard High School. What class were you in?”
Oh my gosh. You’re asking the person, technically, what their age is.
Or, again, going on about their children, or someone comes in with a cast and you ask, “What happened to you?” that – I know I’ve said that one.
Oh, dear. And then you find out that they have a disease or disorder or something, then…
…all of a sudden, now you’re on notice that they have a physical disability.
Yeah. So, hey, you know, we’ve talked today about our opinions and some of our experiences. If you want additional information on how to be a better interviewer, or even how to prepare yourself for interviewing better, SHRM offers a behavioral interviewing class, and they have a brand new one coming out, hopefully by… before the end of 2018, called “Reinventing Candidate Interviews: How to Identify High Potential Talent.” So I encourage you to keep yourself educated on this front.
Right. And you might just get Susan or I as your instructor.
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We had a question from Dave in southern Indiana who asked for advice regarding his administrative assistant, who is technically competent, but has a personality that is not well-liked. When the administrative assistant comes each day, she brings negative energy with her. That was a polite way to describe that, Dave. Dave has coached her on the value of being more friendly and approachable, but the administrative assistant says, “This is who I am. I’m not here to make friends. I just want to do my job well and go home at night.” Dave gets kidded from time to time by his peers and other direct reports about why he keeps the administrative assistant. He asked us if he can get rid of her because of her personality, and if not, for ideas on how to change her ways. Interesting question, Dave. What do you think, Susan?
Well, I would love to try to change her. I have to tell you, being an optimist, I think that maybe this admin doesn’t understand that how she treats other people, which we’re calling her personality, or how she reacts to how other people interact with her can really be a derailer for her career. She may be very content at the job she’s doing today and do it efficiently and go home at night, but I would want to spend time with her talking about her opportunity to advance really can be harmed if she has this reputation of being somebody who brings in negative energy, and I’d try to explain that negative energy and… with examples of things I observe, because that can be kind of… I’m sure the first question is going to be “Negative energy. What do you mean by that?” Well, I would try to give her my observations. So that would be my approach. I would try and – if she’s good at what she does, my goal would be not to have to let her go, Dave, but I would try to see if I could catch her up. JoDee, do you have any insights?
Well, I agree, too, and I think it’s also important, Dave, for you to understand that maybe she’s effective for you in what you’re asking her to accomplish, but generally we’re not working in a vacuum, and is she… Is it important for her to get information from others, for others to bring information to her that could help the department be better, to help Dave be better, that people are not sharing because they see her as unfriendly or as not being helpful to them that could be preventing other opportunities. So I’d be careful about those as well.
I’ve done some reading on coaching models, and the very first step is awareness. If you’re going to effectively coach someone, they have to be made aware that there is a problem, right? So Dave, I think there’s an opportunity to start with awareness. Step two is they have to own it. They have to really believe “Okay, this is – I, I’m the one who decides when I walk in, I’m going to smile or not smile. I’m the one who is going to be responding to people in a certain way.” So they have to fully own it. And it’s not – they’re not a victim. The third step is they have to be motivated to change. And honestly, if this admin, if she’s aware of the problem, because you made sure that she is. Secondly, she does own it, recognize this, this is who she is. And if you can’t get her motivated to change, you’re never… you’re not going to be able to effectively coach her. So I say start with step one. Let’s get to awareness and try to move through there.
All right, so in the news, hrmorning.com has an article on their website as of July 18, 2018, entitled “30 Employee Handbook Dos and Don’ts from the NLRB,” the National Labor Relations Board. They reference a 2015 NLRB report of the general counsel in this article that provides, I think, really good advice for all of us. Specifically, they suggest that you be thoughtful about creating overly broad policies that could actually put us at odds with section seven of the National Labor Relations Act, which mandates that employees be allowed to participate in concerted activity to help improve working conditions. For example, you don’t want to have a policy in your handbook that says employees are prohibited from disclosing details about our organization. That is really, really broad and probably will get you sideways with the NLRB. Instead, you might want to say something to the effect, employees are prohibited from disclosing business secrets or other confidential information. You don’t want to have a policy that says disrespectful conduct or insubordination, including but not limited to refusing to follow orders from a supervisor or designated representative. could cause termination. It’s too broad, right? You can disagree with people, and in fact, you know, people are encouraged to if they feel like they’re not getting paid, right? If they feel like the benefits aren’t fair, they are certainly allowed, and in fact, in America, encouraged to voice that. Instead, you may want to say something like, each employee is expected to work in a cooperative manner with management, supervision, coworkers, customers, and vendors. So if there is an employee outburst or something that is, you know, over the line, you can coach or counsel them, right? Oh, and then finally you…here’s another example. You probably don’t want to say something like, do not send unwanted, offensive, or inappropriate emails, as that is too broad. Do not send bad news! No. What you probably want to say is something closer to, there can be no harassment of employees or customers, nor use of racial or other types of slurs or insults via email. So, I think it makes it much clearer.
All right, well, please tune in next time. Thank you for listening today. If you’ve missed any of our podcasts, you can catch all episodes for free at iTunes, Google Play, Podbean, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts by searching on the word “JoyPowered.” That’s all one word, “JoyPowered.” If you have any questions on any HR topic, you can call us at 317-688-1613 or give feedback on our podcast via the JoyPowered® Facebook page, or on Twitter @JoyPowered. We welcome listener questions and comments.
Good luck interviewing.