I met with the heads of Human Resources of the largest 100 companies in the world, and they generally agreed about two things:
#1 They use competency or behavioral interviews
#2 They suck and reveal very little
The theory is this: Identify the key competencies for a job, and then, have interviewers ask questions about 1 or more of those competencies. The questions are supposed to identify actual behaviors, not the interviewee’s beliefs. Hence they are called behavioral or competency interviews. Typical questions if the competency is “Leadership” are, “Tell me about a time when your leadership style was highly effective,” and “Give me an example of a time when your leadership style was not so effective.”
Here’s why they suck: Every book on how to get a job encourages people to make up favorable responses; they teach people how to lie in interviews. Behavioral/competency interviews are very easy to fake. Interviewees can make up anything they want. And that’s what they do. And those Global 100 HR managers admitted that they RARELY are able to talk with former bosses, so there is no verification of what candidates say. In summary: Dishonesty, shallow interviews, no verification.
Candidates easily exaggerate successes and hide failures. The interview books show how to turn “failures” into positives: “When did my leadership style fail? Hmm, 20 years ago at Acme a very enthusiastic direct report asked to take on a project, but he failed. My mistake was to NOT carefully evaluate his experience, history of performance, and time availability. I learned a tough lesson and have not delegated without careful thought since!”
Here’s why Topgrading is the only solution: With Topgrading, candidates are injected with a “truth serum,” the awareness that THEY will have to arrange reference calls with bosses and others YOU want to talk with. Low performers and BS-ers drop out – good! And in interviews they do NOT exaggerate successes or hide mistakes. And instead of asking candidates to pick what they reveal, the Topgrading Interviews asks for all successes and failures for every job. In summary: honesty, thorough interviews, solid verification.
To learn more about the Topgrading method, download our eBook, How to Avoid Costly Mis-hires.