At Falak we take recruitment very, very, seriously. We do this for a couple of reasons; First, we want to hire only the best, and this takes time and effort. It is said that a bad hire can cost up to ten times their annual salary. So it’s worth doing it right.
The second reason is our culture. We have a powerful culture, and hiring someone who does not fit into it properly could jeopardise it. So we are doubly careful to hire the right person.
We recently had an opening for a Senior Consultant, and we filtered through dozens of CV’s, and conducted several interviews to hire the one right person. Below some of our hiring secrets, enjoy!
Look for “dolphins” not “sharks”: The analogy I like to use is that of dolphins and sharks. We like to hire dolphins; people who are friendly, outgoing, decent and caring. Sharks are ruthless and deadly. Some companies prefer to hire people that are more like sharks. They want to hire people who get the job done no matter what the cost, and no matter who they upset or have to take advantage of. Not here, at Falak we hire friendly, outgoing, decent and caring people.
We always Look for “A” Players: “A players” are superstars that are great at doing a job. They are talented people who can do the job that needs to be done, while fitting in with our culture. An A player is defined as:
A person who has at least a 90% chance of achieving a set of outcomes that only the top 10 percent of possible candidates could achieve.
The Most Important Question: The most important question we ask ourselves when considering a candidate is this: will this person be successful in the job? Don’t get bogged down with over analysing the candidate’s personality traits that are not relevant to doing his or her job. The person’s success on the job is determined by his ability to handle the tasks and situations he faces in the correct manner. Meaning he is doing the right things, in the right way. And what determines his or her ability to do that is their behaviour.
It follows therefore that to predict the person’s success in the job is to predict his behaviour. So what we are trying to do when screening and interviewing candidates is to predict their behaviour.
Past Behaviour Predicts Future Behaviour: The best way to predict a person’s behaviour is to find out how they behaved in the past. If you put a person in a situation with a given set of circumstances, they will act or react in a certain way. And studies have shown that if you put them in that same or similar situation again in the future, 88% of the time they will react the same way he did before! So for example, if we want to know how the candidate treats customers, then we just need to find out how they treated customers in the past.
The Second Most Important Question: It is: Will this person fit into our culture? A players are the ones who can do their job, and fit into our way of doing things.
The application: In addition to sending their CV, we make candidates answer these questions:
What are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
Why should we hire you?
This helps avoid people applying just for the sake of seeing if they’ll get an interview. I only want people to apply who are serious and want to work for Falak.
The phone screening interview:I suggest you do not bother with a face to face interview for new candidates. Do a phone interview first. It will save you a lot of time. Here are the questions we ask in the phone interview, taken from Geoff Smart and Randy Street’s bestseller Who:
What are your career goals?
What are you really good at professionally?
What are you not good at or not interested in doing professionally?
Who were your last 5 bosses, and how will they each rate your performance on a 1-10 scale when we talk to them? Why do you think your former boss will rate you like this?
What is your current package / salary?
You’ll be amazed what you can find out from someone by asking these questions. Also, the question about the last 5 bosses will make most people give you honest answers. I suggest you steer clear of tricky or gimmicky questions, they won’t reveal much and will waste everyone’s time.
First face-to-face interview: Again, we use the process from the book Who. The questions are:
What were you hired to do?
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
What were some low points during that job?
Who were the people you worked with? Specifically?
What was your boss's name, how do you spell that? What was it like working with him/her? What will he/she tell me were your biggest strengths and areas for improvement?
How would you rate the team you worked with on an A, B, C scale?
Why did you leave that job?
Notice how the questions get straight to the point, and focus on performance. While conducting the interview you’ll start to get a pretty good idea of what their personality is like, and whether they will fit in.
Second face-to-face interview: Here we ask more culture related questions, and double check if the person fits in. Here are the questions:
What were your biggest accomplishments in this area during your career?
What were your insights into your biggest mistakes and lessons learned in this area?
Do you prefer to work as part of a Team or work more on your own?
Would you describe yourself as more proactive or reactive? Can you give me an example?
How important do you consider internal company communication? Can you give me an example?
Explain in your own words what customer service and customer experience means to you.
What have you done in the last month, 6 months and year to improve yourself?
These questions are directly related to our seven Guiding Principles enshrined in our Falakonian Way document.
Reference Calls: Never, ever, hire someone without calling their references first. Here are the questions you should ask, according to Messrs Smart and Street:
In what context did you work with the person?
What were their biggest strengths?
What were the person’s biggest areas for improvement back then?
How would you rate his/her overall performance in that job on a 1-10 scale? What about his or her performance causes you to give that rating?
Conclusion: The process is long and arduous. It took us several weeks to go through the hiring process, but in the end we found the perfect Team Member. We did not find anyone to fill the Senior Consultant position, but we found a graduate who was so good that we hired her as a Junior Consultant. You’ll here more from her in this newsletter.
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