Selecting people

Competency or JobFit? What should be the base for employee selection?

Essence from an discussion in the Harrison Consultant Community with Dan Harrison, Susan Heybl, Anne Sandberg and Kon Berner

While jobs and process may change fast and regularly, the fingerprint of an organization remains stable over a longer period. But also, you don’t want to hire people that are nice and fit well, with the team, but take ages to get up to speed.

What comes first? How to Decide in Recruiting?

The real question is that if a person  is very well qualified for the job, and gets a low FitScore on the culture Competencies, would it be a right approach to dismiss this application for these reasons? Once job fit is established some hiring managers want to then explore culture fit. Or is it the other way round?  You can design a sequential process. Filtering out people equals creating the one or the other problem. So it boils down to the interview technique and combining the two aspects into one picture – but what gets a higher weighting? No clear yes/no decision – more info gathering using behavioral interview questions related to alignment that add to the overall picture of suitability. This would suggest that a fit with the cultural behavioral competencies would at least have the same if not a bigger impact on the hiring decision, because these factors remain stable while the job itself will change regularly.

Weighting an Ranking of Job Success Factors

Obviously, both factors have to be weighted against each other in ONE step, to avoid bias. Avoiding bias requires a clear rule, to weight the factors against each other. One other thing must be crystal clear. Unless you put it to a probe, tools providing information on a potential fit or ability in the first place describe a potential. No Assessment tool in the world should be allowed to automate the selection process deciding that a candidate can do, is good at something and so on. Years of experience would not indicate that people are excellent in something – and it is the same with behavioral competencies. It is the Interviewer who determines whether something in an online assessment is valid or not – it is not the tool itself that can decide this.

Tools, Online Assessments and even ability tests would form a suggestion about an ability or preference. Personality tests show, how a person might be compared to others, but this has to be verified and put into a context of the job. Strong developed competencies will be part of the persons procedure model, and companies might like to know, how the person they are going to hire approaches and solves a problem that is related to the KPI’s of the job.

Building Job Success Formulas and Culture Fit

Analyzing the Job, you will have to look for the KPI. What is the outcome that has to be produced. You will find normally below 5 different aspects, what the jobholder should be producing. That might be different between companies, because of not exactly the same processes, but this is rather similar.

The differentiation comes in with the excellence Factors. How would you have to do it? How involve others, make decisions, create collaboration, explain and research information and so on. This may have a great impact on job success, but it is an excellence factor, that is determined by the corporate culture.

Interviewing techniques

The competency-based interviewing is a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). As a Senior Recruiter I have created hundreds of structured interview guides that identify key competencies for certain roles and the „look for answers“ to each question. It is important to have this to provide a scale for reference. It does fall within the Uniform Guidelines of selection if it is based on the job. The competency-based approach focuses specifically on interpersonal competencies needed for the position; job-related competencies constitute the criteria that determine very much of the team and collaboration results.

In the behavioral interview approach — a traditional technique for assessing a candidate’s suitability for a position — the purpose is to review the candidate’s experience, personal attributes and job-related skills. You will find clear root causes what the person must know and have experienced to create the personal results and individual contributions.

„Behavioral and competency-based interview questions tend to be pointed, probing and specific.“  Susan Heybl, USA

In a behavioral or a competency-based interview, the interviewer’s questions are designed to determine if the applicant possesses certain attributes or skills. Instead of asking how the applicant would handle a hypothetical situation, the interviewer asks the applicant how he or she did, in fact, handle a particular situation in the past.

With respect to behavioral and competency-based approaches, both aim to discover how the interviewee performed in specific situations. The logic is based on the principle that past performance predicts future behavior; how the applicant behaved in the past indicates how he or she will behave in the future.

It is the same design just two different approaches aimed at determining if the candidate is the best fit for the role.

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