Helen Giles, Managing Director
Yes, a level of technical skill and experience is necessary for most jobs above entry level. But it is possession of sound core competencies that set outstanding performers apart from the mediocre and downright poor
We have a tried and tested way of demonstrating this. When we train in recruitment and selection we set participants an exercise where they have to close their eyes for a few moments and conjure into their minds the worst person they have ever had to work with. We then go round the room and list how everyone sums up their nightmare colleague in one sentence.
It’s as rare as hen’s teeth for anyone to say ‘He wasn’t able to apply the latest accounting standards’ or ‘She just didn’t have a grip of the technical aspects of her job’. Common responses include:
- Spiteful, bullying, petty
- Micro-manager, nit-picker
- Lazy, never volunteering to do things, not a team-player
- Deceitful, manipulative
- Disorganised, never delivering on time
- You could tell them something twenty times over and they still didn’t get it.
We advise our clients to shortlist on the basis of non-negotiable levels of skill or experience – things that organisations tend to pitch much higher than they need so that they exclude their best potential applicants. And then when it comes to selection, make that almost purely competency-based. Any technical or knowledge-based requirements should be tested by setting appropriate skills or written work-tray exercises. Your valuable interview time should be focused purely on drilling down to how the candidate has genuinely demonstrated the competency-based behaviours you require.
As the saying goes: hire for core capability and attitude, train for skills.
In our next blog we’ll reveal more about the how to of competency-based interviewing.