This is post two of three in our “Hiring Matters” series. When operating in a hostile environment, who you hire is absolutely critical. Not only must they be properly qualified, they must also be able to work under extraordinary pressure. Rob Coulthard, Managing Director, Judgement Index UK Ltd, which has worked with several UK military units, offers his advice on hiring, evaluating risk and more.
As discussed in the first blog, on occasions we have all called it wrong when hiring someone, and we have all probably said “if only” or “in hindsight.” The problem after that sort of statement is it’s likely to have cost you and your organization time, money, assets reputation and even lives if we push this to an extreme.
What was the consequence and how could you have misread the candidate's future performance given you are a switched-on, experienced manager? In this second blog we will explore why some critical role-related competencies are missed at interview.
A primal instinct we all have is to feel safe, and one could argue that those who work in or around hostile environments are more conscious of risk than others. However, if we feel safe in someone’s company, in this case at interview, then the threat level is reduced, rapport is increased and we can easily liken the candidate to a safe bet who is “like me and many of those in our gang.” The result being that far too often mangers hire a "mini-me" based on rapport, tribal instinct and personality. As we mentioned in the first post in this series, personality is never enough to predict performance; just look at your best operators and you will see a variety of characters and personalities, but they will all have a few key things in common: values, good judgement and strong wellness/stability.
So after you have seen the candidate’s CV, references, etc., and you like the candidate, what can't you see that could be behind the mask of the person in front of you?
- True values?
- Stability and wellness?
- A capacity for good judgement?
From our research these are some of the critical factors that can be hidden at interview ,particularly if the candidate is a good actor. Sir Lawrence Olivier once said “Act it, act it, play it and it will become real; Well at least to the audience!”
Value based interviews are an excellent way of gaining a deeper understanding of an individual; however, the techniques and practices to do this effectively take time and training to perfect. When a question is asked at interview, such as “have you ever led a team and how did it go,” you will typically get a surface answer relating to the scenario and situation. This may leave you confident the candidate has been good at leading a team. However, subsequent questions relating to lessons learned, challenges, his or her value of the people and the long lasting relationship the candidate still has with the team may reveal hidden issues.
Gaining an understanding of a candidate’s stability, level of stress and ability to cope is even more difficult. Aside from medical history, etc., it can be hard to spot someone who is suffering personal challenges if the candidate is good at keeping their emotions contained at interview. In the next blog we will share some case studies of how we have uncovered both strengths in people that struggled to sell themselves and also risks and stability issues that were being masked by good acting.
If you have any comments on any aspect of this blog or feel you could add to the discussion, tweet HELP @HostileRisk.
By Rob Coulthard, Managing Director, Judgement Index UK Ltd email@example.com