Last week I was facilitating a People and Business Management workshop with managers from all over the U.S. and a question came up about whether personality instruments might be useful in the hiring process.
As luck would have it, I read an article in the Harvard Business Review that addresses this very issue. Here’s the author’s answer:
Use personality tests as a proxy for EI. Most of these tests attempt to measure what they say they do: personality. They do not measure specific competencies of emotional intelligence such as self-awareness, positive outlook, achievement orientation, empathy, or inspirational leadership.
Use a self-report test. There are two reasons these don’t work. First, if a person is not self-aware, how can he possibly assess his own emotional intelligence? And if he is self-aware, and knows what he’s missing, is he really going to tell the truth when trying to get a job?
Use a 360-degree feedback instrument, even if it is valid and even if it measures EI competencies, like the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI) does. A tool like 360-degree feedback ought to be used for development, not evaluation. When these instruments are used to evaluate, people game them by carefully selecting the respondents, and even prepping them on how to score.
We want to add some talent to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune investigative team. Every serious candidate should have a proven track record of conceiving, reporting and writing stellar investigative pieces that provoke change. However, our ideal candidate has also cursed out an editor, had spokespeople hang up on them in anger and threatened to resign at least once because some fool wanted to screw around with their perfect lede.
We do a mix of quick hit investigative work when events call for it and mini-projects that might run for a few days. But every year we like to put together a project way too ambitious for a paper our size because we dream that one day Walt Bogdanich will have to say: “I can’t believe the Sarasota Whatever-Tribune cost me my 20th Pulitzer.” As many of you already know, those kinds of projects can be hellish, soul-sucking, doubt-inducing affairs. But if you’re the type of sicko who likes holing up in a tiny, closed office with reporters of questionable hygiene to build databases from scratch by hand-entering thousands of pages of documents to take on powerful people and institutions that wish you were dead, all for the glorious reward of having readers pick up the paper and glance at your potential prize-winning epic as they flip their way to the Jumble… well, if that sounds like journalism Heaven, then you’re our kind of sicko.
For those unaware of Florida’s reputation, it’s arguably the best news state in the country and not just because of the great public records laws. We have all kinds of corruption, violence and scumbaggery. The 9/11 terrorists trained here. Bush read My Pet Goat here. Our elections are colossal clusterfucks. Our new governor once ran a health care company that got hit with a record fine because of rampant Medicare fraud. We have hurricanes, wildfires, tar balls, bedbugs, diseased citrus trees and an entire town overrun by giant roaches (only one of those things is made up). And we have Disney World and beaches, so bring the whole family.
Send questions, or a resume/cover letter/links to clips to my email address below. If you already have your dream job, please pass this along to someone whose skills you covet. Thanks.
via a few tasteful snaps.
In the words of Mark Twain:
[He] never seems to reflect that the wise thing to do, after he has turned on this and that and the other tap, by a multitude of questions, till he has found one that flows freely and with interest, would be to confine himself to that one, and make the best of it, and throw away the emptyings he had secured before. He doesn’t think of that.
He is sure to shut off that stream with a question about some other matter; and straightway his one poor little chance of getting something worth the trouble of carrying home is gone, and gone for good.
It would have been better to stick to the thing his man was interested in talking about, but you would never be able to make him understand that.
He doesn’t know when you are delivering metal from when you are shoveling out slag, he can’t tell dirt from ducats; it’s all one to him, he puts in everything you say; then he sees, himself, that it is but green stuff and wasn’t worth saying, so he tries to mend it by putting in something of his own which he thinks is ripe, but in fact is rotten.
True, he means well, but so does the cyclone.
How would you react to this situation?
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The guiding principal behind any question to a job applicant is: “Can the employer demonstrate a legitimate job- related or business necessity for asking the question?” Both the intent behind the question and how the information is to be used by the employer are important for determining whether a question is an appropriate pre-employment inquiry.
See a list of questions at Interview Questions – Appropriate or Inappropriate?
Each communicative act should have a purpose. In interviews, in meetings or in everyday conversation, what is the purpose of the questions you ask?
Here are some questions and their corresponding purposes:
1. Are you saying…?
Identifies someone’s language patterns.
2. Are you willing to…?
Tests someone’s limits.
3. Can you give me…?
Encourages examples and specifics.
4. Can you remember…?
Taps into someone’s memory.
5. Did you ask…?
Questions someone’s questions.
6. Have you considered…?
Non-threatening proposal of options.
7. Have you given any thought to…?
Suggestive, yet doesn’t sound like advice.
8. Have you thought about…?
Forces someone to think!
9. How are you constantly…?
Promotes consistency of action.
10. How are you creating…?
Proves that someone has a choice.
11. How can you become…?
Future oriented, motivational.
12. How can you make…?
Enlists someone’s creativity.
13. How could you have…?
Focused on past performance improvement.
There are 63 questions and why they work here.