Here’s a Better Way to Screen Job Applicants

When screening job applicants for management roles, technical expertise is a baseline requirement, a box to check and verify during the interview process. Behavioral factors are the best indicator of a candidate’s potential for success. His or her personality and leadership style has to match the culture and immediate needs of the organization.

The standard job interview does not uncover personality strengths and weaknesses. It’s kind of like dating. Everyone gets dressed up and says what they know the interviewer wants to hear, and the go/no go decision comes down to “chemistry.” You only find out months or years later what someone is really like.

I recently wrote about the benefits of filling immediate openings with experienced interim managers. These benefits include proven expertise, more time to find the best permanent hire, direct support of the search process, and the opportunity to assess current resources and make changes. Realizing those benefits depends on getting the right person in the position.

Just because an interim management assignment has a predetermined end date (which are often adjusted and extended), it’s no less important to find a good match. When screening job applicants, you have to find someone who will continue to drive, and not disrupt, your organization’s forward progress. In the old days talking to references was a good way to screen job applicants and find out more about a candidate’s personality and management style.

Unfortunately, because of liability concerns, today most HR departments will only confirm that an individual worked for the company, not how well they performed or why they might have moved on.

To screen candidates for interim management positions we use psychometric measurement tools to identify the behavioral needs of the job and then find compatible candidates. We start by identifying the behavioral requirements necessary to succeed using a job activity rating (JAR). A JAR is similar to a skills-based job description but it focuses on behavioral traits.

Desired traits may include the ability to persuasively influence people, approach difficult situations tactfully and accept constructive criticism. Identification of such traits can then be integrated into the screening and interview process.

To further screen candidates we use activity vector analysis (AVA) to create behavioral profiles, identify each individual’s natural leadership tendencies and predict their workplace behaviors. These legally compliant assessment tools provide a distinct picture of how someone will perform in a specific environment, and will even indicate when someone tries to game the process.

Using these tools to match an individual’s personality traits to a position’s behavioral requirements is the best way that we’ve found to screen job candidates and determine if an interim manager will be successful.

Please note: Having provided such support to our clients for years, TBM has formally launched an interim leadership service: TBM Leadership Solutions, LLC, an affiliate of TBM Consulting Group, Inc., to quickly fill critical operational and supply chain positions. See this overview for more information on how we can help your business make successful leadership transitions.