Why Unnerving A Potential Hire Might Be A Good Thing!

Why Unnerving A Potential Hire Might Be A Good Thing!

A potential hire isn’t just someone who fits the required qualification list in your job description. He/she is someone who fits the company, its culture and the job role really, really well.

While it is hard to define “really, really well”, it is fairly easy to derive at quantifiable metrics to deduce if a candidate is a good fit in terms of job function, company culture and overall personality. This can be done using a combination of personality tests, cognitive tests, short assignments, projects and even an on the job ‘trial week’ followed by a structured interview.

Once the testing concoction is designed, one can define the “really, really well” bit too with a pass percentage, cut off number or ranking scale. What this does is negates the subjectivity or bias of interviewers and rates candidates rationally on the same measuring scale.

Unnerving A Potential Hire

But is it really THAT important to grill your potential hire, test him/her and then go for the actual hiring decision? Is it OK to go against the more contemporary recommendations of being friendly and making them feel at ease in their interviews?

What demerits the friendly, not-so-gruelling interview process or even an unstructured interview process is that it may not reveal the true nature and skills of the candidate in question. ‘True’ being the operative word here.

Candidates are often over-prepared for generic interview questions and hence may be able to cover up for their drawbacks or underestimate their lack of passion for the job.

It is necessary that somewhere in the hiring process there is a good mix of function based, personality and skills-based assessment that helps you quantify the overall suitability of the candidate for the job while subjecting the candidate to real job circumstances that would meanwhile help him/her also analyze the actual job expectation.

Such processes uncover the candidate’s true passion, skill sets, and strengths which in turn help HR and hiring managers make meaningful decisions.

Here are some other great factual reasons to include a gruelling pre-hiring assessment in the interview process!

Unnerving A Potential Hire Might Actually Help You!

Here’s why it may be a good idea to subject a potential hire to some stress!

#1. Get A Glimpse Of The ‘True’ Nature Of A Hire

Dealing With Millennials

Depending on the job function, giving candidates a real work like situation and asking them to enact their response or draft an email or draft a plan can reveal surprising results about the candidate’s skill sets.

Often in such a high-pressure situation, if the candidate buckles or gets too nervous, the same can be expected at work too.

If you need confident salespersons in the front line do not hire someone who could not speak for 2 minutes on a given topic, however pleasing their personality maybe.

#2. Deal With ‘Millennial Indecisiveness’

Much has been said about millennials and their tendency to switch jobs. It’s time for employers to take this trait seriously and test employees for their attitude, passion and purported longevity in the job.

Asking questions that catch them off-guard is one way to gauge their true interest in the profile – whether it’s just restricted to the pay or if it is a serious commitment to growing with the organisation.

Some ways to tackle this maybe via short projects or assignments. If candidates are truly interested and value the company, they will invest time in these assignments. Candidates who don’t pursue these assignments are potential misfits who got cut off from the race in one good go.

Internships and trial weeks are good test beds for potential hires. When shortlisted candidates work for you for one week, you get to communicate and interact with them. There is scope to check on how well they fit with the team, how they work and what values they care about.

The best part however is, even the candidates get a chance to test waters and see if they really enjoy the work, work atmosphere and workplace or would they rather be doing something else. This may lead them to quit even before they’ve been hired. It’s a win-win.

#3. Avoid The Loss Of A Bad Hire

According to a study, a bad hire can cost up to 30% of the individual’s first-year potential earnings. Considering nearly 3 in every 4 employers agreed to have made hiring mistakes, this is a lot of money lost by companies.

Apart from monetary losses, disengagement of bad hires affects coworkers too. The burden of extra work, a lower bar for achievement and general disengagement spreads its wings and lowers overall productivity of the workplace.

In addition, there is no way to make up for the lost time of re-hiring and re-training. All in all, wrong hires can be very costly for organizations especially small and medium scale businesses.

By structuring the hiring process well and spotting the bad apples right away, we can avoid such costly hiring mistakes.

Remember, the ripple effects of one bad hire can stay on long after the employee is gone.

Avoid Loss Of A Bad Hire

#4. Set The Bar High

Take a cue from companies that have succeeded and see what they did to hire. A gruelling hiring process can be a great way to separate the diamonds from the rubble – candidates who showcase presence of mind and a steely attitude to problems!

In Amazon’s early days, since each employee played a key role, the quality of new hires was as crucial to the success of the company as its products.

During this time, Bezos was not just focused on creating an outstanding customer experience, but was also fastidious about hiring the strongest employees possible.

In endless hiring meetings, Bezos, after interviewing the candidate himself, would grill every other interviewer, occasionally constructing elaborate charts on a whiteboard detailing the job seeker’s qualifications.

One of his mottos was that every time we hired someone, he or she should raise the bar for the next hire so that the overall talent pool was always improving.

The key is to frame the pre-assessments in a way so as to aptly check for the skills required for the given job role. Even if that means that the candidate is intimidated or uncomfortable at some point, it would turn out to be for the better in the long run.

A Word Of Caution, Though…

Intimidating new hires or putting them through ‘stress interviews’ might be necessary for certain positions which demand high levels of responsibility. For some profiles, ‘reaction to pressure’ and ‘situational reasoning ability’ might be a part of the skills needed.

However, for more standard positions, trying to unnerve a candidate might potentially backfire – the ‘extreme, unexpected psychological duress’ might put them off.

In fact, disgruntled candidates may share their experience with others, and the company’s reputation might be affected.

It is ideal to consider the kind of industry your company belongs to, as well the work culture followed, before implementing such methods of interviewing candidates. Be certain that the situations created are related to on-the-job stress factors, to avoid the ethically questionable behaviour.

A growing company needs impeccable hiring standards. You might end up unnerving a few potential employees, but it will save you from mediocrity!


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