The best way to attract “strong employees,” or those that have the strengths that you want, is to be repellant.
If you want to do really good selection, or recruitment, your recruiting efforts and your selection efforts should be repulsive. They should repel people. In your online ads or during interviews, you want to ask questions that are emotional questions where you are challenging people to own the emotion.
So for example, right now most job interviews or job ads tend to be very rational and experiential and knowledge based. So we’ll say things like, “Do you have three to five years of sales experience?” or “Do you have a college degree?” Or you might ask rather generic questions about, “tell me about a challenge that you faced recently.”
However, what you REALLY want, both in job interviews and in recruitment ads, is to ask open-ended emotional questions and then you need to have those questions repel certain people and attract others. So the questions might be, “Do you LOVE facing personal rejection?” if you’re looking for a sales person. You don’t ask, “Do you like selling?” Instead you ask, “Do you LOVE personal rejection?”
Of course is 95.5% of the population going to “LOVE” it? No. They’ll say, “I don’t love that. I can deal with it. I don’t LOVE it.” So, just by asking one tough question like that one— “Can you say yes to that emotion?” you’ve just repelled 95% of the population, which is great. Because what you’re trying to do with any sort of recruitment effort is you’re trying to ask really tough questions so that you get one applicant, you hire them, and they’re perfect.
That’s the best possible sequence of a recruitment initiative. You don’t attract 50 people. Whittle it down to five for the final interview and then select your one. The perfect recruitment effort is one where you attract one person, you interview them, you hire them, and they’re perfect for the job.
But the best way to do that is, as I said, is to ask these emotional questions where you are challenging people to own the emotions. So, you say to someone,
- Do you get a kick out of never really knowing what’s going to happen next?
- Do you thrill to working in an environment where you have to work 60 hours a week?
- Or, do you love working really long hours?
So, for any job you’re looking for, you take the extreme of that job. You phrase it emotionally. And then you ask people to own the emotion. For a managerial candidate, one of the questions you might ask is, “Do you love having your entire reputation in someone else’s hands?” And if the person goes, “Well, no, I wouldn’t say I would love it. I understand how you have to as a manager. Manage through the work of other people. But, I wouldn’t really say that I LOVE. Love is a strong word to use.” Then that’s a reject.
So, how do you select a strong employee? You ask open-ended emotional questions and you go to the extreme of those emotions and then you repel 95% of the population. And the 5% you are left with are probably the people who have some of the natural talent that you need to excel in that role.
Build a solid foundation for your staff with Marcus Buckingham’s workshop in a box, “Strengths Essentials” from the Vistage Knowledge Center