Category Archives: Interviewing and Onboarding

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Quantifying the Unquantifiable: The Low Down on Soft Skills

This is a guest post from Sophie J. Parker. Sophie blogs over at Surehand, where industrial safety professionals can find their perfect job. It is her aim to help create a safer world, one inspector at a time.

There’s a piece of advice anyone who’s ever looked for work or a promotion has heard at some point.

Develop your soft skills.

Soft skills are skills that enable you to succeed in a range of environments. They include personality traits and attributes, people skills, social skills and more.

Soft skills have slowly risen from accessory ornaments at the end of a great CV to prominence. Changes in the way markets and companies operate in the digital age made non-technical skills crucial.

As fields are taken over by new ways of operating, many technical qualifications are now obsolete. Adaptability, creativity, and willingness to learn went from perks to requisites for survival in ever-evolving markets.

Now, soft skills are at the forefront of requirements for many new positions and divisions. The professional profile companies seek to fill is increasingly centered on these skills.

In a few decades, “develop your soft skills” went from generic advice to thoughtful counsel. In this article, we’ll go over the reasons these skills are in such demand.

We’ll also list the most popular soft skills for employers in 2020. Finally, we’ll discuss some of the metrics available to measure these skills in the workplace.

Soft Skills In Hard Markets

Soft vs Hard Skills: Old School Wisdom

Traditionally, soft skills were considered more as perks than prerequisites. These skills were considered inherently unmeasurable. Hard skills could be trained and measured.

To the first generations of management thinkers, hard skills seemed like a better horse to bet on. Time wound up proving them very wrong.

Hard skills may have been easier to measure, but they also proved more rigid. Specializing in hard skills made workers harder to adapt to new positions.

This would be a crucial shortcoming.

The Age of Disruption

As technological advancements have continued relentlessly, many markets were deeply disrupted. Whole industries rose out of seemingly nowhere.

Many roles and departments that are vital today didn’t exist a decade or two ago. Companies struggle to find professionals to perform at a high level in novel fields.

Both market disruptors and well-established companies see their hierarchies affected. Startups and large players have different priorities, but both require soft skills.

Different Priorities

Startups need to hire people that have the hard skills they need at the moment. At the same time, they need employees with the non-technical skills required to handle growth down the road.

Hard skills put food on the table, but it’s soft skills that keep that table getting bigger. Soft skills in your staff mean that a better workplace culture can flourish. This, in turn, leads to companies that grow sustainably, with higher rates of productivity.

Then, there are the big players. Well-established market titans that put too much stock in hard skills become sluggish.

Social and communication skills allow key staff to develop inter-departmental synergy. Understanding the human factor makes it easier for large companies to react to disruption.

Soft Skill Metrics

The key drawback to soft skills is the lack of data to measure their effectiveness in any given situation. Or so the conventional wisdom goes. That statement may have been a fact decades ago, but social sciences have come a long way since then.

Qualitative methodologies have been refined by social psychologists, sociologists, and other experts. Decades of research have developed an ample array of tools to measure non-technical skills. Their accuracy and predictive power are now settled matters in academia.

The ivory towers of academia are far removed from the gritty world of business, though. Distilled techniques in controlled settings are one thing; effective workplace metrics are another. Can these methods be used in a real-world workplace, fruitfully?

The answer is a resounding yes. Here are just a few ways to do it.

Behavioral interviewing

Behavioral interviews focus on the way candidates act in situations. Rather than current or past performance, they use hypotheticals to identify specific skills.

Soft skills-based rubrics

Rubrics are grid-based tools that feature key criteria for employee performance. They allow assessment and scoring on a number of attributes and scales. They should be customized for every role in the company.

Feedback surveys

Questionnaires and surveys can help identify issues stemming from non-technical skill scarcity. Falling levels of employee satisfaction, communication problems and leadership issues are well-captured by questionnaires.

Surveys are also crucial to measure how effective skill training is. Without feedback from colleagues, supervisors, subordinates, and clients it’s impossible to track progress.

Most Valued Soft Skills

Times are changing, especially in the corporate land. As science begins to catch up to the realities of non-technical skills, companies are wising up.

Recruiters now seek and weed out candidates based on their non-technical skills, or lack thereof. The following are the five most in-demand soft skills companies are looking for right now.

5. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the capacity to accurately identify emotions in yourself and others. It is the non-technical skill’s jack-of-all-trades. It works as a bedrock upon which all other skills can be built.

Its presence is insufficient to determine that a candidate is most desirable. Its absence is a red flag, though. Companies need people capable of maturity and empathy.

4. Adaptability

Adaptability is the capacity to change one’s behavior and assumptions in a fast and fluid way. In the age of disruption, adaptability is just what the doctor prescribed. Companies need employees who can adjust to new realities without skipping a beat.

Adaptability doesn’t fall squarely on the shoulders of employees, though. There is a lot that an organization can do (or fail to do) to foster or hinder adaptability.

3. Collaboration

Companies have staked a lot on creating competitiveness between coworkers. It’s collaboration, however, that has proven to be the superior skill.

Companies are built on collaboration. The capacity to cooperate seamlessly in different settings and groups is invaluable to success.

2. Persuasion

Long-considered a skill for the sales team, persuasion has a far wider reach. It’s a crucial element in effective leadership.

Great leaders must be capable of persuading their teams to follow them. Dissent is natural and healthy, but a persuasive leader fosters cohesion.

1. Creativity

Creativity is the most sought-after soft skill in new hires this year. There’s a reason for that. In an uncertain, disrupted marketplace, companies know they’ll need to get innovative to beat the competition.. Creative employees approach problems from new angles, finding clever solutions to vexing puzzles.

This trend is likely to grow more pronounced in the coming years. Technology is taking over most job functions requiring high-level hard skills. Creative employees will allow companies to implement these technologies in new and amazing ways.


Soft skills have reversed the tables on a decades-old narrative. Long-relegated to a minor footnote, these skills are now one of the hottest commodities.

The progress of science allows companies to measure those skills, and analyze them. For companies that have, the verdict is clear—the value of non-technical skills is a hard fact.

Companies that create a culture with soft skills at the center face considerable gains. Those that don’t may well go the way of the dodo.

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5 Keys of Effective Onboarding

Onboarding is a crucial period for organizations because it impacts how, why, and where new people work. Your onboarding process can affect the quality of work, motivation, and passion shown by an individual for years to come. Yet, many organizations invest as little into onboarding as possible.

Good onboarding will aid with productivity, employee retention, and ensuring you have a good individual-role fit, which will improve business metrics. Therefore, onboarding is almost always a good investment.

These 5 keys of effective onboarding will get you started on the right track to developing an onboarding program that drives value for your organization.

Prepare Onboarding before the Hire Arrives

Even large companies struggle with setting up processes, accounts, and access rights before an individual arrives. As a result, many new hires spend their first few days or even week waiting for IT to finish creating accounts, setting up permissions, or preparing computers. It’s important to handle all of these processes before the individual arrives.

Simply handing over a laptop, passwords, and account access will pave the way for a much smoother and faster learning experience than spending a few days waiting in frustration.

If you can’t manage a seamless transfer of assets, consider setting up the first few days so that the individual is sitting in on training, observing other teams, or otherwise handling responsibilities that don’t involve those resources.

Mentoring New Hires

Mentoring is more often becoming a standard of onboarding practices, and for good reason. Assigning a buddy or mentor to an individual means that someone is responsible for a new hire, that the new hire has access to company culture and processes, and that information not found in documentation can be translated.

It’s important that your mentors understand their responsibilities and what they should be transferring so they can be helpful and can ensure the new hire is given the information they need to succeed.

Introduce New Hires into (Several) Existing Teams

While most individuals will only ever work in a single team, it’s always a good idea to give them a broader idea of the organization. Assigning new people to a single team until they adjust to the company and their responsibilities is always a good idea. From there, you should consider several day assignments in other teams so that the individual is forced to meet the people they will be working with.

While this won’t help from a technical perspective, it will ensure the individual has the grounds and knowledge to communicate with and access the most important resources in your organization, the people.

Make Development Part of Onboarding

Ongoing development is crucial to continued growth, adaptability, and to maintaining agility. Making development part of the picture from day one will ensure that new hires are set up to continue doing so.

You can achieve this by offering courses to get individuals up to speed more quickly, by introducing tooling they might not be familiar with, and otherwise offering development to help individuals move into their new roles.

Create Touchpoints to Follow-Up

It’s important to follow up onboarding processes at set periods such as 3, 6, and 12 months to ensure that onboarding was successful, there is no skills gap, and role and culture fit remain good. If not, you can introduce more development, offer more mentoring, or consider moving an individual into a more suitable role.

Onboarding is your first real touchpoint with an employee. It will give them a basis for how to perform their role. It will tell them who they are working with. And, it will allow you to create a strategy to introduce tools, behaviors, information, and organizational knowledge to that person, so they can succeed.

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5 traits to look for when hiring a software developer

Software development is an intricate industry. On one hand, it demands a high level of professionalism from the specialists, and developers need a certain level of skills and knowledge to succeed.

On the other hand, software development has a lot to do with soft skills, including the ability to communicate and empathize with clients and companies.

Most hiring managers who work with software developers know the basic skills to look for in a candidate, usually depending on the project and tech stack. But do you know what else you should look for in a good software developer?

This article goes over the most important soft skills for any developer to have. All of them influence the quality of work and project success, and help determine whether a person will become a valuable asset for your company.

Ability to work in a team

This is one of the most crucial skills for any software developer. Any project requires a variety of talents for success: developers, QA engineers, designers, etc. For an efficient workflow, all these people need to know how to work in a team.

Some people think when you code, you just submit your piece of work and receive comments. But, every team member should be aware of what is going on in the project in order to identify any errors preempt them. Most agencies also do code review, where team members examine each other’s code. This practice contributes to better code quality and lets the developers see how they are doing.

Efficient communication

Efficient communication should apply to both internal and external communication.

Internal communication occurs with all the people from the company that are involved in the project: team members, managers, freelancers, or any other people. Here, the goal of a developer is to efficiently communicate thoughts, ideas, and suggestions, explain the actions, and deliver clear reports on the project’s status.

External communication happens with the client, and is incredibly important. A developer must know how to inform the client about any changes on the project, justify extra hours, or make a useful suggestion.

To meet these goals, a developer should know how to make people understand him by expressing himself in a clear way. Otherwise, poor communication will lead to confusion, prolonged deadlines, or even project cancellation.


Responsibility implies that a person fully understands his or her own scope of work and is ready to be responsible for the results.

Unfortunately, some people try to blame their teammates for the mistakes. However, the longer someone denies responsibility, the harder it will be to fix the issue and get back on tracks.

So a good software developer must keep that all in mind, and understand the importance of taking responsibility for the project’s outcome.

However, it is also important to consider the overall work environment. If you do not create an atmosphere of trust, employees will hesitate to admit mistakes out of fear for the consequences. So when demanding accountability, make sure that you can accept a mistake and fix it without stressing out.


Motivation is in high demand, but many HR specialists cannot explain why it’s so important.

Software development is actually a rather creative industry. Although it has languages and patterns, it’s up to the developer to use them in order to come up with a new and more efficient solution.

Now, if a developer is neutral about his or her work and does not really enjoy it, s/he will most probably go the safe way without trying anything new.

An enthusiastic developer, on the other hand, will dedicate some time and effort to come up with a creative solution that can be less costly and more efficient in terms of work.

So by hiring a developer who is self-motivated by the work, you will get a team member who does not rely on money as the only source of motivation. Instead, this person will be driven by a sense of curiosity and creativity.


Any project will have an error or a problem at some point in time – it’s simply inevitable. And it’s important for a developer to have strong problem-solving skills and high stress tolerance.

Problem-solving is not so simple as it may seem. It consists of a few well-organized steps that help to critically evaluate the situation and come up with the best possible solution.

So if a developer is not only able to produce a high-quality code but also has good problem-solving skills, s/he can become an incredibly valuable asset for the team and the company in general.

Final word

When interviewing the candidates, pay attention to how they behave and communicate. If a person is an outstanding specialist, but is arrogant and cannot work in a team, they will bring you more harm than benefit.

A well-balanced combination of tech and soft skills is what you should look for in a software developer. After all, the ultimate goal of any company is long-term success and it can be achieved only with the help of the people whom you hire.

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Recognizing Top Talent with Benchmarking and Performance Models

Recognizing your top employees allows you to improve your hiring and selection process, recognize which factors contribute to individual success, and train for those factors across your organization. However, recognizing what constitutes success can often be difficult, especially in large organizations where teams often succeed as a whole.

Identifying top performers inside your organization means establishing a system of benchmarking and performance modeling, so you can recognize what counts as success, and track who meets or exceeds those requirements.

Implement Benchmarking

Benchmarking is an easy way to establish baselines for performance. In most cases, benchmarks should be a combination of internal and external data, based on existing performance and performance standards for your industry. If you don’t have this data, you do need it. Your internal benchmark should be based on:

  • What does performance production look like in measurable output?
  • What is median performance?
  • What is minimum performance required to meet goals?
  • How does that performance compare to other similarly sized organizations in your industry?

If you can draw a line in the figurative sand to indicate where performance should be, you can measure how and when people meet those expectations.

Performance Models

Performance models take a deeper look at what people are doing, why, and how. This allows you to judge performance and talent based on more than simple production. Why? Production can be misleading as a measure of desired output. For example, if your team lead is producing a great deal, he’s probably not doing his job.

Similarly, if a communications head is turning around a lot of copy, he’s probably not doing his job. In both cases, the actual job for the individual isn’t about technical production, it’s about helping others to do their jobs.

Performance models allow you to identify other factors that contribute to organizational performance in that role, including soft skills like communication or self-motivation. This allows you to track who’s simply doing their job and who’s actively contributing to future success by exceeding it.

A good performance model requires having benchmarks or performance standards in place. Afterwards, you can communicate expectations, establish tools and training for individuals to meet those expectations, and set up processes to monitor how people meet or do not meet those standards.

Performance models include profiles of expected or quality performance, rank everyone against expected performance, and make it very easy to see who excels and how. For example, if two people are excelling in the same role for completely different reasons, you can collect that data and see how it impacts the individual and their ability to perform.

Identifying top performers allows you to look at the traits, behaviors, and qualities that allow them to succeed. You can then utilize that data in recruitment and selection processes, when training and working on development, and when promoting individuals into new roles, because you already know what success looks like in that role.

It also allows you to better identify who is a top performer in your organization, so you can reward, promote, and continue development for those individuals.

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How to hire for loyalty

With the average cost of hiring a new employee ranging anywhere from USD$4,000 to USD$7,645 and beyond, it’s no surprise that hiring for loyalty is at the top of any HR department’s agenda. But how exactly do you hire for loyalty and, once you’ve hired who you think is a loyal employee, how do you ensure that they stay?

The importance of employee loyalty

The benefits of a loyal employee extend far beyond the costs of recruiting their replacement. A loyal employee also brings:

  • Efficiency – the longer someone is in their role, the more efficient they become at tasks;
  • Progression – long-serving employees tend to build their careers within a company, bringing you home-grown talent;
  • Performance – loyal employees care about the growth of the company; and
  • Culture – loyal employees help to maintain a positive workplace culture.

How to hire for loyalty

The benefits are clear, but hiring for loyalty can be easier said than done – with even your most promising long-term staff unexpectedly handing in their notice. The problem is that many companies focus on only one aspect of recruiting for loyalty when, in fact, they should be focusing on three:

1. Attraction

First, you need to attract loyal candidates to your vacancy, encouraging them to apply. This is done by:

  • Building an employer brand through recommendations, a dedicated careers webpage, and social media – somewhere that people aspire to work;
  • Offering a competitive salary – it’s not the biggest driver of employee satisfaction, but it is a driver;
  • Offering worthwhile benefits – sure artificial grass and an inside slide are fun, but top employee perks such as flexible working, free childcare, and remote working are better long-term; and
  • Making the interview process as flexible as you can – it’s your first impression after all.

2. Selection

Once you’ve attracted candidates to apply to your position, next, you need to determine which of those candidates will be most loyal, while still fulfilling all the requirements of the role. Achieve this by:

  • Looking beyond qualifications – while skills matching important, but you also want to see qualities such as a willingness to learn, a passion for performance, and an ability to get on with people;
  • Asking candidates for the reasons behind leaving previous positions – previous job hopping isn’t necessarily a bad sign, it might be for the reason that there wasn’t a career-for-life for them there;
  • Assessing cultural fit – we all know how difficult it is to stay loyal when you really don’t fit in; and
  • Trusting employee referrals – current employees will refer family and friends because they see them fitting in, doing well, and staying.

3. Retention

Finally, once you’ve attracted and hired your employee, you then need to make them want to stay. This is done by demonstrating the company’s loyalty and trustworthiness by:

  • Keeping salaries competitive – conduct regular market reviews;
  • Delivering the benefits promised – if you said you offered free breakfast on a Friday, offer free breakfast on a Friday;
  • Use employee engagement techniques to empower employees to perform, learn, and progress – and rewarding them when they do; and
  • Ensuring that everyone has the tools to do their job and a voice to contribute to the company’s strategy.

Hiring for loyalty – key message

Ultimately, to hire for loyalty, you must demonstrate loyalty – making employees feel proud and valued, which makes potential employees want to work for you and stay with you. And, if it doesn’t work out – so be it – your next hire can be even better.

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Recruitment checklist: How to ensure seamless interviews and onboarding for all parties

Recruitment can be a loose cannon, with different hiring managers, agencies and team members involved. Sometimes your interview and onboarding process can be spot on – resulting in a long-serving and highly performing employee – and other times it can be a disaster, resulting in expensive recruitment costs with no returns. This checklist arms you with everything you need to do to structure your processes and guarantee a seamless interview and successful onboarding process for all hires.

Advantages of a structured hiring process

A structured interview and onboarding process has significant benefits for your company, the hiring manager and, most importantly, your new employee. Why?

  • It ensures consistency – meaning that everyone is treated the same;
  • It reduced errors – preventing oversights and overcoming forgetfulness;
  • It creates a positive experience – making new employees more likely to stay; and
  • It’s just easier.

Interview checklist

What can take only an hour of your time, actually involves a significant amount of work behind the scenes. A successful interview process should include the following:

Before the interview

Before getting to the interview itself, you need to do some preparation beforehand, including:

  • Arranging a date, time and location with the candidate and interview panel;
  • Booking a meeting room and refreshments;
  • Determining the specific qualities you are looking for – refreshing the job description if appropriate;
  • Reviewing the candidate’s CV and application; and
  • Preparing the interview technique and questions you are going to ask and a scorecard to record responses.

During the interview

During the interview, it’s important to stick to an interview structure that involves:

  • Welcoming the candidate and explaining the interview process;
  • Asking questions and giving enough time for the candidate to respond;
  • Asking the candidate for their questions;
  • Taking notes throughout the whole process; and
  • Explaining the next steps.

It’s important to put the candidate at ease and to ensure that the interview stays on track and within time.

After the interview

Following the interview, you should meet with the rest of the panel promptly to discuss the candidate and decide whether they are to be rejected, invited to a second-stage interview, or offered the position. It’s good practice to deliver feedback to all candidates, regardless of their success, quickly.

Onboarding checklist

Once your seamless interview process has identified the ideal candidate, you then need to onboard them. With 90% of employees deciding whether to stay with a company within the first six months, the onboarding process is extremely important, which is why we recommend the following steps:

Before the start date

Before the start date, it’s a good idea to stay in regular contact with your new hire, reducing their nerves and decreasing the amount of paperwork required on the first day. Specifically, you should:

  • Send a welcome letter, including the contract and any paperwork that needs to be completed;
  • Conduct pre-employment checks, such as references;
  • Send the employee their induction plan, along with information on where to go on the first day and who to ask for;
  • Arrange for all tools, equipment, logins, and permissions to be ordered and granted; and
  • Set up a productive workspace.

The start date

Nerves will be high for everyone on day one, making a structured approach welcome by all. On the first day ensure that:

  • Someone is there to greet the employee and show them around the offices, introducing them to everyone;
  • A mentor or buddy is assigned to the employee, who the employee can approach with any questions during their first few months and who can take them to lunch on their first day;
  • An announcement is sent to all other employees, and any organizational charts are updated; and
  • All required health and safety training is completed.

The first few months

The first day doesn’t signal the end of your onboarding process. During the first few months, it’s fundamental to:

  • Have a structured induction plan that eases the new employee into their role and responsibilities, introduces them to other departments, includes the necessary training, and gives them an overview of how the whole company works; and
  • Schedule regular catch-up sessions to see how they’re getting on and to get feedback on your induction process.

Final thoughts

Attending an interview is nerve-wracking and starting a new job is even worse. Make it easier for your new starters, hiring managers and yourself by following these simple but effective checklists.

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What Makes a Top Employee? Utilizing Profiling and Performance for Hiring and Training

Whether you’re in a recruitment phase, working to develop internal employees, or attempting to upskill key elements of your workforce, it’s crucial to be able to identify individuals who can benefit from and excel in roles and during development. Job and success profiling, performance management, and employee assessment are key ways to do so, because you can use this data when hiring, when choosing candidates for succession, and when choosing candidates for internal development. Most importantly, identifying what makes a top employee will allow you to invest into employee development in directions that directly benefit your organization.

Job and success profiling, performance management, and employee assessment are key ways to do so, because you can use this data when hiring, when choosing candidates for succession, and when choosing candidates for internal development. Most importantly, identifying what makes a top employee will allow you to invest into employee development in directions that directly benefit your organization.

Success Profiles

Success profiles create a holistic overview of what success looks like in a role. Unlike competency frameworks or modeling, they look at the complete overview of an individual’s history, knowledge, competencies, and personal disposition. This is extremely useful when determining what sort of person you’re looking for in a role, because it tells you the ideal complete profile for your candidate. You can think of success profiles as something of a complete overview of everything that goes into making a top employee, which means that having a good one hinges on having a quality competency framework, assessment, and validation in place.

Competency Framework

Your competency framework defines the behaviors and ideals or other soft skills that add value to a role, to the organization, and to your future goals. This allows you to prioritize behaviors for the organization at a broad level, and then adjust and focus specific behavior and soft skill requirements for individual roles. For example, your competency framework allows you to define which behaviors allow an individual to succeed in your organization as a whole which will allow them to move across roles and up through leadership. You can use this to hire individuals who can succeed in their role now, as well as in any role their position takes them to as part of your organization.  

Integrating Assessment

Assessment should be part of both long-term performance management and part of short-term recruitment. You should know how individuals are performing and why as a long-term thing. For example, if a few individuals consistently stand out in performance management, you want to know why. Integrating role assessment and performance assessment at a level that it can track success to specific factors such as an individual’s hard or soft skills, their emotional intelligence, or their dedication to continued growth will allow you to look for those traits in others.

Validate Results

No matter where you get your data, it’s important to validate it against both existing, current, and future results. For example, if you collect data showing that individuals who are very emotionally intelligent and extroverted are better able to excel in a specific role, you would want to validate that before basing all your hiring decisions on those factors. You’d want to ensure that the success of those individuals wasn’t based on other factors, that those are the only factors contributing to high performance in those roles so that you don’t rule out other very good candidates, and that your data is actually correct. While validation helps you to confirm your results, it can also help you to improve the quality of results by finding elements and considerations you hadn’t noticed before.

Identifying top employees is a process of identifying what performance you’re looking for, what contributes to that performance, and how those behaviors work and operate in a role and when individuals move between roles. This process allows you to see which individuals are likely to succeed, where they are likely to succeed, and why, so that you can make critical decisions regarding employee recruitment, development, and promotion.

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Should you do a social media check before an interview?

Social media showcases someone’s interests, hobbies, and even personality. By looking at a person’s Instagram profile, you can spot their favorite places, ways of spending time, and even learn about their views on modern trends and culture.

However, you cannot predict whether a person will be a perfect fit for your team or not just by looking at their social media page. People behave differently at home and at work – and that’s the primary argument why many employees are against the idea of checking social media before the interview.

Employers, however, have the opposite opinion. Many of them believe that social media check helps learn about the candidate and it may even serve as a decisive factor upon hiring.

So should you really do it, and if yes, what exactly should you be looking for?

Skills vs personality

Before starting to search for your candidate on social media, give an honest answer to a very important question:

Why do you want to look up this candidate?

In some companies, there is a certain culture or rules of conduct that have to do with the personality of the employees. For example, if you work in a financial company, you’d expect the employees to stick with the casual business style in clothing and refrain from visible tattoos or bright green hair. So obviously, if you see that your candidate is a tattooed party animal, you might worry that such an employee would stir the pot and distract others from work.

Another situation is when a manager takes views and opinions of the employees way too seriously and puts them on par with the skills. In this case, the HR specialists can also check a candidate’s social media profile to make sure the person fits in terms of both skills and desired personality.

However, if you know that skills are the primary thing that matters, social media would not help you much. After all, a person can be an excellent specialist in their field and a totally different person outside the workplace.

So think what matters most: skills or personality. This will make your decision less biased.

Red flags to look for

Social media check should not be the primary factor upon deciding whether to hire a person or not. However, a social media profile may have some red flags that you should pay attention to.

Radical content

All people are different and all have a different opinion about things. This is perfectly fine.

However, if you see a radical content on one’s social media, like an emotional anti-equality post, or an open combative argument online, that should be a huge warning sign.

People have a full right to agree or disagree with things. But an aggressive imposing of opinion may lead to conflict in the future. If the person cannot handle him or herself on social media, there is no guarantee s/he can be professional at work.

Communication style

The way a person communicates with the followers may say a lot about the candidate.

If a person is rude, arrogant, passive-aggressive, or never agree with the opinions of other people, this should concern you. Most people tend to keep the same conversational style both at work and at home.

If you see that a person cannot efficiently communicate, think twice about inviting him or her for an interview – most probably, s/he cannot work as a team player and could introduce constant arguing and temper tantrums.

Too “personal” content

Unless the person is a blogger, it’s not recommended to expose too much of a personal content online. By personal content, we mean posts that contain drunk photos, exposure, etc.

But in this case, watch for the context. If someone had a photoshoot and wants to share the photos, it’s one thing. But if someone’s feed consists of mostly inappropriate photos, this could be a warning sign – especially because your team is so often a reflection of your firm.

Things to look for on social media

Now that we are clear on the big warning signs, let’s look at what can actually help you determine whether the candidate is the right fit for your company.

Content that supports expertise

While scrolling the feed, you may see the photos from conferences, re-posts from industry leaders, links to the online courses, etc.

Such posts support the expertise of a person and show that they are willing to network and grow their skills. But if there are no such posts, that’s OK too. After all, many people prefer not to mix work and personal life.

Content that showcases creativity

Creativity is awesome because it helps employees make unusual decisions and find unique solutions.

So if the posts on social media show a creative mindset, invite a person for an interview! Creativity in personal life can greatly help at work and would become a great asset for an employee. In addition, creative people tend to be independent thinkers who may as well become good leaders.

Content that tells about personality

Let’s be honest – you want to know a bit about the person before inviting them for an interview.

Social media can indeed be a great source of information about the person in terms of habits, interests, hobbies.

By studying one’s social media profile, you can analyze whether the person is introverted or extroverted, loves to lead, or is a good team player. All this information will help you assign proper tasks and make sure that the candidate will be able to play to their strong suit.

Summing up

It’s totally fine to check the candidate’s social media profiles before the interview – after all, it will give you a basic idea about what kind of person the candidate is.

However, do not let social media dictate your hiring decision. Unless their social media is a huge turn-off from the start, invite a person for an interview and see how they behave. It may turn out that you will be pleasantly surprised!

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How 3 Companies Use Psychometric Testing for Hiring

Psychometric testing is increasingly popular for organizations of all sizes, but it’s been an important part of recruitment and hiring for some time now. In fact, 75% of Times Top 100 companies use psychometric testing during recruitment. Psychometric testing is used to help recruiters make informed decisions about candidates,

What is Psychometric Testing

Psychometric testing measures ability according to a range of aptitudes to determine candidate-fit for a job or role. Tests typically include a range of options including personality questionnaires, aptitude tests, ability tests, tests designed to check situational judgement, numerical reasoning, critical thinking, verbal reasoning, inductive reasoning, and diagrammatic reasoning. Putting candidates through this spectrum of tests gives you a good idea of what candidates can and cannot do based on each of these factors and allows you to construct a profile of strengths and weaknesses to supplement your decision-making.

Importantly, psychometric testing also gives you the opportunity to weed out recruits who don’t fit, while highlighting individuals who have something extra to offer in terms of behavior, reasoning, or others factors you are looking for.

Common psychometric tests include:

  • Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator
  • Occupational Personality Questionnaire
  • SHL Managerial and Graduate Item Bang

Each of these can be used in different ways to indicate an individual’s personality, strengths, and weaknesses.


Microsoft revamped their interview process in December of 2018 to reduce on-the-spot and pressure-related questions, instead switching to a more relaxed interview process based on psychometric testing and preparation. Microsoft candidates start out with competency test checking their knowledge of skills, their behavior, and knowledge of Microsoft. If they pass, they take a psychometric test (SHL) which includes a 25-minute exam testing inductive reasoning. These tests allow Microsoft to hire individuals who add something to the organization, fit into or add to existing teams, and who show expected levels of inductive reasoning and behaviors.

Microsoft Corporate Vice President John Montgomery claims that this shift has improved their recruitment process, improved candidate selection, and improved candidate satisfaction.

JP Morgan Chase

JP Morgan Chase combines behavioral and personality testing get to know candidates before hiring, with a selection of aptitude tests and a 300-word essay. Individuals complete a series of interviews including aptitude tests either by phone or in person. Once passed, candidates take a 3-part SHL exam with numerical, verbal, and technical elements. Candidates going into specific fields such as coding must take skills-based tests as well, which are typically performed in-office, where the candidate can get to know their potential team or performed at home.

These tests enable JP Morgan Chase to make better hiring decisions based on both the skills and the psychometric performance and reasoning potential of the individual.

Hewlett Packard

HP conducts 3 rounds of interviewing including psychometric testing to hire individuals who best fit into the organization as a whole and into individual roles. The selection process begins with a written exam, which includes psychometric testing and assessment checking for quantitative ability, written language skill, and technical capability. Individuals who pass move on to a technical interview, consisting of role-related skills. Final candidates go into more psychometric testing, checking behavior and personality based on role requirements and corporate competency requirements.

Psychometric testing can be a valuable way to supplement hiring, allowing you to better decide between candidates, to highlight individuals with more potential, and to check when someone doesn’t meet preferences for psychometric ability.

However, you shouldn’t rely on it as a sole factor in hiring, as behavior, personality, and performance factors tested by psychometric testing are only part of the picture. Most major organizations use psychometric testing to inform hiring decisions, to get to know candidates better, and to add detail to skill and competency tests.

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How to Use Top Employees in New Employee Selection

Employee selection is one of the most researched elements of the recruitment process. Once you have resumes submitted, conduct interviews, and have qualified candidates, how do you select the best for the role? How do you validate that selection? Employee profiles are one way you can use examples already within your organization – your top employees – to do so.

Using top employees as part of employee selection should involve a multi-step process including recognizing and validating top performers, mapping existing performance to future growth and strategy, and then transferring that information into an employee selection process with skills, behavior, and other assessments to determine how well candidates compare to existing employees.

Assessing Top Performers

Assessing performance inside your organization means reviewing actual employee performance and then determining which factors contribute to that success. In most cases, you can use a combination of existing performance management and individual assessment to collect this data.

  • Who are your top performers? Have you validated that?
  • Why are they top performing?
  • Which behavioral traits / soft skills contribute to their performance?
  • Which hard skills contribute to performance?
  • Which emotional aspects contribute?

In most cases, an employee assessment should include interviewing or questioning the individual, the people around them and around the role, and their leaders. You can then combine this data with existing role-profiles, based on what individuals in and around the role list as needed skills and behaviors for the role.

Mapping Future Growth and Needs

Your organization is likely changing, and if you’re like most, very quickly. This will impact your future needs and growth, which will often impact your roles and needs requirements. Here, it’s important to review top employee assessments and validate them against future organizational changes.

For example, if you’re hiring for a role that is about to change, how well will existing performance hold up? If individuals are able to succeed because of factors that will change in the near future (Think 1-2 years), they might not be able to succeed in the near future.

You also want to consider prioritization. If you know that factors such as adaptability and strong external communication are crucial to a role you could prioritize those factors over more learnable skills such as the ability to use a specific tool. This means that you can use top employees to prioritize difficult-to-learn skills over hard skills, because you know how much they contribute to the role.

Integrating Employee Profiles into Candidate Assessment

Once you’re aware of what success looks like in a role, you can take steps to hire for it. However, you also have to create processes that are capable of recognizing behaviors and skills in candidates. Assessment companies use tactics ranging from competency assessment to structured interviews to culture-fit and emotional intelligence testing to look for traits and behaviors.

If you are using these tactics, it’s always a good idea to have top employees take these same tests and/or interviews, which you can use to directly compare results, validate assessment, and track results to real-world people.

Using top employees in the employee selection process can help you to narrow down candidates, make better hires, and hire for long-term success using validated data. However, it’s important to keep in mind that change rather than more of the same can be valuable as well.

If you’re hiring for top performance, make sure you or your assessment organization is validating results with culture, future growth, and change in mind.

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