Brad Hoffman

Brad Hoffman | Emergenetics International VP of Projects

Sitting across the conference table from a prospective new hire, I know that this gentleman is on his very best behavior. He’s well-groomed, well-dressed and well-spoken. He has excellent answers to all of my interview questions.

But how do I really know that the person I’m sitting across from is the person who’s going to show up to work on day 1?

And more importantly, how do I know who will show up on day 100? And day 1000?

It’s what makes hiring incredibly difficult – candidates will always “fake good,” even though that may not be a true representation of who they really are. It’s in the candidate’s best interest – he needs a job and I have a job to fill. Some are better at boosting their hiring appeal than others, but in the end it’s up to the interviewer to sift through the glint and gleam to get at who any candidate really is.

In an independent hiring review done by the Risk Advisory Group of over 2900 resumes, 64% of candidates were found to have lied.

And there’s an entire industry built on helping people beat the hiring system. Try this…search “resume” on Amazon.com…my search turned up titles like “Resume Magic: Trade Secrets of a Professional Resume Writer”, “Guerilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0”, and “Knock ‘em Dead Resumes.”

Searching “interview” offers hundreds more: “Acing the Interview,” “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions,” and “Winning Job Interviews.”

Candidates are trained to fake good. They are trained for the interview, but unfortunately, that has very little correlation to job success.

According to a review by The Tax Advisor, traditional interviews have a “right hire success” rate of just 14%! Behavioral interviewing bumps the rate to 55% – which is pretty much flipping a coin. Not very encouraging!

Even worse, “right hire success” is merely defined as a productive employee for more than 90 days. Again…that’s not setting the bar very high.

So how do we overcome this uphill battle? By doing our homework. An effective interview begins long before the candidate is in the room.

STEP 1: You need to properly define the position for which you are hiring. Job descriptions are often poorly written and out-of-date.

  • Talk to current job holders, managers, and supervisors. This will allow you to understand what the day-to-day consists of, what’s expected from the employee, and how the position may change over the next several years.

STEP 2: Use the tools at your disposal, in the same way candidates use Interview 101 tools. Validated hiring assessments (that look at innate motivations as well as basic knowledge, skills and aptitudes) can provide a valuable layer of information that can serve as a road map to the interview.

  • In the interview, dig for examples of what the candidate did that would correlate to success (or failure) in your position.
  • Look for convergence of answers – consistency is key.

The bottom line is that almost all candidates will look great on the surface. In turn, you must know precisely what you are looking for, use available tools to get an understanding of the candidate beyond the veneer and see what they are really made of.