Click Here for the June 2012 Issue
If you’ve ever regreted a hiring decision, you know: hiring the wrong person can be costly – in time, morale, and productivity.
While no fool-proof method of making the right decision exists, there are techniques that can greatly improve your chances of hiring the best fit. In addition, the Perelman SOM has new tools to make screening and interviewing easier for those doing the hiring.
Screening Techniques and Tools
The techniques to help you screen for the best candidates are to:
- Write Effective Job Criteria
- Design Interview Questions
- Design Evaluation Tools
Screening Step 1: Write Effective Job Criteria
In order to hit a target, you need to have a target. That’s the purpose of the job criteria: to clarify what (or rather, who) you’re looking for.
Review the Job Description
Use this as an opportunity to take a good look at the job for any changes you may wish to make. Often a job will evolve with the person who works in it until the job description no longer truly describes the job that is being done. Ask yourself:
- Did the last person in the job do any tasks not mentioned in the job description?
- Are there tasks mentioned in the job description that the last person in the job didn’t do?
- Have the job qualifications, tasks and responsibilities changed?
- How does this position fit into the department’s long-term strategy?
- Should the position be divided, eliminated or substantially changed?
List Key Competencies the Hire Should Have
Competencies are skills, abilities, behaviors, characteristics, attitudes or qualifications that cause and predict superior performance.
If you are hiring for one of the most common jobs at the Perelman SOM, identifying good competencies is easy due to new job criteria lists created by Office of Organization Effectiveness in conjunction with Penn’s Office of Human Resources.
Common jobs with pre-identified competencies include:
- Clinical Research Assistant A/B
- Clinical Research Coordinator A – Clinical Research Nurse B
- Clinical Research Coordinator B/C – Clinical Research Nurse C/D
- Clinical Research Coordinator Supervisor – Clinical Research Nurse Supervisor – Project Manager
- Faculty Coordinator (Primary Role)
- Faculty Coordinator (Multiple Roles)
- Grants Coordinator
- Grants Manager
- Research Specialist A/B
- Resource Technologist A/B/C
The Office of Organization Effectiveness can help you identify the job-specific competencies that are most directly associated with effective performance.
Look at the job description and make a list of key competencies that the hire should have.
For other positions, Organization Effectiveness will meet with you and provide the tools and process necessary to help you identify the critical competencies for the specific job you are filling.
Be specific about the level of competency you want. If you want someone who knows MS Access:
- How strong an expertise do you need them to have?
- Do you only need them to know how to enter data and run canned reports?
- Do you need them to know how to create reports?
- Do you need them to know how to create a database?
STEP 2: Design Interview Questions
Question Creation Tools
You can take much of the work out of designing questions by using tools that automatically create questions for you according to the competencies you have chosen:
Interview Architect® – Organization Effectiveness can help you select questions and design an effective interview process utilizing Interview Architect®, an online interview design tool. View a sample interview plan created with Interview Architect ®.
Design Behavioral Questions
If you choose to create questions yourself, be sure to design Behavioral Interview questions. These focus on a person’s actual past behavior instead of on hypothetical future behavior.
“How would you handle a difficult co-worker?”
“Can you tell me about a time when you had a difficult co-worker? What did you do? What was the result?”
The reason for this is that what people say they would do hypothetically isn’t always what they would really do. Remember:
The best predictor of FUTURE PERFORMANCE
is PAST PERFORMANCE.
Design Open Questions
“Open” questions invite a detailed response, while “closed” questions only invite a yes/no response.
“Do you have any experience in animal research?”
“Tell me about a specific project you worked on involving animals.”
Design Follow-Up Questions
Even though you may ask detailed questions, you may not get detailed responses. To make sure you do, design follow-up questions to flesh out the SAR (Situation, Action, Result):
Situation – What was the Situation? What happened?
Action – What Action did you take?
Result – What was the Result?
Design Questions That Flesh-Out the Resume
Look at the candidate’s resume for potential questions on issues such as:
- Gaps in employment
- Career changes
- Over qualification
Design Legal Questions
“The University of Pennsylvania does not discriminate on the basis of
race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam Era Veteran or disabled veteran.”
-University of Pennsylvania Nondiscrimination Statement
The basic guideline to remember is that it is illegal to base a hiring decision on anything other than “Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications.” So stick with questions that focus solely on the competencies you’ve decided that the position needs.
If you need someone who can speak Spanish:
“Is Spanish your native language?” OR “Are you Hispanic?”
“Do you speak Spanish fluently?”
If you need someone who can lift 50 lbs. and notice that the job candidate is walking with a cane:
“Is your injury permanent?” OR “Will your injury prevent you from lifting?”
“The job requires that you be able to lift 50 lbs. Is there any reason why you could not do so?”
Examples of unlawful vs. lawful questions.
STEP 3: Design Evaluation Tools
Design a Candidate Evaluation Form
A Candidate Evaluation Form will help you do a qualitative and quantitative analysis of each candidate.
Click below to view a sample Candidate Evaluation Form. Use this as a template to customize to your particular position:
Candidate Evaluation Form – pdf version
Candidate Evaluation Form – MS Word version
During the interview take detailed notes. Immediately afterwards, use these notes as the basis for filling out a Candidate Evaluation Form. Don’t put it off; it’s very easy for candidates to start mixing together in our memory.
Design a Criteria Matrix
Use a Criteria Matrix to compare potential candidates. Click below to get a sample completed matrix along with a blank matrix for you to use:
Criteria Matrix – pdf version
Criteria Matrix – MS Word version
Immediately after every interview, along with filling out the Candidate Evaluation Form, take the time to numerically rate the candidates on the Criteria Matrix. Again, don’t put it off; it’s very easy for candidates to start mixing together in our memory.
Also in the June 2012 issue
2012 Supervisory Skills & LeadingSuccess Graduations