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3 ways interviewing is like dating…

A few years into my consulting business, I had a client say to me… “Nancy, every time you tell me how a candidate is going to act on the job, within a week or two I see the EXACT behaviors you described. I swear, it’s like you have a crystal ball.” And The DISC Wizard was born! Nowadays, more than 50% of my business is helping clients with hiring and selection decisions. That’s because most companies recognize the enormous cost of making poor hiring decisions. And while many experts talk about the high cost of “turnover,” I don’t think that even compares to the higher (and more insidious) cost of what I call “stay-over.” And it all starts with hiring! For some of you, it’s been a long time since your last interview and even longer since your last first date but you will be amazed at how similar those two experiences really are! Here are three ways interviewing is like dating: 1. Most employers go into a first interview hoping it will be a match. Call it optimism – or the triumph of hope over experience – but we do tend to give people the benefit of the doubt in these situations. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But let’s face it. We all want the next one to be “THE” one. Most people dislike interviewing and plan on only doing it until they fill the position. So some of us have the tendency to see what we want to see and possibly ignore the warning signs. When a candidate (hmmm, notice the similarity?) looks good on paper, compliments us, and says a few things we want to hear, we sometimes stop scrutinizing and trust our first impression. Big mistake! Most people can present themselves well in the short timeframe of an hour. But how are they after a few hours, under pressure, or answering tough not typical questions? 2. Desperation is always obvious and always a repellant. I don’t care how badly someone needs a job, you should never, ever see them sweat (metaphorically speaking). Have you ever wondered why single women are attracted to married men (and vice versa)? It’s not because they have some crazy desire to break up a marriage and steal someone’s man. It’s because happily married people are content. They have confidence. They aren’t looking and that right there makes them attractive. It’s the same logic as to why companies are more interested in applicants who are still working. If a candidate is currently employed, the company takes that as a sign that somebody wants them! And maybe you should, too. 3. Badmouthing former employers is always a no-no…even if it’s true! No matter how funny we think our stories about our exes are or how true they may be, no potential employer wants to hear it. We can’t help but think, “If her last boss was really a psycho, how come she stayed there for five years?” And “Will I be the next one she’s complaining about?” When a candidate does share some less than positive aspects of their former employer, look for them to tell you what they learned about themselves in the process. You don’t want them to play the victim but to take some responsibility for the situation even if it’s just, “It was my choice to stay when I knew it wasn’t going anywhere.” ~The DISC Wizard P.S. Are you new to The DISC Wizard?  If so, and you have a candidate you’d be interested in assessing prior to hire, contact us and we will give you access to one complimentary pre-employment assessment.  Hiring doesn’t have to be a...

[Tips] #1 Way to Foster Employee Engagement

[Tips]  #1 Way to Foster Employee Engagement Many of the companies that are traditional cultures have their nose to the grindstone so to speak (make money, cut costs, etc.) and are missing a bigger, compelling vision with which to engage their workforce. They say they want engaged employees but it is more of a “nice-to-have” than a must-have. Unfortunately, many employees end up thinking “why should I work harder…so I can line your pockets with more cash?” It’s sad but true. In the book “The Work of Leaders” by Wiley, there is a reminder that each employee has their own vision for themselves, their life and their future. For an organization to really be “engaged,” each employee’s personal vision has to fit in their team or department’s vision, that vision has to fit in their division’s vision and that vision has to fit within the organization’s vision…sort of like Russian nesting dolls. If your people can’t find their fit within the organization’s vision, you can forget about expecting them to be engaged. What can you do to help your employees find their...

Are your employees giving their all?

It was in the fall when two consultants rolled up to a plywood mill in Oregon. As they exited the rental car, they approached the entrance of the mill and promptly walked into an ambulance that was parked out front. Minutes later, they met with the plant manager and asked him about the ambulance. “It’s here to pick up an injured employee,” he explained. “One of our front-line supervisors got into an argument with him and beat him up.” How ironic that these consultants were at the mill to measure the effectiveness of an ongoing leadership training program. Later that day while interviewing groups of hourly employees, they asked what had happened earlier. “What happens when you don’t get along with your supervisor?” In unison, they immediately blurted, “The hog!” THE LAW OF THE HOG* In the corner of the mill sat a shack where scraps were ground into sawdust by a monstrous machine. This was the hog. You can imagine the shock to these poor consultants when employees mentioned the hog as their cure to poor supervision. “We don’t throw the boss into the hog,” someone went onto explain. “We throw good plywood into the hog. That way, we kill his productivity numbers and get him in trouble.” Revenge, sabotage, payback – that was the name of the game. If a boss did something that employees didn’t like, they got even by “feeding the hog.” Of course, not all employees are this direct in their revenge (thank goodness!). In fact, the most common form of “feeding the hog” is when employees react passively to bad treatment – they just don’t give their all. This is what is referred to as “Discretionary Effort” by the authors of Contented Cows Give Better Milk. The point is that today people make far more personal choices about how to spend their time at work than at any other time in history. By its definition, you can’t pay for Discretionary Effort; you can’t beat, cajole, or entice it out of anyone. It’s what employees do willingly because they want to. So a couple of questions naturally arise here. How prevalent is this Law of the Hog? How can supervisors and managers ensure they are getting “Discretionary Effort” from their employees? EFFORT VS. ENGAGEMENT The Gallup Management Journal’s semi-annual Employee Engagement Index puts the current percentage of truly “engaged” employees at 33%. Almost half, 49%, falls into the “not engaged” category, while 18% of employees are “actively disengaged.“ √ Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward. √ Not-engaged employees are essentially “checked out.” They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting time – but not energy or passion – into their work. √ Actively disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine and sabotage what their engaged coworkers accomplish. With a potential 67% of the workforce not engaged, is it any wonder that getting strategic objectives accomplished is like pushing a string, uphill, in the winter?! So if you find yourself wondering about these percentages and if your organization follows this trend, what can you do? First, you can look into doing a formal employee engagement survey. There are many options available. Second, for a more informal analysis, complete the quiz I posted last week – 12 Questions to Determine If You Are Engaged At Work. First answer the questions for yourself. Then ask the people who work with you and for you to complete it. Third, check out The #1 Way to Foster Employee Engagement coming next! ~The DISC Wizard *The...

Self-Assessment] 12 Questions to Determine If You Are Engaged At Work…

There are 12 simple questions about day-to-day realities that determine whether people are engaged, not engaged, or actively disengaged at work. Answer them for yourself first. The point of this assessment isn’t to pick the “right” answer but the one that is most true for you. That you know the right answer is of very little value. After all, as Stephen R. Covey so aptly put it, “To know and not to do is really not to know.” For each of the following questions, answer Yes or No regarding your current view of work. Don’t think too long about a question; go with your first reaction. Scoring is at the end. 1) Do I know what is expected of me at work? 2) Do I have the materials and equipment that I need in order to do my work right? 3) At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day? 4) In the past seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work? 5) Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person? 6) Is there someone at work who encourages my development? 7) At work, do my opinions seem to count? 8) Does the mission or purpose of my company make me feel that my job is important? 9) Are my coworkers committed to doing quality work? 10) Do I have a best friend at work? 11) In the past six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress? 12) This past year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow? SCORING: Give yourself 1 point for every Yes. Scores: 0 to 6 = poor to fair level of engagement 7 to 9 = fair to good level of engagement 10 to 12 = good to great level of engagement. Now, if you are responsible for building a team, your second task is to help every person on your team generate positive answers to these same questions. Because the truth is, it doesn’t matter how many people are on the payroll. It matters how many engaged people vs. disengaged people you have on staff. The wrong ratio is a liability that can bring down even the most promising organization. ~The DISC Wizard   P.S. This assessment is based on The Gallup Q12 Index. Gallup’s employee engagement work is based on more than 30 years of in-depth behavioral economic research involving more than 17 million employees. Through rigorous research, Gallup has identified 12 core elements — the Q12 — that link powerfully to key business outcomes. These 12 statements emerged as those that best predict employee and workgroup performance....

[DISC Wizard Q&A] When a good performer behaves badly

[DISC Wizard Q&A]  When a good performer behaves badly Dear DISC Wizard, I have a dilemma that I am hoping you can help me with. I have a longtime employee who has always been negative but lately, his behavior is becoming more and more so. He complains and criticizes about the managers of the company – usually within earshot of others. The problem is, he is one of my best performers. I can always count on him when I need something. What do I do? ~ Aberdeen H.   Dear Aberdeen, If I had a dollar for every time I have heard of this scenario, I’d be writing to you from Fiji. Seriously though, this has got to be one of the most difficult challenges a manager faces – when someone is, seemingly, performing their job but their behavior is negative at best, toxic at worst. Since I can’t properly diagnose exactly what is going on without being there, let me ask you a few questions to get you headed in the right direction. 1) Has this employee violated any company values? If you have values around integrity, positivity, and fairness and you have an employee violating those values, that’s a no-brainer. 2) Have you had a direct conversation with this employee to tell him his behavior is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated any longer? You’d be surprised how many managers are reluctant to set that boundary but then after they do, the behavior improves. 3) Have you told him that his attitude is considered a part of his performance (as it contributes to or hinders productivity and morale) and he will be rated on that, as well, during any performance reviews? You mention that this behavior seems to have gotten worse. That suggests to me someone pushing the boundaries to see where the edge is. I’d suggest you show that edge to him soon! If you have a question you’d like answered by The DISC Wizard, simply click here to submit your question. ~The DISC...

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