Screening for Relationship Attitudes and Skills?
post # 462 — November 8, 2007 — a Client Relations post
Yesterdayâ€™s post was about whether relationship skills must be â€œfoundâ€ by firms in their hiring process or whether they can be developed.
As I reported, about one-third of a conference of leading management consulting firms felt that these values, attitudes and/or skills are mostly â€œhired inâ€ rather than developed once people have reached the age and stage of being hired by consulting firms.
Which raises these questions:
- How can firms screen for and identify relationship values, attitudes and skills?
- How, in fact, do they screen for them?
- Do formal testing approaches work?
- What about â€œbehavioral interviewingâ€ (Iâ€™m still not sure what that is!)
- Do you have to rely on the â€œtake them out for a beerâ€ test?
Peter Gwizdalla said:
I read all these posts but don’t contribute much usually, but given I’m an “organisational psychologist” by profession and have been helping companies hire the right people for a couple of decades, maybe my opinions will be of some value to you.
1 The best evidence available is clear on this – the most valid and cost-effective “screens” for selection processes are combinations of either general mental ability testing and “structured” interviewing, or general mental ability and “temperament” or personality assessment. “Structured” interviews are based on carefully thought out job criteria and usually involve “behavioural” interviewing where you get candidates to tell you stories about how they have done things in the past (eg, “tell me about the most difficult person you ever had to work with?)
2 Most organisations that are serious about selecting the right people use a combination of general mental ability testing, temperament assessment and behavioral interviewing. Some go as far as designing and using slightly more valid (but much more expensive) processes like assessment centres, that involve the above tools and also include things like role plays and group discussion or problemsolving activities
3 Formal testing processes absolutely work, but it’s the usual story – there’s a lot of average stuff out there and you pretty much always get what you pay for.
4 re “behavioral” interviewing, I think I addresses that above
5 I like the take out for a beer test, as long as you don’t rely on it as the sole decisionmaking data input. Almost anyone can act like they really care about other people and are interested in them for a couple of hours..although I’m often surprised how supposedly “smart” people like lawyers and accountants, when put into a group discussion process for selection or development purposes, then proceed to argue with each other, cut others off and generally behave as if it’s some kind of competition…..I thought it would be pretty obvious theprocess is about how you get along with others, but still…..
posted on November 8, 2007