Is Your Hiring Process a Game of Two Truths and a Lie?

Your hiring process should uncover the truth about the people you hire. Two Truths and a Lie is a popular icebreaker and party game and can be a lot of fun. The problem is that we play this game with our candidates without realizing it. How much do you really know about your candidates? Candidates have been known to stretch the truth, exaggerate a bit, or even outright lie on their resumes and in interviews. Shocking, right?

April Fools’ Day is Saturday and there will be plenty of pranks and shenanigans going on. We are on high alert for this one day each year. However, each day of the year holds the potential for being fooled, and we often ignore the signs. Can you detect a fib? Identify a falsehood? Spot a straight-up lie? See where someone bends the truth a bit?

You find the perfect candidate with the right education, work experience, and salary. Eureka! Life is good. Except it’s not.

Maybe this happened to you. You missed or ignored red flags during the interview process and again in the candidate’s references. Your perfect candidate stretched the truth a bit and you missed the clues in his answers to your questions. The candidate’s references gave subtle clues that he was a bad fit for your company. Unfortunately, you were so focused on filling the position quickly that you failed to see or hear anything that would change your mind. You overlooked the impact of the candidate’s personality, mindset, and behaviors on his ability to succeed. After all, this candidate’s resume proved he was the perfect fit.

Candidates have a goal—to persuade you to hire them. A candidate’s goal is to tell you what they think you want to hear so you will hire them. They are trying their best to avoid alienating you or causing you to pass them over in favor of someone else.

You want to know who a candidate really is and how they will perform on the job. This requires strategic thinking about the information you need to make an informed decision. The most powerful recruiting tool I know is getting answers from candidates that reveal the truth about how they will perform on the job. That’s the purpose of your interview questions.

These tips will keep you from being fooled.

Know what you want to learn about the candidate.

Asking a question because you found it on a list of great questions to ask candidates fails to give you the information that you need to make a good hiring decision. Your questions need to have a purpose, and that purpose is to discover how the candidate will perform on the job. Take some time to define what you want and what you don’t want. This means a consistent understanding of the definitions of the skills, knowledge, and behaviors of both successful and unsuccessful candidates. When you understand the difference between success and failure, it will be easier for you to identify whether your potential candidates are right for your business.

Pay attention to nonverbal clues.

Watch facial expressions, tone of voice, word choice, and body language to make sure it matches the words. An answer to a question is more than the words spoken. Communication has many aspects and you want to factor in each of them. People generally see what they look for and hear what they listen for. When you interview people for your business, look and listen for what you want and don’t want, as well as for your own biases. Most of us have unconscious biases formed as we grow up. We learn them from parents, teachers, community leaders, and friends. We collect these experiences as we go through life and form opinions based on our individual experiences. Making good people decisions is hard work and it takes time, self-awareness, and clarity to get it right.

Look beyond the words.

Words mean different things to different people. Use follow-up questions to make sure you understand what your candidate means. Assuming the candidate shares your definition can be a mistake. When you interview, be alert and watch for small clues that give you greater insights into your candidates. For example, a client wanted employees who could keep up with their fast-paced work environment and was constantly disappointed when people they hired were unable to keep pace. I asked my client whether their candidates kept pace with them as they went from the lobby to the conference room or office where the interview would be conducted. Light bulbs went on. The candidates who failed often lagged behind as they moved from the reception area to the interview room.

If you or someone you know needs help finding the amid the lies, call me, send an email, or text MOMENTUM to 480-418-1411 to get more in-depth, step-by-step help for hiring the right people. And, the best part is that it’s FREE!