SELECT PERSPECTIVES BLOG

Adam Hilliard

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What Characteristics Make Someone an Ideal Candidate for Any Job?

Posted by  Adam Hilliard

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This past weekend I had the pleasure of seeing “Captain America 2”, the next iteration in the Marvel Superheroes saga, as it rounded off its last few days in the box office. This past Tuesday, I found myself at a client site being asked the question – “What five characteristics do you think would make someone an ideal candidate for any job?” I waffled, told my contact that it would be largely job specific, and that making generalizations that broad wouldn’t do an organization any justice. But yet … we do this all the time. HR pros call these Organizational Core Competencies, and we use them to build the foundation upon which our entire HR functions, measures, and evaluates.

After being backed into a corner and told I was forced to start an organization, I decided, for the sake of this argument, to call it SHIELD. How would I do it? What five areas would I frame as the “essentials?” I decided to look no further than one of the leaders of the service-unit of SHIELD, Captain America. To me, Captain America embodies 5 of the most important factors I think you’d need in any job.

Factor 1: Work Ethic

Captain America has been artificially blessed with godlike abilities, and he still takes time to run sprints around the nation’s capital. Although we aren’t extremely sure how his super-serum works, odds are he’d still be able to be his awesome self without those sprints. Yet, he’s still willing to sweat it out like his peers.


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An Important Factor for Getting Employee Assessments to Thrive

Posted by  Adam Hilliard

Sometimes we spend so much time trying to prove our assessments work; we lose focus on what truly matters.  So, what makes the difference in whether or not an assessment implementation will thrive?  How effectively we are able to partner with our HR contacts to gain buy-in throughout an organization.  You can have an extremely successful validation study with ground-breaking correlation coefficients, but if you don’t have buy-in from key stakeholders within an organization, those impressive results won’t mean much.

While there is no one magic bullet to gaining buy-in, there are steps you can take to help foster buy-in for a new initiative.  Sometimes it requires providing key pieces of ROI information in easily understood terms, a one-on-one discussion, or may be as simple as a few meetings with key stakeholders.  What matters is that you partner with your key contacts, assess who the relevant stakeholders are within that organization, what their needs and expectations are, and that you address those needs and expectations.  Appropriate points of communication to relevant stakeholders is also critical for buy-in.

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Go Green with Employee Assessments

Posted by  Adam Hilliard

Spring has sprung, green is everywhere around us, and with summer on the way, I thought it'd be a good time to approach "green" hiring processes.  Now that people are going paperless with their banking, communications, and even retirement plans - why not hiring processes too? Most industries have already made the switch to paperless but we still find the manufacturing industry lagging behind. 


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What is a Normal Distribution?

Posted by  Adam Hilliard

One of the most common questions I receive from clients when implementing a new assessment, is “How do you know how many people will pass before anyone takes it?” This is certainly a reasonable question, considering that within seconds of looking at a scoring profile for any of our assessments, I can give a client a reasonable expectation of their pass/fail rate.  The answer is, simply, because our assessments are “normally distributed.”


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Science of Assessment in ... Dating?

Posted by  Adam Hilliard

As the great Forrest Gump once said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”  In the spirit of the month of love, I got to thinking about Valentine’s Day, and all the relationships that we celebrate.


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What can you expect from using an assessment for selection?

Posted by  Adam Hilliard

Seems pretty straightforward, right?  Your selection assessment measures Integrity, you should have higher integrity.  Want better cognitive ability, you’ll want a cognitive ability assessment.  However the many shapes, sizes, colors, and variants assessments come in, assessments often include at least one or more  competencies. 175660493


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Is There a Rise in Jobs that DON’T Require Higher Education?

Posted by  Adam Hilliard

I recently read an article discussing the differences between obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree and a High School Diploma – highlighting the pros and cons and how it affects overall career success.

So it got me thinking:  how does the value of a high school diploma compared to the value of a bachelor’s degree.  Is there a rise in jobs that DON’T require higher education?  Is that the path to take? What do you think?


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Great Candidates Ask These Questions

Posted by  Adam Hilliard

You can tell a lot about a candidate based on the types of questions they ask. Where a lot of candidates’ questions may tend to focus on the inherent benefits of the job (compensation, benefits, etc), I like to keep my eye out for candidates who ask a different series of questions. Even when you’re not directly asking behaviorally based interview questions, targeted at specific competencies, you can still learn a lot from someone in those final 15 minutes of the interview.describe the image


Often times we look for “red flags” in an interview. Well, here are my favorite “green flags.”


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Interviewing Tips for Hiring Managers

Posted by  Adam Hilliard

In this blog, I'll cover three questions hiring managers should have asked themselves throughout this year to get them thinking about ways to improve the hiring process and make their job easier.  If you are a HR professional and didn't implement these tactics in 2013 - you still have time to correct that! 


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What HR can Learn from The Office

Posted by  Adam Hilliard

135033239Even though The Office series has ended, we still remember it well. Some of us are probably re-watching it on DVDs just to relived each moment.  Why was (is) that show so popular? I’ll tell you why, because it’s believable.  Unless you’re one of the fortunate few, your office probably has a Dwight, Jim, Pam, Toby, and of course a Michael Scott.  Poor Michael ... you’ve got to feel for him.  It pains me to watch awkward situations manifest, and Michael manages to create that face-in-hand, head shaking experience regularly.

I’m going to call it how I see it.  Michael is a pretty ineffective boss.  However, we find in Season 5, that Michael was once one of the best salesmen in his unit, winning consecutive best salesman titles.  At this point, we learn that Michael earned his position as supervisor and we suddenly shift our perspective from “how did he get there?” to “what happened?”

What happened at Dunder-Mifflin is something that happens in a lot of organizations. If you have an opening for a higher level position, who do you promote?  The highest performing individual!  This same process of promoting within happens over and over at all levels. What most people fail to consider when they are deciding who to promote, is that at a certain point in the corporate ladder, the promotion job is fundamentally different from the individual contributor position at which they excel.  The differences are most apparent when someone, much like Michael Scott, moves from an individual contributor into a management position.

Enter the “Peter Principle,” which I’m going to lovingly rename the Michael Scott Effect.  It states that so long as individuals work competently, they will be continually promoted until they reach a position at which they are no longer competent.  There they will enter a career-path and stall. Being unable to garner any further promotions, they work at what Dr. Laurence Peter called their “Lowest Level of Incompetence.”  He goes further to state that work is accomplished by employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence, a scary thought to say the least.

Let’s backtrack.  What if Dunder-Mifflin formalized an assessment process for Michael Scott’s position?  What if they identified the key leadership competencies for Regional Manager and assessed Michael against those? Using personality, a common component of leader assessment, we could have probably predicted Michael’s “Peter-ing out.”  We’d probably find that he is extremely extroverted (an important aspect of sales), yet emotionally unstable, and has poor work ethic and organizational skills. The latter characteristics are major predictors of managerial inefficiency.  These characteristics may not have been visible to others when Michael was in his sales role.  His extroversion helped him to shine as a high sales performer, and masked the more negative personality traits, which would be called upon in a managerial job.

But herein lies the moral of the story.  It’s extremely important and necessary to identify key competencies at all levels within an organization and to use some standard process to assess for them.  This is no more apparent than when the promotion is from an individual contributor to a manager.  Who knows what Dunder-Mifflin would look like if the company used this approach?  Maybe Michael Scott would still be one of the top salesmen, and perhaps someone like Jim, Toby, or Pam would be managing the office.

Then again, it probably wouldn’t be as funny to watch and the series would have ended a lot sooner. 


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