Interviews

Two men looking at a laptop screen, hiring great sales candidates

How to Find Great Sales Candidates

How to Find Great Sales Candidates 2048 1397 Sprockets

Closing a sale can be difficult and it can be even harder to find the sales applicants that are capable of doing so. A great candidate on paper may have been spoon-fed by a friend or relative in his or her previous position. Hiring great salespeople is extremely competitive. Even in the tech-savvy San Francisco Bay area, sales jobs outnumbered programmer jobs by 65,000 to 20,000 on a major job board. Let’s explore the common problems of hiring sales staff that can impede your hiring process.

Common Problems of Hiring Sales Staff

When interviewing for sales positions, there are a number of common mistakes that HR hiring managers make. Shrm.org posted an article that listed these common assessment errors:

Hiring Impatiently

Sure, it’s a cutthroat hiring environment in sales. However, that doesn’t mean that you should act hastily to hire a promising candidate. An unfilled position is better than making the wrong hire, which costs money and limits your ability to hire an even better candidate.

Trusting Your Gut Over Technology

Recruiting technology can help to narrow your choices and shore up traditional screening techniques such as checking references. It’s important to include all the steps no matter how appealing a candidate may be. Unless you’ve actually worked with a person, your gut instinct is practically worthless in sales. Salespeople can make a great first impression, but that needs to be reinforced by hard data.

Overselling the Job

Overselling is always taken as a sign of weakness. Great salespeople won’t be impressed, and lazy salespeople will misinterpret your efforts as an easy gig for them. Sales take extraordinary effort, and the work is never easy. Don’t sugarcoat the job or exaggerate the difficulties.

Hiring Like-Minded People

People are different. If you hit it off with an applicant, that doesn’t mean he or she will be successful. The candidate might have a sales background that’s comparable to yours, but he or she might not have learned the same lessons. Top producers approach sales in radically different ways, so don’t limit your hires to like-minded people.

Delaying Corrective Action

If a new hire isn’t a good fit, it makes no sense to delay taking corrective action – such as assigning a mentor, providing additional sales training or terminating the person.

 

Creating an Appealing Environment for Sales

Building a strong sales culture can help attract top salespeople to your company. Word gets around, and you can publicize your company’s sales culture to get even better results. Managing your salespeople so that can spend more time on selling instead of paperwork is a big draw for many salespeople. Giving them the tools that they need to succeed is also a critical factor in attracting talent.

How to Find Top Sales Talent

The most important recruiting strategy is to build a network of business contacts. The greater your network, the more qualified resumes will arrive at your desk. Keeping a pipeline of sales hiring leads is critical for any organization that relies on sales. Some of the top resources for building a sales referral network include:

Your Own Files

Using recruiting software and applications like predictive index software, which helps to assess a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, you can search your own files for likely candidates that you might have passed on previously. It’s important to look for sales talent constantly even when you don’t have immediate openings.

Current Sales Staff

Your existing sales staff members likely know some talented salespeople in your industry. Staff referrals usually rank among the best hires because employees know the candidates and the company.

LinkedIn

The strongest social media platform for business is LinkedIn. Top professional salespeople look for jobs and post resumes on the platform. LinkedIn allows you to search for candidates using keywords, demographic profiles, industry experience, and other criteria.

Inbound.org

Inbound.org is an ideal resource for companies that want to hire indoor or inbound sales staff. Candidates on this platform generally have greater experience in digital technologies and software certifications such as Hubspot.

Local Business Groups

There are many local business groups in your community that make excellent sources of sales candidates. Join the local chamber of commerce and other business groups. Many cities have regular business lunches where people from different fields connect over lunch.

Niche Job Boards

Top job boards like Monster.com and others are great hiring resources. Niche job boards are also excellent resources for finding sales candidates. You can post your openings on job boards and check on people who are looking for jobs. Social recruiting is becoming increasingly popular, and you can use recruiting technology software to manage and screen your applications, which is especially helpful if you get too many from social media marketing.

Current Customers

Your existing customers are one of the strongest sources of referrals for sales jobs. Your regular customers know your company and its products, so they can make intelligent referrals for sales staff.

Business Networks

Business networks like BNI are a great source of sales candidates. BNI is the world’s largest business network, and the membership benefits include increased networking opportunities – such as the ability to attend 52 networking meetings a year – and access to professional development programs. You can get sales hiring referrals from all over the world.

Community Groups

Community groups, local colleges, churches, and synagogues almost always have a designated manager or jobs ministry that helps people find employment. Most colleges and universities have job placement offices. Reaching out to these offices is a simple way to expand your outreach efforts.

Referral Incentives

Offering incentives for referrals that result in a new hire is a great way to get quality hiring leads. Employees that come from referrals are proven to stick around longer and be better cultural fits.

Writing Appealing Descriptions

Writing the best possible job description generates substantial hiring benefits. Your descriptions can be posted in marketing, on job boards and on your website to attract top talent.

 

Salespeople Are Found, Trained and Cultivated

There may be a few natural salespeople, but you can’t rely on finding natural superstars. Good salespeople are developed using your company resources, product knowledge, and teamwork. Using recruiting software, arranging third-party assessments of candidates, and building a strong professional network and internal sales culture are the most important steps to successful sales hiring.

At Sprockets, we specialize in finding the right applicant for the job. Our affordable assessment services provide unlimited monthly assessments for just $99 per month. Unlike other companies, we don’t follow generic assessment guidelines but create a customer-specific assessment based on your business’s operating style.

 

Bonus: Before you begin your next hiring cycle, prepare for successful interviews.

A woman working at a restaurant

Hiring Hourly Employees: Interview Questions to Ask

Hiring Hourly Employees: Interview Questions to Ask 1920 1080 Sprockets

When you begin your process of hiring hourly employees, you expect a candidate to be a great fit once you review their resume and application. Unfortunately, that’s not typically the case. It takes thoughtful interview questions and assessments to determine if someone will be a good fit and worth hiring. If not, it leads to increased employee turnover and lost productivity.

 

Here are popular questions to ask during an interview:
What’s your typical availability?

This should be one of your preliminary questions before an interview. But, if you’ve gotten a walk-in interview, this is one not to miss. Whether someone can work morning vs. evenings, or weekdays vs. the weekend is important to note when you are filling a position.

However, instead of passing on a candidate that doesn’t fit your current needs, be sure to keep their information on file for future openings.

 

Describe the best boss you’ve reported to.

This is more of a statement but it elicits a more thoughtful response. You should be able to gauge whether they appreciate directed tasks or if they like a more laid back style. Their response may also help you gauge whether they are able to take direction well.

 

Tell me what motivates you.

Asking this question is so important for employee retention. You may learn that they are motivated by financial incentives. In this case, offering a $25 gift card for outstanding performance is a good way to retain an employee. On the other hand, someone motivated by doing a good job and seeing results should be acknowledged and recognized for their work. This is one not to overlook when hiring hourly employees. Especially in the 25-34 age range, people value a career path.

 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

This question can tell you whether to incorporate them in a management track and/or if a tuition assistance scholarship is a meaningful way to bring them on board.

This is also a good time to state what type of commitment you are looking for. If you only need someone for the holidays, someone going to school may be a perfect fit. But, if you’re looking for someone to stick around and move up the ranks, someone in school may not have the time to devote and may not be likely to stick around.

 

What frustrates you?

If their answer is rude customers or working alone, you can better place them into a position. For example, if someone says they really don’t like rude customers, a back of house position may be better. But, if they don’t like working alone, being on the front team with others and interacting with customers is a better fit.

A bonus question to throw in is to end an interview with Do you have any questions for me?”

This gives the candidate a chance to ask questions about what it’s like to work there, what a typical schedule might look like, or why you like working there. Plus, it’s a good way to see if they’ve done research on the company if they ask specific questions about company culture, initiatives, and charities that are supported.


Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System can streamline your hiring process, help you hire dependable people, and reduce employee turnover. When an applicant completes their survey, you’ll see how they match up against your best employees. Plus, you’ll get insight into specialized interview questions to ask them. Get started with a free account, sign up here.

 

Plus, check out these quick ways to increase employee engagement!

3 Ways to Put Employee Benefits Front and Center During Recruiting

3 Ways to Put Employee Benefits Front and Center During Recruiting Sprockets

Employee benefits are often hidden during most of the initial recruiting and interviewing process, only to be pulled out right before hiring when a formal job offer is made to a candidate. While “better late than never” certainly applies to conveying the full value of your compensation, why not present your perks early in the recruiting process to make a statement?

With record-low unemployment rates, the race is on for HR teams to attract and land top talent. Companies are feeling the pressure by investing in more robust benefits packages to better support the diverse workforce. Putting these investments front and center during recruiting is a surefire way to pique candidates’ interest and keep perks top of mind during the process.

A recent report by Aflac indicated that 55% of employees would be at least somewhat likely to accept a job with lower compensation but a more robust benefits package. And, an impressive 10% of candidates indicated that benefits are the most important factor when deciding whether to accept or reject a job offer.

We’ve established that employee benefits are an important consideration for prospective employees. So, how can you clearly and concisely communicate the value of your benefits packages to land top talent? We’ve got three tips to help you stand out from the crowd.

 

1. Showcase Your Benefits Early

Prospective employees are likely shopping around during their job hunt, visiting multiple job sites and individual careers pages to scope out opportunities. Your careers page is often the very first impression a potential candidate will have of your company, so put your best foot forward with a well-designed and attractive experience.

A few tips for creating a rockstar careers page:
Use creative featuring real employees
Use testimonials (quotes or videos featuring names, titles, etc.)
Showcase company awards and accolades
Use video (employee testimonials, office tour, etc.)
List all employee benefits and perks

In addition to the above, your careers page should be easy to scan and navigate, clearly convey your company culture and values, and quickly “sell” the company experience.

Your careers page is a natural place to make a great first impression, but not every prospect will visit your corporate site during their search. Job boards and social media sites are often frequented during the job hunt, so be sure any other applicable pages (Glassdoor, LinkedIn, etc.) make a great first impression and include information about your awesome employee benefits.

 

2. Understand Your Candidates

The first step to impressing candidates with benefits during the recruiting process is to better understand their unique needs, wants, and motivations.

For example, a recent college graduate is likely more interested in your financial wellness programs, like student loan repayment and 401(k) match program, than voluntary life insurance and paid maternity leave. Of course, those might be important too—so don’t make any assumptions!

Instead, get to know your candidates on an individual basis and then put the most relevant perks front and center during key conversations.

 

3. Total Compensation Statement Offer

Showcasing the full value of your offer through a total compensation statement is a great way to visualize and communicate the true value of your package. Salary is important, but compensation includes so much more than what’s included in a paycheck.

A total compensation statement should include the full value of your compensation and more. The statement should include salary metrics, PTO, retirement account contributions, and more. Also, be sure to include overlooked perks, like parking or transit reimbursement, relocation stipends, or others. Every little cent matters to your company. It should be showcased to candidates to help them understand the full value of your investment in them as an employee.

Total compensation statements are available in two formats—print or digital. Print statements are a good fit if you want to send your prospect a review of your offer via an attachment, while digital statements are a better fit for one-on-one meetings to review an offer.

Do total comp statements actually work? Survey says: Yes! 95% of employees that receive a total rewards statement report having a greater understanding of their company compensation. How’s that for connecting with recruits?

 


 

There you have it—three quick and easy ways to put your employee benefits front and center during the recruiting process. Try at least one of these tactics during your next round of recruiting and see how your recruits are during the process.

Plus, once you’ve hired your new employees, ensure that you are on the right path for engagement and retention with this related article, How to Create an Effective Employee Onboarding Plan.

10 Interview Questions to Evaluate Soft Skills

10 Interview Questions to Evaluate Soft Skills Sprockets

More than half of hiring managers all agree that having to evaluate soft skills during applicant screening has to be one of the toughest exercises in the whole selection process. You need to figure out if the candidate has the qualities that you’re looking for during the interview process and it is not always easy. This is where behavioral questions come in. Looking at the candidate’s past behavior can be an indicator of what you can expect from them in their new role. There are some skills that are going to be easier to screen than others. It is your role as a hiring manager to ensure that the answers you’re getting are satisfactory.

There is no magic bullet when it comes to execution of the tips. Essentially, you should be focusing on two areas: self-awareness and intuition. Self-awareness should help in determining if the candidate can make a connection between his or her actions and the outcome in the professional environment. Intuition is all about about investigating the empathy and teamwork traits in an individual. Here is a roundup of some of the questions that are recommended by experts when interviewing to evaluate soft skills.

 

1. Tell us about something you were asked to do that you have never done before. How did you react, what did you learn?

This question is meant to test the adaptability of the candidate. A candidate who can demonstrate to have the trait of adaptability can help the company grow. Such a candidate will stay calm under pressure and is always willing to try out new tools and techniques when executing his or duties. Such a person is also likely to come up with solutions when problems arise. They will quickly accept new team members are and are not stiff in adapting to the new working styles when required to do so.

 

2. What are the three most important things to you in a job?

Ideally, you want a candidate who can easily fit in your company’s culture. The culture is a reflection of the company’s core values and mission. It should be noted that there is no right or wrong culture in a company. Hiring the employees that can easily fit well will increase the chances of succeeding if you’ve got the right talent in place. Looking for an employee who is a fit with the culture doesn’t mean you have to discriminate. It is always recommended that you give a brief overview of the company and what you do before you begin the interview process.

 

3. Can you give us an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult? How did you handle the situation?

The question is meant to test the collaboration aspect. It is important that you assess the candidate’s ability when it comes to working with others. The modern work environment puts a lot of emphasis on teams to get work done. The candidates that you’re interviewing need to exhibit that they can work with other people in the company. Even if it is a technical job, the ability to interact and communicate is crucial in getting the job done on time. This is one of the skills interview questions that shouldn’t be skipped.

 

4. Have you ever been in a situation when everything did not go according to plan? How did you react and what was the outcome?

This question helps in evaluating soft skills such as the leadership qualities of the candidate. Leadership is not all about managing others but also being a strong example to other people in the organization. You want to hire a candidate who can demonstrate the ability to look after and inspire their colleagues. Mistakes are bound to happen in any work environment and you want someone who is proactive in approach. You should be checking for soft skills such as communication when testing the leadership trait.

 

5. How did you handle an urgent problem when your supervisor or manager was away?

This question is all about measuring the growth potential of the candidate. It is asked in order to gauge if the candidate is able to step up when called upon to make some important decisions. A good employee will know what to do when faced with such a challenge. You also want to get their perspective when it comes to being proactive in an organization setting.

 

6. Tell us when you had to juggle several projects at a time. How did you handle the situation?

This is a question you ask when you are examining the candidate’s prioritization ability. It can also be used in determining their time management skills when faced with a different set of tasks. The person you’re hiring should be able to organize the workload in a matter that is efficient and follows the deadline. An employee with good prioritization skills should be able to effectively manage the workload, meet deadlines, adapt to pressure, deal with work-related stress, and manage time properly by avoiding distractions.

 

7. Can you tell us about a time you were faced with a challenge that you had never experienced before?

This question is asked to gauge the candidate’s problem-solving skills. The question can be revealing, particularly when it comes to measuring the candidate’s level of problem-solving abilities and perseverance. These two traits are important in any professional setting. Any person who claims to have gone through their career without any obstacles will be lying. There will always be challenges in any professional setting. A potential candidate should be honest enough and explain how he or she did overcome the problem.

 

8. How would you explain a complex topic to a new customer or a colleague?

The purpose of this question is to test the candidate’s communication skills. Communication is one of the crucial soft skills that a candidate should have. The person might be good when it comes to the job but it won’t help the organization when they can’t communicate effectively. 

 

9. What does constructive criticism mean to you?

 This question is asked when you want to gauge how the potential hires process and handle feedback. There are people who don’t like to be criticized. The answers you get could be a reflection of the kind of person you should expect. Constructive criticism is done to point out the areas where one could improve.

 

10. Have you ever been in a situation where being honest landed you in trouble?

Having an honest employee can be beneficial to a company in so many ways. It is crucial to evaluate soft skills such as honestly closely since many points of their experience or capabilities stem from if they are telling the truth or not! Recent studies have shown that recruiters tend to prefer frankness and honesty in their new employees. Honest employees tend to be hard workers and give their all when executing their duties in the organization. An honest employee acknowledges his or her limitations and strives to improve as a result. 

To sum it up, the soft skills interview will give the recruiter a wholesome perspective on what to expect from the candidate. There are situations where it will be difficult to pick a candidate when it comes to technical abilities. Since all of them are highly qualified, it is important to pick someone who can easily fit into the company’s culture. They should be adaptable and proactive when it comes to solving problems within the organization. As a recruiting manager, it is your job to ensure that the company is getting the right talent.

Plus, check out When to Prioritize Soft Skills Over Experience for more information on soft skills in the interview process.

Talent Talk: Interview Tips from Laura Camacho

Talent Talk: Interview Tips from Laura Camacho Sprockets

Check out our first podcast episode of Talent Talk with our guest, Dr. Laura Camacho on interview tips for both sides of the table. She is from the Mixonian Institute, which focuses on helping people with their communication skills.


Chad | Sprockets:

Hi, welcome to Talent Talk. Today we’re with Laura Camacho with The Mixonian. She’s going to talk to us a little bit about assessing people during interviews, particularly about body language and all that kind of fun stuff. But first I’m gonna let her introduce herself and tell us a little bit more about what you do.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Thanks, it’s great to be here. I’m a big fan of Sprockets from a while back. I really appreciate what y’all are doing to help people make better hires and uh, yeah, as I was born in Hamptons, South Carolina, so I’m native from the Lowcountry, grew up in uh, Atlanta. But I had some experiences that really shaped my personality and why I would start, you know, a company devoted to communication skills training. And one of the factors was I was a terrible communicator. I was the little nerd, the, the one who got A’s and thought she was, you know, so smart. And then I got out of school and so I’ll have the c students who are like making a lot more money than I was as a college professor. So I was like, what’s wrong with this picture? And then also I got to live in Latin America.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

I got to live in Caracas, Venezuela. And as you know, there’s this stereotypical aspect of Latin America that people, they are very warm and friendly, but it’s actually true. And when you have economies that are based on relationships more than our economy here, even though we’re moving in that direction, I got to see that you had to have good interpersonal skills just to get that driver’s license or to get a telephone, even to get certain groceries. And so I got to see people, you know, in action with these incredible communication skills and our personal skills, the ability to be charming, to establish rapport. And then, you know, fast forward a number of years I was tired of academia. I wanted to get out in the real world. I also had been through Rocco’s experience as a facilitator for the seven habits of highly effective people, Stephen Covey’s program.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

So that had also planted the seeds of professional development in my mind and all that mashed together and comes out in the institute, which is really devoted for and to helping people communicate better, but especially introverts. That’s really where my heart is because I understand that introverted brain. Yeah. So that’s, that’s kind of in a nutshell, uh, how I got started and, and you know, I have a PhD. My dissertation was all about Hugo Chavez. You know, he was the father of the 21st century, socialism that he brought to Venezuela. And I, as I watched the country decline, decline, decline, and yet he was still so popular. And even today he is revered as a demigod or a god, even in a country that he basically destroyed. It’s, you know, why he, people thought he cared about them. He was a great storyteller. And so, you know, communication can, that skill can be used for good and it can be used for not good too. So all of those things have made me obsessed, crazy obsessed, with becoming a better communicator for those who are naturally quiet. You know? And then you’ve got, because all other things being equal, the more talkative person is going to have more influence, be more persuasive, and the quieter person is going to be doing the work.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

That’s really interesting and that’s a wonderful way to really see it in action. By then it kind of going out of your comfort zone going into Latin America and then yes, I’ve enforced, that’s what I’ve heard the same about the culture there. It is very much yet it is interpersonal, you have to be having a certain flavor, if you will, uh, to get things done. And like Eddie, you have to be able to cooperate.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Right. Any time the government like takes it for more services in an economy, price stops being a factor. So what becomes the factor of who gets driver’s licenses? Who gets, uh, to buy chicken this week or who gets to get their kids in a certain school? It becomes, you know, who you know and having those good relationships. So that, and just the thing that totally floored me over for just one example. Of course, this was before the Internet. I moved there and we’re living in this beautiful apartment that was owned by one of the ministers of the government. And we didn’t have a telephone, but because remember this was before cell phones, and I would go to the phone office and they would say, you know, like crazy lady, we just don’t have any phone numbers. And I’m like, this doesn’t make sense. Anyway, two months later, a neighbor moves in the same floor and I see the phone company. They’re installing his telephone – and why? Because he had better connections than we did. So I saw with my own eyes, and then here I am living in a foreign country. Can’t even have a telephone because I didn’t have the right connections. So that’s funny. But yeah.

 

Chad | Sprockets:    Well that’d be interesting. I want to explore that a little bit more here in a little bit. Uh, and definitely, uh, bring it back to, you know, talking about assessing,

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Right, right.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

Because, uh, it is, uh, when you see these skillsets and we’re, I know we’re believers in it everyday here, since you have that, uh, you have to dive beneath the surface. So there are a lot of things that you need to go below the surface of a resume  -beyond what you see. With somebody being gregarious, maybe in an interview. So I’m with that though. You’ve got a lot of experience of course, in assessing folks in the interview process and kind of going beyond the resume. So when we look at things through that lens, what are, you know, for the folks listening who are going to be hiring managers from things like quick service restaurants all the way to tech companies that are trying to hire engineers. And you talk about, uh, introverted individuals. In my experience, a lot of the software engineers that I’ve worked with are a lot different during the interview process than say sales folks are. So when you have those extremes, um, you know, what are you looking for across the board? Uh, just to kinda even, I’ll put them all on the equal playing field. Cause you were evaluating them all similar in a similar fashion, something different for each one.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Right. Putting down for this through the same process. And of course one thing has to be really clear on what kind of person that you want. What kind of skills do they need to have, what are the non-negotiables, what are the negotiables? Um, because uh, you know, like even in the soft skills and world, there’s a lot of different soft skills out there and we all know that you can have, you know, be technically like the perfect candidate, but if that person is difficult to work with, that’s gonna drag down that whole team. And that, I mean, I just hear of these cases over and over so, you know, let’s break it down a little bit. First of all, you have to realize that the interview is a performance, you know, and some people are good at performing and some people are not as good.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

So, you know, just going off of an interview is, um, is really not allowing anybody to see that candidate as, as they really are. Because that’s just the ability – some people get so nervous before interviews and I mean I was the one that froze up. And here’s a classic mistake that introverts make. Anne Cuddy in her book, Presence, really highlights this. So the introvert brain is going to have a job interview and that person is thinking, how can I prove that I’m competent? You know, I’m really want, I want Chad to know that I have all those qualifications and I can do a great job. So I think of stories and anecdotes to, to show you how competent I am. But the thing is that decision is going to be made partly on an emotional level. And if I’m not friendly and if I don’t seem like a, you know, team player, easy to work with, I’m gonna blow the interview here.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

They’re going to say, well she, you know, she’s checked all the boxes, but I didn’t have a good feeling about her and that’s how introverts can sabotage themselves. And if the interviewer isn’t cognizant of, well, maybe I need to help this person kind of warm up a little bit, or maybe I need to, uh, simulate a semi-situation rather than just rely on, on the interview. So that, so that’s one thing to be aware of. And then, you know, also there’s so many people, I mean, I knew the case where they hired somebody who just think he’s a great interviewer, great on paper and it turns out all of the qualifications were fraudulent. So, yeah. Okay. Yeah, it’s really tricky today. And haven’t, would you agree that the, the whole process of hiring has become much slower and more costly because of these, um, the costs of making a mistake? Right.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

Yeah, I would absolutely agree. And I think, uh, yeah, just in my hiring experience, uh, a lot of it being on the software side of things. So I’ve run the gambit of marketing, sales, customer success or you know, and then c suite level folks that have been involved in the hiring process and every one of them. It’s amazing that, uh, I’ve seen hiring processes now be as long as what it is to get somebody in c suite. It’s a little like this. Please don’t see that. I’m like, wow. And I guess maybe, maybe it’s good to agonize over every decision, but one of the things that you just said that, uh, was across all of those different, uh, job positions was somebody only said, um, I didn’t get a good feeling or I did get a good feeling, right? It was, it was amazing to me.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

It was like, so we did, you know, you had these projects, we’d have individuals do that were staged and you’re looking at resumes and all that. But one of the things I never saw is a rarely did people call references or, and I’ve never been a part of anybody actually calling the school and asking, did you get the diploma? You know, kind of thing. So the resume, I think people already in the interview process treated as, okay, this is a piece of paper. We generally believe that’s true right now we’re just talking can you provide these examples that we need to be, um, you know, to be able to believe that you are a good candidate.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

And you don’t want to go into it thinking, oh this person love liar and B, there’s a, and it costs money to, to check things when you just have to be aware. And then what the one of the things that we’re doing every applicant. Exactly. Well that’s true. And then so what, so one of the things that companies are doing to kind of mitigate this, the risk of hiring is they’re having, you know, the person be interviewed by everybody in the company or interviewed by five or seven people and said you’ve got so many different impressions, so many, so much time involved, and then multiply that times the number of candidates. It really is a, it’s just an expensive process. There’s a lot on the line and we’re trying every, you know, the whole, everybody in the industry is trying to make it better, but it’s definitely tricky to assess.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

Yeah. To your point, hiring teams are getting bigger. And I always noticed the bigger the hiring team, the less I enjoyed the process. And the less like fruitful it usually was.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Yes, you’re like a cog and then machine like you’re being sausage processed.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

Exactly. Exactly. But, uh, and I also like, well when we got to debriefs, it’s like, okay, let’s get the whole team together. What were all of our impression, right, it’s always let’s get our impressions, not what did we see on piece of paper, but what were impressions and what I felt like I got was about 10 perspectives of the same person and we’re all saying interview and you get these 10 different perspectives. I felt this way about them and I felt this way and it’s still that same person that we all saw. So only one of us is actually right or maybe two. So I like the smaller teams where it’s one or two people that deep dive and get a full perspective on the person. Um, instead of just one little sliver of like, oh, I only assessed them on this one skill set. And it’s very difficult.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

But, but there’s another point to what you’re saying about the big team. So say, say 12 people assess the candidate. Well, and any company of those 12 people, three are going to be much more persuasive and influential than the other ones. So even though everybody talked to them, you know, it’s going to be really, oh, well what did John Think? Or what did Susan think? I’m going to go with what she said. So you know, there’s this like, are we all looking for that magic bullet? And there you have I think calling references. It’s absolutely indispensable.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

And it’s basic, but yeah, it’s something that people don’t do.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Right well, because they think, well, even if I had a bad experience, um, that they’re not gonna let, somebody might not share that. But here’s where the body language comes in. You can tell, just a pause or a lack of enthusiasm or choosing, when you see someone choosing their words carefully, that’s at least a yellow flag to look deeper into it.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

Yeah. Because they are getting to choose their references. Yeah. But even those I have, because I’ve been put down on a reference before where I’m like, you know, that’s okay. Yes, I’ll give you a reference. But I wouldn’t say it was as glowing as somebody else said hey was somebody that I felt stronger about giving a reference to. So they were probably moments in that if somebody was reading my language, you know, or paying my word choice and be like, Huh, I don’t know if this guy’s as enthusiastic about the other day as maybe we would like him to be.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Exactly. Then another thing is that let’s, let’s say that, um, I put you down for a reference. I mean you’re going to refer me and you’re like, you would feel super comfortable referring me for certain jobs but not other jobs. I mean we are not all great at everything. It’s so important to know what you’re good at, to know what your strengths are, to know what kind of environment. Like I personally value autonomy. So I have always done well in jobs where they say, Laura, this is your job. Go and run with it and do it. But if somebody is like, well, you know, if it’s a very detailed process like being an assistant in a surgery for example, I would, you know, not be good at a level, I should never be near a knife and a human person.

So yeah, you would not give me a good reference for being a surgeon’s assistant, but you know, even more seriously you might’ve, you might’ve had a good experience with somebody and referred them, you know, they’re good for certain things but not for other things. And the same like, like we were talking about, um, you know, assessing a person’s soft skills and, and what an interesting trend I’m seeing is that which soft skills people are looking for is changing. Okay. And you have to think about like what are soft skills. Well there’s communication. You can say attitude, team player. Um, curiosity though was a new one. Like curiosity. Like at the end, if you look at Jeff Bezos’ letter to the stockholders in 2019, he wrote that in April, and he talks about wanting to find builders and explorers. So to me that’s an interesting light and new way to look at the soft skills, which is really kind of an attitude and instead of grit and a curiosity, how do you quantify that?

 

Chad | Sprockets:

Right, exactly, exactly. How do you call like a, at a previous company, grit was one of our core values or something. And it’s like, well how do you quantify like, I know what it means to me as a Southerner. And with shrimp. It was like, I think y’all are missing an S one the core values.

I mean the other in all seriousness is like grinding it out and things and that can, you know, I always felt like is good. And then also toxic, which is another whole other topic on the hiring side is like, hey, like is it good to have something like, like grit on all you, I mean, as one of your core values? Does that, like does that mean you had to always stay late or quantifying what it means? But, um, uh, for a moment, uh, let’s go on the other side of the table, uh, for the actual person to be interviewed. Um, when you’re, uh, when you’re looking at them, what are you looking for them to do, body language wise, to give you a good feeling about some of these? Like when we’re thinking about builders and curiosity and, and then honestly just link the, the basic stuff that you need.

If we were going, uh, and looking at an employee, for me the number one thing is dependability. Can I depend on you? That’s why I’m hiring you. I have a job for you to do that. I need kids. So, um, and we get that a lot. Our clients is like, um, I just need more dependable people with comments and follow instructions. It’s like, okay, well how do you, how do you probe for that? And then on the other side of the table, how do you display that, you know, so what are some of your thoughts there?

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Well, I, this is a key thing though. We look for people that are, and again, this is a double edged sword. If you look for people who are not so tense, because if they prepare, they shouldn’t be tense. But nevertheless, they can be a very, uh, that one of the five recognized psychological traits from the American Psychological Association is conscientiousness. Okay. So that’s the quality that you’re looking for as far as being responsible is conscientiousness. So a conscientious person can be appear to be nervous cause they’re so conscientious, they’re afraid they’re gonna love it. Fair enough. Yeah. So I mean, I always coach candidates on preparing, preparing, preparing. What are you searching the person they’re going to talk to you. Because on Linkedin you can find out so much and you can even stop people on Facebook without their knowing.

Do they have a cat? Do they have a dog, where’d they go to college? So anytime if you’re a candidate, if you just studied the company more, that preparation does produce confidence and, and being relaxed. So I think actually studying the company is a big thing for, uh, uh, an introvert or highly conscientious, as nervous and kind of person to come across as more relaxed. That’s, that’s definitely something to do. And also to practice, you know, even if you’re not hiring somebody to help you, but just get a friend or your dad or an uncle or somebody to practice with you because those things will, they’re where the, the effect will be small but powerful. You’ll just come across with a little bit more of an edge if you’d have rehearsed the question, even if the questions are totally different, you’ve rehearsed that thinking on your feet, which is another thing that introverts don’t do as well.

We were much better at, you know, preparing, which is why I have my notes for my own interview here. But preparing always gives you an edge. I think that’s the most important thing. And uh, you know, having your hands out where people can see them is good. Eye contact is of course good and, you know, acting enthusiastic. But even if you’re not at like “Rah Rah” kind of person, you know, being uh, showing some kind of enthusiasm for the job. And again, to me by far is what kind of research have you done? And then in that research, what questions do you have because you can tell from the candidate what kind of questions he or she is asking. That tells you a lot more about the person. And the ones who don’t have any questions. I mean that to me would be a red flag.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

The one question that, uh, that I get that I see why it’s important and uh, I didn’t always aggravation because like with, with, with questions, I think they need to be good questions about like the job.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Oh yeah. Where’s my first vacation? Yeah, those are interesting ones.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

Well, one that he and I, and I think it’s, it’s, it’s put out there in a good way, but then it always comes off. Now to me, I’ve just, I guess I’ve heard some new tenses generic and not really thoughtful is like, you know, tell me about the company culture. And it’s like, oh yeah. I was like, okay, I think that’s important to try to fit in. You want to like the place and things like that. But um, you know, one could be cynical and be like, well, on both sides we’re selling each other, right. I could tell you anything about our culture just like you could tell me anything.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

But, um, uh, it’s very interesting. I would almost like those questions. Like that culture question would be like, I’m looking for XYZvexactly. Is your place, like, would you, would you agree with that statement?

But, um, yeah, the question board is definitely always been big to me in interviews where one of the things that you just hit on that struck me was the conscientious point. Um, I think that’s one of those things that I could say goes across all of the jobs I’ve ever hired for, uh, from like, uh, I used to work professionally for the boy scouts. I was hiring kid kids for camp sat, right. You know, hiring adults or like a higher level Jones, uh, later on in my career here. Um, but that, that’s a common thread I always noticed when somebody came in put together, they take their time. Like you know, either if it was like a corporate thing, uh, suits pressed, that kind of stuff. But then also like when I was hiring in restaurants showing up, like actually shirt tucked in and on time.

Those are, and I know those aren’t body language say sort of things, but they are most certainly uh, there’s conscientious things that you’re talking about is like, okay, this person cares if they cared at this stage. It logically follows that they should continue to care for a little bit into the job, until maybe we messed that up on our end. There’s only so much you can do at that stage.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

We’re talking about body language and the, as we know, the, the whole hiring process is changing, has become more, digitalize more steps that are online. And that brings up an important topic of digital body language. Now, digital body language is a concept that comes from digital marketing. Like how do people behave? Where did they click to buy, that kind of thing. But his comment is bleeding out into the hiring world and the business world because your digital body language is what do your emails look like before even read it? Like do you have white space? How long does it take you to answer an email? That’s another big one. Do you use emojis or not? Are Your, do you have a lot of typos? Um, all of those things create an impression of a person without talking to them. Even without reading the, I mean reading it of course we give you like what kind of words the person uses and how they’re using them, but also looking at their digital body language. You are making judgments about that person. Just from reading how they wrote their email. Like did they say hi Chad or did they say hey, that’s a very small thing. But that tells a lot about the conscientiousness of the person and how aware they are about how they’re coming across.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

I haven’t yet. I wasn’t even thinking about that. I mean, and of course I’ve been involved in that, with email exchange of course, like setting up phone screens and everything. And always like for me, phone screens are uh, have always been not as enjoyable as an in person interview – you get more signals that yes, I can play off of the body language of course and how you’re receiving things. But then the emails I always felt good about it cause I can take my time, be thoughtful, probably agonized way more than in other stages. But mine always looked very formal, look like a letter I guess. Like I started writing email when emails were really more just coming out when everybody’s email open rate was 100% because it was like male. But, um, anyway I miss the good old days in the morning I guess then where it wasn’t 100% but um, but yeah it looks like a, it looks like a letter and then I’ve gotten a, and I’ve had to take it into context is um, you know a lot of my staff when I was working in this company called Upserve in Boston, uh, was in their twenties, like 22, 23, 24 and it wasn’t like that.

It wasn’t as formal and I kind of shift my thinking a little bit because I was like okay you’re writing like you’re writing a letter right? This is not always it. Email is handled by everybody else a little bit more. But it still kind of, I’ll be honest, it had the, it had like at least a bias on my part where I was like “I kind of wish you would have been a little bit more formal cause it’s kind of more of a formal process”.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

And then now they’re even texting the digital body language now includes texting. And it’s also like what do you choose, because there’s different channels you could call, you can have an in-person meeting, all of them have different dynamics and what channel do you choose? And it as is always the more signals you get. Like an email has more signal quality than a text and a face to face has more signals than a phone call. So the more signal is going to, it’s going to give you a better opportunity to get to know the person and then people get robbed. So all, you know, all of those things give a given impression. But wouldn’t you rather hire someone whose emails are maybe a little stiff and formal or ones that have typos and that are those kind of slapped together. But then if you’re hiring a sales person, you know that, you know, your gregarious charisma, uh, may not translate into really good emails. So yeah. What the, what do you, what’s important to you? You’re not going to get it all in a person.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

And that’s the thing with hiring. Everybody knows it’s like dating I’ll always sit here and say stating, then that means it’s going to be a relationship. Right. And no relationship is 100% perfect. So I guess I know 100% perfect. Um, so yeah, I’ve always had to have that sliding scale between like, what am I willing to train up on versus what, uh, what am I willing to sacrifice here and there, so totally understand that side. One of the big things I’ve taken away from this is now, not only the conscientious side, but in the digital footprint of things. Cause we all have it. And it’s interesting like, you know, uh, across any position you could technically at least just look up the public facing side of their Facebook account.

I get some sense of what’s going on there and like, whether that’s right or wrong, that’s for somebody else. I think a, what I’ve heard more and more of the individuals that, uh, hire that, uh, you know, I mean, I, I was on Facebook when it was still, you had to be in college to even get it and you had a college or to be invited. So I was an early adopter, but I wouldn’t say I’m a pervasive user. And then, uh, now talking with a lot of, uh, individuals that are in their twenties, uh, the, the prevailing thought is like, look, I, I just live my life. Like everything is out there for everybody to see. That’s what I miss. The expectations, I guess I don’t feel too bad about looking at the footprint is that like, if that’s the common notion, like okay, everybody could see it.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

At least somebody’s LinkedIn profile. If it’s for a white collar job, I mean at least that. And you know, taking the trouble to have a, a professional photograph that’s not 20 years old.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

Not one of you in a wedding, I see that a lot. Cruise. Yeah.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

But uh, yeah, you know, they go right. Done. Right? But then if you’re looking for an entry level person, you’re not going to be expecting, you know, a super high level professional shot. Um, maybe, but if you take the trouble to do that, then that’s a way to stand out as, as a candidate. So those are things, you know, the digital, your digital communication in a way reflects your in-person communication. But what skills do you need? And here’s another funny way, those, the Inter, the offline and offline interact with each other. So, you know, there’s a quality of people rambling. Like they just go on and on and on and on and um, studies show that people who ramble are not good writers because the act of writing, especially like, you know, English Essay, what are you going to say? What are your three points?

Say them and conclude it. That’s a skill. Yeah. And if you didn’t get that skill doesn’t mean you can’t learn it. You know, all of these skills can be learned. But a person who doesn’t write well, doesn’t organize their thoughts as well. They just say it. And what, what are you looking for? Do you need someone who is more organized in their thinking? Get a writing sample. Okay. So that’s another way that you can see that something about the person outside of the interview space. Just, you know, having them write. Now, if you can train writing skills and maybe don’t even need them for certain jobs, uh, but that, that’s something that gives you a peak into how the person thinks, the way they write.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

No, that makes good and that makes good sense. Yeah.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

This is English teachers of the world – we have so much impact on our how people, uh, interview later on in life. So, and I just want, I want to get a point, point that out.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

No, that makes complete sense. And that goes back to the whole gregarious guy in an interview. It’s like, well let’s cut through with them and say you look at a lot of job descriptions when it’s a, you know, an executive level job, then it is, you know, good written and oral communications. It’s so common on a job description, it might as well be other duties as assigned. But nobody ever really asked me. Like, so, you know, I’ve got a degree in journalism and in marketing and all that. I’ve never had a single instance where I’ve been asked for a writing sample.

Now that I’ve heard you say it, it makes complete sense to me if I’m dealing with the position, whether requires writing or not, if I want to get a sense of if they organized now and are they able to like be targeted with money? Let me read something that they’ve written.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Exactly. But if you’ve seen somebody make cold call, maybe it doesn’t matter. You know, did they have the courage and the grit to just get out there and talk to people they don’t know. You know? So it really, I think, I think a lot of our hiring would be better if people put more thought into the job description and what kind of, you know, on the very front end that, what are we looking for?

 

Chad | Sprockets:

Yeah. Describe, describe the person. A lot of times I see attempts to describe “this is what we’re looking for”. It doesn’t describe like, if you could imagine the perfect person that’s not just a set of bullet points. Now I’m like just thinking about the disconnect you hear in interviews, a lot of the pain, a lot of phrasing of I feel, I feel, I feel, but you don’t see anything about emotion or personality in the actual job description. That’s what you should disconnect.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Right? It is. And that’s because we don’t want to admit that we make decisions emotionally. No. And do you learn in advertising? But decisions are made on emotion, but we justify them with logic. It’s true. We don’t like to admit it because we like to think that we’re rational human beings and there is some rational, uh, aspect to our making decisions. But the emotion is definitely usually driving the bus somewhere.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

Well, yeah. And, and like, uh, when you’re looking at candidates, I mean, I think it’s easy to check boxes on a piece of paper or skills, I should say. Yes. Do you have any certifications? Have you done this? Have you had previous experience in the restaurant? Whatever the case is. But between the ears is the tough part, and we say that a lot though. It’s like, oh, you know, their head wasn’t in it. You know, again, we just don’t have it between the ears. Right, right. They’re not feeling good today. It’s just not right today. And that’s, yeah, I mean they are, emotions are the mental side of things and that has a huge effect on it. But I feel like I’m beginning in the interview process not being assessed as much. So even with what you’ve given us today, these little things of like, and again, I keep, I’m going to keep going back to the conscientious side cause I think it’s a common denominator across a position you hire for – is like how does that person present everything about themselves?

Right? It’s almost a, you know, showing up with some respect to one of the positions. I showed up to a job interview before for a software company, a lot of like marketing folks are in dark jeans and in a button down kind of thing in a sport coat. And I showed up in a suit. In a suit and not in jeans and a tee shirt, which is apparently how the the other director showed up before me and I was just like, why would you ever wear a t-shirt and jeans? And it wasn’t that they weren’t qualified on the paper side. The interviewer let me know that the last interview they had, they were not very impressed with that by comparison just by the way I was dressed and I was just like, well this is off to a great start.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Yes it is true. That’s a good point. Dressing, dressing up, even dressing above the level of what you see. Even like with public speaking, if you’re going to speak to group of tech people and they’re all in jeans, but you show respect for the audience when you dress up and you show respect for the company when you dress up a little bit too that, so that’s a, that’s a great point. You don’t have to match, you have to show respect. And that takes a certain level of self-awareness that you have is that maybe, you know, how can I show my best self? How can I show that I valued this person’s time? All of those are just little signals that you’re communicating apart from what you’re saying and what’s on your resume. And, and is important, you know, for candidates to know that the technical aspects of their job can be as, that’s pretty much like you said, some of the certifications. And so the, the real question in the interview process is fit. Does this person fit in? And it has to be, you know, a two way street. And so the candidate also should know what he or she is looking for. What kind of place, what kind of opportunity, you know. And like you said, it’s a relationship. It’s never going to be perfect, but you know, do we have enough of a shared objective, a shared a view that we can work together?

 

Chad | Sprockets:

Absolutely. Um, and that is, um, you looking up any SHRM statistics and all that kind of fun stuff. And talking about, um, millennials coming through the workforce and then, you know, your, your gen a Gen Z coming up and they’re full and yet when they’re available for the workforce now, um, it, that is the big motivating factor. And they’re willing to actually take less money – and take less salary – for a place they feel good and like believe in the mission right there. And that’s one of that, going back to that culture question comes up so much, um, for sure, but a, I think a culture is not a, you know, a ping pong table and beer in the fridge. I mean everything, all the toys, all the toys. And um, and then rarely did I ever get a chance to use it

What was interesting is though the folks that did well at the organization were individuals that, uh, fit the personality type too, and I’ll put it for this particular spot to survive there. Because it was like, yeah, we like aged a lot there. So it was like very, very high pace. Like any you would see we had like individuals that come from a corporate setting that come into that environment and wash out pretty fast because they weren’t used to the work load, that kind of stuff. And then it was, it was like in decisions being made very quickly and a lot of change. It’s like this isn’t super tanker, it’s something that’s [inaudible]. So I had to hire for that and trying to fit to that. Are you able to be in a situation where you know you can deal with change very easily? That’s a tough thing to ask for from a behavioral question. So yeah, the shameless plug for me here is like one of the reasons why I’m a big believer in Sprockets and joined this organization is it gives me, as an interviewer, the ability to see somebody as a person, right? And they kind of know a little more than just what they’re presenting. Kind of dive a little deeper on them and go, okay, this is where I’ve gone. And whether I got assigned to hiring them or not, at least I know where I stand with them.

And on the other sides of them, I’d love to be able to show, I’d love it for Sprockets to be on the other side for the candidate to know about the company’s DNA. Right. And like do it. Like will I fit right on the other side, right in line. Maybe I don’t want to continue with the interview, which will be an interesting world to live in. Right. You know, actually already done some assessments on you.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Right. And I don’t think I’ll fit here. There’s some really high flying tech companies that were working a hundred hours a week is, you know, if you’re an executive and you may, there may be times in your career where you are willing to do that and times that you’re not. So the other, end it. And yet it’s, I’m thinking of companies that would look great on your resume, but it’s not for nothing. You know, they, the, the expectation is there and they may have ping pong tables and chefs out the Wazoo. But this because you’re never going home.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

And you need know that. Right.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Exactly. It would probably be great experience for a lot of people at certain times of their lives, but not always. Yeah.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

So one of the things I think about then, um, you know, getting kind of getting here towards the end is a thing about like, again, if we keep coming back to field and, and we buy and it’s, it’s just kind of a known analogy that’s interviews like dating.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Yes. Oh yes.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

What kind of things would you say if you just took a moment here to think about on both sides of the table, what are some, what are some questions that are good to ask to get that sense of feel? I know this a little broad cause I’m not asking you one thing specifically in particular like conscientiousness. Okay. But what are some examples of some interview questions that you’ve asked and that you propose to the other side of the table to ask to really get to know each other.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Okay. Well what, um, I like to ask questions to, to start off with. I like to ask what are you excited about in your life right now? Like what? So you can see like, oh, have a new puppy or I just ran a marathon or I’m so glad I’m not at this other company anymore. But asking, you know, what is the person excited about? But it’s also, it shifts their brain to think about something positive, which is going to relax them a little bit. So that’s my go to question and networking job interviews. What are you excited about these days or what’s something that’s really good that’s happened to you in the last month or year to help to, to like frame the question to for them to share something positive in their life that’s going to imagine what that thing is and the way they tell you and just the fact that you’re having them.

Thinking about something positive is lowering the tension. So that’s, that’s a good warm up question. And then what does success look like for you? Like what, you know, and that’s not a necessarily like a, an interview question. It’s the life question or here’s another variation of that. And this is the hard one though, but it for a certain level executive, you might want to consider it and it would be “Chad, if you and I were to meet a year from now and we were having coffee and I asked you, um, you know, how was your year? How over the last 12 months been for you? And you said it was the best ever. What would need to happen for that to be true?” And so that’s not getting at your technical abilities is not getting at necessarily your suitability for any job, but it’s letting you share what’s important to you.

What are you looking for in life? Well, what kind of person are you? That’s what does, that’s the kind of questions I like to ask. They’re not, you know, on the, usually the, usually you get like a hundred quiet gym. Okay. You’re going to ask any of these a hundred approved questions, but they’re questions that let you know what kind of person you have that you’re talking to. And I, that’s the kind of question I like to ask. Yeah. So those are, those are some of my goatees but just to think or even, you know, what’s your favorite movie? Wasn’t good movie you’ve seen, was it, do you read, I’m talking about things that are, it’s not the answer, it’s how they answered that. Tell me about a time where you showed leadership. I mean that’s just so rehearsed. Or what is the, that are the, tell me about yourself question, you know, that’s, um, I mean, is this an accepted question? It’s not my favorite because of, I feel agonized just asking that because I know that on the other side, like what do you want me to write? What do you want me to tell you? I was born, I weighed seven pounds, eight ounces. Too broad. But, uh, getting to, you know, what is important to that person, if you know what’s important to a person, that tells you a lot about the person. Like if they tell you, oh, well what I’m really excited about is, um, I’m going to have a hair transplant. I don’t know, maybe if it’s for a TV anchor position and they’re going to be in front of the camera, that might be like something to be excited about. Otherwise you might, you know, might not, might not be relatable.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

Yeah. I mean it’s a, yeah, it’s a good area to just show yourself on for sure. And because, and I’ve asked questions similar to that, but not at the beginning. And I like what you’re talking about into the sense of relaxing the candidate. Um, I’ve always asked to be in, what do you like to do for fun? Um, and the reason for that is like, I always wanted to know, not only to, to relate, uh, but more so than anything. Uh, I always know like workable, workable, consumer cycling. Um, and I always like to know what somebody likes to do to tell them to go do that. Like go take Friday off and go do XYZ and whatever your thing is. Or ask them, what have you done this recently? Right. Something you enjoy, typically it’s something that relaxes you. And if your realized individually, you’ve got to come to work, relax.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Yeah. And you’re gonna just be able to bring your best. That’s what we want. So I think that’s really is a good approach to, to getting at what’s important to the other person.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

Why didn’t have the benefit of getting to, to get all these insights before I started to interview. But yeah, I definitely appreciate what you shared with us today. And I would definintely love to have you on in the future to talk. Tell us a little bit. Yeah, absolutely. That’d be great. Yeah.

 

Laura | Mixonian:

I love having an audience. My kids are just sick of hearing about it.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

Thank you. Yeah, sure. Um, yeah, absolutely. Laura. And uh, you know, just kind of signing out. Like, is there any other like, words for the audience that you want to talk to them about with the interviews or anything that they need to know today?

 

Laura | Mixonian:

Well, to really think about what you want, you know, I think that both from the candidate, what kind of employee or executive, what do you want and what kind of job do you want? But you know, I said it, there’s something called the power than tension. And if you get, if you take the time to be clear on what you want, you’re going to get a lot closer to actually getting it. So that’s what I would say.

 

Chad | Sprockets:

No, that makes good sense. I’m very clear on things that also makes it easier to assess them cause you know exactly what you’re looking for. You’re not going into the interview kind of haphazard. Right. Yeah. That’s great stuff. Well, I thank everybody on the line for joining us with a talent talk today. Hope you enjoyed it. And uh, we will be with you soon for another episode. Take care.

When to Prioritize Soft Skills Over Experience

When to Prioritize Soft Skills Over Experience Sprockets

When it comes to recruiting a team of solid employees, you may need to prioritize soft skills over experience. There are often aspects of a prospective employee’s personality that may override any lack of experience, such as determination or intellect. After all, someone who has extensive experience may not fit right with your company because they have different personality traits and values. 

A young, inexperienced candidate may have the right soft skills for the job you are hiring for. They will interact with their fellow employees and customers and keep an open mind about improving. A candidate with lots of employee experience may become cynical and simply want to get paid for the false security that they bring as a good employee on paper.

Although someone with years of experience may require less training and liabilities, they may not be a good cultural fit.

When to Prioritize Soft Skills

Entry Level Positions

When you are hiring for an entry-level position, experience may not be necessary. Yet, companies often still put education or experience requirements for a job that is easily learned. In this case, getting rid of requirements can attract more candidates that may be a better fit for their company. For example, Chick-fil-A is better suited to find people who fit their unique culture and then develop their skills.

Trainable Positions

The automotive industry is the perfect example of where personality is more important than technical skills. There are many jobs in the automotive field that don’t require a lot of experience because they can be trained. A candidate with the right mental makeup can be handed a wrench or an impact gun and be instructed on how to rotate a set of tires or how to record brake wear inspections. The most important aspect of hiring a trainee is that they accept the instruction of their peers and are willing to learn and grow.

An employee must have the soft skills of accepting direction and working with others in this scenario. These employees may be willing to accept lower salaries because they are coming on board through an apprentice program. 

Culture-Centric Company

If your company is very culture-centric, prioritizing soft skills and cultural fit is crucial to an individual’s success. Choosing someone who will match your outgoing team who is willing to learn may be a better fit than someone who has more experience but keeps to themselves. While the candidate with more experience may be the obvious choice at first, they won’t thrive within an outgoing culture if they are forced to work in an environment that does not suit them.

 

How to Assess Soft Skills

During an Interview

Assessing soft skills during an interview can be difficult. Other than sensing if someone is outgoing or shy, other traits like intellect and morality are difficult to assess. Preparing with specialized interview questions is important to using interview time well.

Here are a few interview questions we recommend to assess soft skills.

Utilizing Pre-Hire Assessments

Our Applicant Matching System utilizes Artificial Intelligence and Psycholinguistics to determine the mental makeup of your company’s top performers. From there, all candidates who take the survey are associated with a Mental Makeup Analysis. They are also matched against their Success Profile to see if they match well with the company. The Mental Makeup Analysis shows their top personality traits and values.

In conclusion, assessing soft skills is a great way to expand your candidate pool from those who simply have the best resume or education. Consider using soft skills as an extra tool to finding and hiring the best employees for your company.


Learn more about how Sprockets helps you assess soft skills and mental makeup in order to make the best hires for your company.

Plus, check out our podcast with guest Laura Camacho that discusses interview tips, body language, and communication styles.

A woman shaking hands with someone, giving a first impression

The Impact of First Impressions on Hiring

The Impact of First Impressions on Hiring 1200 600 Sprockets

Do a quick internet search for “the most important things to do at a job interview,” and you’ll no doubt see many results about making a good first impression. Advice on making a good impression ranges from picking out the right clothing to perfecting a strong handshake. There’s no doubt that hiring managers and recruiters really do care a great deal about first impressions, but there is a strong argument that first impressions are tied to hiring errors more often than any other factor.

Research has found that most people form impressions about personality based on facial appearance within a few milliseconds of meeting another person. Most business owners who’ve had to hire employees know that it’s easy to judge someone based on how they look. Maybe you’ve made assumptions about a job candidate’s friendliness or customer service skills based on appearance. The problem with this approach is that first impressions are often inaccurate.

Of course, the fact that first impressions aren’t always accurate doesn’t mean that they don’t have a place in hiring. It just means that it’s important for hiring managers and business owners to rely more on data-driven hiring methods than on their first instincts when hiring. At Sprockets, we believe that your personal insights are more valuable when paired with pre-hire candidate assessments. Learn how first impressions are used during the hiring process so that you can lead your organization towards hiring practices that rely on hard data instead.

 

Taking a Closer Look at First Impressions

We’ve all heard that making a great first impression is essential in both our professional and personal lives. If you’ve been through a high-pressure job interview, you likely worried beforehand about the impression you’d make. As an interviewer, you’ve probably made snap judgments about job candidates on at least a few occasions. That’s because humans are programmed to judge others based on their facial appearance. We all have first impression biases that are shaped by our culture and by our families.

No doubt you can think of a time when your first impression about someone was wrong. Many humans still depend on first impressions to make important decisions. You’ve probably been right about people more often than you were wrong about them, and you believe that your instincts will be just as accurate when you interview job candidates. You’re certainly not alone in your assumptions. Thirty-three percent of hiring managers say that they know if they’ll hire someone within seconds of meeting them.

Relying on these first instincts, however, is a big mistake during hiring. Data-driven hiring reveals that working based on first impressions can lead you to hire the wrong people more often than not and to miss out on the most promising candidates. Why? Some candidates who are actually weak performers on the job know-how to present themselves well. Other candidates who have incredible potential may be too nervous to make the best first impression possible.

There is also convincing evidence that good judges of character can only make accurate conclusions about people who are being honest. Unless the person you’re interviewing is very bad at lying, you’re not likely to get an accurate impression of their character. Many applicants lie about important work experience or education information. Of course, good first impressions that are based on inaccurate information provide nothing of value to the hiring process.

How Hiring Assessments Can Offset First Impression Bias

First impression bias can impede effective hiring. Thankfully, there are HR tech solutions designed to help you look past first impressions to overall candidate quality. One of the most powerful tools in your recruitment arsenal should be hiring assessments. Such assessments use tested metrics and data to determine how well a given candidate might fit an open position. Assessments can be tailored to reflect the needs of your industry and the culture of your organization. Sprockets is proud to provide assessment solutions that are tailored to the unique needs of those filling high-turnover positions.

Pairing your first impressions of a job candidate with the data you glean from pre-hire assessments is an effective way to pick the right hire. Assessments show you if the candidates you favor have the skills and personality traits to succeed in your workplace. If you move towards using assessments, be sure to provide appropriate training to your hiring managers. It’s important to talk to team members responsible for hiring employees about the shortfalls of relying on first impressions in hiring so that they better understand why they should weigh their own impressions against assessment data.

Using a standardized assessment for all potential employees mitigates bias in the hiring process. That’s because assessments outweigh the unconscious biases we all have. It’s also because you’ll have assessment data to back up your hiring decisions if you are questioned by an unhappy job candidate or government agency. Remember that not all candidate assessments are created equal. You should work with an experienced assessment company that can clearly explain the metrics used to assess potential hires. Having a comprehensive understanding of how the assessment process works will help you better use assessment results to your advantage. Knowing how your assessments work is also essential to mitigating hiring discrimination charges.

Of course, using pre-hire assessments doesn’t mean that you don’t need to think about the first impression a candidate makes. You should look at your initial interactions with job candidates to determine how they might react to your clients. You should also pay attention to any gut instincts that something is off with a job candidate. If you have a very negative first impression of a candidate who does well on an assessment, spend some extra time checking their employment references. Remember that accurate, high-quality information always benefits the hiring process.

 

If you’re ready to transform your hiring process, contact us today. Click here to learn more.

 

A computer with a coding program up

Hard Skills Tests that Complement Sprockets

Hard Skills Tests that Complement Sprockets 2048 1366 Sprockets

We believe that our predictive hiring assessments are the solution for any business. Our Applicant Matching System can predict which applicants will thrive within your company based on their mental makeup. This is because often, hard skills can be taught, while soft skills cannot.

However, we recognize that some positions do require a foundation of skills. For those positions, we recommend a hard skills assessment as a complement to our Applicant Matching System. After all, they may be a great engineer like Steve Jobs, but if they don’t fit into your culture, they won’t stay.

Here are a few highly raved about hard skills assessments.

Custom Hard Skills Test

Skillmeter

Skillmeter lets managers build their own tests in their chosen format. They also offer pre-defined tests for common skills, such as coding languages and Microsoft Office skills.

ClassMarker

ClassMarker can be used for assessing a candidate’s knowledge through  quiz questions. Questions are created by the hiring manager as well as the answers to be matched against.

Testing with Real Examples

Lytmus

Lytmus tests are unique in that they are done in a real platform. Each candidate gets an Ubuntu workspace with tasks chosen by the hiring manager to complete and are then analyzed.

Variety of Skills Testing

Interview Mocha

Interview Mocha offers a variety of skills tests that are pre-made. From IT skills, to coding languages, and even cognitive tests.

Hundred5

Hundred5 offers access to pre-made screening tests for a variety of skillsets and checks their answers. In addition, they also offer candidate sourcing campaigns, unlike competitors.

Assessments for Programmers and Developers

Codility 

Codility is a platform to assess candidates’ skills by testing their coding skills online and provides automatically scored reports about their abilities.

HackerRank 

HackerRank is a skills tool to standardize technical recruiting for developer positions. Additionally, the platform also produces a report on their score and match rating.

A smiling businesswoman

How to Execute a Great Candidate Experience

How to Execute a Great Candidate Experience 1200 600 Sprockets

The days of leaving candidates waiting for a response to their application or their status in the hiring process are long gone. A poor candidate experience not only turns applicants away, it can spread, to deter even more job seekers away from your company. The best candidate experience considers every connection during the process, optimizing each step along the way.

 

Step 1: Before They Apply 

Your online presence is critical to attracting candidates, but too often businesses neglect to keep it positive and current. A recent study revealed 83% of job seekers will research a company before applying. They’re evaluating what a company does, what it stands for, and how it has treated applicants in the past. It’s a sad commentary that the majority of job seekers, 60%, have had a negative candidate experience. It can be devastating to the hiring process to learn that of those 60%, 72% have posted negative comments on social networks and job sites like Glassdoor. Negative comments are costing you talent. Stay current with your online presence: encourage positive comments and work to correct any negative remarks to keep job seekers interested and excited about joining your ranks.

Step 2: During the Application Process 

Job seekers are looking for an application process that’s fast, easy, and intuitive. In a recent survey, 55% of job seekers admit to abandoning up to five applications during their search. Length and complexity may add to their frustration: keep it short and simple. Mobile applications today are a must. Over 90% of applicants use their phones to find open positions. A website that’s mobile-friendly captures their attention and application immediately.

If your job application process directs candidates to a job page on your site, make sure it’s easy to use and puts your company in the best possible light. A short process is a must, but many companies don’t take the opportunity to market their recruitment and employer brand. The majority of sites, 59%, do not include content that explains why a job seeker would want to work for them. Every touchpoint in the application process is an opportunity to boost your brand. Including the plusses of working with you can net more applications and hires in the job description. Utilizing predictive hiring solutions ensure you make the right decision — the first time around.

Step 3: Scheduling the Interviews 

Candidates are looking for an immediate response to their application and an HR professional who acts quickly to pre-screen and schedule moves ahead in the talent wars. Businesses shouldn’t play phone tag with applicants and department heads to put everyone in the same room. Scheduling software simplifies the hiring process, allowing applicants to pick a time that works for them when all the relevant shareholders are available. Scheduling platforms save time and emphasize your company is tech-savvy. Easy to schedule interviews aid in creating a positive candidate experience.

Step 4: Continuing Communication 

Constant contact with prospects is key. A new trend, ghosting employers, has been on the rise. One study found 41% of applicants believed it was reasonable to simply stop communicating with an employer during the hiring process. 48% of applicants thought it was necessary to do so in the earliest stages. Establishing a relationship with a candidate translates that you’re interested and excited to have them meet with you. The more you connect with applicants during the hiring process the more opportunity you have to boost your employer brand and the less chance you have of being ghosted.

Step 5: Speak Their Language 

When you know the traits and characteristics you’re looking for in a new team member, it’s easier to appeal to those strengths during the interview process. The candidates you’re interviewing are thoughtful and methodical: provide them with step-by-step details of your process, giving them the structure they need. If you’re interviewing for an outgoing, communicative role: make sure you include extra time to chat when you connect with them. Tech candidates may be more relaxed speaking virtually. Speaking to their strengths shows you understand who they are and what they bring to the table.

Step 6: Deliver on Promises 

Once a candidate has begun the application/interview process, it’s important for a business to meet its deliverables: if you say you’re going to call, make sure you do. Job seekers who were given feedback on interview day were 52% more likely to continue their relationship with a potential employer. That included reapplying with the company, referring friends, or even making purchases from them. Let job seekers know how they’ve done. Also, let them know what the next step(s) will be and when they can expect to hear from you. Be sure to make good on all your promises.

Step 7: Fill in Lag Time 

For some jobs and employers, a job offer on the spot is routine. For others, it’s just not possible to do so. But while you’re waiting for reference checks or other lags between interviews and offers, keep the lines of communication open. Stay in contact with the candidate by sending information about benefits and perks or arranging coffee with potential colleagues. If you believe they’re a strong candidate, keep reinforcing you’re excited about bringing them on board. Anything you can do to keep their interest and boost your brand can help convert a candidate to a new hire.

Candidate experience is critical to attract, recruit, and convert top talent. The best job seekers in today’s tight market are examining every point of contact along the recruitment process. They’re evaluating your company as much, if not more, than you’re evaluating them.

A positive candidate experience reflects a positive employee experience. Job seekers want to work for a company that responds to their needs and wants. If your experience for candidates reflects those core values, you’ll net top talent for every job you post.

Final Step: Beyond the Right Hire 

Once you’ve found the best candidate for the job, work hard to keep them on board. Keeping new hires (and everyone) happy at work begins with respect. One study revealed encouraging employees to identify and build on their unique attributes and strengths was critical to employee satisfaction. 


Sprockets is a predictive hiring system designed for small and large businesses alike. With unlimited predictive assessments for only $99/month, you can’t afford to miss out. Learn how Sprockets can assist you in matching the right hire to your company.
Two women in a successful candidate interview

How to Prepare for Successful Candidate Interviews

How to Prepare for Successful Candidate Interviews 1458 964 Sprockets

You’ve found a selection of candidates to interview for your opening and you’re juggling schedules to get them on site. You hope to be successful in finding a candidate that’s the perfect fit for the work, the team, and the organization. Predictive hiring tools, along with careful preparation, are recommended to get the best hires. To hedge your bets, getting ready for the interview is as important as the interview itself. Like everything in life, it’s all about the prep.

 

Step 1: Determine Who Should be Involved

Who participates in the hiring process is mission-critical. Recruiters typically screen for the basics: is their resume accurate; are they who they say they are; what are their basic skills, communication, etc. From there often a hiring manager will follow up with job-specific questions.

In today’s time-to-hire pressure-cooker environment, it might make sense to rethink who is involved, and when. Can you build questions into the process for the recruiter to save managerial time? Is there a need to go beyond basics and delve deeper into the candidate’s soft skills? Who will assess these? Assigning the right person to each task can result in a more cohesive hiring process and hiring decision faster and get more successful hires.

Step 2: Find Out What You Don’t Know

Do you know what you don’t know when it comes to hiring specific candidates?

Many companies today are dipping their toes into tech waters, for example. Those who previously outsourced tech are finding it’s more cost-effective and efficient to have an in-house employee. But few have the skills to assess a candidate’s technology chops. The same can be said of other uncharted avenues companies are exploring.

Who will interview these candidates? Who has the knowledge base to verify they know what they’re talking about? Prepping for these interviews can be critical. A bad tech hire, for example, can mean more than a bad employee: the impact they might have on data, privacy and your reputation could be devastating. Preparing for interviews where you’re unsure of your knowledge base might require bringing in a consultant. It begins with understanding what you don’t know.

Step 3: Determine Interview Process & Employee Involvement

Does your typical hiring process dictate this will be the first of many interviews or will a decision be made on the spot? In today’s tight applicant market a lengthy interview process could mean a lost candidate. If you’re hoping to snag talent before someone else has the chance, can you consolidate several interviews into one longer session? Rather than having HR prescreen, then schedule a follow-up interview at a later date, consider having hiring authorities, team members, and others at the ready, if the candidate is worthy of passing up the ladder.

Step 4: Look Beyond the Resume

A new focus is on soft skills/emotional intelligence like leadership, strong communication skills, and the potential to learn and grow. EI may be as strong an arbiter of success as background and qualifications, but screening for these may be challenging. Does every role require leadership abilities? Would adding a new hire with them to enhance or disrupt a team that already has strong leaders in place? What type of communicator will likely succeed in the job or with the group? A deep understanding of what the role requires is key to affect a successful hire. Scheduling interviewers who are adept at delving deeper than the resume to find the right fit may be as important as verifying experience and degrees.


When you’re ready to hire, make sure you’re also ready to interview. Sprockets’ predictive hiring solution, the Applicant Matching System, can help.