Using Saville Wave for More Effective Recruitment Interviews

I previously wrote about using psychometric inventories (more frequently called personality assessments) for better decision-making in recruitment. Many readers have asked me to be more specific and to discuss a specific instrument to better aid their understanding of how the process might work. This posting is in response to those requests.

The instrument I’ll use as an example is the Saville Wave personality questionnaires – there are two versions users can opt for: Professional Styles which is used in more senior level recruitment and development, and Focus Styles which is suitable for general talent shortlisting, hiring and development. Both are based on Wave Styles and the resulting report explores an individual’s motives, preferences, needs and talents in critical work areas.

The Saville Wave personality questionnaires are considered to be the most powerful predictors of workplace performance and potential, and one of its key strengths is that it is the only psychometric tool to identify alignment between work motives and individual talent. So not only does it indicate a person’s ability (skill or talent) in terms of an important work-related behaviour, but it also indicates their willingness or motivation to perform that work-related behaviour. If a particular behaviour is required for success in a specific job, it is neither effective nor efficient to hire someone who is skilled in that behaviour but is unwilling to or dislikes doing it!

Another strength is that the same Saville Wave personality questionnaires can be used for recruitment, on-boarding, career and performance development, leadership potential, etc, which means that everybody involved, whether HR recruitment, HR talent management, line managers, or senior management, are talking and understanding the same language. This has proven to give companies greater consistency and alignment in their people management.

So how does it work?

Saville Wave reports are structured into four clusters of Thought, Influence, Adaptability and Delivery.

  • The Thought cluster is focused on developing ideas, from analysing problems and showing interest in underlying principles through to being more expansive and divergent in thought by being creative and strategic.
  • The Influence cluster relates to communication and working with others. It is concerned with establishing positive relationships with people and demonstrating positive leadership behaviours.
  • The Adaptability cluster covers areas of emotional, behavioural and social adaptability, respectively.
  • The Delivery cluster is focused on implementation and delivery of results, from ensuring high standards of delivery through to proactively making things happen.

Each of the four cluster has three sections, and each section has three dimensions, giving a total of 36 dimensions. These 36 dimensions of work related behaviours form the Focus Styles reports and include the most important behaviours in all work contexts. The Focus Styles report is the one most widely used.

However, each of these 36 dimensions are further comprised of three underlying facets of work related behaviours to provide 108 facets in total in the Expert Styles reports. The more detailed Expert Styles report is mainly only used in high level positions

You can view an example of an Expert Report here. This shows the 36 dimensions as well as the full 108 facets of work-related behaviours that are examined in the personality questionnaires.

For recruitment purposes, a company will determine which of the 36 dimensions are the most important behaviours required to do a particular job well – they usually also identify which are required to do the job exceptionally well. How people rate and rank themselves against these particular dimensions are highlighted in the report. A useful feature of the Wave reports is that they have an in-built mechanism to detect manipulation or people pretending to be something they are not – such behaviour will show inconsistencies in responses and will be highlighted in the report.

There is an Interview Guide version of the Wave report which goes further than the Focus Styles or Expert Styles reports. This identifies areas an interviewer needs to explore in more detail with a candidate, and even provides a list of increasingly probing questions to ask the candidate about these areas of concern. This ensures that all important areas of performance are explored with candidates, and any crucial area that a candidate seems to be challenged in are properly investigated.

An example of an Interview Guide can be viewed here.

Hopefully this brief article has provided a useful example of how a psychometric instrument such as the Saville Wave can take a lot of the ‘hit and miss’ out of recruitment interviewing. While a Wave report can cost about SGD $200, this is insignificant when you consider that the real costs involved in a bad hiring decision are roughly three times the annual salary of the position. Furthermore, the use of a professional instrument such as Saville Wave provides a professional experience for candidates which starts a good relationship with a potential employee and protects the company’s brand.

Personality Assessments to Make Hiring Decisions More Effective

Getting the hiring decision wrong can be expensive for the organisation, frustrating at a minimum but with possible serious consequences for the hiring manager, and have a negative effect on the career and self-esteem of the mis-fitting new hire who won’t be able to perform well.

Bad hiring decisions occur for a variety of reasons but are usually due to a lack of real clarity on what type of individual is required for the vacant position. What behaviours are essential for a person to have to do the job well and which are desirable? If a person is lacking in one or two required behaviours, will they be able to acquire them or not? What kind of person will fit into the company’s work environment and culture? What potential has the candidate to develop in this role?

These are all important questions that need to be answered in reaching a decision to hire. However, even a well-prepared interview and trained interviewers would not be able to surface this level of required information. They may also struggle to identify the behaviours critical to the role. Other processes to assist the interviewers are required. There are two things that can ensure more focused interviews and more effective hiring decisions.

The first is a process to identify the most essential behaviours and skills required to do the job. This can be further divided into the minimum requirements – i.e. those behaviours and skills, and at what level, are required to simply do the job satisfactorily; and behaviours and skills that are desirable and would enable the job holder to perform well. A properly trained career advisor can facilitate this process either in a small group working in a structured way, or by an even simpler online job profiler tool.

The second process to ensure more effective hiring decisions is to use personality assessments (psychometric inventories). The better ones will identify and rate a candidate’s work behaviours both in terms of their ability in using them and their actual desire or motivation to do so. There is little point in hiring someone for an essential skill or behaviour is they don’t like to use it or have little motivation to do so. One of the underlying principles of these kind of assessments is that past behaviour is a good indicator of future performance.

For jobs that require special abilities such as verbal analysis or written communication, numerical ability and analysis, special awareness, or abstract reasoning, aptitude assessments can be used. The better ones will analyse both the level of current performance and the actual speed of doing so – quick mental analysis may be important in some jobs such as an air traffic controller or a stock or financial trader.

The results of a personality assessment will not only reveal a person’s strengths and possible weakness, and whether they possess the required behaviours for a position, but will also highlight areas that the interviewers need to probe further in a discussion with the candidate. Such lines of questioning will ensure that the interviewers will delve sufficiently deep to reveal the level of skill or behaviour that the candidate truly has. It will also identify areas that the candidate might need extra training in or inform their development plan. There is even a personality assessment that actually identifies specific questions to ask a candidate.

These additional ‘processes’ described above provide a balanced structure for a job interview. No longer do the hiring managers have to think about what questions they should ask candidates – the output of the personality assessments indicate what the interviewers need to discuss with the candidates.

Creativity and Innovation require different support structures

Creativity and innovation need to be supported and nurtured

In a recent article, I explained that, though the terms are frequently used interchangeably, creativity and innovation are actually two different processes: Creativity is the birth of an idea, while innovation is actually doing something with that idea to create something of value. Each of these require separate supports for them to happen productively in organisations.

For creativity to happen, people working in an organisation must feel ‘safe’ to share or articulate their ideas. The bemoaners and the hecklers are the killers of creativity in organisations – if people are belittled, made fun of or humiliated in any way for sharing seemingly bizarre or wacky ideas, employees soon stop sharing them. Making fun of new ideas is the surest way to stop creativity in an organisation. And all great ideas start out sounding somewhat strange or unworkable, somewhat silly or impractical. What happens the moment an employee shares an idea determines whether an organisation will be creative.

If senior management want their organisation to be creative, they must introduce support processes that encourage and nurture ideas. Ideas should be encouraged and rewarded, and it must be made clear to everybody that ideas are not only welcomed but represent the very future of the organisation – organisations lacking creativity fall into decline and eventually disappear. So managers and team leaders need to be educated about creativity – they need to understand what it is and how to encourage and support it. As those in direct contact with staff, managers and team leaders are key in promoting creativity – if they are the ones who make fun of ideas by saying something like “don’t be ridiculous – that will never work” or “get real – be practical”, creativity will be stifled no matter what senior management say.

And when an organisation successfully creates an atmosphere conducive to creativity where employees share lots of ideas, all of these ideas must be treated delicately and nurtured. Some won’t develop into something of value now (but might in the future, so don’t disregard any!), but a few will if they are supported at birth. When an idea is turned into something useful – into something of value, this is innovation. For innovation to flourish in organisations, support processes are required. Again senior management must be seen to support the innovation process. This process will be somewhat different in each organisation, but essentially it must be one where failure is acceptable – most ideas don’t develop into something useful on the first attempt, so the organisation must treat failure as feedback and learn from it. Employees involved must feel safe to fail and when they do, they will repeatedly try until they succeed. It is the trying that makes an organisation innovative.

The difference between creativity and innovation

The terms ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’ are frequently used interchangeably and many people perceive them to mean the same thing. Such usage of the terms confuses managers and others who need to lead change, creativity and innovation in organisations. The reality is that the terms have different meanings and refer to completely different functions within the creative and innovative process.

Creativity is the sparking of an idea – it is the birth of an idea. It is that “aha” moment when the solution to a problem suddenly comes to you – usually when you are not thinking directly of it as you are having a shower or taking a relaxing stroll! At other times, the creative idea comes from a long process of discovery such as through scientific investigation. Either way, it is still only an idea – a thought until something is done with it.

Innovation is taking that idea and doing something with it. Innovation brings the idea to life – it is when the idea is turned into something useful, something of value.

A good example that shows the separation and difference between idea generation (creativity) and doing something with the idea (innovation) is the invention of the Post-It pad. Post-it pads were created by accident at 3M. One of their scientists, Dr Spencer Silver, was working on developing a very strong adhesive when one of his attempts produced a weak adhesive instead. However, there is no such thing as failure in 3M, as they seek to learn from every experiment (that is why they are probably the most innovative company in the world). So Silver presented his results to others in the company. One of those present, Art Fry, remembered the idea five years later when he was contemplating how to keep bookmarks from falling out of his hymn book. He thought of the not-so-sticky adhesive and developed it into what we all now know as Post-it pads. Here there was a five year time gap between the idea and making something of value with it.

creativity innovation training
There is a difference between creativity and innovation

The difference between creativity and innovation has implications for how managers encourage and facilitate both in organisations. Fostering, encouraging and enabling creativity requires particular actions and measures. These are quite different to the processes and activities that are required to ensure that ideas are brought to fruition – that facilitate innovation.

Performance Reviews: The Lesser Evil?

Performance reviews have become a tool for the majority of employers.

But, are they really an accurate reading of an employee’s importance to the company?  More importantly, has anyone ever questioned the validity of performance reviews?

The overarching belief is that performance reviews don’t vary much and that most employees get a rating of “above-average,” with very few receiving poor scores.  There is also the belief that good performers remain good, while bad performers remain bad.

Another question asked about performance reviews is in regards to how they are used.  Do they usually mean a pay increase for good performers, or are they used as an incentive for improving the performance of mediocre employees?

A recent study examined performance reviews and their relation to continued employee performance over a seven-year period. The research was conducted by Peter Cappelli (Professor of Management at Wharton) and Martin Conyon (Professor at Bentley University).

Here are some of the findings:

  • The upward rating of “average” employees to slightly above “average” appeared frequently.
  • Higher scores resulting from a chummy superior/subordinate relationship were not observed. 
  • Also noted was a tendency toward a greater number of “poor” scores than “excellent” scores.
  • The most surprising result of the study was the lack of evidence for good performers being rated that way year after year.
  • The idea that good performers remained good, average performers remained average, or bad performers remained bad was found to be without basis.  While a consistently bad performer tended to be fired, the notion of performance reviews remaining constant over the long term was not supported.

The study also revealed that the review process was looked at by supervisors as more of a continuing relationship, with commensurate rewards for performance improvements.  Poor performers, according to the study, were disproportionately denied pay raises when compared to average or better performers.

Granted, the study only involved the experiences of one company, but no evidence exists elsewhere to dispute these findings.

According to the researchers, the validity, or lack of, regarding performance reviews seems to exist without any real evidence. For those campaigning to remove performance reviews from the appraisal process, perceived lack of reliability is conveniently cited as a valid reason.  But, when the facts are laid out, performance reviews are still the most reliable short-term tool for rating and improving employee performance.

One Foolproof Way to Achieve Your Goals

The key to achieving any kind of goal is maintaining a focused effort. This might seem like a no-brainer, but if you’ve ever tried to achieve anything, you know that it’s much harder than it seems on paper. It is difficult to sustain that kind of focus in our daily lives. The pace of our lives makes it difficult to remember what we need to do the exact moment it needs to be done in order to achieve our goals, because goals do not have the same concreteness that daily living does.

How do you achieve any goal? Break it down into much smaller goals. How do you meet those smaller goals? Create “reminders through association” to cue the action needed to advance through the steps of a goal. Essentially, these are intentional reminders, kind of like leaving yourself a note. But, don’t just leave yourself a reminder. Put it somewhere you will be able to act upon the reminder.

By associating an object with an action, every time you see that object you will be prompted to perform the action. For example, placing a chin-up bar in a doorway to remind you to work on your upper body strength. Every time you go through that doorway, you will see the bar and be reminded to do a few pull-ups, thus breaking down the goal of increasing upper body strength into manageable sub-goals of, say, 20 pull-ups a day.

Think about it. What goals do you have that require some seriously focused effort? Are you trying to walk more, drink more water, or even increase your sales network? What steps do you need to take to achieve those goals that can be tied to an intentional physical reminder? Is it as simple as placing your water bottle next to your mouse to remind you to take a drink, or putting a paper note on the door to remind you to take the stairs? It could be. What about increasing your sales network? That requires phone calls, for which the reminder can be as simple as placing the list next to the phone. Every time you see it there, you will be reminded to make the required number of phone calls each day to meet your goal.

Any object that you can mentally associate with an action will increase your chances of achieving a goal. It’s a great way to form new habits and the best way to break down even the loftiest goals into manageable chunks. It’s nearly foolproof and scientifically proven to increase our ability to follow through on good intentions. So, find a reminder for your goals today!

Laying off employees: How To communicate and manage it the right way

A difficult task you might face as a member of management is letting someone go.

It is a situation that will stir up feelings of anxiety, sadness and compassion. Another feeling that surfaces is guilt.

It does not matter if you are letting someone go due to poor performance, company restructuring, budget cuts or another reason. These feelings still surface and could stay with you for a while following the termination meeting.

So how should you layoff employees gracefully, in a way that ensures the process goes as smooth as possible? Here are a few pointers.


Have a Training Program in Place

This is a general tip I wanted to provide before diving into other recommendations.

When you think about how many companies make news headlines due to wrongful termination lawsuits or disgruntled employees seeking revenge, having a training program that covers the topic of how to layoff employees, begins to make sense.

Every company needs to have its managers undergo training on how to properly let someone go from their business.

A good training program can provide a proper process with details on how to handle each termination correctly, regardless of the reason behind it.

It is a way for companies to ensure that managers are on the same page and following the same practices when laying off employees.

It can also help ease some of your anxiety when displacing employees because you will have a standardised procedures and a training manual to serve as a guide to help you get through the termination meeting.


Be Clear on Local Regulations

Do your research on laws for terminating employees.

This will ensure you follow the rule-book and are protected.


Practice

Practice makes perfect.

The more you practice, the more familiar the situation will become to you.

It is advisable to practice with another person, ideally someone from your human resources department. One of the most beneficial aspects of this practice, is role playing how the employee will respond to the situation.

An employee layoff meeting brings lots of emotion and different reactions into the room. Your employee may become emotional or angry. Or the person may show no outward signs of emotion and have no reaction at all to what you are telling them.

Role playing the possible employee responses will help you prepare an effective approach while keeping your emotions in check.

During the actual termination meeting as well, it’s best not to go alone. The situation becomes more manageable, both practically and legally, when you have multiple representatives.


Think About the Location & Time of Day

Find a private meeting room or a quiet office to hold the meeting. It helps you handle the difficult task at hand while respecting the employee’s dignity.

It is never easy to let someone go. Likewise, there is never an ideal time of day to lay off an employee.

Friday afternoon can be a good time to deliver the message. By letting someone go on a Friday afternoon, you are lowering the chance for office gossip when other employees begin to notice the employee’s absence. It also gives the displaced employee the weekend to process what took place and to formulate a plan for their next move.

Another alternative is to deliver the news towards the beginning of the week, since that will let you stay in control of the situation and actively manage the remaining employees.


Be Direct

It’s best to be direct and to the point.

You can start the meeting by stating you have some difficult news to deliver, so that the employee is prepped for bad news. Then gently let them know their time with the company has come to an end.

At this point, you may provide the employee with a folder containing information on a severance package if your company offers this upon termination.

You can choose to remain in the room or you can turn the meeting over to the human resources person or outplacement consultant you brought into the meeting with you. They can explain details of the exact next steps and exit formalities.


Explain

You should provide some sort of explanation for why the employee is being laid off.

Often a general, but factually correct reason, works well.


Stay Focused

As the employee begins to process the fact that he or she is now unemployed, a range of emotions come rushing to the surface.

The employee may beg for you not to fire him. She may bring up a family circumstance, such as having a child in private school, as a means to try and change your mind.

Your primary task in this situation is to keep your focus on the task at hand. Do not allow your emotions to become a part of the meeting and do not get drawn into a discussion.

If the employee begins to ask many questions and tries to engage in lengthy dialogue, offer to hold a meeting with him later in the week. This keeps your emotions in check and your focus on bringing the meeting to an end efficiently. In most cases, the employee will not take you up on the offer to meet at a later date.


Be Kind

Offer to help, in ways that you can, such as providing a good reference letter and networking contacts.

Also try not to treat the employee like a criminal, by having them escorted out of the building within a certain time.

You can arrange for them to come by the office to clear their belongings and take care of formalities, when their colleagues are not around.

Hopefully these recommendations on how to lay off an employee will make the process go much easier for you.

Beware of Narcissists when conducting a job interview

Narcissism – “the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes. The term originated from Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.”

According to a recent study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, narcissism can help candidates greatly when it comes to job interviews.

In simulated job interviews, individuals showcasing narcissistic behavior scored much higher than more down-to-earth, modest or reserved individuals.


Narcissists are usually good at self-promotion during job interview, which they do by:

  • Actively engaging in the conversation.
  • Speaking at length.
  • Using ingratiation tactics such as smiling, gesturing and complimenting.

This enables them to show off their skill sets more effectively, and to project implied self-confidence and industry expertise.

Peter Harms, an assistant professor of management, who led the study at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, had this to say: “This is one setting where it’s OK to say nice things about yourself and there are no ramifications. In fact, it’s expected. Simply put, those who are comfortable doing this tend to do much better than those who aren’t.”

The study, which was done in two parts, focused on the effectiveness of narcissistic behaviors (that are typically considered maladjusted in day-to-day activities) in a job interview situation.

In the first leg of the study, participants were filmed in simulated interview situations. It was found that narcissists were more likely to self-promote. What was more surprising, however, was how the individuals behaved when challenged by the interviewer; non-narcissists applicants began to back off, while narcissists only increased their attempts to self-promote and prove themselves.

According to Harms, this was because, “When feeling challenged, they tend to double down. It’s as if they say ‘Oh, you’re going to challenge me? Then I’m not just great, I’m fantastic.’ And in this setting, it tended to work.”

The second part of the study had 222 evaluators rate videos of interviewees with similar job skill levels, but varying levels of narcissistic tendencies. Consistently, raters were significantly more likely to prefer those with narcissistic behaviors.

Harms said the raters’ behavior showed that “what is getting narcissists the win is the delivery. These results show just how hard it is to effectively interview, and how fallible we can be when making interview judgments. We don’t necessarily want to hire narcissists, but might end up doing so because they come off as being self-confident and capable.”

The study aims to increase awareness of this bias. Researchers hope the results will help interviewers understand when an applicant shows true promise, and when they are simply being narcissistic. Unless, of course, those behaviors are welcomed in the job they are applying for.

Harms offered this final piece of reflection on the study: “On the whole, we find very little evidence that narcissists are more or less effective workers. But what we do know is that they can be very disruptive and destructive when dealing with other people on a regular basis. If everything else is equal, it probably is best to avoid hiring them.”

Before hiring your next candidate, find out if they have purpose

Purpose-oriented employees are those that:

  • Have the potential for leadership.
  • Actively recruit other valuable talent.
  • Refer others to their organisation.
  • Value their colleagues and are dedicated to helping them.
  • Feel that their job is satisfying.

According to a new study, such employees make up around 28% of the workforce and are extremely valuable.

Employees who are purpose-oriented see work in the same way they do the rest of their lives, as personal fulfillment and a chance to assist others. They don’t view their ‘personal life’ and ‘work life’ as separate things, which should never cross paths. They bring their whole self to work.

As per the Workplace Purpose Index study performed by Imperative (a career site and consulting company) – employees with a purposeful mindset benefit your team/company for many reasons, including the ability to work across a range of functions, while outperforming the other 3/4ths of the workforce.

While purpose-oriented people do tend to be attracted toward educational and non-profit sectors, they exist in every industry out there as well.

Aaron Hurst, Imperative’s founder, knows all about being purposed oriented in the workplace. As the author of the book, “The Purpose Economy,” Hurst has written volumes on this topic.

So how do you identify purpose-oriented people to include into your team? Here are some tips:

  1. Ask candidates what they would do if they won 10 million dollars. Purpose-oriented people will talk about things that will impact people’s lives and make them better, as opposed to leisure activities or things they will buy with the money.
  2. You can also ask about their relationship with past co-workers and if they are in touch with many of them. If they talk about co-workers in a very formal business-like fashion and are not in touch with them, then they didn’t really value their colleagues. Also they probably weren’t inclined to genuinely help them.
  3. Find out if they got any of their friends to join their previous companies and why.
  4. Probe to see how satisfied/happy they were at work and if they felt fortunate to work with previous organisations and teams.

Video Interviewing: Expert Q&A with Saundra Wade

The Internet is great, opening up our businesses to the entire globe, but it does have its downfalls. Sometimes, you just don’t know who you’re dealing with or what you’re going to get.

While that may not be a big deal when ordering bed sheets, you don’t want to mess around when it comes to hiring employees for your business.

Created in 2007, Sonru is an automated video interviewing software that allows a potential candidate to record their video interview at their own time, letting them put their best face forward, and letting recruiters have a large pool of interviews at their disposal, when it’s time to hire.

Sonru’s Saundra Wade took a moment to tell us about the software/service.


Can you introduce us to Sonru?

Sonru is a company that offers a video interviewing solution that streamlines the recruiting process. Our HQ is in Wexford, Ireland, but we have offices around the globe in Singapore, UK, Europe, Australia, UAE and the US.

Sonru was founded in 2007 by our CEO, Ed Hendrick.

The idea of making the interview process simple and cost-effective came to Hendrick during his own job-hunting days.

He spent countless hours traveling from his home to various locations around the country for interviews that frequently lasted less than half an hour.

The name Sonru comes from the Irish phrase “Bí le Sonru,” which means to stand out. Our video interviewing solution enables candidates to do just that, and go beyond the CV.


Can you give us an overview of what Sonru does, and who is it meant for?

Sonru’s video interviewing solution is meant for recruiters and hiring managers, with the key goal to streamline the recruiting process.

Typically recruiters will sift through loads of CVs for each job, and then the next stage is to coordinate a phone screening with selected candidates. This takes a lot of time and effort to coordinate, and requires both the candidate and recruiter to connect at the same time.

Using Sonru, a recruiter can create a series of questions and send an invite to multiple candidates to complete their video interview by a certain deadline.

All candidates get the same questions, so it’s a level playing field and a fairer process. The candidate records their video interview at their own time, on a laptop or mobile device like an iPad or Android.

Once completed, a recruiter can quickly review the candidate videos and quickly create a shortlist of who to bring in for a face-to-face interview. They can also share videos with hiring managers, who can add comments and ratings.

This process saves huge amounts of time – in many cases recruiting time for roles can be reduced up to 50% over traditional phone screening methods – and brings the best candidates forward in the hiring process.


Sonru allows candidates to showcase their personalities. How does Sonru accomplish this, and why is this important, in this day and age?

It’s very difficult to get a sense of a candidate’s personality over the phone or from their CV.

A video interview lets you see the candidate, their body language, how they react to certain questions; it really lets them come alive.

By letting candidates showcase their personalities, Sonru gives you get a sense of a candidate’s overall fit for a role, and how they would fit into your company culture. It’s important to get a sense of this early in the process, as it avoids a lot of wasted time.


Similarly, Sonru allows recruiters to streamline their selection process. What are some ways Sonru facilitates this streamlining? How much time does a recruitment company stand to save, per month, using your services?

Simply not having to have two people connected at the same time saves a lot of hours in a week, as well as the level of effort required to coordinate a phone screen.

Candidates can complete their interviews on a mobile device using the Sonru Record app, and recruiters can quickly screen candidates in minutes on their desktop, laptop or mobile also using the Sonru Player app. They can really do it anywhere; we’ve had customers reviewing candidate video interviews on the train in to work.

In general, recruit time can be reduced up to 50% and first round screening time can be over 80%. You can imagine the time it would take to set up, say, 10 phone screens for candidates for a job. With Sonru, that can be done in minutes.

You translate that to the hours that a recruiter is spending on early-stage screening using phone interviews versus video, and the ROI is quickly evident.

It also avoids wasted time for hiring managers. Bringing them in earlier in the recruitment process makes it more collaborative, and by sharing the videos with hiring managers, they can be really sure that the people they bring in for a face-to-face interview are ones they want to meet with, and are of the highest quality.


You wrote a post recently about what is in store for video interviewing in 2015. What are some new developments in the field of video interviewing? Do you expect video interviewing to continue to catch on?

We certainly think so.

Video interviewing is definitely becoming more and more popular around the globe; we’ve seen phenomenal growth at Sonru since we started in 2007. It’s gone beyond the early adoption phase to where it’s more mainstream now. In recent surveys, we’ve seen 93% of candidates say they preferred a video interview over a phone interview, which says a lot.

I think the growth of mobile devices is key; in the last number of years we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of candidates completing a Sonru video interview on a mobile device. With the development of smart watches, you may see video interviews being done on those too.

Sonru has the lowest bandwidth requirements in the industry for video, so you’ll see video interviewing giving greater reach to recruiters to candidates around the world, and interviews being completed anytime and anywhere.

Millennials May Be Eager to Lead But Can They Rise to the Challenge?

As you know, in just a short amount of time millennials will occupy nearly every leadership role in the world. Whether in government, non-profits, education, or business, millennials are on track to fill the retiring Baby Boomers slots. And they’re eager to get those jobs. But even though they’re eager for all this responsibility are they truly ready for the challenge of leadership? And what can companies do to prepare them for it?

Millennials (the generation born between 1984 and 1996) are commonly known for their desire to work jobs that they not only find personally meaningful but that they also feel contribute to society at large. In a recent study on millennials across the world conducted by INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute (EMI), Universum, and the HEAD Foundation, more than 16,000 millennials were surveyed in 43 countries in an effort to study their values, workplace habits and career ambitions.

Although responses were different depending on regional geographic locations more than 41 percent of respondents world-wide indicated that becoming a leader or manger was very important to them. And the younger millennials indicated that coaching and mentoring were important pieces to holding a leadership position that they strongly desired.

Although such a large proportion wanted to be managers and leaders, only 21 percent of respondents indicated that they were interested in a fast-track career with frequent promotions. For millennials the primary goal is to foster a work-life balance that brings happiness. Not achieve high salaries and acquire a better job title. The second most important goal for the generation was to learn new things and to grow as individuals and millennials see work as a way to do that.

When work-life balance was compared to different career and salary aspects, work-life balance won by a landslide. 73 percent of millennials preferred having a better work-life balance than a higher salary and 82 percent said work-life balance was more important than their position or job title within their company. And perhaps most surprising, 42 percent of millennials would prefer to be unemployed than struggle through a job they hated. This might not bode well especially when companies are trying to fill undesirable positions.

So what do millennials fear the most? 40 percent (which was the largest percentage) said their biggest fear was getting stuck in a career that offered no growth potential or room to develop professionally.

Preparing the Next Generation of Leadership and giving millennials what they want/need

Although a large proportion of millennials want to be leaders at some point of their career, they will have to be lead to that position. Since they will spend a large portion of their work life following another’s leadership, companies must be prepared to groom millennials for their turn at the helm. So what can companies and managers do to help prepare millennials for their inevitable rise to leadership and give them what they need?

  • In Western Europe and North America, millennials reported that they desired managers who could empower them in their roles. Other regions didn’t indicate that this was as important. According to the survey, millennials connect empowerment with the ability to make decisions and is actually more of a conceptual desire rather than a practical work-related need.
  • The survey reports that North American millennials hate micromanagement while those in the Middle East want their managers to answer all their questions and have all the answers. Also, most regions preferred having more frequent feedback from their managers rather than the traditional annual performance assessment. With the survey’s findings many companies could make some minor changes and greatly influence their millennial workers for the better.
  • As employers seek to hire and retain millennials and prepare them for the next generation of leadership, companies can open up traditional career tracks and allow millennials to try different positions at the company and department hop.
  • From the results of the survey, it’s clear that employers need to provide benefits beyond salary, health care, and vacation days. Millennials crave growth and development, so instituting programs that teach new skills or allow millennials to sharpen the ones they have will foster company loyalty and prepare them for a successful career.

Despite what you might think, male and female millennials share very similar values. But a bigger gap seems to occur at the age level. Older millennials and younger millennials might need to be studied differently and approached with different tactics in order to prepare them for leadership positions adequately.

As more Baby Boomers prepare for retirement, millennials will be making their rise to the top. But as they currently stand, they’re not ready for the leadership roles. Companies will need to prepare them for success and can best do that by appealing to millennial values and preferences.

For more details do have a look at the study, which is an extremely detailed and well presented 6-part series.

Internal vs. External Hires – Should you promote from within or look outside?

Job openings are filled through a variety of methods. Sometimes a new employee is hired from outside sources, and at other times an employee is promoted from within the company.

Professor Matthew Bidwell, a Sloan Industry Studies Fellow, conducted some research to figure out the effect of these two different methods of hiring. The title of Bidwell’s study is “Paying More to Get Less: The Effects of External Hiring versus Internal Mobility.”

According to Bidwell, this subject has importance for managers when they contemplate where they source their employees from, particularly top-level employees.

He documented external hires vs. internal promotions from 2003 to 2009 in order to conduct his study. The organization he chose to monitor was a U.S. investment banking division.

He chose investment banking because he says that organizational performance is often dependent on the skills that are required to succeed in the field. In which case the importance of personnel decisions would increase. Bank also regularly hiring external candidate at all levels, so the setting was a good fit.

So what is the best route? Should you promote from within, or should you hire external personnel? Let’s see what the result of his research demonstrates as far as the costs and benefits of one method over the other.

External hires acquire considerably lower performance evaluations in the first two years on the job, as compared to internal employees who are promoted into comparable positions.

This is In part, because the worker may not develop the needed skill set and therefore, performance is not as worthy as it was projected. External hires also need “catch up” time to get familiar with the company, mainly to understand it’s ways of working and to build relationships. In the interim, the threat of failure is extensive.

In addition, they seem to have higher exit rates, and yet are paid “substantially more.” Approximately 18% to 20% more to be more precise. However, if external hires stay past two years, they get promoted quicker than those who are promoted from within the company.

During his research, Bidwell noted that when hiring external workers, their level of experience and education tended to be more substantial than that of an internal prospect. These components are also the cause of hiring external workers at a higher salary. In addition, external hires may negotiate a higher salary to leave their current position and move into the unfamiliar environment of the new position.

However, in Bidwell’s opinion, experience and education are not necessarily the strongest indicators about how well that candidate will perform their job.

Bidwell’s research paper demonstrates the benefits of internal promotions, which enable companies to staff higher-level positions with existing employees, at a lower rate and with better performance results.