Hiring An Executive? Try Simulation Interviewing.

When interviewing candidates for senior-level positions, a key is understanding who the candidate really is. A recent article from TalentManagement.com author Stuart Crandell suggests that business simulations take the guesswork out of finding the best person for the job.

Resumes and interviews are the go-to for hiring any new employee. However, executive roles require a little more information. How will this candidate handle a tough situation? How have they handled tough situations in the past? What was the outcome? The best way to begin any executive-role interviewing process is to lead with questions. Delve into the candidate’s answers – not just listen to their response, make them be as specific as possible.

Today, many businesses are utilizing business simulations alongside interviews to find and hire the best executive. For example, the candidate is given a detailed case study of their fictitious new company and for one- or-two days, the candidate must delve into this new work environment. All of the coworkers and actually psychologists, surveying and documenting how the candidate deals with situations and how their leadership style will equivalate to the organization’s company culture.

Let’s look at another hypothetical example. This time the candidate was interviewing for the role of chief communications office in an international Fortune 500 company. His workplace simulation is all about damage control. The company is in crisis mode; it just released its quarterly financial report, and sales have taken a sudden and unexpected drop. The stock price is falling, shareholders are upset and journalists and analysts want interviews to understand how the company will turn its performance around. The psychologist portraying his stressed-out co-workers are right there to watch his every action.

Interviews are, and have been, essential to the hiring process. However, a candidate can do wonderfully and say all the right things in an interview and still be a terrible selection for the actual job, especially in assessing high-potential candidates and executives. These simulations help to hire candidates that not only exhibit high leadership competency potential on multiple choice tests, but actual leadership style in real-life situations.

Business simulations have trained psychologists as observers and clear evaluation criteria and provide apples to apples comparisons because psychologists can aggregate performance information into an applicable, easy-to-use talent grid.

These simulations also allow for reflection on the candidate’s part. This will allow each individual to reflect upon their strengths and weaknesses, to see what they can improve. It’s an immediate gratification; they can immediately see results. On an internal note, this tactic allows an organization to ‘test drive’ an employee before they are promoted.

While the cost and time of such an intensive process make simulations prohibitive for every new hire or promotion, the ability to intensively assess candidates for pivotal roles that have significant impact on business performance makes some simulations well worth the price.

Choosing the wrong candidate can cost more than a simulation – it’s imperative to know that the right candidate has been chosen for pivotal positions. Such roles require a person that can perform NOW, not tomorrow or after a few tries at bat. Simulations provide a wealth of knowledge that a one-on-one interview simply cannot. To learn more about simulations and how a similar system could benefit your organization, click here to read the full article.

Post a comment