Interpersonal EDGE: Identifying Workplace Superstars
Friday, March 26, 2010
By Dr. Daneen Skube
Tribune Media Services
Q. Our company started hiring again, and we brought in a number of supervisors that looked like rising stars. However, our management team isn't seeing the performance we expected, and we have to hire another wave of supervisors. How do you screen an employee who might be great at the talk but not deliver the walk on the job?
A. Workplace research has shown repeatedly that many factors can result in a "halo effect" during hiring. Among these are good looks, interpersonal charm, excellent communication skills, and the ability to say what the hiring team wants to hear.
The only way to weed out the mere talkers from the walkers is to focus on past performance. Especially if you are hiring for a supervisory position, your potential pool has a decent employment history. Don't neglect to talk to past employers, coworkers and people who have seen the employee in action.
During the interview be especially cautious with the people who seem too perfect. The person who tells you his only weakness is he is a workaholic is suspect. Look for candidates who can candidly tell you about mistakes they have made, what they've learned, and what they'd do in the future.
Make sure you also ask candidates how they'd approach some concrete problems they'd face in this job. If your candidate gives vague charming answers rather than a road map of solutions - keep interviewing.
The mistake I see many of my executive clients make is to be overly impressed by status, who the candidate knows, or bravado. Remember, you are hiring for results not for the glamour or potential of the candidate.
In situations where you've been dazzled by a talker and are now discovering a serious lack of performance, you still have an exit. Sit the talker down, remind them about their pretty speeches, and restate the job requirements.
Let your talker know that you want to keep them employed and that you trust them to deliver what they discussed if they want to stay with your company. Then let them vote with their feet on whether they keep their job.
The last word(s)
Q. There's a guy at work who thinks he is Mister Right and his first name is Always. How do I win a power struggle with him?
A. Let him be always right and you go after the result you want. He'll be so busy gloating about being right that he won't notice you won the real prize.
Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker. You can contact Dr. Skube at or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.INTERPERSONAL EDGE. DISTRIBUTED BY TMS

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