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Optimal-Fit™ Precision Interviewing & Selection

Your goal is to hire the best talent you possibly can. But what matters most when hiring a new employee for an open position within your organization? Past experience? Current skills? Subject matter expertise? Logical thought processes? Good team player? Ability to deal with ambiguity? Working well under pressure? Quick thinking?

Almost certainly you will have mixed criteria—and all are important. With that understood, why would you want to be constrained by one type of interview technique? There are many interview methods available, but no single interview approach—on its own—can adequately deliver what you need to make good decisions. What's needed is a comprehensive interview strategy—a system of integrated, scaleable, building blocks—to accurately discern both the job-specific and the domain-general fit issues.

The Optimal-Fit™ Precision Interviewing & Selection system utilizes rigorous interoperability technology to accurately identify candidate KSA (Knowledge, Skill and Ability) qualifications, TTD (Trait, Temperament and Disposition) alignment, as well as intrinsic/extrinsic BDs (Behavioral Drivers). Optimal-Fit is represented this way ...

Optimal-Fit Interview Tracking

Applicant Asset Valuation Scorecard

Whether applicants are internal to your organization or external, there are a serious number of data points to keep track of when considering multiple job applicants across a myriad of qualifying criteria. Have they met education and/or certification requirements? Do they have the necessary experience? Any cautionary/red flags on your background checks and/or reference checks? How did they perform during the interview? What TTD 'fit' observations do you have? What did your pre-employment assessment testing reveal?

Because each criterion you concentrate on during the selection process will become an asset (+ value) or a liability (- value) for each applicant (depending on various factors), keeping track of this information can be overwhelming.

To simplify this tracking process, our Optimal-Fit System includes a HIPAA-compliant (AES 256-bit encryption) Applicant Asset Valuation Scorecard that tracks applicant strengths (assets) and weaknesses (liabilities) identified during the interview process (complete with a powerful compare/contrast tool). Criterion weighting is pre-determined for each interview campaign to ensure the interview process is objective.

Optimal-Fit™ Precision Interviewing & Selection System

The Optimal-Fit Interviewing & Selection System has six (6) stages. Each stage provides additional information which—in the aggregate—results in a complete and thorough analysis of the applicants in your Applicant Pool.

Stage 1: Pre-Screening Vetting Process

The pre-screening vetting process is a thorough review/examination/appraisal of an applicant's employment application and resumé. The initial review checks for faults, errors, omissions, required criteria disqualifications, and under-qualified applicants. This is followed by a review of any relevant background checks (e.g., Motor Vehicle Driving Record; Employment History; Credit History; Criminal History; Drug Test; Social Media Review; etc.) to identify potential red flags. Depending on the nature of the position, this may be followed by a brief telephone or video conferencing interview to determine various characteristics such as vocal capability, presentation qualities, and command of language.

The Optimal-Fit resources in this area include the templates and checklists you'll need to ensure nothing is overlooked in your pre-screening applicant review.

Stage 2: Communication to Under-Qualified and/or Unqualified Applicants

During the pre-screening vetting process, you were able to isolate those applicants who were either unqualified (did not meet essential criteria) or who were under-qualified (met essential criteria but lacked experience or sufficient strength). As a professional courtesy, you now need to let them know they won't be brought in for a formal interview.

The Optimal-Fit resources in this area include scripted examples of various communication approaches to suit every style and situation.

Stage 3: Interview Confirmation and Self-Directed Pre-Interview Assignment

At this stage, you have a pool of interview candidates. You'll now need to extend formal invitations to each candidate with dates/times for the formal interview. With that said, why not use this stage as another way to evaluate each candidate? A pre-interview assignment allows you to evaluate many characteristics, including (but not limited to) resourcefulness, problem-solving, creativity, presentation skills, and personality. [Note: The exercise chosen/created for this assignment will determine the characteristics showcased.]

The Optimal-Fit resources in this area include "We'd like to interview YOU!" scripted templates as well as examples of unique pre-interview assignments that can be used 'as-is' or modified to suit your specific needs.

Stage 4: Pre-Employment Assessment Testing

Hiring the wrong people can be expensive; selection errors can have a negative impact on employee morale and management time, waste training dollars, and reduce employee productivity and an organization's profitability. The purpose of any form of pre-employment assessment testing is to help you 'predict' how well a candidate will fit within your team and culture, as well as how well the individual will perform on the job. Pre-employment assessment testing comes in many forms and evaluates many different characteristics and attributes.

Because the EEOC (U.S.) and CHRA (Canada) have specific guidelines for the use of pre-employment testing, there is the potential for litigation if a selection decision is challenged and determined to be discriminatory or in violation of these regulations. The Optimal-Fit resources in this area include a complete listing of the most commonly-used pre-employment assessment tests with a compare/contrast analysis (including a pros/cons evaluation). We also provide organization-specific validation studies for any pre-employment assessment testing your organization might employ to reduce any possibility of a discriminatory challenge. We also provide access to many forms of pre-employment testing and consultative services.

Stage 5: Optimal-Fit Interview(s)

There are many different types of interviews and questions that can measure a candidate's fit and compatibility with your organization, but while each type may have strengths ... each has inherent weaknesses. The solution is to blend multiple interview styles together into a seamless construct that overcomes the weaknesses inherent within each stand-alone approach. The Optimal-Fit Interviewing System includes:

  • Commitment/Motivation interview questions to help uncover what candidates are enthusiastic about, what stimulates/ignites/energizes/activates their discretionary effort, why and when they take initiative, and whether what motivates them is a good cultural fit as well as a good fit with the position you're interviewing for;
  • Behavioral interview questions that focus in on examples from previous experiences to help validate skills and traits a candidate claims (based on the premise that past actions help employers predict what the employee will do in the future);
  • Situational interview questions that deal in hypotheticals (candidates are given a real-world challenge/obstacle and must solve it out loud to demonstrate how he/she processes and solves problems);
  • Case Study interview questions are more elaborate than Situational and/or Critical-Thinking/Reasoning interview questions and test a candidate's analytical capability to handle more complex problem-solving (this frequently includes a case study that the candidate is given time to complete during the interview); and
  • Presentational exercises that allow you to witness a candidate's capability firsthand by having him/her create a short “presentation” (typically built on either the 'Situational' and/or 'Critical-Thinking/Reasoning' and/or 'Case Study' questions used previously).

One of the primary benefits of using the Optimal-Fit Interviewing System is the ability to extract the hard-to-identify critical-thinking/reasoning capabilities of the individual being interviewed. Our blended interview approach reveals how candidates evaluate complex situations and if they have the ability to think independently, assess information objectively, understand logical connections between (potentially) conflicting datapoints, and reach logical conclusions.

The Optimal-Fit resources in this area include all of the blended interview styles in a structured, easy-to-follow format. Examples are provided for each of the various elements as well as scripted templates.

Stage 6: Communication with Unsuccessful Candidates

After you've completed all of your interviews, compared notes with the rest of the interview team/panel (if part of your interview process), and met with your boss to discuss your recommendations, the good news story is you've got a solid candidate who you will now present with a formal offer. The bad news story is there are a couple of other candidates you liked, but who weren't quite the right fit for this position. And now professional courtesy requires that you communicate the outcome.

Instead of notifying the unsuccessful candidate with the typical cold, generic form letter, the Optimal-Fit solution includes scripts—built with tact, grace, and professionalism—for in-person, telephone, email and mail. This sets you, your organization, and your brand apart from most other organizations (you never know if these candidates might be a good fit for your team in the future).