Is it really only
It has been a 100-year search
to find better methods of predicting people's behaviour
in positions. Very smart people have spent
billions of hours devising and analyzing the results of
personality tests, intelligence tests, aptitude tests,
polygraph tests, emotional intelligence tests, on and
on. So far, there is little of substance to show
for it. Each of these techniques, and many more,
came into fashion for a while and then slowly
After all that has
been tried, there remain only 2 methods that are confirmed and widely accepted to be worthwhile in
predicting people's performance in jobs. They are:
Interviews with Experienced Managers
Of these 2, reference checking is not much used as an
actual predictor of behaviour but more as a verifier of
information obtained from resumes
and interviews. Background confirmation is mainly useful for deciding to
eliminate someone from consideration or for discovering information
that will help the new employer better work with the person.
That leaves the Interview
with Experienced Managers as the preeminent technique for assessing and connecting with
professional candidates. And for good reason, studies done
over decades have shown conclusively that structured interviews
conducted by experienced professionals have the greatest predictive
ability for complex positions.
The only method
shown conclusively to be highly predictive of candidates
for leadership roles is interviews with experienced managers,
Over the years,
a vast number of new assessment systems have been developed by
intelligent and usually well-meaning people. Some of these
techniques, such as personality tests and assessment centers, have proven
useful for assessing entry level and junior candidates.
Unfortunately, they have been shown to be too general and simplistic
for use in predicting the actions and performance of experienced (and wily) management
people for the
complex roles they fill.
New and "highly-innovative" systems come and go and
probably it is best to let them go when assessing senior
Interview Reigns Supreme
Since the only method
shown conclusively to be highly predictive of candidate performance in leadership roles is
structured interviewing with experienced managers, it is
necessary to understand the specifics of this.
There has been
much said over the years by HR consultants about the best interview
method; structured interviews, behavioural interviews, situational
interviews, experiential interviews, and so on. All have been
studied and debated endlessly. While there are elements of each
style that seem useful in particular situations, there has not been any
one style shown to be better at assessing all people for all positions.
especially so for management roles which are extremely complex and
highly unique. Assessing candidates to run a semiconductor plant
is very different from appraising people to
oversee an animation studio. A fast growing start-up company will need
very different management skills than a long established one,
even if they may be in the same industry.
There will also be
great differences within the same organization. Most
would agree that the CFO needs to possess very different
skills and priorities compared to the VP of Sales if the
organization is to prosper.
As well, it should be clear that candidates for senior
management positions are some of the cleverest and most
enchanting people in the world. They are experts at the
recruitment game since it is one of their key abilities
as a successful leader. You can bet they will use their
experience to their advantage. Therefore, interview
styles need to adapt and evolve in order to challenge
and interest executive candidates.
How Many Interviews?
Given that leadership positions are multifaceted and highly
distinctive, it is critical that candidates are assessed by multiple
decision-makers with multifaceted backgrounds. The hiring
decision needs to be a consensus among a manageable sized group of experienced senior managers
with a direct interest in the success of the position.
The question then becomes what is usually the right number of
interviews required to receive the right outcome. The number
needs to be balanced by the needs of the interviewers and the candidates -- both
groups being very busy people.
Based on study and years of experience, the ideal is 3 interviews conducted by 3
different managers at 3 different locations. Let us
discuss the different aspects of this practical rule-of-thumb.
for management positions should be interviewed 3 times
by 3 different senior managers at 3 different locations.
Who are suitable to interview?
be more senior in the
organization than the candidate being interviewed. In some cases,
a manager at a similar level could be part of the assessment team if
that person is critical to the success of the position.
People in positions less senior to that being assessed should not be
part of the interview process. Not only may they not have the
experience or suitable personal motivations to make a suitable assessment but their
involvement might put the relationship with the candidate at
risk. Few things are more of a turn-off to an in-demand senior
manager than being treated like a low-level "applicant."
have no lack of options in their careers and are assessing the new
organization as much as they are being assessed by it. If the
person is given the impression that either he or the position is of
reduced significance, his interest in the role will be similarly
reduced. This is especially so in Asia where people are more
Appraisers should also have somewhat differentiated backgrounds so they
can appraise different characteristics. It is fine for a
salesperson to be assessed by a couple of good sales managers, but
candidates for the VP of Sales role needs to be assessed for a broader
spectrum of skills.
In all cases, the interviewers should have a direct interest in the
success of the position. Studies have confirmed what most people
would agree is common sense. If someone does not view the
position as important to his career or is distracted for some reason, he will not
make a positive contribution to the selection process.
What if less than 3 interviewers are
available or suitable?
In many of today’s lean organizations or smaller companies, it
is not uncommon that 2 senior people must make hiring decisions on their
own. In emerging countries such as Asia, it is not uncommon that
key country management positions are decided upon by a Regional Manager and
one other person (usually the regional HR manager or a more senior
person from the global head office).
In these circumstances, effort should be taken to differentiate the
environment of each interview. An initial meeting might be held
in a hotel business centre, a second in a private office and the
third over a meal at an attractive restaurant. Another very useful idea is for the
candidate to be flown to the regional office for final meetings.
What if more than 3 people want to be
It happens in larger
organizations, in particular,
that several people are determined to be important to the assessment
process. In some cases, there may be good reasons for wanting
more people to feel they are part of an important hiring decision since numerous
people will depend on the success of the new hire. In some
cases, it may be for learning purposes so an internal manager gets
experience interviewing management candidates.
There are a multitude of good reasons for increasing the size of
the hiring team. But it should be clear that each additional
person beyond 3 will result in added complexity that may not improve
the assessment decision or the outcome of the hire.
larger the group, the more convoluted and time-consuming will be the
overall process. The cost in executive time increases not only
because more people are involved but the amount of time required of
each person also increases. Through all of this, the motivation
of interviewers toward the process (a significant factor in success)
can be reduced.
Since many more opinions are involved, the number of
candidates required up-front is usually larger since a greater number will be disqualified in the
process – for many niche sectors the number of candidates required may be more than are
available in the market. Further to this, an increased number of candidates
will resign themselves from the process either because of a bad
interview experience or concern about how their time is used.
Group interviews are often a better idea when
a larger number of people need to be
involved in a hiring process. They are generally used at a later
stage when a candidate has passed initial screenings.
Rule-of-Three-Interviews has statistical backing as the number most
correlated with hiring success. Increases or
to this number can be
done but at risk to the final outcome.
interviewers are able to confront each other’s assessments and thus
reach better decisions. The technique also reduces the number of
suitable candidates lost due to the duplication and fatigue caused by
too many separate interviews.
As long as the
number of people involved in the assessment is not too many, key decision makers
should agree unanimously that a candidate will make a strong contribution to the
organization. If even one assessor has a strong objection to the
candidate, then usually this will be deal breaker and the process needs
to be started all over again.
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Asia CEO Forum
Asia CEO Forum presented by
PLDT ALPHA Enterprise is the largest regular business event in
Philippines and considered one of the most important in the Southeast
Asia region. The forum serves as a hub for the spreading of ideas that
help executive managers overseeing enterprises across the Asia Pacific
Attendees are both expatriate and Asian management personnel overseeing
multinational and regional organizations. Held in Philippines,
presenters are leaders in their industries and engaged in momentous
pursuits of significance to the entire region.
Asia CEO Forum is
operated as a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activity of Chalre
Associates, one of Southeast Asia's most prominent senior management
executive search firms, to promote Philippines as a premier business
destination in the Asia region.
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Asia CEO Awards
Asia CEO Awards presented by Aseana City
represents the grandest alliance of local and
international business people ever created to promote Philippines on
the world stage. As one of the largest events of its kind in the Asia
Pacific region, it is considered a must-attend occasion for business
leaders active in Southeast Asia.
The star-studded Board of Judges of Asia CEO Awards give away
10 awards to many of the most accomplished leadership teams and
individuals currently operating in Philippines and the region. The
awards recognize extraordinary leaders who have demonstrated
outstanding achievement for their organizations and contributions to
As one of the fastest growing nations on the planet, the world's
business leaders have their eyes on Philippines like never before. The
annual gala was established as a natural outgrowth of Asia CEO Forum,
the largest regular networking event for the business community in
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Media organizations throughout the world call
upon the Principals of Chalre Associates for
thought leadership. Below are some examples of published material
written by our consultants or international journalists who refer to
them. For a complete list of published work, Click Here.
Getting Ready For The Deluge: Outsourcing in
by Chalre Associates senior
The Economist Intelligence
Unit of the Economist magazine asked Chalre Associates' Chairman,
Richard Mills, to write a chapter about the Philippine outsourcing
sector in its annual Business Guide Book. The material provides a
Executive Briefing on the progress and major issues facing this
industry that is certainly one of most significant growth stories in
the world. more
Asia Pacific Mining
Conference 2007 - Report
by Chalre Associates senior
The 7th Asia Pacific Mining
Conference put on by the Asean Federation of Mining Associations was
perhaps the largest such event in the region. Richard Mills,
Chairman of Chalre Associates gave this
report on what was said by the prominent mining people who presented. more
The State of BPO in
Philippines: Dan Reyes Speaks
by Chalre Associates senior
Download [PDF file, 31KB]
Mills, Chairman of Chalre Associates,
interviewed Dan Reyes of Sitel for ComputerWorld (US) recently to get
his views on the state of the BPO industry in Philippines. Dan
presented US readers with compelling information to support his view
that Philippines is currently seen as the "Number 1" option by global
companies sending BPO work to offshore destinations.
Dan Reyes is easily one of most experienced Business Process
Outsourcing (BPO) managers in the Asia Pacific region and the world. He
is head of the extremely successful Philippine operations of Sitel, the
world's largest call center organization. Among other things, he is a
founder and former president of the Business Processing Association of
the Philippines. more