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← How we can use the hiring process to bring out the best in people

Traditional job interviews are stressful interrogations that can often exclude marginalized populations. Here's how psychologist and entrepreneur Gil Winch says we can rethink hiring, training and onboarding to allow people to show their true potential.

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Showing Revision 4 created 11/09/2020 by Erin Gregory.

  1. A traditional job interview
  2. is basically a one-sided,
    high pressure interrogation,
  3. almost guaranteed to create
  4. significant psychological strain.
  5. Ironically, such stressful procedures
  6. can totally obscure
    a person's true potential
  7. causing us to overlook a lot of people
  8. who could be great employees.
  9. We need a different way
    to interview and screen candidates.
  10. One that will reveal
    hidden potential and talent.
  11. [The Way We Work]

  12. [Made possible with
    the support of Dropbox]
  13. Twelve years ago, I founded CY,

  14. an outsource call center
  15. staffed and managed entirely by underdogs.
  16. More than half
    of our hundreds of employees
  17. are severely disabled.
  18. Others come from other
    disadvantaged populations
  19. or just suffer from anxiety,
  20. low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
  21. The problem I needed to solve
    when we started out was

  22. that traditional
    interviewing and screening,
  23. especially for entry-level positions,
  24. are totally biased towards people
  25. who function well under intense stress.
  26. Now, if you're screening
    for Navy SEALS, I totally get it,
  27. but the capacity to function under duress
  28. is totally irrelevant
    if the actual job is stocking shelves
  29. or folding T-shirts,
    unless of course it's Black Friday.
  30. Clara is a classic example.

  31. We met in CY's early days
  32. while she was waiting
    for her job interview.
  33. Clara was 25 years old,
    had cerebral palsy
  34. and used a walker.
  35. She seemed quite nervous,
  36. but she was likable,
    intelligent and talkative.
  37. And yet just a short while later,
  38. her interviewer told me
    that she had totally failed,
  39. that she couldn't string
    two words together.
  40. The screening philosophy

  41. of "let's pick our employees
    by viewing them at their worst,"
  42. not only overlooks disabled people
  43. but anyone whose shine
    is diminished under harsh pressure.
  44. We developed the reverse screening process
  45. to find potential.
  46. And as the name implies,
  47. we go about things
    practically the opposite way
  48. traditional approaches do.
  49. In a nutshell, if you want to assess
    a candidate's true potential,

  50. see how they function
    at their best, not their worst,
  51. which for most of us
    is when we're calm and relaxed,
  52. not stressed and anxious.
  53. So build screening procedures
    specifically tailored
  54. to help candidates feel
  55. as emotionally comfortable as possible.
  56. Three examples how you can achieve that.

  57. Lower anxiety and insecurity.
  58. Start out by losing
    the whole interrogation vibe.
  59. Rather, interviewers should
    view themselves as hosts,
  60. be friendly and welcoming.
  61. Choose an environment that's conducive

  62. to putting a candidate at ease,
  63. like making your interview room
    look like a living room.
  64. People are most confident
    discussing things
  65. about which they are
    knowledgeable and passionate.
  66. So we ask candidates
    to fill out a short questionnaire
  67. about their hobbies,
  68. and we start out the interview
    by discussing those
  69. so that candidates could bring forth
    their verbal skills,
  70. strengths and personality.
  71. Assess skills in everyday life situations

  72. with which the candidates are familiar.
  73. For instance, sales positions
    require the ability to use persuasion.
  74. So ask the candidate to role play
  75. how they would persuade a neighbor
  76. to pay an extra maintenance fee
  77. for the renovations of their lobby.
  78. Looking for tough,
    full-throttle negotiations?
  79. Ask the candidate to describe
  80. how they would persuade a teenager
  81. to not look at their phone
    during a family dinner.
  82. Help them move beyond the stuck points
  83. to see how they adapt and learn.
  84. In the reverse screening process,

  85. we offer candidates three lifelines.
  86. We call it "Who Wants to Be an Employee?"
  87. If the candidate asks for a hint,
  88. the interviewer will model
    a few correct arguments
  89. and ask the candidate
    to role play the scenario
  90. to see how convincingly
    they absorb and convey those points.
  91. Finding people's true potential
    makes for happier,

  92. more diverse, and more successful
    companies and employees.
  93. Remember Clara? We hired her.
  94. She gradually improved
  95. until she hit her targets
    of calls per hour,
  96. and then she kept on getting better.
  97. And nowadays Clara gives talks
  98. about how many years ago
    no one, including herself,
  99. believed she had any potential at all.
  100. A job is so much more than a paycheck,

  101. especially for marginalized populations.
  102. By finding and hiring
    those you might otherwise overlook,
  103. you will not only
    benefit your own company,
  104. you will literally
    transform people's lives.
  105. The opportunity to win
    with underdogs is all around you.
  106. Make sure to grab it.