News

Pre-Check's Top Interview Strategies

Photo credit: keyword-suggestions.com

Over the last 23 years, Pre-Check has had a great number of applicants, several of which had very colorful histories.  Our interviews are designed to identify the best hires that meet our culture and are able to perform the duties of the job. A key success factor for us is to not only to better understand the initial answer that the job seeker provides but to learn how the potential hire will react in an actual work environment.

For instance, we have a question termed ‘the Kobayashi Maru,’ which is named after the “Star Trek” saga.  In this instance, Starfleet Academy cadet, James T. Kirk, was the only candidate to successfully pass a stressful exercise where there was a no-win scenario. In this question, the most creative job seekers provide solutions that involve redefining the problem which includes a test of their character.  In our specific question, we ask a multi-faceted question, where there are no absolute correct answers.  This allows us not only to gather some insight  into the applicant’s reasoning and rationalization but, also as important, to understand  how the applicant deals with stress.  An unnerving  reaction  is a potential sign that they are perhaps not the best person to meet deadlines or answer challenging questions when asked by our clients.

Pre-Check provides incredible results when performing background checks. This is our reality because we believe that we are in the integrity business.  Thus, a key question that we always ask is, “Would you please provide us your definition of integrity?”  (As you read this question, you may wish to take a moment to provide your own answer).  While integrity has been defined by having the proper adherence to moral and ethical principles, the reply that I have often heard is, “What you do when no one else is looking.”

We prefer group interviews in which 3 of us work from a pre-approved script and have specific questions. The team that interviews is the department manager, our director of operations and the company president. Our goals are to work to make the applicant know that we respect them, we value their time, and we seek to put at ease. However, we are certain to ask very specific and challenging questions.  Having the 3 of us at the same time allows us to hear the responses to the questions and make decisions based on the same data points that the applicant has provided.  This saves time and reduces ambiguity because each of us has heard the same response to the questions that were asked.

Other questions we ask are, “What motivates you in your job, how do you show initiative, and could you describe a situation where your work has been criticized?” Again, the intent is to listen closely to the reply, learn the answer to the question, and understand what their cognitive skills and reasoning may be.  Sometimes we’ll find a candidate who has a pre-rehearsed list of responses.  When that occurs, we will challenge them in order to receive a more genuine reply.

Often simple questions are the best.  “When is it appropriate to lie?”  Almost every interviewee immediately answers, “Never.”  So if this is the case, and your Aunt May were to ask you how she looks when she has a polka dot blouse and striped skirt, would you tell her the truth?  Do you believe that the President of the United States, when in negotiations with a hostile government, should always be forthcoming with the truth? What about in 1938 Nazi Germany, would you tell the Gestapo that you were hiding a refugee in the basement? Ultimately, there are actual times when it is appropriate to lie.

At some point applicants may become valued employees, so we seek to make a positive connection with the candidate.  Enthusiasm, being open and honest and making sure that they understand the duties of the job are critical factors of success.  We seek to earn their trust, answer questions, explain salary and benefits, make sure that they understand our company culture, and work as a team. I often explain that there is a relaxed atmosphere, where laughter frequently flows out from the offices.

Naturally, one of our last questions is, “Since we are a background screening company, is there anything about your past that we should know about?”  A number of years ago, I received this reply:
“Well, not too long ago I was celebrating my birthday with a group of friends at a downtown hotel.  One of my best friend’s boyfriend approached me and asked if I wanted to have a (sexually explicit) drink.  I was shocked, hurt, and I became very upset.  I left the party, rushed to my car and sped down the exit ramp where I side-swiped a police car.  I couldn’t give the police officer my driver’s license because I did not have any auto insurance.”
At that point, my mind shut down, and to myself, I said, “Next!”

We all know that the success of your organization largely depends on you hiring the best person for a position.  One of the crucial stages in the hiring process is conducting meaningful interviews.  As one of my clients tells me, “It is too expensive to hire a dud.”  As Jim Collins says in his book Good to Great, “They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.”

/ Print
Posted by Sandra Shinn in General

Comments


Be the first to comment
Name*
E-mail*
Website
Comment*
0 Pending Comments
 Keep me updated of follow-up comments!
Most Recent

By Sandra Shinn
September 21, 2017 Category • General

Employers: Have you heard about the Ohio Houses House Bill 187? Its proposal is to protect the privacy of employment applicants; however, it could also make the hiring just a little bit trickier you. House Bill 187: According to 2017 BARNES THORNBURG LLP, House Bill 187 provides that no employer may request an applicants Social Security Number, date of birth, or drivers license number before making an offer of employment. The Problem: You might already see why this new bill could be frustrating for employers. These are the key pieces of information employers and Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) use to check criminal records, driving history, credit history, previous employment, and more. The bill does state that an employer may obtain information for these background screening reasons, but this is unrealistic because it forbids employers from providing this information to third parties, like us. If House Bill 187 becomes law, employers will undoubtedly have to begin

By Sandra Shinn
September 06, 2017 Category • General

In this weeks blog, Pre-Check is sharing employment updates from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA). The DHS focuses largely on federal preparations to deal with terrorism while trying to manage other duties, including border security, customs, and emergency management. The SSA is the government agency that administers the social insurance programs of the United States. They cover a wide range of social security services, like disability, retirement, and survivors benefits. The updates below come from the Best Practices Committee and will impact employers and their end-user clients. SSA has a revised Form: Form: https://www.taxverification.com/form_SSA-89.pdf An updated Consent Based SSN Verification Form SSA-89 (Rev 04-2017) from the SSA was released on 6/26/17. You have until year end to make the transition to the new document. What does this mean? CBSV is the superlative personal identifier validation methodology as it matches

By Sandra Shin
August 22, 2017 Category • General

Why Run an International Background Check? Many times, employers and hiring managers find themselves with job candidates who have lived abroad, or perhaps they may even have satellite locations in other countries. In these cases, international background checks are necessary for pre-employment screening. And as international job candidates become more and more common, international background checks become more important. Especially as criminals continue to cross international borders. An international background check will allow an employer to make a more informed hiring decision. Using a CRA Choosing a credible Credit Reporting Agency (CRA) is always an important factor in your typical background screening process, but it can be even more crucial when running an international background check. This is because international background screening is much more complex; CRAs must be aware of each countrys own laws and process governing what information can be legally obtained, how it can