Why Role Playing Can Be An Effective Interview Technique

While many companies hire based on candidates’ experience, others find raw talent to be a stronger harbinger of success. But, how do you identify and measure “raw talent” during the hiring process?

Austin Merritt, the COO at Software Advice–a website that presents reviews and ratings of human resource information systems (HRIS)–recently shared how he objectively measures raw talent during his team’s hiring process. In a post on Software Advice’s New Talent Times blog, Merritt shares his “coffee scenario,” a role-playing scenario used when hiring for his inside sales team. It closely imitates the process his team goes through when placing sales calls. Except, instead of advising the caller on what software to purchase, the job candidate advises the caller on what coffee shop to visit. Here are a few key tips Merritt has shared about his process: 

Develop a set of competencies to look for

What are the top uncoachable competencies required for a person to thrive in a role? For example, when hiring for their sales team, Software Advice grades along the following criteria:

  • Articulation – Do they clearly communicate their thoughts?

  • Energy – Does the candidate appear alert and genuine on calls?

  • Ability to take control – Can the candidate steer the conversation?

  • Ability to think on their feet – Can the candidate respond calmly, but quickly?

  • Coachability – Does the candidate understand the scenario enough to apply?

Your competencies may (and probably should) be different. Identify what empowers current star performers to be successful, and make your list of competencies around these qualities.

Create a project that tests each of them

The “coffee scenario” is effective because coffee is a familiar subject matter. Candidates are familiar with coffee, and it allows interviewers to focus on talent over domain expertise. The topic should be common enough for candidates to complete successfully without much preparation. In Software Advice’s instance, they set up a 10-minute mock sales call, but it doesn’t have be a phone call. Create something you can present to an applicant before meeting them in person.

Use a universal grade scale for performance

To ensure that every candidate gets a fair shot, develop a scoring method that can be kept consistent. If someone scores low in one area, but nails the others, it may be worthwhile to give the candidate another shot at the role-playing scenario. It doesn’t take too long, and by giving people a second chance, you’re leaving no stone unturned.


Before you bring someone to your office, try out a short role-playing scenario for them to showcase their raw talent. It’s a quick and easy way to critically assess strengths and weaknesses during the early stages of an interview process.

How to Pay an Employee Who Works During Daylight Savings Time

Once of the most confusing payroll and time keeping concerns revolve around Daylight Savings Time and how to pay employees when they either lose or gain an hour during their shift.

In 2013, Daylight Savings Time begins (springs forward) on Sunday, March 10, 2013 and ends (falls back) on November 3, 2013.

So, how do you pay an employee while we’re stuck in the time warp? Here are the quick and easy answers:

Spring Forward (in the spring):

  • If an employee works at 2am and then the clock moves forward to 4am when it would normally move to 3am, you are required to pay for both the 2am hour and the phantom 3am hour as two separate hours, not just one.

Fall Backward (in the fall):

  • If an employee works at 2am and then the clock resets to 2am again when it would normally move to 3am, you are required to pay these two hours as two separate hours, not just one.

Remember:

  • Companies are required to pay employees for all hours worked, even if this includes additional overtime.
  • Communicating the change to your staff well ahead of time can result in less confusion when the time change occurs and during payroll and time sheet reconciliation after the switch occurs.
  • It’s better to be safe than sorry: Consult the US DOL (http://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime_pay.htm) or Jumpstart:HR for any of your overtime wage determination questions.

What your company needs to know about “gaming” your way up the corporate ladder

Gamification is one of the hottest topics in HR technology today. As explained by Gamification Co, gamification brings together game mechanics and marketing to create engagement and solve problems. By incorporating a company’s operations with elements such as achievements, badges, and levels, gamification increases both user engagement and a sense of loyalty among a community.

 

What is gamification?

Gamification is the application of game mechanics to workplace problems and employee engagement. According to analyst Jason Averbook, “the theory is that by applying the same principles that inspire people to play games – achievements, status, and rewards – to employee performance, businesses can drive deeper engagement, and increase alignment with corporate goals“. Engaging employees with tasks that resemble a game could potentially increase their immersion in their work, promising significant increases to productivity and retention.

 

Why does gamification work?

According to online blogger Robert Scott, gamification appeals to the natural human needs to achieve, compete, be recognized, and be entertained. By converting tasks into a game, gamification converts a user’s logical decisions (“I work because of my paycheck”) into emotional decisions (“I work because I want to succeed”). As a result, implementing game mechanics such as achievements and badges fuels an individual’s drive to succeed, creating an immersion unmatched by other resources.

 

How can I gamify my company?

Andrew Butow suggests that for gamification to be successfully integrated to HR practices, several factors need to be considered, such as:

  • people interact with the tool frequently
  • there exists a community that people care about recognition in
  • interaction points are easily quantified
  • adoption is a high priority

Gamification mechanics in HR include badges or achievement levels as rewards for significant workplace accomplishments or contributions. Quizzes, points, or leaderboards could also be used to stimulate competition among employees, increasing engagement and participation among employees.

 

As Josh Braaten, an Online Marketing Manager at Rasmussen College, puts it, “while games were once solely played for pleasure, game and simulation applications are now used widely within companies as a tool for organizational development.” Gamification is a rapidly growing field, with GSummit, a convention discussing gamification techniques and practices, attracting companies such as Microsoft, NBC, and United. Other businesses such as Rypple, Badgeville, PeopleFluent, and Sharepoint have focused on implementing gamification mechanics into the traditional HR practices of performance reviews and workplace wellness. By gamifying its HR technologies, a company can ultimately increase its productivity and workplace participation. How can you gamify your business to improve performance and employee interaction?

 

– Article Courtesy of Jumpstart:HR HR Technology Intern Olivier Jin

 

The “D” Word That No One is Talking About in Corporate America

Micro-managing managers, policies that limit employee autonomy and critical thinking and zero attempts to expand employee knowledge through company approved training and development programs.

Do these ring a bell or resonate with your current workplace? If so, then “Houston, we have a problem.”

Demoralization, defined. By definition, to demoralize is to “undermine the confidence or morale of; dishearten.” Whenever someone is demoralized, there are negative implications like anger, resentment, lack of motivation and lack of trust. One recent – non-HR yet still scientific published in The Journal for Psychosomatics  – survey even ties demoralization with psychological distress (83%) and depression (44%)  in their sample population.

Demoralization in the workplace. Demoralization can happen as a result of policies that result in angry, resentful employees. While no one sets out to debase their employees on purpose, it’s very important to be mindful of the psychological effects that can result when new policies are established. For example, if there is a new policy that limits a certain benefit or restricts professional growth and autonomy in any way, it would be in your organization’s best interest to track the psychological response from these policies – through survey or brief employee interviews. Why? Because the impact of demoralizing policies can always be tied employee disengagement which results in measurable decreased levels of productivity.

Burnout or Demoralization? Which one is it? The terms burnout and demoralization may seem similar at first but they are actually very different. Burnout occurs  gradually when you have simply exhausted your physical capacity to complete a job. For example, years of repetitive tasks and stagnancy can lead to burnout. Everyone needs to get away at some point and the best prescription is a sabbatical or extended vacation. If that’s not possible, perhaps cross-training in another business function to stay engaged and learning something new. However, demoralization is instantaneous and is not fixed by just “getting away.” Whenever an employee is demoralized, it can negatively impact their view of the workplace, coworkers, their job, customers, etc. The only fix for removing demoralization is to remove the source of demoralization which is oftentimes a policy that has resulted in negative emotional sentiment amongst employees.

How do you measure demoralization in the workplace? Demoralization can be measured through surveys that gauge emotional sentiment of employees in the workplace. The key, however, is to actually do something about what you find in your feedback or that can actually make the demoralization much, much worse. Employees who work in organizations that are apathetic to their emotional needs are the most demoralized. If you are not sure how to conduct a survey on employee demoralization or feel that it would be best to have a neutral third-party conduct such testing, Jumpstart:HR can provide such a test and make recommendations on how best to turn emotional sentiment around while still navigating the confines of key business objectives that cannot be disrupted.

 

Hate your job? Read this letter.

As you may know, Jumpstart:HR provides HR solutions to companies but we also help job seekers find employment quicker through our professional resume revision and career coaching services. Who better to help fix your resume and make sense of your career goals than an HR professional who does hiring and recruitment right?

Well, here is a letter that I recently received from a Career Coaching and Resume Revision client and I must say that I appreciate the message and tone of the letter. When we spoke, I gave the client options based on desired career interests but I also advised that there might be reason to stick around and learn and grow in their current work environment.

Here’s an update almost a year later:

“Hi Joey,

You crossed my mind a couple times within the past few months. I just wanted to reach out and give you an update!

I have actually been enjoying my job!!! Yes, this is the SAME job we’ve met about. Lol. I guess along the way, I decided to embrace the time that I’m here and make the most of it. I saw that a lot of me was being dealt with while working here, so I just decided to embrace it and…I have definitley grown. You were right: I have been learning much about Humility. I’ve also been seeing the benefits of serving. My attitude has been put in check many times. And my perceptions of things has been challenged more than I can say. I have been learning how to deal with and handle people in varying circumstances/situations. I’ve been learning to be more comfortable in social situations. I’ve become a bit more polished professionally. One thing that I’m very happy about is that I have become more emotionally stable and mature. I’m learning to be the same way every day…all day. I’m learning to not be (so) judgmental and/or harsh, but to administer grace to people… I’m just learning a lot. I am being developed and I have been loving it.

Now, instead of breaking down and wanting to throw the copy machine through the window, I have been embracing the tough moments, the undesireable moments, etc. and I’m learning to get through them- with a great attitude! Yaaay! I never thought I’d see the day!

So… I’m glad I stayed here. My boss has seen me come a long way, and we are getting along on a more consistent basis now – (because I ain’t acting crazy)! Lol.

So, other than the update, I just wanted to thank you for taking out the time to meet, sit and talk with me when you did. 

*Happy Career Coaching Client*”

 

I’m always excited to see someone happy in their job. Even if it means sticking it out in one that they initially aren’t so sure about.

Do you have a similar story of a time where you wound up loving a job you initially didn’t like? When did you realize that something changed?

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