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How to recruit in a professionnal way : The ORCE methodology

29 May

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I used to go out in the morning really excited to meet lots of new extraordinary people and …believe me I did that absolutely every day.

I’ll let you guess my job: I serve a lot of glasses of water, visit a lot of different hotels, ask a lot of questions, observe a lot of different behaviors, and have to dress immaculately, be charming and smile a lot.

Now I can imagine you SMIRKING…You got it wrong…I am a PROFESSIONAL….double wrong!!!…I worked in England as an independent assessor on large recruitment campaigns. Now you might wonder what is the difference between the UK and France in the recruitment process?  Competencies are paramount in the UK, where experience is most important in France for a start…hence we ask more personal questions in France.

You might wonder how to define a competency : the name given to “any combination of skills, knowledge, attitude and underlying motivation which can be applied in a way which delivers effective or superior performance on the job”

Here are a few mishappenings that usually sent me to the water cooler pretty quick (YES…more water..). Stress makes you act in really weird ways from time to time.

Candidates unable to speak any English…and using every trick in the book to save themselves time, in order to be able to grasp what the question actually means: “could you repeat that please? …what you mean is …” then he repeats exact wording of the question….is this correct? “ I usually repeat the question once more, and then rephrase the question in Pidgin English: You…preparation for this interview? And… after all this effort, the candidate does not answer the question …

When recruiting Vernetticreative follows the ORCE Methodology, an objective assessment for Selection and Development. The company is qualified Level A with the British Psychology Society and Level B theory.

ORCE : Observe, Record, Classify, Evaluate.

Orce is a four stage assessment methodology used throughout the UK and USA in large recruitment projects.

Unlike traditional methods of assessment that often combine observation and evaluation, Orce includes two additional stages in the process, i.e Record and Classify the evidence gathered during observation in order to permit a more objective final evaluation

The practical advantages of the ORCE methodology :

–          Interview questions relate directly to the skills needed for the role.

–          Candidate’s responses are based on actual experiences and behaviors, meaning the information collected is highly relevant.

–          CBIs (competency based interviews) follow a systematic process which can be repeated by multiple interviewers.

–          It can be used as a benchmarking tool

–          The 4th phase can be moderated according to the number of applications received.

How does it work?

1/ Once the competencies are defined for the role, each competency will then be defined individually.

For example : team skills could be defined as follows:

–          Enjoys working with people

–          Likes to share his/her ideas

–          Takes on board the opinion of others

–          Perseverant in contributing to the ideas of others

Then a list of positive and negative indicators will be precisely defined as follows

Positive   indicators Negative   indicators
Likes to   share his/her ideas Prefer to   work alone
Prefer to   work with others Poor   communicator
Offer   support to other to help them build their confidence Is   critical of other’s ideas
Has an   active role in the team Difficulties   to be clear/understood
Open   minded Keep   information to themselves
Ability to   summarize his and other’s ideas Does not   display logical argumentation

2/ A situation question will be indicated in relation to the competency searched for. This could be : ‘Can you think of a situation when you had to work as part of a team? How did you proceed? What was the end result? What could you have done better?

The expertise of the consultant is to then ask probing questions in order to get enough material to classify and evaluate

3/ the answers are then analyzed in comparison to the positive and negative indicators

4/ finally the Evaluation is taken care of as follows :

A/ grading system

–          Highly acceptable (when all indicators are in the positive side)

–          More than acceptable (when most of the indicators are in the positive side with one in the negative side)

–          Acceptable (when the majority of the indicators are in the positive side with two in the negative side)

–          Less than acceptable (the majority of the indicators are in the negative side)

–          No evidence (when the candidate was unable to explain a situation in particular despite the consultant probing on several occasions)

Each competency must be graded individually and the key is to analyze the answer word by word, hence the importance or recording the answer precisely.

B/scoring system :

A score is then given to the answers for each question

– 1 for fail

– 2 points for acceptable

– 3 for more than acceptable

– 4 for highly acceptable

The beauty of this system is the fact that the passing rate can be adjusted according to the number of candidates interviewed. i.e the passing rate can be moved from 10 to 20 accordingly. It still remains objective and neutral.

Still we must not forget that we are still dealing with people and people can be unpredictable !

During a role play,ie a situation given to the candidate who has to prepare himself for a specific scenario happening… the candidate took the brief so seriously and literally that he wrestled the assessor to the floor shouting: DON’T MOVE… I’ll call an ambulance!!! It was so entertaining that the second assessor (another lady who serves glasses of water and visits lots of different venues…!) observing the exercise, let it proceed for a while before calling for a halt when it became…too dangerous for the assessor’s health!!

Body language is another tool that helps greatly during the interview…

Closed body language: pen and finger pointing…feet inwards pointing…arms crossed. I even interviewed a candidate who had kept his anorak on (it was July…) and… , I realized when I took him back to the reception room….his backpack (which by then had become fairly flat…) on during the whole interview. The candidate was obviously keen to run away as soon as possible.

Talking about unpredictability …

One of my colleagues (that is a chap serving glasses of water (yes, you got it this time…) ran into my assessment room one day and breathlessly described how he had called for a “Sharon Smith” in the reception area unable to identify a lady waiting, when a deep raucous voice answered that she was Sharon. He was so shocked that he could not establish the sex of the candidate and was asking for my help!! His chosen criteria were that the candidate had…small feet and a handbag so she was a lady for sure…I have to admit that it was the hardest ever interview to run and I was glad for the ORCE methodology as I realized that we pass judgment really quickly. We expect the ladies to react in a certain fashion and display certain qualities and men others. In this instance, I could not refer to any of these, thus the interview was highly neutral and the candidate went through the process with flying colors.

And the skills I have acquired you may ask??? Mastering the art of holding several glasses of water at the same time…I am also an expert at tuning in to thousands of different accents and way of speaking…when in the beginning a candidate kept on referring to “we” I was confused about how many brothers and sisters he must have…now I am used to the royal “we”.

I have also learnt to never make assumptions (which believe me can be absolutely nearly impossible sometimes…!).

For more information about this service please contact Vernetticreative : Pascale@vernetticreative.com

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The art of making a mistake: French or British way?

17 Mar

The art of making a mistake: French or British way?

An error according to Wikipedia has different meanings and usage relative to how it is conceptually applied. It is a deviation from accuracy or correctness or can be an involuntary act adapted to a given situation.

To the contrary of an illusion, an error can sometimes be dispelled through knowledge i.e. knowing that one is looking at a mirage and not at real water does not make the mirage disappear.

However a mistake has a different meaning. It is, for example, failing to stop at a red light and getting a ticket for it by the police. Well, you should have known better. So how can we turn our mistakes into positive experiences by drawing upon the knowledge we gain from them?

In England, many successful entrepreneurs interviewed mentioned the fact that they failed many times, to the point of bankruptcy several times, but still they came back with a revenge and eventually became successful.

A combination of both success and failure is essential to an entrepreneur according to the article: diving back in: what second-time entrepreneurs learned from the first time around.

In British culture, ‘practice makes perfect’ is commonly accepted and one learns from their mistake. Creativity is, therefore, much valued.

In France we tend to follow procedures, leaving few gaps for creativity. However I noticed that the French spirit comes on board and creativity is developed rather fast when trying to cut corners or dodge the heavy procedures that ‘theoretically’ need to be followed.

A mistake is, in French culture, viewed as a failure. However the perception of being courageous for having tried tends to come to light.

This approach puzzles me as France is one of the most advanced country in experimental Research and Development and “the notion of error in science is not “a mistake” but rather a difference between a computed, estimated or measured value and the true, specified or theoretically correct value”.

According to an article published by  l’atelier pédaggogique “everybody agrees that you learn from your mistakes. However not everybody has the same attitude towards the result of making a mistake. The teacher, in France, acts as a judge who gives a good or a bad grade. Therefore it is not stretching the learning capabilities of the students.

“Making a mistake is perceived as positive and an integral part of the learning procedure. It’s the correction by the student in order to reach the result forecasted by the teacher “according to Jean-Luc Force.

Trying -> mistake -> correction = experience

The perfect teacher, according to JL Force, would know how to create a positive structured environment in which the student would dare try new avenues.

An English friend of mine teaches drawing and she kindly explained to me that rubbers are forbidden in her classes. I was most intrigued by this way of teaching until she specified that making mistakes when sketching builds the scaffolding of the piece of art being produced. I find that methodology really positive.

But how many times can one try and make mistakes before reaching the decision to finally give up or try one last time ?

An article published in the Australian businesswomen’s network written by Robert Kiyosaki “The magic of making mistakes” stipulates:

“The first thing that happens after you make a mistake is that you become upset. At this point of upset, you find out who you really are”. This article then describes the cast of characters who are brought to centre stage when upsets from mistakes occur:

The liar – : I did not do that

The blamer -:  It’s your fault, not mine

The Justifier – :well, I don’t have a good education, sot that is why I don’t get ahead

The quitter – : I told you it would never work

The Denier – : No, there is nothing wrong. Things are fine

Robert goes on to mention a good piece of advice : “If you want to learn and  gain wisdom from this priceless mistake, you have to let the responsible You, eventually take control of your thinking and apply the following mental Attitude Quiz :

What are your attitudes to risk, making mistakes, and learning?

And if you are upset with someone else or yourself, what lesson can you learn and be grateful for being courageous to have taken a risk and maybe learnt something?

In other words, it is taking responsibility for your error and once the disappointment is over and the situation accepted, finding the courage and the ability to spring back and try a new path.”

The art of making mistakes is neither French nor English. In my opinion it is the ability to assess the risks involved in an objective manner, establishing a plan A and a plan B, both viable, leaving an exit door within easy reach. Thus still leaving the possibility to change direction when required and adjust the decision making process to the given situation.

Applying the ‘no rubber available’ methodology.

June 2010

 

My recruitment week…

17 Mar

My recruitment week…

I used to go out in the morning really excited to meet lots of new extraordinary people and …believe me I did that absolutely everyday!!!! I’ll let you guess my job: I serve a lot of glasses of water, visit a lot of different hotels, ask a lot of questions, observe a lot of different behaviors, have to dress immaculately, be charming and smile a lot!!!

Now I can imagine you SMIRKING…You got it wrong…I am a PROFESSIONAL….double wrong!!!…I worked in England as an independent assessor on large recruitment campaigns!!!

Here are a few mishappenings that usually sent me to the water cooler pretty quick (YES…more water!!!). Stress makes you act in really weird ways from time to time..!!

Candidates unable to speak any English…and using every trick in the book to save themselves time, in order to be able to grasp what the question actually means: “could you repeat that please?? …what you mean is …” then he repeats exact wording of the question….is that correct? I usually repeat the question once more, and then rephrase the question in Pidgin English: You…preparation for this interview??? And… after all this effort, does not answer it!!…

Demonstrating how to count different travel zones for a test…Showing my three fingers in front of the face of the candidate and asking how many zones he can account for….4 was his response. Tried it again during another test: answer was two this time!! I guess arithmetic was not on top of their agenda…

During a role play,ie a situation given to the candidate who has to prepare himself for a specific scenario happening… the candidate took the brief so seriously and literally that he wrestled the assessor to the floor shouting: DON’T MOVE… I’ll call an ambulance!!! It was so entertaining that the second assessor (another lady who serves glasses of water and visits lots of different venues…!) observing the exercise, let it proceed for a while before calling for a halt when it became…too dangerous for the assessor’s health!!

Closed body language: pen and finger pointing…feet inwards pointing…arms crossed. I even interviewed a candidate who had kept his anorak on (it was July…) and… , I realized when I took him back to the reception room….his backpack (which by then had become fairly flat…!) on during the whole interview!!! He was obviously keen to run away as soon as possible!!!! I must have been terrifying…

Body odor: candidate who obviously had never met (let alone been) in a bath and was getting excited …waving arms…result obtained: I.., choking to get some fresh unpolluted air and wishing candidate had no arm….!!!

During a particular role play, the candidate was supposed to call my daughter to let her know that I am running slightly late but will be with her shortly. This is the candidate’s interpretation of the scenario when asked: “but what are you going to tell my daughter???  Candidate (candidly):” that you are her mother”….Me (absolutely stunned): “But …she knows I am her mother!!!” A Vaudeville scene as my uncle would say (I am French by the way).

Cabin Crew candidate afraid of flying and thinking this was an opportunity to beat their flying phobia…or the trade union rep for the baggage handlers turning up for an internal hearing straight from work, all dressed in white…I don’t think he had ever touched a piece of luggage in his life…!!

Another tool used in an evaluation centre was an evidence based questionnaire: When asked to discuss a situation when someone was proving difficult to work with, candidate answered: cannot think of any situation as I have never had people disagreeing with me….!! Always useful information from the point of view of an assessor…

Another candidate who obviously had understood the competency based interview questionnaire! asking if the fact that we were asking probing questions would play against him…

One of my colleagues (that is a chap serving glasses of water (yes yes!! You got it this time…) ran into my assessment room one day and breathlessly described how he had called for a “Sharon Smith” in the reception area unable to identify a lady waiting, when a deep raucous voice answered that she was Sharon. He was so shocked that he could not establish the sex of the candidate and was asking for my help!! His chosen criteria were that the candidate had…small feet and a handbag so she was a lady for sure…!!!

And the skills I have acquired you may ask??? Mastering the art of holding several glasses of water at the same time…I am also an expert at tuning in to thousands of different accents and way of speaking…when in the beginning a candidate kept on referring to “we” I was confused about how many brothers and sisters he must have…now I am used to the royal “we”.

I have also learnt to never make assumptions (which believe me can be absolutely nearly impossible sometimes…!). People are amazing is my own conclusion to this fun hobby/job I held.

On a more serious tone, competency based interview help the assessor to determine in an objective manner if the candidate is suitable for the job…i.e. all the questions asked are based upon the skills required for the job.

For example, when recruiting for a famous airline company, it was paramount to be able to establish if the candidate was customer service focused. So rather than asking the candidate: are you customer focused or do you place your customers first?? I would ask a situation based question such as: can you remember the last time you provided exceptional customer service?? I.e. you went the extra mile for one of your customer?? In that instance the candidate would provide a situation when they thought they really had gone the “extra mile” for the customer. And in analyzing the situation, I could determine if the customer was top of the candidate’s agenda or not. Therefore I could then match the demonstrated skills with my client’s requirements of exceptional customer service…

This work technique enables the assessor to work in an objective manner and in a consistent way by repeating the same technique. Through giving the same chance to each candidate!!!

This competency based technique is now starting to make its way in France. Let’s hope it will become common knowledge throughout the French recruitment world quickly and efficiently!!!!


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