Clay: this is Clay Stairs Leadership Tulsa with podcast number 12. Today we’re going to be talking about interviewing through the lens of culture. We’ve been on a series of talks now talking about how to develop and nurture and expand the culture in your company. We started out talking about how to simply develop a culture. Once again, every company, every organization, every group of people over time will develop a culture. Positive or negative, it will develop a culture. The question is, is it a culture that was developed on purpose? Or is it a culture that just evolved on its own? As a leader, as a manager, as a director, as a person in a position of leadership, it’s going to be vital for you to make sure that your culture is developed on purpose. That you are designing a company, that you are designing a workforce on purpose, because if we just let it go on its own, I promise you, it will not go in the direction you want it to go.
Even if you have some good days, you will have some bad days that will keep you in a very difficult spot. A spot of struggle, a spot of pain, a spot of confusion. You might be thinking right now, “Oh my Gosh, is he been following me around?” But that’s what happens. As Clay Stairs Leadership Tulsa travels across the country working with business speaker Tulsa owners, entrepreneurs, managers across the board, we’re finding over and over that the primary reason so many leaders are having a problem with their people, is because there is a miss alignment with what the company is asking that people to do, and what the people are actually willing to do. The big question obviously is always, “Hey Clay, how do I get people to do what I want them to do? How come the people don’t do this? Oh my Gosh, it’s the Millennials. Oh my Gosh, it’s the old people stuck in their ways.” There’s always an excuse for the people not to do what the managers, what the leaders are asking them to do. business speaker Tulsa
What I’m giving you here is just a series of answers. “Here is the system, here is how you get people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” It’s a beautiful quote by Eisenhower, I believe. Once again, getting people to do, this is the true art of leadership. Getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. We have found as the founder of Clay Stairs Leadership Tulsa, I found this to be one of the most valuable lessons to teach to leaders, trainers, developers, and managers, entrepreneurs in their company. Here we go, today we’re talking about interviewing through the lens of culture. Once again, the culture has been identified. It’s being clearly identified through a list of four, five or six words, or four five or six phrases, or sentences. That everybody has not only agreed with and not only accepted, but they have aligned with. Now, we’ve got this clearly identified. Next of all, when we went out and recruited for people, we didn’t just recruit for function, but we recruited for fit. business speaker Tulsa
All of our advertisements, all of the recruiting language is around our culture first, rather than leading with the job description, rather than leading with, “Hey, we’re looking for people. Hiring now, now hiring,” type of thing. We are leading with our language, we’re leading with our culture. We’re leading with our ‘Why.’ W-H-Y. The reason why. Because if you can find people that align with your ‘Why,’ that the people that align with your company’s ‘Why,’ then every single day when they come to work, they will be coming to work because of where the company is going. Because the company’s ‘Why’ and the employees ‘Why’ align. They fit together, they’re in the same path. I come to work because of what the company is. I come to work because of who I get to work with. I come to work because of what this company produces for the customers. We need to make sure that we have that alignment. Our next step here is the interview process. We’ve gone through the recruiting, people have responded, there will be a lower number of people that will respond to you when you use the filter of your culture. But now people have said, “Yes, I want to come. This really looks like a great place to work, I’m really excited about it.” business speaker Tulsa
As a matter of fact, my recruiting why I just did over this last week. I had four people that got in touch with me and said, “Clay, I would be very interested, this sounds like a great opportunity. The language that you were saying, the words, it just sounds like it’d be a great place. I’d love to work there”. Cool. I know there was probably a ton of people that saw that language and may have thrown up in their mouth. They were going, “Clay Stairs of Leadership Tulsa, I don’t want to work there, doesn’t sound like fun at all.” Because it just didn’t align with who they are, what they saw as valuable in their life. So my culture filter them out, but now we’re moving to the next step, which is the interview. What I found over and over as traveling with Clay Stairs of leadership Tulsa is that in the interview process there is no set system on how to interview. It’s pretty much we turn the interview process over to a manager which can be a bad decision, okay? Because the manager is primarily in their mindset, in the way they are wired, and I’m thinking primarily of a person that doesn’t necessarily have the position of a manager, but a person that thinks like a manager. business speaker Tulsa
A person that thinks like a manager is primarily interested in answers. They’re not really looking for understanding, they are looking for answers. Manager mindsets love to have checklist, which are beautiful. That’s why we love managers, that’s why we give them a lot of money to do what they’re doing. But if you put a manager with that mindset in charge of the interview, then that manager will approach the interview as a task to be completed, as opposed to a conversation that needs to be understood. I try to put people that are much more wired in the area of a developer, a trainer, to have them in the interview process here. What I’m going to do is, once again, we are interviewing through the lens of culture. I have questions specific to ask or I have questions to ask specifically designed for me to find out how this person across the table will respond to my culture. Once again, we’re talking about our culture of integrity, our culture of team, our culture of production. Let’s say those are our three primary words, our core values in our company. Now, the resume that the person has filled out or the application that the person has filled out, that is going to tell me if they can do the job. business speaker Tulsa
I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time in this interview talking about their resume, talking about their past experience doing the job, because that’s already on the resume. It’s already on the application. If it’s not on the application, you want to make sure that it gets onto your application, because that written work should tell you if they can do the job. “This is what the job is, have you ever done this before? These are the skills that are involved, have you ever done this before? Where did you do this?” That’s all resume and application. By the time we get to the interview, I am primarily interviewing for fit. I want to get into a conversation with this person to see how their mindset, how their core values, how their ‘Why’ fits with the company ‘Why’. Questions that I might ask in the area of teamwork would be, “Have you ever played on a team before?” “No, I haven’t.” “Okay, all right.” “Have you ever had to work with a group before?” “No, I haven’t.” So we’re going to go back into high school or something maybe in college where they had to do some type of a group project or something like that, but I’m looking for somewhere where they had to be a part of a group effort.
I want to know number one, “Tell me a little bit about that,” and just let them talk. Let them talk a little bit about the success that the team had, and their role. “What role did you play in that success? How long did it take to get there?” I love asking this question right here, “What was hard about it?” Because many times if you’re not careful, they will just give you all the sunny side in the interview, “It was great, it was awesome,” but when you start talking about what was difficult about it, now you know. Now you can begin the discussion of how are they going to respond when they are in your company and things get difficult. Because if you’re like me, you know it’s going to be hard, you know every day is not going to be easy. I want to know how they are going to respond to this core value when things don’t go well.
They may talk about a group project where they say, “Yes, no one else was really doing anything so I just ended up doing it all myself.” That’s a beautiful thing to hear in an interview right there, they are letting you know that they aren’t much of a team player, especially when the team doesn’t do what they’re supposed to do. They’ll just say, “Screw the team, I’m going to do what I want to do and I will finish this project on my own.” That’s great thing to hear in an interview. It doesn’t mean that you don’t hire them, it just means that you hire them and you know how they’re going to respond when things get difficult. Another question you might ask them about team is, “If there was a coach or if there was a teacher or a trainer if there was somebody that was leading the group, how did you get along with him?” Again, ask that question, “What was hard about that? What was difficult about that?” Because now you’re getting into when they come to work for you, when if things get difficult, they’re going to tell you how they would respond.
If you don’t ask him what was hard, they’ll just tell you, “It was great, I loved it, and everyone loved me.” You go, “Hey, I think this person is awesome. I think they’re going to work out really well here at my company.” But you’re not finding out how they align under pressure and that’s the key thing in the interview. We want to know how they function under pressure. The best indicator of how they’re going to function under pressure in the future is how they’ve reacted to pressure in the past, “Tell me a little bit about that. How was that? What did you feel like? What did you think? What were you thinking? What conclusions did you come to?”
I’ve had people in interviews tell me, “Oh, yes man.” It was amazing. A guy that was like in his fifties I was so excited to hire this guy and bring him into the company, I was going, “Oh, this is going to be beautiful.” And right off the bat he started talking about how disgruntled he was in his previous job. How he went into a meeting with that guy and he wouldn’t say anything, but he was just burning holes in him with his eyes. And that his boss at that point brought up a couple things and he goes, “You know, I wasn’t even going to listen to him, I just got up and got out.” There was just no reason, he just walked out. I’m going, “Oh my Gosh, this is how you’re going to treat me when I disagree with you. This is how you’re going to treat me when things don’t go the way you want it to go,” and he didn’t even realize it.
As the founder of Clay Stairs Leadership Tulsa, I’ve learned that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. If you can discern what is coming out of their mouth, they will tell you exactly how they are going to respond in your company in times of pressure, in times of difficulty, in times of pain. If you know how to ask the right questions and it’s these questions through the lens of culture that I want to encourage you with. “Those are some with team, let’s talk about production. Tell me about something that you have produced, tell me about something that you personally have been in charge of and you’ve had to have specific results,” and they’ll tell you. Again, what they tell you, it might be on par with what you are going to expect them to produce in your company, or it can be something far lesser than what you’re getting ready to expect from them. It doesn’t mean that you don’t hire them, it just means that now you know. Because if you’re like me, you don’t want surprises, you don’t want to bring somebody in and all of a sudden be going, “Oh, the disappointment. I’m so surprised. I thought they were going to do great.” it’s so demoralizing and it just runs the pace, it runs the momentum when we get surprises.
I have hired no numerous people that I knew were not going to do well, but I had to hire in a hurry. But the thing was is that I knew that they weren’t going to work. Because I’d had these conversations. I knew that they weren’t going to fit, but at that point I needed a human, I needed somebody in. When they begin to not work out, in the first two weeks, it wasn’t a surprise. It didn’t slow me down emotionally, it didn’t slow down the momentum in the company. Just want to encourage you to use these types of questions in your interview because these are the types of questions are going to let you know if they fit in your culture. Another word that we had there was integrity. You want to be talking about trust and honesty under pressure.
“Have you ever been in a time, in a place? Have you ever been asked by a boss to do something that didn’t have integrity? Have you ever felt like you have said one thing, but you’ve done another? Have you ever had a friend that has done that?” Let me take a moment to say this, in the interview, if you’re ever trying to elicit some negative comments from the people. If you really want to find out, if you wanted them to talk negatively about themselves, they’re not going to do that naturally. If you want to hear if they will talk negatively about themselves, you have to be the one to start it. You have to lead with, “I remember one time I did this and it wasn’t really good. Have you ever been in that spot where you just so frustrated?” “Yes, of course. That’s where I was. I was just so frustrating and I did this.” If the person has been in that place, they will begin to nod their head. They will begin to connect with what you’re saying and you’re over there on the other side of the table going, “Okay, I’ve got him. I’ve got him. This is good.” “And I was so mad, I just did this, I probably shouldn’t have done that.” They’ll go, “Yes, I know, but I did it anyway.” “Have you ever been in that spot?” They will just right out of their mouths go, “Yes, I have been there. Man, I was so mad and I told my boss this and they’re not going to get away with this.” And you’re just smiling and looking at him, but what you’ve done, is you have led by showing them that it’s okay to have something negative. Because you have told them something negative about yourself, a negative experience that you have had. Once again, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t hire this person. It just lets you know that this is how they are going to treat you in the future, this is how they’re going to respond to a specific situation. This is interviewing through the lens of culture. I’m Clay Stairs Leadership Tulsa. This has been podcast number 12, interviewing through the lens of culture.
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Clay Staires