“We look for what I call the X-factor and if we find it we don’t hire,” my brother stated. My brother is a city administer. He is aware that if you hire someone for a government position, they could be with you for a long time because it is difficult to fire the non-performers. Therefore, he is very selective in how he hires.
His comment is in response to a statement I made about how I have added new criteria to our screening and selection processes which is No Drama. Candidates cannot have drama in their life. If they do, they will bring that drama into work almost everyday.
A company has profits to make; managers have directives to hit; employees are fulfilling exceptions; and along the way everyone is trying to provide value, feel valuable in their roles, and feel good about the service they provide… all while dealing with competitors, the economy, customer demands, and changes in technology. WOW! This is a pretty tough order to fill under normal circumstance so imagine how difficult it is when an employee has issues with their spouse, their children, their parents, their siblings, or themselves; drug, alcohol, or prescription drug abuse, or personality disorders. For men, you can add divorce to the list. With women, divorce may not be as much of an issue but only if they can share with you how they have learned to balance home, children, and a full-time job.
You may be thinking that we all have some issues on that list at one time or another. While I agree, it is how one handles the X-factors that make a difference. Typically candidates for more senior positions have learned not to bring the X-factor into their workplace. Regardless of whether one does or does not bring those into the workplace, it is much easier just not to hire someone who has X-factors.
How do you screen for X-factors?
- Pre-employment drug testing is an obvious one.
- Have an interviewing process that last longer than one hour. Most people have learned the pat answers to your standard questions and can fake it for 45 minutes. Two hours of questioning, not so much. This is especially true with salespeople.
- If they have a spouse or significant other in their life, take them to dinner (a nice long 7-course dinner).
Conducting a longer interview is not that difficult if you ask about their childhood, their family, their siblings, their parents, their hobbies, their travels, and their life experiences.
Look for the X-factors and avoid hiring regardless of their experience.
Jump start putting together you questions to conduct a longer extended first interview by downloading a free copy of Top 100 Business to Business Sales Interview Questions.