Level Up Leadership

A big hiring mistake you should avoid

June 07, 2022 Episode 7
Level Up Leadership
A big hiring mistake you should avoid
Show Notes Transcript

In today's episode, we're talking about something that leaders tell me they do when they interview a potential candidate. And let me tell you, it seems like a great idea. But in this episode, you'll be understanding why this approach is not a great approach to have in your interviews.

A lot of leaders have said to me that during an interview with a potential candidate, they like to put their candidate under pressure to see if they crack. 

On the surface this seems like a good idea. If the candidate can keep their cool while you poke at them, then, you know you're likely to have someone who can handle pressure all around, but it doesn't work in practice. And do you know the reason why? Psychological safety. 

 
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In today's episode, we're talking about something that leaders tell me they do when they interview a potential candidate. And let me tell you, it seems like a great idea. But in this episode, you'll be understanding why this approach is not a great approach to have in your interviews.

A lot of leaders have said to me that during an interview with a potential candidate, they like to put their candidate under pressure to see if they crack. 

On the surface this seems like a good idea. If the candidate can keep their cool while you poke at them, then, you know you're likely to have someone who can handle pressure all around, but it doesn't work in practice. And do you know the reason why? 

In any job you want a person to feel safe first, then use that safety as a platform to be able to cope with stressful situations. To help them to stretch. We call this psychological safety. If you try and stretch someone before you have built a position of safety you are creating unnecessary stress. 

Giving someone a really hard time and the interview won't give you the best outcome. Unless you lead like this every day and if that's the case, then there's some other issues at play. For example, you might think that finding a great person is the challenge, but your challenge is going to be keeping them because there's only so long. Someone want to work for leader who uses these tactics of putting people under unnecessary pressure.

So what is psychological safety? Psychological safety is the belief that you won't be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. Teams that have strong psychological safety are less afraid of negative consequences that might result from taking smart risks, making mistakes, and sharing their opinions with the team. 

It is really important that with your team, you build this sense of psychological safety. Because it means that they will stretch outside their comfort zone and take calculated risks. If you have people in your team in a position where you're putting them under pressure and they do not feel safe first. What happens is we actually become dumber. 

So why does stress make us dumber? Well, when we feel under pressure, in a very simplistic way you can think it closes down and neocortex or the evolved part of our brain that our us apart from other animals. And we go straight to fight or flight. Some people might call this an amygdala hijack. 

Your body's wanting to keep you safe and in survival mode. You cannot logically make any decision or understand what logic looks like when you were in this fight or flight mode. It could also be called fight flight or freeze. I'm sure you've been in a situation where you've got a phone call from your boss and they've said, "Can I have a minute? Can I see you in my office?" And all of a sudden, your heart starts racing. Maybe your palms are getting sweaty and you start to panic. "What can this be about?" If that's what's going through your mind, chances are you may not be feeling safe in your role or your position. And situations like this, causing this fight flight or freeze feeling, when we are in this state of arousal of stress, it means we're no longer able to use the evolved part of our brain, and we are unable to make good decisions.  

And that is not a great thing to have in your team. So wherever possible you want your team to feel safe so they can make great decisions. Now, how does this come back to our big hiring mistake? When you are hiring somebody in that interview, you want to understand what they're like, and you want them to understand what you're like, not only you explaining what the role is, but what it's like to actually work together. 

You can talk about some situations where people have been under pressure and you can ask how they might have worked in those situations before or how they might handle it. Just notice if your questions can come across in an attacking way, because if that is the case, you might not be getting the best from the candidate in that interview because you have not set up that basis of trust first. 

So that is the key points for today's episode of the big hiring mistake to avoid. And it's all about psychological safety. How can you make your team feel safe? How can you make people in an interview with you feel safe prior to putting them under pressure. 

If this episode has been helpful for you, it might be helpful for somebody else that you know, it'd be great if you could share it with just one person, because every time that we share a conversation about better leadership, We make better leaders of people around us. 

Thanks for listening.