Self-awareness. To what extent do you see self-awareness as being important for success in your company? From our standpoint at ADVISA, it’s critical in nearly all situations. Consider the following…
1. Self-awareness is the first step to growing. Without self-awareness, an employee is unaware of areas for improvement.
2. Through self-awareness, one also knows one’s strengths and unique talents, and therefore is better positioned to leverage those and maximize their contributions to the company.
3. Lack of self-awareness leads to conflict. Have you ever worked with someone who significantly lacked self-awareness? What was that experience like? How often did disagreement or ineffective communication occur because the individual just didn’t see themselves realistically, even when others tried to inform them?
If you’re still not convinced, check out this article on the Importance of Self-Awareness. But if you’re in agreement that self-awareness is quite important, let’s look at how this comes into play in hiring. When it comes to candidates screening, how can you assess a candidate’s self-awareness?
1. Get initial insight through a valid, reliable personality assessment like Predictive Index®. Predictive Index (PI®) has many applications during the hiring process, from defining the needs of the position, to marketing the opening, to helping you identify the candidates best-suited for your job. But beyond all that, it’s valuable for examining self-awareness as well. The rich, but straight-forward data you see from the 5-10 minute survey completed by the candidate tells you the workplace motivations and drives of a candidate, and likely behaviors.
2. Ask probing questions. Forget about “What’s your biggest challenge?” Try something like these:
- How have you evolved as a professional over your career? What prompted the changes? What helped support the change (e.g., classes, books, mentor)?
- How are you a different leader now compared to when you were in your first leadership position?
- What distinguishes you as a manager/executive/sales professional/engineer/ administrator compared to your peers?
- Are there any aspects of you as a professional that you’re working on developing? How are you pursuing development? Why did you identify this as being important?
3. Listen for consistency. Once you have the “peak under the hood” that PI gives you, you can anticipate areas where there are predictable behaviors that one might need to manage. See if the candidate’s responses to the probing questions above align with risks you can see in their profile and answers to other questions in the interview. This is where you can see self-awareness or possible lack of it.
4. Listen for the “so what?” After the candidate has offered self-reflection, probe for what this really means. How do they leverage an identified strength? What is their attitude about an identified development area? What are actions and results from development work they’ve done?
5. Listen for vagueness, defensiveness, judgment, dismissiveness or lack of consistency. Any of these kinds of responses point to lack of self-awareness, maturity, humility or commitment to change. If you hear these, take a harder look at whether this person will be able to fit with your company and deliver what you need.
6. Check responses out with references. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to connect with references, take an area of strength or development that that candidate mentioned and see whether the reference can confirm this.
Curious for more information? Contact me if you’d like to see a sample scenario applying the process described above. We’d also be happy to help you with any aspect of your applicant screening process through our RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) service or our consulting services focused on strategic hiring.