Interview: Hire Authority’s Carol Quinn Discusses How To Find Top Talent (part 1)

April 28, 2010 – Carol Quinn is an expert on interviewing and hiring high performers. She is the founder and president of Hire Authority and has more than 25 years experience in the corporate world. Ms. Quinn is dynamic, innovative, inspirational, and gifted at helping people breakthrough self-imposed limitations. Ms. Quinn offers several distinctively different keynote presentations, as well as a one-day Motivation-Based Interviewing (MBI) course and the three-day MBI Train-the-Trainer course. As an author, she has written four books that form the basis for her speeches and workshops. In her most recent books, Awakening Outrageous Potential and Outrageous Potential Unleashed – Leadership Edition, Ms. Quinn explains how to help maximize the performance of a company's most crucial asset – its people. In the following interview, Ms. Quinn discusses her company Hire Authority and her methods for motivating individuals to get the most out of their people.

Give us an overview of Hire Authority and how you can help HR professionals, executive recruiters and other human capital professionals?

I developed an interviewing methodology for hiring high performers called Motivation-Based Interviewing (MBI) and in 1998 founded Hire Authority. Hire Authority is a training company that teaches organizations MBI. MBI has steadily grown in popularity. It's taught internationally by trainers in more than a dozen countries, in multiple languages. Motivation-Based Interviewing is more effective than behavior-based interviewing, and easy to learn and use. It can be used for any job and it only takes an hour to conduct an MBI interview. It helps make interviewers aware of how and why high performers are able to achieve better results, and on why other employees stop at ‘average.’ MBI incorporates interviewing techniques specifically for identifying high performers and closes the holes that allow marginal job performers to be mistaken for good hires. More than 80 percent of all interviewers have had no formal training on how to hire the best. Hire Authority can help HR managers avoid costly hiring mistakes by teaching interviewers how to distinguish the interview-savvy applicants from the true top performers using MBI.

Explain some of your products.

Hire Authority’s MBI educational products include books and e-books, an online MBI training/web course and onsite services such as instructor-led MBI workshops and MBI Train-the-Trainer workshops. I have two new books – and these provide a powerful philosophy for success, both personal and corporate; reading them will benefit every employee and manager.

With such a large talent pool available to hiring companies, explain the importance of conducting effective interviews for recruiting professionals.

There is a misconception that having a vast pool of applicants also means it will be EASIER to hire high performers. Just the opposite is true. Information about how to “correctly” answer standard behavior-based interview questions is at the fingertips of every paycheck-hungry job seeker. Check out the information on the Internet for yourself if you harbor any doubt. Due to the recession, many applicants have had an abundance of time to research how to ace an interview. Applicants who are NOT high performers have become excellent at interviewing, making it harder to distinguish the pretenders from those who will truly achieve great results if hired. Combine this with the fact that many interviewers falsely believe that skill level equates to job performance level. They will hire based solely on an applicant’s level of skill, assuming they are hiring a high performer. Many times, they are not. This hiring challenge is not a new problem. It’s not uncommon for the interviewee to be more skilled and better prepared for the interview than the interviewer is at knowing how to identify the highest performers. Typically companies do not track their interviewer’s results and do not actually know how effective they are at hiring. In addition, conducting interviews is one of the few jobs a company employee is allowed to do without having any prior training on how to do it well. If no one takes a leadership role to close this hole, it’s allowed to continue. Right now, job seekers are better prepared for the interview than at any other time in history. Conversely, many companies have thinned out their HR departments, and are now at their most vulnerable. They bear the greatest risk of making costly hiring mistakes at a time when they need every employee to be a top producer in the post-recession era.

What are some of the most common mistakes HR managers make that hurts their success?

They spend most of their scheduled interviewing time assessing a candidate’s level of skill and base their decision to hire solely on that aspect. This common misconception is responsible for a large percentage of the bad hiring decisions that are made. Someone who has adequate or above-average skill may turn out to be a high performer, but they may just as easily be an average or even below average performer, because having a good skill set does not take motivation into account. Skills are enablers, they are not motivators. “Skill” is only one of the ingredients that all high performers share in common and it is the only one that can be added after the hire. There are two more ingredients that are essential. Once interviewers become aware of this and learn how to tailor the interview to gather and assess all three ingredients, they can improve their ability to make sound hiring decisions.

Next Wednesday, we conclude our interview with Carol Quinn.

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