This article steps through best practices in hiring incubtor staff. It provides detailed tips on interviewing techniques and protocols, and on what to really look for from a job applicant.
This Guideline maps out important aspects in hiring incubator staff. The objective of the selection process is to find individuals capable of performing with creativity, initiative, and autonomy, who can work as part of a team in pursuit of excellence in customer service. The quality and potential of the individuals need to be identified in order to meet the needs of the business. Three elements of the hiring process that are complex and constantly changing are: the candidate, the company, and the market.
One example of a hiring process is shown the flowchart:
Important Information about the Hiring Process
Interview – Increasingly, companies are choosing to use a formal, objective structure for the interview process. This allows all candidates an equal opportunity to present their abilities and skills in line with the specific requirements of the available position. The resume is commonly used as a starting point for the interview, taking five or ten minutes to discuss its relevant parts.
Competency-based interviews focus on specific abilities or behaviors, i.e. those required for success in a given role. The interviewer will assess each competency for a requisite period of time (usually 20 minutes), and ask a standard set of focused questions. The objective is to find specific evidence that the candidate meets the particular competency being assessed. Using detailed examples, the interviewer will ask a series of questions, sounding out the candidate. As a rule, competency-based interviews last about 2 hours. They are fundamental to the recruitment process and are proving to be highly effective. See attachment Practical Tips: How to Conduct an Interview.
Formulating the interview guidelines – Before conducting focused interviews, it is important to define the ideal competencies for each job position, in order to successfully fill the position in keeping with the overall objectives of the incubator. The guidelines are formulated using questions, based on concrete examples from the candidates’ lives, to determine if their history of decision-making and dealing with critical situations is suited to the requirements of the position. See attachment Interview Script.
Competency-based hiring – Competency-based interviews for selecting professionals provide a real definition of the profile of the candidate best suited for the job and the company. They debunk, for example, hiring based on elements previously considered a guarantee of success, such as only recruiting professionals that graduate from the best schools or those coming from large transnational companies.
Where you acquired the knowledge doesn’t matter, the important thing is that you have it – Nowadays, knowledge cannot be presumed solely from the presentation of credentials that suggest it. Titles are no guarantee of knowledge, or of experience, but rather demonstrate the result of a learning process that qualifies a person as a professional and not as an expert.
People are usually exposed to new theories and models during learning periods, and their learning is usually assessed with a certain degree of stringency, but there is no guarantee of how much knowledge was absorbed from that training. A grade score will show that a requirement was met satisfactorily, with proof that the person received the information, but the extent and usefulness of that information is not known. In selecting talent, depth and breadth of knowledge rather than academic level should be assessed.
The assessment of someone’s knowledge should not be restricted to documents. For example, if they speak another language it should not be supposed it is because he/she has a Diploma stating he/she is bi-lingual. Knowledge is immeasurable and entirely available, especially so in a globalized world where responsible access to the Internet can open a vast array of opportunities, to cite one example. Knowledge today should be measured by the breadth, the range and the impact it can and should have on organizations.
Based on this premise, those responsible for selection should establish a process for improvement and certification of knowledgeable individuals on an empirical and not a formal basis, guiding them to develop their competencies and make use of their potential.
Obviously, not everyone who possesses knowledge will put it into practice or use it to benefit the organization. Depending on the position the individual will occupy in the company, just having the knowledge will not be sufficient for him/her to be recruited.
The value is not in what you know, but in what you do with what you know – As stated, it is possible to have knowledge and still be a useless part of the organization if the knowledge is not put into practice. When selecting talent the candidate’s creative capacity should be investigated. Based on the premise that “The professional is defined by what he does, not what he says he knows,” his/her transformational element should also be assessed. It is in practice that one can measure depth of knowledge, as demonstrated by transforming something abstract, eg. an idea, into something concrete that can be measured and quantified.
The individual should demonstrate an ability to transform his/her environment, crossing the barrier requiring him/her to be “efficacious and efficient” to become one who is “effective” and able to transform theory into practice. It is possible to observe other elements in individuals’ competencies, since from their roles as generators of ideas and solutions based on their knowledge, they become “executors” of the program. At this point their skill as an active leader may be demonstrated.
What one does with knowledge should add value – Based on the above two points, it can be seen that today the search for candidates is quite different from those that were conducted traditionally. While in the past it was important to have a document certifying the individual as knowledgeable, nowadays the important thing is the product of that knowledge. It is at this point that “generating value” makes the difference between what one knows and what one does with what one knows.
Retaining knowledge and putting it into practice in response to an immediate situation has value, but it is not sufficient to show that the individual possesses the talent required by the incubator. Value should be added in any position within the incubator in a constant and sustainable manner; otherwise, the product of knowledge is lost in time, which will erode the quality of the organization’s intellectual capital. The search should be for talented individuals capable of adding value to incubator management, through their ability to acquire and transfer knowledge; and those who are capable of improving the surrounding environment. The positive impact that the person has upon the incubator adds to the energy needed to achieve its goals and objectives with quality.
These three new paradigms do not suggest ignoring academic titles, since that would be denying the importance of the efforts and motivation of many professionals. However, it does question placing an emphasis on it over what really matters to the organization. Companies do not prosper by the simple act of hiring a candidate holding degrees in different fields, but rather through the real results that person achieves. These results add value, and show that the person has strategic impact and the operative abilities that will benefit the organization.
- Manager of the Incubator and Board of Directors
- Low rate of employee turnover
- Increase satisfaction rate of companies
- Putting the right person in the right position
- A well-executed selection process that hires staff tailored to the daily activities of the incubator
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