There is no silver bullet for finding the right person for the job. Resumes are of course the main tool that hiring managers use to qualify candidates’ experience. Candidates’ personality and character are vetted in interviews.
But it can be difficult to assess someone’s virtues and shortcomings when meeting face-to-face for just half an hour or an hour. Even a series of interviews may not be enough to ascertain who someone really is as an employee or how they will react in certain situations.
But asking the right questions can certainly help provide a better idea of a job candidate’s ability to work alongside colleagues and supervisors.
Who is Today’s “Right Fit”?
Screening employees for issues like potential misconduct or harassment is always important. But right now when health and hygiene are of particular importance to both employees and guests, it’s equally important for the hospitality industry to bring on staff with high levels of emotional intelligence.
Employees now need to work together with all the more in order to ensure guests’ as well as their own comfort and safety. Guests may also need a little more empathy shown to them while they’re away from home and constantly conscious of social distancing.
In other words, maturity, the ability to self-regulate emotions, and empathy are essential in the current hospitality workplace.
Vetting for Empathy
If you truly want to get an idea of a candidate’s compassion for and kindness toward others, avoid asking hypothetical questions. Hypothetical questions are likely to get hypothetical answers, which may or may not be an accurate reflection of who the candidate is.
Instead, how they reacted when a coworker was having a bad day or when a guest’s reaction toward staff seemed disproportionate to the situation. How did the other person’s behavior make them feel and why?
Asking candidates about their emotional response in past situations doesn’t need to focus on the negative either. So don’t hesitate to have candidates interviewing for guest-facing positions share an anecdote about a time when they resolved an issue for a difficult guest on their own. Did the guest walk away happy or just placated?
Getting candidates to discuss past emotions in the workplace is probably as close as you’ll come to determine how they’ll behave in your place of business.
The Importance of Self-Regulation
We have all become angry or frustrated at work at one point or another. Job candidates aren’t immune either from experiencing negative emotions at work.
The full spectrum of feelings is only human and no one should be faulted for having felt the way they did. How they handled those feelings is where the focus should really be. In short, how do they self regulate?
So it can be worth going so far as to ask them about a time when they were angry at work. This could give you some insight as to what and how they’re triggered.
But make sure to also ask how they handled those feelings? Were they able to get through the rest of their workday business as usual and then headed to the gym after work to blow off some steam? Or did their anger affect a coworker or guest?
Similarly, has he or she ever become frustrated with a policy or procedure at work? How did they vent their frustration? How did they cope with those workplace guidelines?
Let’s face it; negative emotions at work aren’t just sparked by our interactions with other people. The work itself can sometimes leave us feeling dejected or defeated. How a candidate overcomes those feelings and moves forward will tell you what motivates them as well as how they handle themselves.
Maturity and Why It Matters
Emotionally immature employees are likely going to cause problems in the workplace, whether that’s inappropriate behavior or a propensity towards gossip and drama. But a person’s demeanor during a job interview isn’t necessarily going to indicate how emotionally mature he or she actually is.
We like to think that maturity comes with age, but… not always. Sensibility is also a product of experience. So the candidate with a straight and narrow career history –that is, the person who has solid, but singular experience—isn’t necessarily going to be the best person for the job. Even if their professional history is perfectly aligned with the position.
So don’t discount candidates whose career trajectory has been less than traditional. Job seekers that show a range of past roles may prove more agile and better able to cope with a variety of situations. This may not always be the case, but it may be worth exploring.