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Are you hiring for resilience? Here are the (non-obvious) must ask questions.

March 25, 2019

I talk to many HR and Talent leaders in my work and I always ask them to what extent they are hiring for resilience. Whilst some touch upon it in their interview process, many acknowledge that it's not something they're asking about intentionally. And why is it important that we hire for resilience? Well, deep levels of resilience in an individual will translate into sustainable high performance (exactly what you're looking for) rather than short term high performance that may wane over time (often what we end up with). And, of course, as you build a collective of deeply resilient talent the higher order benefits are resilient teams and, ultimately, a resilient organization.

 

So here are the questions you should be asking, and the answers you should be looking for..

 

Q. How well do you sleep at night? 

A. I get 7-9 hours most nights (great answer)

A. I'll sleep when I'm dead or at least on the weekend. I stay ahead by using the night hours to keep working. (alarm bells)

 

Rationale: Sleep is the core foundation to resilience as it's the best source of significant recovery for the body and mind so that it can bounce back into action tomorrow.

 

Q. What do you eat for breakfast?

A. I try to get protein, fruit and grains into the system. (great answer)

A. Coffee and adrenalin fuel me through the morning. (alarm bells)

 

Rationale: The discipline of eating a good breakfast every morning is crucial to ensure the body has enough glucose to sustainably fuel the system for the fast starts required in your businesses.

 

Q. What does your exercise routine look like?

A. I try to work out every other day, even if it's short, intensive sessions, focused on some aerobic activity, resistance work and stretching. (great answer)

A. I never have time to work out during the week but I always get a run in on the weekends. (alarm bells)

 

Rationale: A strong physical base underpins sustainable performance. Having a strong mental game only works if you're physically strong enough to be present and focused. Equally, people who engage in regular intensive workouts metabolize a significant amount of emotional and mental stress which sets them up to be forces of focused thinking and positive energy in the work environment.

 

Q. How do you handle emotional stress?

A. I try to find a little bit of downtime after that type of stress to do something I really enjoy or at least something that takes my focus off that stress for a while. (great answer)

A. I tend to hit 'snooze' on it until such a time when I can figure it out. I bury it so it doesn't interfere with my work week. (alarm bells)

 

Rationale: We have to offset emotional stress in real time by seeking even momentary relief and renewal by doing something relaxing such as a couple of minutes of deep breathing, a quick mindfulness exercise or just writing a short gratitude list.

 

Q. How do you get through a mentally demanding day?

A. Finding small breaks to refresh my mind during the day but also ensuring that I have built strong mental 'muscles' overtime so I have the belief and the confidence that I can stay alert on those tough days and continue to make great decisions. (great answer)

A. I just dig in. I have a good amount of willpower and can get through almost anything. (alarm bells)

 

Rationale: Our ability to stay focused mentally has to be trained. Partly we get the training on the job which builds the mental muscle memory but we also need to specifically invest in additional training to build new capacity for mental focus. Willpower is a truly finite source of energy and it will always break when stretched too far.

 

Q. What's important to you?

A. Family, friends and ensuring I make time to be present with those people. Aiming always to be the positive influence in any situation. (great answer)

A. Winning, at any and all costs. (alarm bells)

 

Rationale: We know that a key foundation to resilience is having a clear sense of personal purpose. If you ultimately know why you're doing what you're doing, and the destination you're aiming for, you can get back on your feet very quickly after a setback. It's easier to see the issue as a blip on the journey rather than a disastrous end within itself. 

 

By asking these somewhat non-obvious questions in your interview process you will get a fast insight into whether your candidate is demonstrating the type of behavior that underpins resiliency. And resiliency is possibly the most important trait to look for in candidates so they can perform in today's highly volatile world.

 

I'm always keen to hear your feedback and get in touch if you would like to talk about how I could help inform your approach.

 

Always

 

Nick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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