Written by: Lorrie Howard, Horizon Point Consulting
My twelve-year-old son had his first experience with interviewing this week. He is applying to a special program for high school and as part of the application process he had to participate in a panel interview with members of the program administration. Naturally, he was nervous. Luckily the interview was scheduled on very short notice so he didn’t have too much time to overthink it.
As I sat in the waiting area with him and his best friend before their interviews, I put on my recruiter hat and gave them some basic interviewing advice. They were both very receptive to what I said and I think they both took my advice to heart during their interviews. (We find out if they both made it in to the program in a few weeks, so fingers crossed!)
As I went over the basics with them (eye contact, open posture, speak clearly, don’t fidget), I heard another mother say to her child “you know how to interview.”
My first thought was “how does a twelve-year-old know how to interview when so many adults struggle with it?” Then I started to think about the deeper impact of her statement.
How often do we as leaders assume that those we lead already know what we want or need them to know? And how many of us get frustrated when we find out they don’t know it, often only after they tried on their own and made a mistake?
By making that statement to her child, that mother was assuming he had the knowledge and didn’t help to ensure her child was set up for success. Same with leaders and their employees. If you set an expectation for your employee with the assumption that they know how to meet that expectation, you may be setting them up for failure or at a minimum, added stress when they struggle on their own to get it right.
According to a study published in 2015 by Willis Towers-Watson, over 70% of high-retention-risk employee said they would leave their companies to advance their careers.
I recently held a workshop for one of my clients in which I asked employees to tell me where they thought the company needed to make improvements. One of the top themes that I saw in their feedback was training and providing employees with the knowledge they need to be as successful as they can be.
It’s human nature to want to succeed.
Providing employees with the opportunity to grow in their roles is a great way to ensure that they will want to stay with the organization. And it’s a great opportunity to strengthen your organization’s succession plan.
Studies show that most on the job training happens in the form of informal learning. I have challenged the leaders at the client mentioned above to ask themselves each week to pinpoint one thing that they taught someone. I’ve also challenged them to think before they perform a task “is there someone who would benefit from knowing how to do this?” If the answer is yes, I encourage them to pull that person aside and show them when the opportunity presents itself (just like I did with my son and his friend).
The interview skills I presented to the boys were very basic, but also very important skills to know for the future. My hope is that when they are old enough in a few years to start interviewing for their first job, those tips will pop into their heads and help them to have a successful interview.
The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. -Harvey S. Firestone
Are you living up to your calling as a leader?