This is part 1 of 2 articles sharing a couple of situations that recently unfolded in one of the organizations with which KnowledgeWorkx partners—and the solutions that were applied. This particular experience was discovered within the company’s talent acquisition team. These recruiters are talented and well-trained. They work hard and are good at their jobs, typically bringing on board a few hundred new employees each year, and, of course, considering and interviewing many, many more candidates.
However, given the now-multinational context, they were using two approaches that caused challenges. One was an Innocence-Guilt individual accountability mechanism for conducting behavioral interviewing. Behavioral interviewing is a powerful methodology to get a candidate to unpack a scenario—to discover how they assess a situation, how they would handle themselves under certain circumstances, the way they learn from it. The dilemma, however, is that the way recruiters are trained and certified in behavioral interviewing—that teaching itself approaches behavioral interviewing from the perspective of an Innocence-Guilt / individual accountability cultural paradigm. When they tried to apply that same method in Honor-Shame or Power-Fear –oriented cultures—which are more likely to lean more community accountability, to be more indirect communication -oriented, more directed destiny -oriented in some cases—then that behavioral interviewing technique wasn’t working.
The other hindrance they discovered was that the actual recruiting team itself was predominately comprised of Innocence-Guilt –oriented members. So when the recruiters would gather together to debrief and to discuss what they thought about the candidates, they would come up with a “verdict” that was strongly influenced by Innocence-Guilt thinking. Through discussions, they came to realize that they had been seeing through only one lens, only one color of worldview.
So for instance, if there were a candidate from a Power-Fear background—he or she might respond to hypothetical scenarios differently, revealing different priorities. And Power-Fear –oriented people might ask questions about hierarchy and organizational structure or distribution of duties.
This intense desire to know how people will align and what the position’s standing would be could come off to Innocence-Guilt listeners as over the top and off-topic. A primarily Innocence-Guilt recruiting team might infer from these questions that the candidate is aiming for a higher position than the one for which he or she is being considered. It could be misinterpreted as an excessive and premature focus on the company’s structure, with no apparent link to that candidate. It might even be misconstrued as undermining of the company’s core values—for example, a lack of humility or an obsession with climbing the ladder.
But Power-Fear –oriented candidates would naturally tend to ask those kinds of questions “early” on in the process—sooner than later—because they simply need to know, they need to get their bearings, as part of getting acquainted with the company and feeling confirmation that it is the kind of place where they could fit in and contribute.
A company whose recruiting team uses only a “monocle” lens and filters all candidates through just one color of worldview—that company will miss out. There are excellent workers who would be optimal matches for certain roles in your international organization, but who will not necessarily fit the “perfect candidate” pattern that an Innocence-Guilt –oriented recruiting team is scanning for. In the second half of this brief series, we will discuss other cases in point and solutions for calibrating a recruiting team with Inter-Cultural Intelligence.
Quickly becoming the global preferred choice for Inter-Cultural Intelligence development, KnowledgeWorkx promotes mutual understanding of other cultures and perspectives in the workplace, and helps teams to develop the intercultural capacity necessary to thrive in a globalized world.