Whole Person Interviewing

Interviewing can be time-consuming and frustrating. However, it is also a powerful opportunity to find the right candidate for your team. Using a Whole Person Interviewing mindset will allow you to understand candidates more fully, which can lead to better outcomes for hiring.

So, how can you incorporate whole person interviewing into your hiring process? We’ve outlined key steps to get started below.

Whole Person vs. Behavioral-Based Interviewing

Whole Person Interviewing is a human-centric and collaborative approach to interviewing that focuses on the mindset, attitude, and passion of a candidate to uncover their unique abilities and contributions to teams. 

Whole Person Interviewing is going beyond what an individual does to discover the why behind their actions. This approach aims to uncover why individuals do what they do, why they are passionate, and why they want to grow, personally and professionally. In a recent study by Career Builder, 57% of small business employers surveyed defined a “bad” hire as one with a negative attitude, which can be spotted by interviewing with a Whole Person approach.

On the other hand, behavioral-based interviewing can benefit teams with short-term tasks, projects, or goals requiring team members to complete specific tasks. It all depends on the needs of your team, which is why it is essential to reflect and plan a thoughtful hiring process. Without doing so, you risk costly, ineffective hiring. The average cost of hiring the wrong candidate is $17,000, making genuinely understanding candidates much more critical. If you’re looking to add and grow, Whole Person Interviewing may be the approach for you.

Who is Whole Person Interviewing For?

Whole Person Interviewing is for companies and hiring managers that:

  • Are focused on relationships and will drive a culture based on MAP (Mindset, Attitude, and Passion) 
  • Want team members that will become long-term partners and create value 
  • Want to have a transformational partnership rather than a transactional culture
  • Want to have a choosing process (co-active sharing of power, where both parties are choosing each other) vs. a selection process (best of most the most suitable candidates)

Behavioral-based questions may limit your understanding of a candidate when you want to hire a long-term, growth-oriented employee. When interviewing, ask yourself: How do we allow the whole person to bring themselves to work, and what do we want to know about them before they join us? This is an intentional process that rewards those who plan to hire.

How to Implement Whole Person Interviewing

You’ll want to take four key steps when adding Whole Person Interviewing to your process. 

Assess your team culture. New talent will either add to or detract from the overall culture. Understanding your current culture will help uncover how new members can add to your team through their unique passions and strengths.

The following are great resources to use as standalone or, more powerfully, in tandem to help you understand your team as it sits today:

  • DISC – allows people to better understand their work styles and how to build effective relationships. Measures dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness. 
  • Myers Briggs – aims to discover fundamental differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment.
  • Kolbe – measures the intuitive ways you take action when you strive.
  • Predictive Index – used to understand people and teams, specifically what drives behaviors at work.
  • Criteria Core – helps organizations make objective, evidence-based talent decisions.
  • Firo-B – aids people in understanding their interpersonal needs and influences communication style.

Identify and investigate any gaps on your team. Look into the skills, strengths, personalities, potential, and diversity of your current team. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which roles and skills are required for my team to reach our long-term goals? 
  • Do my current team members have those skills?
  • How will adding new team members address any gaps already present on your team? 
  • What are the most critical gaps on my team that need to be addressed?
  • Which resources are available for me to complete a hiring process (such as support from leaders, training, team culture, etc.)?

Outline your powerful questions. These questions will help you discover your candidate’s experiences on a whole-person level. Include some obstacles, and do not ask for success stories. Think about the questions you would want to be asked in an interview process. Examples of powerful questions include: 

  • What have you wanted to do in life and haven’t yet?
  • What have you learned about yourself in the last few years? 
  • What does kindness look like for you? (Substitute any value the organization has, like passion, helpfulness, etc.) 
  • What are you grateful for today? 
  • What are you unwilling to change about yourself? 
  • Where might you need to slow down or speed up when at work? 
  • If you did not have this career, what would you be doing? 
  • How would you like to be more creative at work? 
  • Tell me about a specific time when you were asked to make a change you disagreed with.
  • Tell me about a particular time when you struggled to have a good attitude.
  • Tell me about a specific time when you sensed a negative vibe directed towards you. 

Collaborate. Whole Person Interviewing does not have to be done alone. Partnering with leaders or organizations aligned with this approach to hiring will help you achieve your desired results fast and effectively. 

After implementing a Whole Person approach to interviewing, it is essential to use the right hiring speed for candidates that meet your needs as an organization. Here’s an overview of how to speed up your hiring process to ensure top candidates join your team.

Key Takeaways

The interview process is the start of the conversation. Conversations turn into relationships, and relationships become your culture. The Whole Person Interviewing strategy outlined above will help you find team members who add to your mission and vision, supporting your company’s growth and overall success.

If you want to learn more about Whole Person Interviewing or are looking for a partner to support your hiring needs, contact Celarity today!

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