Since training as a LAB Profile practitioner, I’ve helped many HR managers and decision makers to tap into the power of words and language in order to streamline and increase the success rates of their recruiting and retaining.

A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by a recruiter who was fascinated by the LAB Profile and psycho linguistics. During our hour-long webinar we covered the nuances of how this works in real situations in the workplace. If you’ve got an hour, you can watch the full video here, or alternatively, read on…

Solving the bad hire fall out.

Clients often come to me for help when they’ve been burned by a bad hiring experience. Perhaps they hired the wrong person, and found themselves having to let them go at the end of their trial period… Or perhaps their job description attracted only the wrong kind of candidates!

Where do we begin when recruiting and retaining? It all starts with the hiring manager.

I always start by going back and identifying exactly who will be the hiring manager. That hiring manager is wired in a certain way. They’re motivated by certain things, just as each candidate is! If the hiring manager and the candidate aren’t ‘compatible’ in the way that they are motivated, then it’s likely to allow natural bias to creep in and lead to the wrong hires being made, or the right hires being overlooked.

My first question for the hiring manager is – how are you motivated?

Recruiting isn’t just about getting to know a candidate; it starts with getting the hiring manager to know themselves and how they are wired first. Only then can they understand who will complement them, or what is missing in the team (and therefore who they are really looking to hire). Once they know that, they can determine whether a certain candidate’s motivational patterns be are a good or bad thing.

Make sure the job description has the right language in there to attract the candidates that you really do want! For example, someone who is proactive. How many job descriptions and CVs describe themselves as ‘proactive’? Instead of using that exact word, how can you allude to the need to be proactive? For example, ‘quick to initiate’ or ‘jumps in to make things happen’? Using this sort of language will naturally attract people who are proactive. Whilst naturally turning off those who are the other end of the continuum – those who prefer to take time to step back and think about things before taking action.

  1. Think about you as a hiring manager
  2. Then what it is you need
  3. And finally how you need someone to be motivated, before you start recruiting

Once you’ve received your applications, it’s time to shortlist your candidates.

I often jump in here to help, offering telephone screening interviews and remote LAB profiling to refine the candidate pool (find out more about the LAB profile and behavioural profiling here). Whilst some candidates can easily be disregarded due to a clear lack of skills or experience – motivational traits are harder to determine from a piece of paper. There’s little point wasting a hiring managers time video interviewing candidates who will not fit the motivational requirements of the role! I prefer to do this on the telephone than via video call. Why? It allows me to listen more deeply to the language the candidate is using, without getting distracted by visual distractions such as curtains twitching, people moving around or a cat playing in the background! Deep listening allows me to determine what a candidate’s motivational patterns are, and whether they will fit the hiring needs.

My favourite interview question at this screening stage of recruitment is: “What’s important to you in your work?”

Whatever a candidate responds, I carefully note these and then use them to ask further probing questions throughout my profiling. Whilst they may have a scripted response to the initial question, asking these further questions allows me to then gather more natural subconscious responses. Delving further into a candidate’s mind as well as their career motivations.

Hiring remotely is effectively hiring in a sense deprivation chamber…

Our five active senses aren’t all able to be used when we’re recruiting and retaining remotely. We find ourselves relying on just two of our senses, sight and hearing. We can’t use touch, smell or taste. Our brains are effectively performing from within a sense deprivation chamber, which leads us to fill in the blanks subconsciously (introducing bias into the recruiting process). As hiring managers, we have to look deeper for visual cues that are harder to spot. For example, we might be able to see that a candidate is leaning in or smiling, but we can’t see how fast they are breathing or what their hands are doing under the table!

This is where deep listening skills come in. These are needed throughout the interview process; from telephone screening, to interview panels with candidates (whether face to face or more likely via video).

Listening, but not as you know it! The importance of deep listening in recruiting and retaining.

Instead of listening for what’s going on at a surface level, we need to listen for the emotion-based answers. When I’m interviewing candidates (or within my role as a Lay Member on selection panels for the Judicial Appointments Commission), I listen to many things. Including tonality and how that changes, how quickly a candidate answers, where there’s a pause or where there’s a question. These give us clues as to what matters for them. It allows us to know when to lean in and probe further, and truly get to know a candidate.

Deep listening is one of the skills that I often coach my clients on. It’s the key to helping them overcome the sensory deprivation we experience when remote recruiting. Once you’ve learnt how to do it – it’s amazing and I love seeing clients get to grips with it. It’s like a lightbulb being switched on!

The LAB Profile is a tool that changes the whole hiring process, and increases your chances of success when recruiting and retaining.

Sending out job offers that will seal the deal.

Once a client has identified the candidate they want to hire, the final step is making job offers that will appeal to candidates and get accepted. Many hiring managers find themselves failing at this final hurdle – making an offer to their desired candidate only for it to be turned down. What a waste of time, money and energy! Not to mention the other strong candidates who you may have lost during the process.

The secret to success here is going back to my favourite interview question – the one we asked during the telephone interview screening stage. Knowing these career motivations are the secret to making enticing job offers once you’ve decided which candidate you would like to hire. By incorporating the elements that are important to that candidate in their initial job offer you can increase your chances of successfully hiring as well as retaining them in the long term.

Keeping your new hire motivated in their role.

It’s important not to just focus on the beginning of the employee life cycle. Once you’ve hired the the best candidates, how do you keep them? Recruitment goes beyond just getting a candidate into the role. You don’t want to be losing your top talent, no matter how many candidates are coming onto the market.

Instead of annual performance reviews, try having regular career conversations.

When coaching managers on effective ways to retain their employees, I encourage them to have proactive discussions with their team. It’s these more casual chats that often allow them to keep on top of issues before they arise. Learning to listen more deeply and refine their communication skills has surprisingly positive results on retention levels.

The LAB Profile is a language of influence.

The LAB Profile helps people to spot what’s going on for other people. To ask the right questions, to listen more deeply, even to write emails differently… It’s these things that might on their own seem small, but together make all the difference. Particularly when it comes to retaining top talent and keeping employees motivated at work.

The LAB Profile allows you to know an employee’s language and motivation patterns and more effectively manage them. How? By using language that appeals to them. Tapping into their ways of working will help them to feel listened to, appreciated, understood, valued and secure in their role. More important than ever when managing remotely – when small issues are able to escalate far more quickly!

My top takeaway:

When you’re recruiting and retaining, think of a three-legged stool. Instead of focusing on whether a candidate can do the job (their skills and experience), focus on:

  • Can they do the job?
  • Will they fit in?
  • Are they motivated to do the job?

Build these motivations in right from the very beginning of your next recruitment process. From the job description, right through to your interviews, job offers, on boarding and ongoing employee management. That way you will increase your chances of successfully recruiting and retaining the best people for your business.

Want to find out more about the LAB Profile and how to use words to your advantage when recruiting and retaining? Get in touch or read more here. I am passionate about the power of language and what it can unlock for hiring managers! I would love to hear from you!

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