Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Silo Busting Begins Before You Hire!

In an earlier post, I stated that the process of building and motivating teams begins before you hire; it begins with how you describe and advertise the job opening. Going a step further, one of the goals here is the tearing down of silos within the organization; eliminating the barriers to collaboration and information sharing.

Towards that end, one can learn an important lesson from the folks at Grand Circle Travel, a $600 million international tour operator. The trick happens during the interview process. Here's how Alan Lewis, Grand Circle's Chairman, explains the use of group interviews:

You can learn a lot more about a person from watching him or her interact with other job applicants and employees. At Grand Circle, our process includes a group interview, in which multiple candidates interview for various open jobs at the same time. We observe candidates undertaking unique and often quirky challenges, and interacting with each other...To test for risk-taking, for example, candidates role-play how they would deal with a situation in which one colleague has been called out of town and needs a less-experienced coworker to take his or her place in an important presentation. We also engage candidates in a "raw-egg drop exercise," in which they work in teams to design a travel vessel for the egg (using only straws and tape), develop a marketing presentation to "sell" the trip the designed vessel will take the egg on, and then drop the vessel from about 10 feet. From this exercise, we're able to quickly learn which candidates exhibit leadership and teamwork qualities, which ones perform well in unusual situations, and which have done their background research on the company.
(From: How My Company Hires for Culture First, Skills Second)
Compare Grand Circle's group interview process to the hiring process of most organizations, even yours. You can see that silo busting begins, not during orientation for new employees, but during the interview process with job candidates.

'nuff said!

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