Q. What kinds of companies hire you to do pre-hire assessment?
All kinds of firms use my services, from an entrepreneurial firm of just 3 staff to a consumer products company that has over six thousand employees. I’ve done pre-hire assessment work for for-profit and non-profit companies, professional firms and departments of the US government. What they all have in common is that they want some outside expert help in making sure they’re matching excellent people with the job they have to fill.
Q. Are there certain positions or fields you specialize in?
I think my specialty is in developing a process that helps you learn whether or not the person has the qualities needed to do the job. So I specialize in developing that process, as opposed to a specific field, like food service. This helps me bring an unbiased perspective to your company – I don’t have preconceived ideas about what kind of person might be best for the job. I go into each project with the goal of creating the best assessment process possible so that you can get the best person and have the most information possible when hiring them.
Q. How are your services different than what a search firm does?
Search firms often do a very good job at finding candidates who are interested in your opening. But search firm staff often rely on their own instincts to decide who would be the best match for the job. There’s no extra step there to confirm that their instincts are correct, except whether or not the person stays in the job for a certain period of time. What I do differently is a formal personality assessment of the candidate to make sure that they possess the personality factors needed to do the job you want them to do. I use well-researched and widely used job related personality tools that go one giant step beyond what search firms do. I want you to be confident that there’s more than just personal opinion supporting the recommendation of a candidate. For that reason, many companies hire me to help them sort through the resumes and candidates they are getting from search firms. And often I work right along with the search firm to help identify top candidates for your open position.
Q. Can’t my HR department do the same thing you do?
I’ve worked with some excellent HR department heads and staffs. To be really good in that field, you have to have your hand in many areas, including hiring, policies, benefits, promotion, procedures, and more. I have the experience, training and qualifications as a psychologist to use the highest level pre-hire assessment tools available. And because I specialize in this area, I can help you more effectively than your own staff usually can. In fact, most of my clients have an HR department, but for a number of reasons they prefer to use an outside consultant for pre-hire assessment work. Aside from looking for someone with specific professional training and experience in this area, as an outside consultant I am unaffected by any internal relationships or prior history that may bias an HR department’s decision making.
Q. How much of the recruiting and interviewing process do you handle?
I can do as little or as much as you want. Here are some areas where I typically provide assistance: I can help you develop a profile of the ideal candidate. I can help you write effective help wanted ads or job postings. I can review resumes as they come in and sort them into categories we’ll use to decide who to screen. I can conduct telephone screenings to decide who to interview in person. I can formally test and interview finalists that you have already interviewed and decided to move along in the process, and I can write a brief summary of the fit between the candidate and the position. I can also help you plan an effective orientation to make sure the person has the best chance for success in the new job.
Q. Who hires executive coaches?
Often I’m hired by the supervisor of the person who will be coached. They see a need and they authorize the payment for outside services. Also, some HR departments hire me to work with someone who would benefit from coaching. Finally, I am hired by executives and professionals who want their own private coach.
Q. Is coaching done in person? What if I don’t live or work near your office?
Some coaching is done in person; quite a bit is done by phone. I’ve coached people all over the country, many of whom I’ve never met face-to-face. What’s important is the process of clarifying the goals you want to achieve, and deciding how to best accomplish those goals, not necessarily where we do that. If it’s possible for me to meet in person with a coaching client, I do that. Sometimes that takes place at their office. It can also take place at my office or at another location if that’s more convenient.
Q. How long does a coaching engagement last?
That depends on the goals you have. I can usually give you an idea at the end of our first conversation about how long I think we’d need to work together to accomplish your goals. It’s not uncommon for new goals to emerge during a coaching engagement, and when that happens people frequently extend the coaching assignment. In every case, I’m there to help you achieve your goals in as effective and efficient way as possible. The average coaching engagement lasts 3-6 months.
Q. How long is each coaching session?
There’s no set length for a coaching session, although for convenience they are usually scheduled in advance for whatever the agreed upon duration is. Sometimes a quick coaching consult is needed, and this is handled by phone … you simply call me up and we discuss whatever the pressing situation is.
Q. Can coaching help anyone?
Coaching can help anyone, but not everyone is a good candidate for coaching. For example, a supervisor may recognize that Jim, the VP of Marketing has an anger-management problem. Coaching can help, but Jim may not want to acknowledge and/or deal with the problem through coaching. I can usually tell in the first meeting or phone call if coaching is the best tool to use to help someone achieve their goals, whether those goals are developmental or remedial. If it seems like coaching is not the correct solution to the problem, I’ll let you know.
Q. If you are hired by a company to coach one of their executives, who is the “client” … the company or the coaching subject? And how does that impact confidentiality?
When I’m hired by a company to coach someone on their staff, the company itself is the “client” and the person I’m coaching is considered the “subject” of the coaching assignment. Unless the process is left completely up to the subject, there is usually a meeting with the subject of the coaching and his or her supervisor to discuss the process and coaching goals. I encourage openness in the process when subject and the payer (or “client”) are two different people. In other words, I encourage the subject and client to meet regularly about progress on achieving coaching goals. I also provide regular summaries to both the subject and the client, although the actual conversations and specifics of the coaching meetings are held in confidence.
Q. How is problem solving consulting different than coaching?
Coaching usually begins with a set of goals and action steps, with the coaching sessions focused on the achievement of those action steps. Problem solving consulting is situational, short-term and focused on solving the immediate problem you’re facing.
Q. What are some typical examples of problems you solve?
For an entrepreneur with a small service business, I helped her with a strategy to negotiate a new contract with one of her clients. For a consumer products company, I helped them resolve a conflict between their sales director and one of their top reps. For a residential construction firm, I helped them rewrite job descriptions to stop conflicts between two senior staff members. For a manufacturing firm, I helped them plan how to address performance issues with their CFO. For a medical practice, I helped them keep a senior staff member who was in frequent conflict with a new hire. As you can see from these examples, these are all discrete problems that are more easily resolved by using an outside expert than spending a lot of time trying to resolve them from within.
Q. How do you charge for consulting on problem resolution?
After we discuss the nature of the problem, I can usually give you an estimate of how long it will take to provide some solutions to the situation. I work as quickly as I can; usually these issues are time-sensitive. Also, when needed, I consult with (or recommend that you consult with) other professionals (such as a labor attorney or an accountant) to gather additional input.
Q. Can you do customized seminars?
Yes. In fact, for every client, even the seminars listed on my website are customized based on the needs of the staff. I use a pre-event questionnaire to gather information about your needs and the expectations of seminar participants to confirm that every program supports your goals.
Q. How do you accommodate companies that don’t have space onsite for a seminar or training?
You can arrange to hold the seminar at any location you’d like, or my staff can handle that for you. Contact me for more information about how you can hold an offsite meeting or seminar.
Q. What kind of follow-up services do you provide?
I believe very strongly in solid preparation and follow up for each seminar, workshop or training. I meet with participants in advance to orient them to the program and hand out preprogram materials. After the event, participants evaluate the program. You get a report of the evaluation data, verbatim responses, a summary and recommendations for how to optimize the seminar outcomes. If there are needs that can be addressed with additional consulting, I make you aware of those and how they can be handled.
Myers-Briggs® Assessment and Feedback
Q. I’ve seen online Myers-Briggs tests that are free … are they for real?
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® is a trademarked tool. There are a number of companies that offer look-alike tests, and they may even use the Myers-Briggs name or something similar to it to create confusion. They are trying to deceive people into thinking that they are taking the Myers-Briggs®, when you’re being offered something else. (This is true of the DiSC, also, by the way, so beware!). My online assessment center offers the trademarked Myers-Briggs® and it is licensed and maintained by the Consulting Psychologists Press, the publisher of the MBTI®.
Q. I just took the Myers-Briggs® last year. Is it too soon to take it again?
There are several versions of the MBTI®. Some give very basic results, others provide a detailed and valuable analysis of your preferences. Before you take it again, I can review your most recent report and give you an idea of whether or not it would be beneficial to get a more complete picture of your preferences and the impact of those preferences in your current work setting.
Q. I want a Myers-Briggs® program for my entire team … how is that arranged?
An orientation will be prepared that is tailored to your team. Participants will be able to take the Myers-Briggs® online, and they’ll get individual and team reports. Individual reports are reviewed one-on-one, and there is a workshop for the entire team that teaches about the use of type in making teams more effective. It also covers individual differences between and among team members, to increase their understanding of how best to work with one another. Contact me for more information and pricing on a team MBTI® workshop.
Q. Will you review Myers-Briggs® results if I send you a report I already have?
Q. Who is usually involved in these retreats … just senior management, or the entire organization?
I’ve facilitated retreats for many different types of groups. Most often it’s for senior management, but I’ve also facilitated them for entire divisions, and entire staffs. I’ve found that the best outcomes occur when participation is just among senior managers, who then can facilitate strategic planning with their own units or divisions.
Q. How long is a strategic retreat?
They are usually a full day or half day. I do a comprehensive orientation in advance to make sure people are well-prepared to contribute at a high level during the actual retreat.
Q. Can we do a retreat ourselves? Why do we need a facilitator?
One of the realities of leadership life is that there can be competing interests or positions in organizational leadership. Having a facilitator ensures that a neutral party is able to guide the discussion, and identify any conflicts or other issues that might be impeding achievement of organizational goals.
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