The study of failures in hiring revealed that the single biggest reason for new hire failures is due to lack of trainability. The ‘Trainability Question’ has five parts and each of them must be asked in order and exactly as described next.
The trainability question begins with asking the full name of the candidate’s present or recent boss and spelling the name. The logic behind is nobody would waste time asking for spelling a name and you want to make the candidate believe that you are going to contact with the person so that the candidate will have full motivation to give you truthful responses.
Simply asking this question will give you some clues about what the candidate is looking for in a boss depending on their answer. However, working people know that they should not talk about their last boss so it may be difficult to have a complete response. That is why you may need to ask two probing questions:
These two simple but powerful questions will give you a better idea about what the candidate needs from a manager in order to be more effective employee.
So far, we asked on the part of the boss but we also want to see how much the candidates feel personally accountable for their own success.
High performers have high level of self-awareness and they can look critically at their own performances. If a person has no virtue of comprehending what could have been done to make things better, then this person has no will for improvement, which contrast with trainability.
Another thing you want to find out is whether the candidate takes any responsibility for maintaining a healthy relationship with the boss or not. The high performers will tell you about personal changes they made since working with the boss and they just do not talk about it but do it.
This question has two purposes. First is to start with more pleasant question before asking for weaknesses. It makes the candidates feel comfortable, confident and open in their communications with you.
Second is to give an honest look at the qualities that your candidates like best about themselves. The difference between asking this question and asking what the candidates think their strengths are is to have an answer of the candidates from their bosses’ perspective. This will provide you answers differently from those pre-pared answers that the candidates give just because they think you want to hear them, but not what they actually believe.
This is probably the most critical step of the five-step process. You want to listen to answers on two matters. First, you will evaluate whether the candidate’s weakness is something you can accept or is one of your negative hallmark characteristics that define your low performers.
Second, if the candidate claims that he/she cannot think any weaknesses or give any example about a weakness his/her boss think it may be; it means this person is not trainable at all. People who are not open to constructive criticism are not trainable.
Great performers know when they made a mistake and even why it happened. They just need a good, corrective mentoring for improvement. Trainability is not only about hearing and comprehending feedback; it also involves the ability to anticipate feedback because it indicates self-awareness and willingness to criticize oneself.