Creating four steps of hallmarks questions are:
The first step is choosing one of your hallmark characteristics.
Let us assume Company X has a highly social culture where there is an open, creative community and ideas are shared amongst the employees. When we do interviews with the executives and managers of Company X, we find out that the behavioral markers for the organization are: The departments are highly collaborative, employees show their incomplete work for feedback without fear of ridicule, accept full responsibility for their work and they share what they’ve learned with each other, interpersonal harmony is crucial, there is a little sense of self-importance, and anyone whose attitudes don’t match with the organization won’t last long.
When we go further and do interviews with the frontline employees, we discover those positive hallmark attitudes and negative hallmark attitudes that differentiate between high and low performers. Now let us assume that these positive and negative hallmarks are:
Now that we know about different behaviors of high and low performers, Company X need to choose one of these hallmarks characteristics.
As the situations, in which high and low performers act similarly and do not elicit different responses, are no useful in determining attitude, the contrast when high and low performers act differently to same situations is what makes the differential situation.
Company X already determined its differential characteristics for high and low performers. Therefore, you need to ask for situations in which the high performers show off their great attitudes and low performers show off their bad attitudes. This can be done by asking a situation when they face with a problem they never had before, when they were assigned to a job they never did, or when they were asked to learn a new technology and so on.
The third step of creating a hallmark question begins with the phrase ‘could you tell me a time you…’ and finish with a question by inserting the differential situation.
Most of the interview questions are asked the interviewees as a command such as ‘Tell me about a time…’ However, this approach may put people in an uncomfortable situation where they feel unconfident and become silent. A question starting as ‘Could you tell me a time…’ will make the interviewees feel more in power of the interview and relaxed, therefore they will open up their responses.
One of these questions for Company X may be ‘Could you tell me a time when you tried to fix a problem but your solution did not work?’
Final step of hallmark questions is to avoid leading phrases during the interview questions. Adding a leading phrase in your question will destroy its effectiveness so try not to ask how the interviewee solved the problem or overcame a situation but expect from them to tell the whole story by their own.