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Tag 2: Be Careful! Interview Techniques. It Is Often Mind Over Matter/Red-Letter-Day

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Tag 2: Be Careful! Interview Techniques. It Is Often Mind Over Matter/Red-Letter-Day

Be Careful! Interview Techniques. It Is Often Mind Over Matter

Firms are testing prospective executives to try to avoid costly mistakes.

Members of America's professional and managerial classes have always left college and graduate school confident of at least one thing: Unless they allowed their driver's licenses to lapse, they had taken their last test. From here on, they could rely on charm, cunning and or a record of accomplishment to propel them up the corporate ladder.

But that's not necessarily true any longer. A growing number of companies, from General Motors Corp. and American Express Co. to Norwest Mortgage Inc. and Supervalu Inc., are no longer satisfied with traditional job interviews. Instead, they are requiring applicants for many white-collar jobs-from top executives on down-to submit to a series of paper-and-pencil tests, role-playing exercises, simulated decision making exercises and brain-teasers. Others put candidates through a long series of interviews by psychologists or trained interviewers.

The tests are not about mathematics or grammar, nor about any of the basic technical skills for which many production, sales and clerical workers have long been tested. Rather, employers want to evaluate upper-echelon job candidates on intangible qualities: Is she creative and entrepreneurial? Can he lead and coach?

Can she work in teams? Is he flexible and capable of learning? Does she have passion and a sense of urgency? How will he function under pressure? Most important, will the potential recruit fit the corporate culture?

These tests, which can take from an hour to two days, are all part of a broader trend. "Companies are getting much more careful about hiring," said one of the chairmen of the Association of Executive Search Consultants.

Ten years ago, candidates could win a top job with the right look and the right answers to questions such as "Why do you want this job?" Now, many can expect to have their mettle measured with questions and exercises intended to learn how they get things done.

They may, for example, have to describe in great detail not one career accomplishment but many-so that patterns of behaviour emerge. They may also face questions such as "Who is the best manager you ever worked for and why?" or "What is your best friend like?" The answers, psychologists say, reveal much about a candidate' s management style and about himself or herself.

The reason for the interrogations is clear: Many new hires work out badly. About 35 percent of recently hired senior executives are judged failures, according to the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina, which surveyed nearly 500 chief executives. Academic literature cites even higher failure rates for all executives.

The cost of bringing the wrong person on board is sometimes huge. Searching and training can cost from $5,000 for a lower-level manager to $250,000 for a top executive. Years of corporate downsizing, a trend that has slashed layers of management, has also increased the potential damage that one bad executive can do. With the pace of change accelerating in markets and technology, companies want to know how an executive will perform, not just how he or she has performed....

Even companies that have not started extensive testing have toughened their hiring practices. Many now do background checks, for example, looking for signs of drug use, violence or sexual harassment. But the more comprehensive testing aims to measure skills in communications, analysis and organisation, attention to detail and management style, personality traits and motivations that behavioural scientists say predict performance.

By the way -


Meine Tante Desdemona Woodthorpe war schon immer eine begeisterte Bananen buff - Fan. Nicht nur die Räume wurden üppig gefüllt mit frischen, gelbgrünen, fleckenlosen Früchten, sondern sogar die Wände trugen abwechslungsreich mal die Farbe gelb, mal die Farbe grün. The finest china - das feinste Porzellan wurde mit Bananen-Skizzen versehen und sogar the cutlery - das Besteck war krumm, in Form der Frucht gehalten. Jede Woche, an den Markttagen ging Desdemona zu dem chilenischen Früchtehändler und kaufte ihren obligatorischen Vorrat.

Meine Tante ist mehr als a blue rinse woman, wie die Amerikaner eine Frau aus der Mittelschicht im mittleren Alter nennen. Desdemona turned - ist dreiundachtzig geworden, und das noch gerade vor kurzem.

Mit gelben Rosen stand ich am vorigen Freitag vor geschlossenen Türen meiner Lieblingstante und suchte to no avail - vergebens nach Erklärungen über ihre Abwesenheit.

Die Savies-Kette-Manager were in the know - wussten Bescheid warum Ms Woodthorpe an diesem heißen Freitag die Haustür nicht öffnen konnte. Eine Ermittlung had been launched - ist in die Wege geleitet worden und der CEO/chief executive officer der Savies Kette sagte dem hiesigen TV Sender: "Wir nehmen es sehr ernst". Desdemona Woodthorpe wurde von einer exotischen Spinne in das Handgelenk gebissen, während sie sich in dem Bananenbüschel ihre Früchte aussuchte. Polizeiansatz und ein Krankenwagen wurden gerufen und lieferten meine Tante ins St Mary`s Krankenhaus. Die schwarze Spinne von der Größe eines Fingernagels ist in das Natural History Museum in London geschickt worden. Der Museumsdirektor ist sich noch nicht sicher ob es sich um Steatoda Nobilis handelt, also eine breed - Gattung false widow genannt.

"Es könnte sich auch um black widow handeln, deren venom - Gift dem Stich von einer Wespe ähnelt" - sagte er.

"Es ist das zweite Mal in diesem Jahr, sagte der Sprecher der Savies, dass highly venomous - hochgiftige Spinne plagued - heimsuchten unsere Früchte".

Im englischen Kalender werden alle Sonntage und Feiertage mit roten Buchstaben beschriftet, denn das sind die besonderen Tage. Sie heißen red-letter days. Der Tag, an dem meine Tante von der Spinne gebissen worden war, wurde von dem Savies-Kette-Manager auch a red-letter day genannt.