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Selecting Talent using the CARLA Technique

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Hiring and selecting talent are critical to a company’s culture, growth, and ultimately success. Who is part of the team is equally important if not more so, than what they will be doing. Mr. William Hewlett and Mr. Dave Packard who founded the Hewlett-Packard company believe the best results come when you get the right people, trust them, give them freedom to find the best path to achieve objectives, and let them share in the rewards their work makes possible. Getting the right people “on the bus” is more important than the actual role or task they will be doing. Jim Collins also described this principle in his book “Good to Great“, how selecting the right people to work for your team will affect the growth of your company.

Selecting Talent

Since getting the right people in your company is so critical, selecting talent is a great challenge. The information we get from reading somebody’s CV is very limited compared to what we can learn about somebody’s profile when talking to them. Even when we can learn about their work experience and education, we can only learn about traits such as personality, professionalism, and problem solving when we interview them. The interview is also an opportunity for the candidate to ask the interviewers questions about the company, the role, to ensure that the match is mutual on both sides.

For any company, it is extremely important to make sure they have a strong recruiting process to ensure that every person they have join the team positively impact growth and enhance a healthy work environment.

Even when sitting in front of the candidate, it is not always easy to get the true picture and know if he/she is a good match for the role. Sometimes factors such as nervousness, embellishment, shyness, deceit and a biased self-image impact how a candidate share the  information with the interviewer.

There are a few solutions to this problem. One is to create a comfort zone for the candidate, so he or she can feel safe to share personal information. Make sure, you as the interviewer, ask open-ended questions. This will help get true answered instead of biased answers. Also, interact with candidates beyond the interview and make them feel you are there to help them get the best jobs depending on their skills.

So, how can you create a comfort zone for the candidate, you might ask. Here are a few tips:

  • Identify something in common (i.e. school, career, sport, travel)
  • Setting (comfortable, but not distracting)
  • If in person: offer a drink, restroom, etc.

To formulate open ended questions, use the words: who? why? where? when? how? why?

The CARLA Technique

Every company values problem solving and learning. The CARLA technique is a set of open ended questions which helps you look more deeply into how the candidate works with problem solving. CARLA stands for:

  • Challenge
  • Action
  • Result
  • Learning
  • Application

Asking the candidate about how he/she handles a challenge, the action they took to solve it, what resulted from their actions.  Regardless of the outcome of the result, every challenge is a learning opportunity so asking them about what they learned and how they later it to other challenges will let you know how they will solve problems within their role. A few example questions of the CARLA technique are the following:

  • Challenge: What was the biggest challenge you faced as the Head of Marketing in your previous job?
  • Action: How did you train the new employees for their new jobs?
  • Result: How happy were your employees with the way they were trained and the amount of information that was shared with them?
  • Learning: What did you learn about leading a team of young professionals?
  • Application: How did you apply what you learned from working with the said employees in other situations?

After the Interview

You can also keep contact with them by presenting a problem and asking them their suggestions as for how to solve it. You can discuss their solution in a follow-up meeting. Keep sharing updates with them via e-mail.

Recruiting can be quite a long process but you can help make it more efficient by using techniques such as CARLA to learn if they have the skills needed for the job. Make sure you make the candidate feel comfortable to share facts only and let you know if he/she is right for not only the position but for the company as a whole as well.

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Adriana Rangel

Adriana Rangel is the Digital Marketing Specialist at Jonajo Consulting.

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