The Keys to Effective Communication in the Workplace

Over the last few months I've written extensively about communication in the workplace and I figured that I would combine my recent posts into an article with major take-aways. I hope this will be useful. In a recent study of more than 1,400 employees surveyed by Salesforce 86% cited a lack of communication and collaboration as the primary reason for workplace failures. Below are some simple tips for effective verbal ...
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3 Subtle Ways Our Behavior Influences Social Interactions

We recently discussed factors that can influence the outcome of job interviews for better or worse. So far, we have focused mostly on the content involved. What we haven’t yet discussed is in some ways even more interesting: How very subtle behaviors influence social interactions. 1. Mimicry As famously noted by Charles Darwin when we see someone express an emotion, we tend to mimic their expression. For example, if a ...
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Judging a resume by its cover

Who doesn't like mental shortcuts? Among other things that evolution equipped us with is the ability to judge peoples' character before ever exchanging a word with them. Revolutions in technology present us with an ever-growing number of new mental shortcuts. In hiring, we may employ all kinds of stereotypes (general beliefs about people that we use as mental shortcuts). Let's check some of them using data that we have collected. Specifically, ...
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/ / Talent Analytics

The Cost of Stress: 3 Things Every Company Should Know

Work can be stressful. A recent list of the most stressful jobs in 2013 shows some that we might expect: Military personnel, police, firefighters, airline pilots, taxi drivers, journalists, reporters, and some corporate executive roles. These jobs tend to involve major stressors such as physical danger, separation from family, long hours, or intense public scrutiny. But there’s much more to stress at work than you might have guessed. In this ...
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5 Unconscious Mistakes That Interviewers Make

In an earlier blog post Steve Lehr presented us with a question “How would you choose a quiz show partner?” It might seem like a very straight forward question. Personally, I  would answer - intelligence, 100% intelligence. But, when it came down to it I might act very differently, with my unconscious almost sabotaging my decision making. In his blog post Steve continued... "A recent study from Eugene Caruso and colleagues in my ...
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/ / Job Interviews, Image, Tips & Tricks

When econ met psych

"It is not the case of choosing those which, to the best of one’s judgment, are really the prettiest, nor even those which average opinion genuinely thinks the prettiest. We have reached the third degree, where we devote our intelligences to anticipating what average opinion expects the average opinion to be. And there are some, I believe, who practice the fourth, fifth, and higher degrees." - John Maynard Keynes describing ...
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7 Scientific Tips for More Effective Job Interviews

There are many articles out there that provide advice about how to conduct job interviews. They can sometimes be valuable, but most are based upon the experiences and opinions of just one person. How do you know if they are relevant to you, or even accurate? Fortunately, researchers have been objectively studying job interviews for nearly a century, providing a wealth of information on what tends to work best. Here ...
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How to maximize the odds of a good hire

How do you do it? Is there a right way to do it? Does it all boil down to the famous saying attributed to Steve Jobs: "A people hire A people, B people hire C people"? Obviously there is no easy answer to this question, but we can share some bad news and some good news in that respect. First the bad news. Yes, you guessed it: there is no ...
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What really drives employees’ happiness?

For those who who prefer pictures to words, check out the infographic below this post. In a culture dominated by money, we often forget that a job can provide many different kinds of benefits to people, from friendship to influence to intellectual stimulation.  Money is only one of many motivators, and some would argue it’s one that does a poorer job of buying happiness than we realize.  (For example, see ...
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Pinocchio 1940

Can your employees tell you the truth? A few gray areas

From the first, we tend to take an employee’s words at face value.  We assume an applicant’s resumé is roughly accurate, even though most sources estimate that at least a third contain falsehoods.  In an interview, some of us blindly believe what applicants say (even though this can’t be everybody’s dream job). Others ignore the details of what they’re saying, preferring to just trust our “gut response,” even though such ...
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Laborers of the World, Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day is coming the closest to being our professional holiday, and we are taking a little break from the blogging this week to rest and celebrate. Next week Steve will present us with some ideas about what motivates people at work. Please stay tuned ...
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/ / Image, Uncategorized

Aligning Incentives in the Workplace: The case of sales-force compensation.

Before pursuing a career in academia, I had several jobs in the real world – or as real of a world as you can find in Las Vegas. One of the things I did was to analyze employee performance for the reservations department at a major resort. The primary job of these agents involved converting availability inquiries into reservations and upselling guests. In an attempt to improve the performance of ...
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The Show-Me State: The Art of Effective Communication Pt. 3

Did you know that according to the International Journal of Communication we consume - on average - 34 gigabytes (or 100,500 words) of information outside of work on an average day? Also did you know that according to researchers at the University of Southern California we receive 5x more information today as we did in 1986? Basically, it’s information overload – our brains are not as easily upgraded as computers ...
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/ / Talent Analytics

The Hottest New Thing: Is It Actually a “Thing?” (The Mismeasure of Candidates, Part 4)

Occam’s Razor is a basic logical principle: The simplest explanation for a given phenomenon tends to be the correct one. Complex explanations require more assumptions to be made, thereby increasing the likelihood that some of those assumptions will be false. It is not a coincidence that the most outlandish and unlikely theories (Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, faked moon landings, secret societies surreptitiously running entire governments) are so complex—they require ...
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New Cangrade Video Demo

About a week ago we released the new video demo that shows off our flagship pre-screening and ATS product. A few fun facts about this video: The entrance chord is played on electrical clarinet and composed by a good friend of ours Eugene Lerman All the personality traits and Candidate Grades that are seen in the demo are real scores from Cangrade employees, friends, and family. Of course we changed the ...
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/ / Video, Uncategorized

HR and the Unconscious Mind: Do we automatically judge a book by its cover (in poker and promotion)?

I watched an episode of The World Series of Poker recently.  Anyone who’s watched the show knows that the viewers and announcers get a secret glance at the cards each player is holding (and anyone who’s ever played poker knows this makes the game a whole lot easier).  But this time, for one hand a player’s cards remained hidden.  After some serious betting, with several players staying in, this fellow ...
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Spit it out: The Art of Effective Communication Pt. 2

I figure if there were rules to talking in business they would be along these lines. Be concise –Keep it short and clear. Don’t repeat yourself, and use as many details as appropriate. Get to the point – If there is an overarching reason for this conversation it should come out immediately. No Jargon – Use real words with proper meanings (see pt.1 of this series) Make it matter – If ...
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/ / Talent Analytics

How to Win a Debate, Before it Even Begins (The Mismeasure of Candidates, Part 3)

The Mismeasure of Man, published in 1981 by Harvard biologist Stephen Jay Gould, is described as “The definitive refutation of the argument of The Bell Curve.” The latter book (by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray) wasn’t published until 1994. Wait a minute—Dr. Gould won this debate more than a decade in advance!! How is this possible? Princeton psychologist Leo Kamin (who later moved to Northeastern, where I attended graduate school) ...
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Best and Worst Tools for Predicting Job Fit

Okay Employer, it’s time to hire! You have lined up a bunch of candidates, and now you need to choose… but how? To begin with, let’s take a look at all the tools that are used today for candidate selection, and examine how good of a job these tools do at finding who is going to perform on the job. So let's say you are hiring 100 new employees (it might not ...
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The Challenge of Hiring in a Changing Environment

In the past 20 years, increasing global economic competition, changes in technology, and the availability of information have dramatically changed the nature of work and the workplace.  In order to be competitive organizations must develop new and innovative products and services and bring them to market more quickly than ever before.  Moreover, in order to adapt to changing market demands organizations must be willing to change the very nature of ...
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Why Personality isn’t Simple: The Case of Extraversion and Sales Performance

Although using personality tests for hiring is common, using them well probably isn’t. When people see a candidate’s personality traits (or meet a candidate for an interview), we often choose a few traits we imagine to be important for the job and focus only on those.  On its face, this seems like a sensible approach: Only focus on what “matters.”  The problem is that in practice things are rarely this ...
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I Understand the Individual Words – but I don’t Understand What They Mean Together: The Art of Effective Communication Pt. 1.

“Through exploiting our synergies we will shift the paradigm…” That was the opening line of an email that I received recently from a CEO of an established CRM that wanted to work with Cangrade. I am generally all for penetrating verticals by leveraging synergies and exploiting best practices to create disruption and empower innovation – but even I have my limits. Businessy people (like myself) have something of our own ...
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/ / Talent Analytics

Beware the “Success Story” (The Mismeasure of Candidates, Part 2)

Here is an amazing true story: I flipped a coin 20 times, and it came up heads 20 times. Twenty times! This was not a trick coin or anything like that. It was a regular “fair” coin that normally would come up heads about 50% of the time, and tails the rest of the time. I must be a great coin-flipper. The chances of this just happening randomly are less ...
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Browser War and Peace

In his previous post Steve made some very good points about differences between profiling and excluding people, versus diversity and inclusion. To many of us, the idea of being open to diversity makes a lot of sense. When we consider a wider range of people, there may be a wider range of benefits and positive qualities available to us. How we put out judgments into practice is a slightly different ...
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A Story about Diversity, Superstorm Sandy and Symphony Orchestras

On issues like immigration, I have always been something of a moderate.  I recognize that a social system must control itself to “stay safe.”  (Psychologically, it’s probably one reason we take care of those we love.)  On the other hand, I personally believe any solution to a problem like immigration must treat all human beings as people.  No matter what the book (from Darwin to the Bible) or the cover ...
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