Designing behavioral interviews: the STAR method
STAR, or “situation, task, action, result,” is an interview technique that helps you understand a prospect’s behavior in different scenarios, successfully adopted by Amazon. Each STAR step is a question that the interviewee must answer:
- “What was the situation? “
- “What were you doing charge with?”
- “What Actions did you take?”
- “What was the results? “
The STAR Method doesn’t just give you insight into how a prospect handles tough situations. It also gives you the opportunity to ask lots of ‘Why’ questions and assess their values and attitudes towards these situations – almighty identifiers of culture fit!
For example, as an SEO agency, you can ask questions like:
- Describe a stressful situation where you had to manage customer expectations for an “at risk” SEO goal.
- What difficult decision have you had to make at work in the past 12 months?
- Tell me about a time when you had a successful SEO campaign. What would this project look like without you?
- Talk about a time when you had to collaborate with an unfamiliar client team.
These questions, and their STAR responses, will provide much more valuable information about cultural fit than generic questions such as “Are you a legal person?” Or “Do you see yourself as a team player?” “
How do you communicate the culture of your agency?
In an interview, it’s not just you, as the employer, who ask questions. It’s a two-way street, where the agency and the candidate determine if they are a good match for each other.
In some ways, it’s very similar to a meeting! There is the critical phase of knowing, where you identify what you have in common and where you align yourself with important values.
And for this phase to be successful, you must be fully transparent on your culture during your recruitment, which our agency managers have often emphasized.
Better yet, you should consider designing a culture book that communicates your vision for the company, employee lives, values and attitudes, etc. After all, a recruiting process doesn’t start when the job is posted.
Consider the continuous recruitment approach
SEO Works CEO Ben Foster and their SEO manager Paul Friend described embracing a “continuous recruiting” mindset as the agency’s recruiting needs grew.
Having a continuous recruiting mindset means that you not only prepare yourself for when you need to grow your agency, but make sure that you are always ready so that when you need to grow you can do it quickly. This is especially important with SEO agencies whose recruiting needs can vary widely and can suddenly increase when hiring new, high volume clients.
Here’s how they do it at SEO Works:
- They always stay in touch with the people in their industry to know who to contact when they need to hire.
- They stay on top of job boards, LinkedIn, personal networks and agency referrals throughout the year.
- They promote from the inside, evaluating their agency at all levels to determine which employees are best positioned on the right paths for growth.
By having this mindset, your agency will always have a picture of the talent available in the industry and will be ready to hire quickly when the need arises.
Part of this preparation is having flexible and scalable systems for qualifying and recruiting new hires, including a comprehensive onboarding process designed to help new hires adapt to your business culture as quickly as possible.
Can you “train” a cultural fit?
While it is theoretically possible to shape certain desired behaviors, this is not a sustainable approach as things can stay superficial or, even, deepen frustrations over time – it’s best to focus on targeting culturally compatible employees.
However, what you can doing is facilitating the integration of new hires into your business.
The SEO Works onboarding process is a great example of how to do this.
It’s not just about teaching people how to use the company’s favorite SEO tools, but showing them the specific ways the agency uses each tool for each specific process. This ensures that new hires are already on the same page as the rest of the business when it comes to their SEO methodology.
In addition, the team designs educational moments and materials such as role models, good and bad examples of campaigns, a culture of constant sharing and even external add-ons – personalized live training sessions delivered by the principals. referral tools to leadership coaches for the agency’s senior management. .
If you don’t have a comprehensive process like this, you can also align new hires with your agency’s goals and activities using the OKR framework. This adds transparency across the organization, highlights the shared business vision and how each employee directly contributes to it.
These types of onboarding systems don’t just keep new hires up to date with best practices, they also ensure that new hires are more aligned with the culture of the company.
Recruiting for a cultural fit takes time.
You need to have regular meetings with employees, listen carefully to candidates, and design your systems and processes to optimize cultural fit. But, considering the time and resources that can be saved by reducing employee churn rate, this is something well worth it.
One of the best ways to ensure a cultural fit is to have a unified, cohesive onboarding and training process that engages your employees and gives them everything they need to onboard.
At SEOmonitor, we don’t just provide you with a robust SEO platform, we offer personalized on-demand training and onboarding for every role of your SEO agency so you make the best use of our capabilities.
This is just one of the ways we help agencies focus on what matters.
Join us and our community of SEO agencies on the journey to bring more transparency and measurability to the SEO industry.