Recruit, Inspire & Retain

January 2004

Ideas for "Marketing" and Providing "Customer Service" to Current and Potential Employees

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“Unusual” Behavior in Job Interviews & What to Do About It!

I’d planned the January Recruiting article to be what’s in store for 2004, but I’m overwhelmed with new ideas and figure you are too. We’ll run that article in February when we’re all calmer.

This month I noticed a lot of us are interviewing for positions that became available with new budgets. Here are some real interview incidents (no kidding) from a survey of HR staff in 100 major American corporations:

1.   “...stretched out on the floor to fill out the job application.”

2.   “She wore a Walkman and said she could listen to me and the music at the same time.”

3.   “A balding candidate abruptly excused himself. Returned to office a few minutes later, wearing a hairpiece.”

4.   “...asked to see interviewer’s resume to see if the personnel executive was qualified to judge the candidate.”

5.   “...announced she hadn’t had lunch and proceeded to eat a hamburger and French fries in the interviewer’s office – wiping the ketchup on her sleeve.”

6.   “Stated that, if he were hired, he would demonstrate his loyalty by having the corporate logo tattooed on his forearm.”

7.   “Interrupted to phone his therapist for advice on answering specific interview questions.”

8.   “When I asked him about his hobbies, he stood up and started tap dancing around my office.”

9.   “At the end of the interview, while I stood there dumbstruck, he went through my purse, took out a brush, brushed his hair, and left.” 

So, yours haven’t been quite this blatant? What to do with the unusual behavior, that’s not that “unusual”? 

Of course you can prevent many of these behaviors from happening in the first place by using planning and preparing techniques!

If for whatever reason you just couldn't prevent the behavior and now you're faced with a vague answer, too much information, etc. Remember, the objectives of the interview (some very specific information and a certain feeling about your organization). Uncomfortable, irritating, frustrating as some of these behaviors are we need to dispense with them tactfully and quickly so we can get information. Most of the people we interview will not be acting in these ways on purpose (in order to make us uncomfortable, irritated or frustrated) – though there are certainly days when it feels like they planned this!

Knowing what's causing the behavior is crucial to determining the response that'll get us back on track quickly.

Vague - lots of words, little substance
Causes – Poor communicator
Don't have the information or didn't prepare enough to have it

Your Response – Ask specific questions by beginning with a paraphrase of what they said (they'll know you were listening and listening behaviors encourage poor communicators and people who aren't prepared) 

Superficial - lots of words, no substance
Causes – In a hurry
Likes to talk/chit chat
Expressive Communication Style
Don't have the information

Your Response – Paraphrase what they said and ask another of the specific questions you planned (it may be that they just don't have information for that – if they really don't have any information to meet your objectives thank them for giving the info they did and end the interview)
If the cause is that they're in a hurry comment on it and reschedule or take a minute to re-plan what you can cover in the time they really have

Too Much Information - lots of words, lots of substance
Causes – Poor ability to organize the information they have
Analytical or Amiable Communication Style

Your Response – Paraphrase the minute you have the information you need (many times people give more than you need because they need confirmation from you that you understand). This will also help the poor organizer as will following your Interview Planning & Conducting tool because your organization will help them
Stop them from giving you information that will cause legal issue with "don't need to know" information by saying that you want keep us on track with the information relating to … and then restate the question or ask the next. Or say that you know they're busy and want to keep to the time. In this situation only - Never, never, never paraphrase what they said before you stopped them that you didn't need to know
If there truly is a lot of information have the person give you as much of it as possible before the interview in writing as part of prep

Too Little Information -few words, little substance
Causes – Nervous
Not telling the truth
Don't have the information or didn't prepare enough to give you information
Don't think they have the information

Your Response - Paraphrase what they said and ask another of the specific questions you planned or use a different type of question to get the same information
If the cause is not telling the true see below

Avoiding the Truth – substance that's doubtful
Causes – Afraid the outcome of the interview won't be in their favor if they tell the truth
Protecting someone else

Your Response - Accept that what they are saying is genuine, at least to them.
Look for a pause and jump in. Letting them go on avoiding the truth will only make it more uncomfortable when the real truth comes out. The less they avoid it, the less chance they have to start telling things that are untrue, the greater the possibility that you‘ll get the truth and continue the interview amicably from then on.
Listen for the real message and paraphrase as though they'd said that message.
If their method of avoiding the truth is to tell what others did – paraphrase what they said and restate the original question (if you just restate the question or say "I don't want to hear what others did", you'll be dealing with a person who's angry and avoiding the truth). 

Anger - lots of words or too few words, substance is exaggerated
Causes – Not telling the truth so angry with themselves
Being treated in an accusatory manner or talked down to
Having to wait longer than expected
Being lied to
Personal issues

Your Response - Let them vent – never tell them to "calm down" (they've practiced this speech, so let them deliver it) and while they're venting (though exaggerated)
Use active listening – your listening behavior will keep them talking and some of the words they use will be useful in figuring out what they really trying to tell you
Match their intensity (anger is just negative excitement so be excited in a more positive tone of voice and body language. If you act, it'll look like this isn't important to you and they'll get angrier)
Ask questions – remember at first they'll have trouble answering anything fact based since they don't have access to their Left brain. Ask with no question mark (the voice goes up at the end questions which tends to fan the flames) and use their Communication Style (ex. for a Driver - "We can be more 'productive' if I know…")

Excerpts from Interviewing Techniques for Managers, pp. 157-161

Get more tips on recruiting great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

Interviewing Techniques for Managers, by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. own Carolyn B. Thompson.

Behavior Based Interviewing (for the interviewer), and Preparing for Behavior Based Interview (for the person being interviewed).

(10% off by typing “RIR” in Special Instructions). Or e-mail

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Recruitment, inspiration, training, and retention ideasHave a recruitment, inspiration, training, or retention idea or question? Ask by clicking the question mark, and we’ll post your idea or question (and the answer) in Answers & Ideas on Recruiting, Inspiring, Training, & Retaining Great Employees at

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What Calendar Are You Using in 2004?

Did you ever notice how many calendars you have to choose from each January 1? (I feel like George Carlin.)

Tell us which one(s) you finally decided to use and we’ll print it in the February issue. PLUS send you a cool TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. prize!

TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.’s Carolyn B. Thompson is using two. George W. Bushisms: The Accidental Wit & Wisdom of our 43rd President. She’s also using The Golden Retriever Calendar.

TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.’s Debbie Daw (our fantastic computer trainer) received several but went back to Outlook anyway (she says she likes to print it out her way!).

How about you? E-mail the name of your calendar and (optionally) why you chose it.

PowerPoint screen show that features 40 humorous posters that are pre-set to work on “auto-pilot”. Makes a great “WELCOME” message or enhancement to your session break. Runs about 5 minutes, and is set to automatically recycle. You can add in your own slides. (a great place to slip in your objectives!) Get your PowerPoint screen show here!
BUY PACKS of inspirational posters. (Do a Product Search for POSTERS, then look for Training Room Posters (30/pack).)

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* Specialty Coffee Retailer magazine interviewed TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. President, Carolyn B. Thompson , for an article titled, “Evolution of a Coffeehouse: Employee Recruitment and Retention”. Read the December 2003 article at .

* After guessing the Christmas Carols from the December issue, Jodi Lenkaitis, Learning Specialist, Sauer-Danfoss, asks: “I would like to use a few of the “Name that Christmas Carol” activity you have in your newsletter as an icebreaker. I’m also using this to do a couple of little contests as to who can get the most amongst a bunch of us (across the company – this is a great little contest for those who have virtual teams) who facilitate training or meetings...and I’m going to give away little Christmas-themed prizes to the winners. I think I’ll even use a few of these this afternoon!”

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What To Do To Celebrate February 2—Inspire Employees to Excellence Day

This year, inspire them by giving them a method and the time to review what’s great about them/their work and set their annual goals/plans.

Each bullet below represents one idea. You may want to send these out in e-mail or post to an employee bulletin board or even do it together in an existing meeting or individual appointment. Feel free to call us for ideas (800-469-3560).

bullet Make a list of those who have had an influence on your life. Why? How has their influence helped you?
bullet Think about what you did at work yesterday. Suppose a visitor who had never met you or even heard of you was watching you and saw only that work. What would his impression of you be? What image of you would be created in his mind? If someone asked him to describe you based on your work, what words would he use? Tomorrow, approach each task at work with these questions in mine. At the end of the day, write the answers and see what they tell you about yourself and your work. Write down some positive things your work reveals about you. Then write down some additional things you would like your work to tell others about you — and set yourself a goal of making that happen.
bullet Make a list of your favorite customers and why you like working with them. What can you do for them & others to serve these wonderful people even better?
bullet Make a list of things that are interesting about your job and your organization. Make a list of things that aren’t. What can you do to work on more interesting things? What can you do to reduce the time it takes to do the less interesting ones—or make them more interesting?
bullet Make a list of all the things you do that help the organization achieve its mission and vision. Make a list of all the things you do that don’t contribute to the vision and mission. Talk to your boss or team about eliminating the things that don’t contribute.
bullet Write a letter to yourself from your supervisor telling you (very specifically) all the things you did really well in 2003 and what you need to work on in 2004.
bullet For those who use the Bible as a guide–after writing your goals look for a Bible verse that guides/supports/inspires you to achieve each.
bullet For those into all those inspirational quotes like the ones we put up in training rooms–do the same as last bullet, but using quotes.
Make a Comment/Question

Get more tips on inspiring great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

Now Discover Your Strengths, by Marcus Buckingham

Preferred Futuring: Envision the Future You Want & Unleash the Energy to Get There, by Lawrence Lippitt

Both available by e-mailing TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. at or calling 800-469-3560. 10% off by typing “RIR” in Special Instructions. Or e-mail

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Helping Learners Become Self-Directed

Based on the Situational Leadership model of Hersey and Blanchard, the Staged Self-Directed Learning Model proposes that learners advance through stages of increasing self-direction and that trainers can help or hinder that development. Good training matches the learner’s stage of self-direction and helps the learner advance toward greater self-direction. Specific methods are proposed for helping learners at each stage, although many different training styles are good when appropriately applied. Several pedagogical difficulties are explained as mismatches between trainer style and learner stage, especially the mismatch between a learner needing direction and a non-directive trainer.

Learning Mismatches:
The basic assumption of research done by Dr. Gerald Grow is that there are 4 stages of trainers and 4 stages of learners and there must be a match between trainer and learner. Dr. Grow outlines 2 severe mismatches:

  • When a Stage 1 Trainer (Expert) works with a Level 4 Learner (Self-Motivator). This causes the learner to resent the authoritarian trainer.
  • When a Stage 4 Trainer (Delegator) works with a Level 1 Learner (Dependent). This causes the learner to resent freedom they are not ready for.
There Are 4 Types of Trainers:

Stage 1 Trainer – Authority Expert
Tell, impart, transmit, give, propound, convey, expound, transfer, direct, fill, inform, coach, input, drill, condition. 

Stage 2 Trainer – Salesperson, Motivator 
Develop, mold, produce, instruct, reinforce, prepare, direct, demonstrate, push, motivate, inspire, shape, drive, persuade, sell, train. 

Stage 3 Trainer – Facilitator 
Lead, guide, initiate, help, show, point the way, explore, facilitate, discuss, share, participate, offer, suggest, negotiate, collaborate, validate. 

Stage 4 Training – Delegator 
Cultivate, encourage, nurture, develop, foster, enable, bring out, mentor, plant, challenge, advise.

There Are 4 Types of Learners: 

Stage 1 Learner – The Dependent Learner believes:
“Trainer is responsible for motivating and developing ability of learners. Learners believe they have little motivation or ability to complete the task.”

Stage 2 Learner – The Moderate Self-director believes:
“Trainer is responsible for training and coaching specific steps of self-motivation and involving learner in process of improving his or her ability. Learners believe they have some ability but need help in acquiring skill and in maintaining motivation.”

Stage 3 Learner – The Intermediate Self-director believes:
“Learners are responsible for using acquired ability to solve problems and for maintaining motivation and enthusiasm for assignment with encouragement from the trainer. Learners believe they have ability and motivation as long as supportive environment is available.”

Stage 4 Learner – Self-motivator believes:
“Learners are responsible for own motivation and using their ability to solve problems; believe they have motivation and ability to do work.” Because Stage 4 learners have a high degree of self-motivation, trainers use fewer motivational strategies with them.

Abstract from Dr. Gerald Grow, Ph.D., Florida A&M University

Many trainers in mismatches with their learners tend to move down a stage. This rarely produces a self-directed learner.

Instead work with the learner to move up ˝ a stage:

1.   Raise learner awareness of their role in learning.

2.   Let learner make some decisions about what is to be learned and how it has been
      easiest for them to learn and use what they learned.

3.   As a trainer, free yourself of constant correcting of learner’s errors.

4.   Help learners self monitor and self evaluate.

5.   Use situated learning. Bring real-life situations to the training.

Make a Comment/Question

Get more tips on training great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

Great article with more on how to develop self-directed learners: "Self Directed Learning
Creating Training Miracles, by Alastair Rylatt & Kevin Lohan

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Be Ruthless About Rooting Out Dishonesty & Deception

The fastest way to lose your honest, ethical employees? Let the dishonest ones stay and keep using dishonest, unethical practices.

Think about how your organization does business. How far along are you on the slippery slope? Would most people in your organization agree that it is perfectly acceptable to present your products and services to customers in the best possible light? Would they then agree that it is OK not to disclose shortcomings or defects to customers? Would perhaps they go on to agree that it is acceptable to hide information about your products’ shortcomings? Once they have agreed to that, would they consider it acceptable to lie to customers about your products and services? And if they have taken that step, would they think twice about lying to people inside the company?

I am reluctant to recommend ruthlessness under any circumstance except when it comes to ethical behavior. The power of influence is so strong that leaders need to be ruthless about rooting out dishonesty and deception in the way that the organization deals with its customers, clients, regulators, suppliers, employees, and vendors. Leaders who tolerate anything less will pay a heavy price, because employees tend to ascend or tumble to the level of their leaders.

Research shows that fundamental values are set at about our early 20s. We can change our behaviors, our attitudes, and our beliefs, but we don’t change our fundamental values after the early 20s. So to build an organization that retains people with a strong set of ethical values, leaders have to start with the recruitment and selection process.

Organizations need to recruit people with strong values that are ethical and that fit with the values of the culture.

Of course, that assumes that the company knows what its values are, and that they are ethical.

Excerpted from “Creating an Ethical Environment” by Robert B. Cialdini in Spring 2003 Leader to Leader.


Ethics in Business, by Robert B. Maddux 


The Leadership of George W. BushThe Leadership Genius of George W. Bush: 10 Common Sense Lessons from the Commander-in-Chief, especially Chapter 1 & 4, by Carolyn B. Thompson & 
James W. Ware.


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Recruitment, inspiration, training, and retention ideasHave a recruitment, inspiration, training, or retention idea or question? Ask by clicking the question mark, and we’ll post your idea or question (and the answer) in Answers & Ideas on Recruiting, Inspiring, Training, & Retaining Great Employees at


E-mail or call 800-469-3560 for ideas on how to use these days to recruit, inspire, train, & retain your employees & members:>

*Business and Reference Books Month
*Human Resources Month
January 13—Blame Someone Else Day
January 19—Maintenance Day (honors janitors & building maintenance)
January 24—TV Game Show Day
January 27—Backwards Day
January 29—National Puzzle Day

January 18-20, 2004
Meeting Professionals International Professional Educational Conference, San Antonio, TX, 

January 31-February 3, 2004
International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus Professional Development Institute, Kissimmee, FL, 

FEBRUARY 2, 2004
Inspire Your Employees to Excellence Day! Sponsored by CBT Recruitment & Retention Consultants, a division of Training Systems, Inc. Check out the Inspiring Your Workforce on "Inspiring Your Employees to Excellence Day" article at

February 6, 2004
Picture of a giftNational Wear Red Day for Women, sponsored by the American Heart Association. Wear red and AHA’s free red dress pin. Visit for more info.

February 9-11, 2004
American Society of Association Executives Management & Technology Conference, Baltimore, MD, 

February 23-25, 2004
The 2004 Outsourcing World Summit, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 

March 1-3, 2004
Training Magazine’s 27th Annual International Training & Online Learning Conference and Expo, Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA,

March 7-9, 2004
8th National HIPAA Summit, Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, Baltimore, MD, 

March 8-10, 2004
SHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conference, Capital Hilton, Washington, D.C., 

March 22-24, 2004
SHRM Global Forum’s 27th Annual Conference & Exposition, Sheraton Bal Harbour Beach Resort, FL,

March 27-31, 2004
International Association of Conference Centers Annual Conference, Grapevine, TX, 

March 28-30, 2004
Meeting Professionals International Professional Education Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland, 

April 19-21, 2004
Employment Management Associations 35th Annual Conference & Exposition, Washington, D.C., 


Recycle your Christmas Tree! 

Support your local animal shelter! Recycle your inkjet, laser, fax toner cartridges. provides pre-paid mailing envelopes. 

Recycle your old computer! 

Did you get too much stuff for Christmas? – dedicated to the proposition that we all have more stuff than we need, has a “give to charity” registry. When someone wants to give you a gift, they can go to the site, look up your “give to charity list” and make a donation the point-and-click way.

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