Boston Staffing Agency, Hollister, Emphasizes the Importance of Behavioral Interviewing

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Staffing firm Hollister helps companies that are hiring manage the influx of candidates searching for Boston jobs by recommending behavioral interviewing as a candidate-screening tool

Because the girls we serve, their families, and our volunteers come from diverse backgrounds, it is a priority for Big Sister to hire and retain a diverse, culturally competent, and professionally skilled staff

In the midst of the recession, the private sector is facing severe challenges relating to hiring due to mass layoffs taking place across Massachusetts. Companies are being inundated with job seekers' applications. To differentiate top performers from average candidates, local staffing agency Hollister emphasizes the importance of incorporating behavioral assessment questioning into the hiring process.

Hollister recently distributed a survey to Massachusetts executives asking them to list their top three hiring priorities. Results show the top priorities include: finding the best talent, retaining current talent, and maintaining company culture.

The survey also asked employers to list the top three attributes they look for in candidates when hiring new talent. The results show that employers value "soft skills" - skills that do not necessarily come through on paper. Values and cultural fit topped the list of preferred soft skills, followed by drive, accountability, interpersonal skills, creativity, and versatility.

"Because the girls we serve, their families, and our volunteers come from diverse backgrounds, it is a priority for Big Sister to hire and retain a diverse, culturally competent, and professionally skilled staff," explains Deborah Re, Chief Executive Officer of Big Sister Association of Greater Boston. "For us, serving various communities means hiring people with specific language skills and an understanding not only of the needs of girls, but also of the specific needs of the diverse populations in our city."

To determine if a candidate possesses desired skills, Hollister suggests that companies create a comprehensive assessment process that incorporates a complete understanding of past work experience, employment reference checks, technical skill assessments and most importantly, behavioral event interview questioning.

"Bad hiring decisions cost companies resources, including time and money, and right now, companies can't afford to hire ill-matched candidates," explained Kip Hollister, Founder and CEO of Hollister. "We are utilizing Behavioral Event Interviewing now more than ever because it provides our recruiters and our clients with predictors on how a candidate will perform based on how they handled past experiences. Therefore, we can better match them with jobs where they will add value," Hollister continued.

The premise of behavioral interviewing is the belief that past behavior indicates future on-the-job performance. Rather than being asked "How do you prioritize?" in a behavioral interview, a candidate would be asked "Tell me about a time when you had to manage multiple priorities." The response provides detail around the "how" a person acted in a real situation thus eliminating a response that is prepared and perhaps unfounded.

About Hollister:
Founded in 1988, Hollister, is a leading, full-service staffing firm passionate about connecting Massachusetts' opportunities with talent. Based in the Greater Boston region, Hollister is well positioned to see the Massachusetts job market from two perspectives. Hollister's clientele includes Massachusetts companies and active and passive job seekers. For 20 years, Hollister has been the bridge that connects professionals with jobs in Massachusetts and companies with the best employees. Hollister, Inc. has been recognized as one of Boston's Fastest Growing Private Companies, Largest Temporary Placement Agencies, and Top 100 Woman-Led Businesses. The company was also recently inducted into the Boston Business Hall of Fame for its consistent commitment to community service and social responsibility.

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Meaghan Toland
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