Introducing the “FAIR” Interview – Four Traits Critical for Success in a Meritocracy

/Introducing the “FAIR” Interview – Four Traits Critical for Success in a Meritocracy

Introducing the “FAIR” Interview – Four Traits Critical for Success in a Meritocracy

|2017-03-31T12:35:56-04:00March 31st, 2017|

By Andrew Hazelton

Whether through social media, internal referral systems or recruiters, companies searching for top talent consistently ask me and other AETHOS partners for advice and guidance on interviewing people to determine whether they will likely thrive in a meritocracy. That’s the name of the game in today’s hospitality industry – though not everyone is equally equipped to excel in such an environment.

Wikipedia defines a meritocracy ( as “a political philosophy that power should be vested in individuals based on ability and talent. Advancement in such a system is based on performance measured through examination or demonstrated achievement.” Of course, in the business world, we know this philosophy as “pay for performance” models of status and compensation.

There are four traits on which our clients consistently focus when they describe the characteristics they want in their team members up and down the org chart. They all pretty much agree, therefore, on what it takes to succeed in meritocracies that are also firmly grounded within service-driven cultures. Perhaps not surprisingly, these traits corroborate what AETHOS has found in its 20|20 Skills™ psychometric research on high performers. In particular, four elements that help to define Execution, People and Cognitive skills seem to be virtually non-negotiable. As shown in Table 1 below, it’s easy to remember these since they form the acronym FAIR. Indeed, that’s quite apropos when you consider the goal is to compare candidates in a uniform and thorough manner.

Table 1: FAIR Interview Questions

It is important to remember that these are not necessarily the only traits or characteristics you might want to consider – technical competencies and interpersonal styles can differ in nuanced or marked ways given a specific company culture, and a behavioral interview should reflect the needs of the organization and the particular function. Of course, certain standardized assessments can also provide a valuable, objective supplement to behavioral interviews and therefore give even more balanced, comprehensive profiles on individuals. But, do your homework to ensure the assessment you choose is psychometrically sound as it pertains to the four critical characteristics outlined above.

Finally, a note about behavioral interviewing itself. This crucial activity unfortunately tends to be an activity few people are properly trained to conduct, or even take the time to learn. It does not need to be daunting, however, to learn more for yourself or team. We recommend Googling “STAR interview method” or searching for this phrase in YouTube.

This is the method that career counselors teach job seekers to use in their interviews, and it happens to be a great model for interviewers too. STAR is another acronym meaning Situation, Task, Action and Results (see Table 2). Basically, the idea is to ask individuals a series of questions that address how they accomplished different types of goals or overcame specific problems that are all relevant to the role in question.

The STAR model provides necessary structure to interviews and ensures that the conversation is relevant, professional and targeted to competency-based themes. You will learn more about an interviewee’s skill set and knowledge areas than simply asking about general attitudes and what they “would do in a specific situation” or the old-fashioned standby of requesting someone to “tell me about yourself.” Hiring is the most important thing any company does… it is time to approach it thoughtfully and strategically, especially if you are hiring for a meritocracy.

Table 2: STAR Behavioral Interview Model

About Andrew Hazelton

Andrew Hazelton is Managing Director of AETHOS Consulting Group, based in Philadelphia, PA. Andrew Hazelton is Managing Director at AETHOS Consulting Group. An experienced recruitment consultant, he has over a decade of retained executive search experience in a variety of industries, including hotel, restaurant, gaming, travel, real estate, finance, and technology. Prior to joining AETHOS Consulting Group Andrew was with HVS Executive Search and spent six years with Korn/Ferry International.  Throughout his career he has been responsible for completing a number of C-suite searches.  He has authored a number of articles on executive selection, general HR trends and compensation for the hospitality industry. Andrew is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University, an active alumni member, and a member of the Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society.

Andrew can be reached at [email protected]

About AETHOS Consulting Group

AETHOS Consulting Group is a global advisory firm serving the hospitality industry. We enhance value for our partner organizations via access, know-how and fresh thinking. In addition to logistics, core competencies include executive search, compensation consulting, business strategy and psychometric assessments. We are designed as a single partnership operating from ten locations in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Contact: Leora Halpern Lanz

[email protected] /516-680-8529

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