As an owner of a recruiting company, it's fun to be able to contribute to building a team.
What do we need at Kinetix? The same types of things you do - knowledge, skill and ability, as well as cultural fit. We've addressed trying to hire for cultural fit with something we call the Kinetix Code, which are potential factors designed to ID what's common across all of our best performers.
But there's one thing we probably don't work to ID in the interview process, but I love it when it's there.
A sense of humor and a general spirit of not taking one's self to seriously.
Case in point - I've got a Kinetix guy working on a website for me that includes a splash page for my book. As you might expect, we're showing the book, and giving some quotes about what people think about the book (shameless plug note - you can buy The 9 Faces of HR here!), etc.
My guy at Kinetix could have pulled a quote from my book page at Amazon. But that didn't feel like the best use of the opportunity, so he instead structured a placeholder for the quote window with the image you see below and wrote his own mock quote (email subscribers, click through if you don't see the image below):
Ah... Opportunistic humor. Rather than use a real quote, he simply made one up on the fly. Ben Martinez is what we call a "friend of the program" at Kinetix, a former HR leader now running his own consulting business. We've helped him, he's helped us, etc. The art was available, and away my developer at Kinetix went. In case you haven't figured it out - this is not a real quote. But it's a fun one!
We have a lot of people at Kinetix who have a great sense of humor and don't take themselves too seriously.
How do you measure that in an interview process? That's hard to say, I think the best way is probably to listen closely and see what your candidates give you related to what I'll call the "and one." You've asked a serious question, the candidate gives you a serious answer and...they give you the extra comment that gives you context on how they view the world. If it makes you smile, there's a chance that candidate in front of you might have a decent sense of humor AND - good judgment about when to use it.
The "and one" comments from candidates during interviews are not without risk. Consider the following:
1--Go too far with the extra comments in an effort to build rapport with the interviewer, and the strategy falls flat.
2--Fail to give any "and one" comments and you'll likely see another candidate pass you up in the interview process - as they nailed the "and one" and built comfort and connection.
The "and one" strategy is probably what naturally funny people do in interviews.
But don't forgot, candidates mirror you as an interviewer. If you're too serious and don't invest in making candidates comfortable, you'll probably never know who has "it" in the area of humor - with good judgement.
Our workplaces need more people with humor - and great judgment about when to use it.