Why the ‘Snowflake Test’ is a Big, Big Hiring Mistake (and What to Do Instead)
While attending or even organizing at least several job interviews, you must have noticed that in almost every group there is that one person which is so over the top that it can be a bit annoying.
A person who is so overconfident and high in the sky that you just want to slap them and tell them to get out.
Of course, that wouldn’t be appropriate to do, since you have to be polite to everyone, but there is something you could do.
CEO of The Silent Partner Marketing, Kyle Reyes, designed a specific test for the interviewers, which they could use to rule out the people who have the previously mentioned characteristics.
That test is called ‘Snowflake Test’ and it will be our topic for today.
We will explain what ‘Snowflake Test’ is, when and why people use it, why it shouldn’t be used and what can you do instead of it.
If you want to learn more, bear with us and let us begin!
WHAT IS ‘SNOWFLAKE TEST’?
‘Snowflake test’ was designed by Kyle Reyes, the CEO of the Silent Partner Marketing with a goal to help interviewers to recognize self-righteous and overconfident people, who think they are unique and better than other people.
Why there is even a need to recognize this kind of people?
Those people tend to be very sensitive about themselves and only care about their own thoughts and wishes, which is, of course not good for the company.
They rarely listen to what other people have to say and they think they are always right, which means that in their brain, all the ideas that other people suggest are a complete load of crap.
Now, you can imagine why employers wouldn’t want this kind of people to work for them. Modern business is all about teamwork.
Most of the things have to be done in teams, by working with other people.
Even if your job is not based around the team, you still have to communicate with other sectors and higher-ups.
So, having people who do not value other people’s opinion at all would probably just hurt the company, especially if they would manage to get to some higher position, from where they could use even more of their “power” against other employees.
That is something which you, as a leader, cannot allow to happen, because it would create a very negative atmosphere amongst other employees.
And when people are not satisfied, they are less productive, which would all reflect on profit levels.
‘Snowflake test’ contains some very intriguing questions, to say at least, so let’s examine some of them and see why this test has caused this much controversy.
The Most Common Questions
- How do you feel about guns?
- What are your feelings about employees or clients carrying guns?
- How do you feel about the police?
- When was the last time you cried and why?
- What’s your favorite kind of adult beverage?
- What’s your typical breakfast?
- How do you handle bullies?
- You’re in Starbucks with two friends. Someone runs in and says someone is coming in with a gun in 15 seconds to shoot patrons. They offer you a gun. Do you take it? What do you do next?
- What does faith mean to you?
- What’s more important? Book smarts or street smarts? Explain your answer.
These are just some of the most intriguing questions this test has to offer. Some of these questions are pretty crazy, right?
Well, by analyzing the answer to these questions, you can tell what kind of person sits in front of you and decided whether it is fit to work for you or not.
In theory, this would help you find suitable people to do the job you need them to do, people who would be able to work in teams and resolve problems together with their coworkers.
But is that really the case or we are missing something here?
Let’s find out in the next part of the text. As for you, who would like to hear more about ‘Snowflake test’ check the video below where Kyle Reyes, the man himself, explains why he designed this test in the first place.
WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS OF ‘SNOWFLAKE TEST’?
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” – William Shakespeare
As a wise man above has said, there is something really fishy about ‘Snowflake test’.
Yes, it might seem that in theory it should work perfectly and root out overconfident and annoying people, but it also has some additional problems as well, so not everything is as shiny as it might seem.
1. Political Beliefs are not a Culture
Lisa Dawsey Smith, who is the president of the board of directors at Downtown Whitewater Inc. says that this type of questions does not help with finding out the right people for the job, but instead they help you find the people who have the same opinion as you do.
And we all know that a successful entrepreneur should try to find people whose personal skills differentiate from himself because it is important to find the people that complete you, whose strengths are your weaknesses and vice versa.
And not just that, but by having the people around you who just think the same as you do is not a healthy environment, because same political beliefs should not become a culture.
If you would just listen to the people who already think the same as yourself, you wouldn’t be able to broaden your mind and open it for new and different opinions that might prove to be better than your own.
And that is something which shouldn’t be done, because constant innovation and thinking out of a box are very important for every business, especially for those who strive to be the best of the best among the sea of competitors.
2. It is Dangerous to Hire People from the Same Group
One very specific problem, closely related to the previous one is that ‘Snowflake test’ could lead to hiring the same type of person over and over again because as previously said, it is important to have different mindsets in the team.
Imagine the situation that you have applied this test and employ several people, making them all be the same team.
They would all be very communicative, hard-working and eager to do their work as efficiently as possible.
Now, let’s imagine that they have to solve some problem with a group of clients.
People of different characters sometimes find it hard to reach an agreement, and it is very unlikely that all clients would have the same mindset as our negotiators.
That could lead to them not reaching the agreement or not being able to solve the issue at hand because no one could think of anything different.
It is always better to have a diverse team, which is able to solve any issue, by utilizing everyone’s skills and figuring out what would be the best course of action.
Sometimes you just need people who are able to slow down, think carefully about the problem and find the solution to every issue you might have.
3. People Who are Looking for Jobs Often Lie
A very common issue with not just ‘Snowflake test’, but with all the interviews in general, is that you can never know for sure if the person who is interviewed is telling the truth or not.
People tend to lie during their job interviews, in order to increase their chances to get the job.
They lie about all kind of stuff, starting from their personal skills written in the CV to telling completely false stories that might interest the person who is conducting the interview.
This is a very widespread problem, and some people manage to get away with it, some don’t, it all depends on how they react on their job. If they lied just to get the job and then really learned all the skills they claimed to have during the interview, then it can be considered as a positive lie, which motivated them to learn even harder.
Of course, if that is not the case, then the company would get a very bad person, who is not able to perform basic tasks because not having the right set of skills for it and because of them not being willing to learn.
Now, this also concerns the ‘Snowflake test’ as well.
People usually prepare themselves for the interview, so they might even learn all of these questions by heart in order to impress the interviewer.
And then they get the job because they were prepared, they knew the answers to most of the questions, but when they start working, they show who they really are and that is when employers could notice that they made a terrible mistake.
4. ‘Snowflake Test’ is Built on Fear
Everyone knows that if people are motivated enough, they will do their job much more efficiently and with much greater enjoyment.
That is why the employer should find proactive employees and try to motivate them to work harder.
But, that is the catch with ‘Snowflake test’.
By using it, employers basically send the message to their employees that they are not valued at all if they don’t have a certain mindset if they don’t have the certain type of behavior that employers try to find in the test answers.
That would not just discourage them from joining the company, but also from sharing some of their personal ideas they might have, and some of which could benefit the company as a whole if implemented.
And since they would think lesser of themselves, they would keep their thoughts to themselves, which would be a very big waste, since we all know that new ideas are fuel for innovations, and innovations are crucial for the advancement of every company.
So, instead of doing this and degrading their employees, employers should try to motivate them and create kind of working environment in which people would be highly encouraged to think of new improved ways of doing business, which would make everyone happier, especially the higher-ups when the money starts flowing in.
5. The Test Doesn’t Evaluate Performance
Another problem with the ‘Snowflake test’ is that it ignores certain aspects of the hiring process, such as the research if the person is fit to do that specific job or not.
All that this test does is group the people with the same personality traits, who may or may not be lying about themselves, without any focus on other things that matter.
As Kris Boesch, founder and CEO of Choose People have said, this test does not help you find the competent individuals who are capable of doing their job on their own if needed.
Instead, it helps you find competent followers who would do your bidding without any thought and without any contribution to new ideas.
This doesn’t represent the healthy working environment, because people wouldn’t be able to advance and broaden their minds and be able to think of some very useful ideas.
In this kind of environment, people would just get dull and some of them might not even be competent enough for the job they applied for, but since they have managed to answer the questions, they got accepted.
That could reflect a really bad image of the company, not just inside of it, but also, amongst the competitors as well, which can be seen in many areas of business.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD OF THE ‘SNOWFLAKE TEST’?
Now that we saw what are the main problems regarding the ‘Snowflake test’, let us examine what we can do differently and how to do it in order to find the perfect candidates for the job.
1. Spend Time with Your Candidates
One of the biggest issues when it comes to the interviews is that people can simply lie about themselves, about who they are, what their interests and skills are, so employers often get the wrong picture about the person who is in front of them.
But, what could be done about that? How could we really meet our potential employees?
Let’s find out!
One of the not so common methods is that you conduct your interview in a not so formal way, so you could get a notion of who the person in front of you really is.
For example, my close friend had her first interview in a shopping mall.
The person who interviewed her took her to the mall and they did some shopping, talk to one another and managed to get a bit of a sense of who the person next to them really is.
Another thing, this one is much more common, is that if you have already hired that person, you should organize some teambuilding trips, little games or simply find some activity to do together with your team.
That way, you will be able to meet those people and see if they are really who they claim to be and if they really fit in the position you took them for.
2. Find the Problem Solvers
Now, instead of focusing on people’s personality during interviews, you could try to add some questions about some practical situations, in which anyone could find themselves in while doing their job.
That would show you if the person is able to think outside of the box, which would tell you whether the person could handle some difficult situations that might happen.
That way, you could group that kind of people and really make a really good team, who would be able to solve most of the practical issues it may stumble upon during every-day work.
Also, make sure not just to look for people with similar characteristics and skills.
As already mentioned, that is one of the biggest faults of ‘Snowflake test’, so remember not to repeat it.
You should try to make the team out of people with different personalities, but who are able to work together very well.
That way, they would complete each other and be able to deal with most of the problems they encounter, because each of them would be good at something, and mixed with everyone’s abilities, it would create a team which could think outside the box and easily finds the best possible solution.
3. Offer Trial Period
Another great thing you could do in order to meet your potential employees is to offer them a trial period in which they would be accepted for the job, but in order to stay longer, they would need to prove themselves that they are able to do the job they applied for.
This is a very common practice when it comes to hiring fresh graduates or even students who still have to finish their studies.
That helps them learn the job, get some experience and prepare themselves for their future careers.
That way they are able to try out a couple of jobs if they are lucky to be selected and choose one field that suits them the most.
Of course, if people turn out to be very useful and hard-working, you should recognize that and reward them with something, doesn’t need to be something expensive or similar, just a small bonus or even new, improved contract.
That way, they would feel much more motivated to work, which would increase their productivity and help the company achieve their goals much faster than if employers were less productive.
4. Focus on Emotional Intelligence
We have mentioned teamwork for a couple of times during this presentation, but we have never said how it really works.
In order for a team to be successful, people need to get along and work together well. It is not that easy to achieve, especially in big companies with a lot of people, where team members could change very fast.
It is a very hard job for the leaders to find the right people, who would be able to work together and resolve any issues they might have without much trouble.
So, in order to do that, you must set the right example, listen to other people’s opinions, and understand their fears and emotions.
If you, as team leader, can do it, then your employees will see that they can do it as well and, that is the atmosphere you have to make for everyone in the company, so they would feel important.
Motivation and personal encouragement are very important in this regard, so try to motivate your workers, because if they are motivated and happy, they would work much better and with more energy.
Listen to Brian Tracy on the topic of how you can motivate and inspire your employers, and you will get a bit more insight into what we have said.
5. Choose the Character Fit for the Job
The last important thing about conducting an interview is that you should try to find the person whose character would fit the position or the job they apply for.
In order to determine their character, you should ask some questions about themselves, their hobbies and skills, why they think they would be good for this position and similar.
That way, you should be able to determine if the person is right for the job or not.
Of course, it could happen that people lie about that, but you could still get an overview of their characters, which would be enough for you to decide.
What could help you in this regard are several simple softwares, like Caliper, which you could use to analyze certain skills and attributes and check if they match the ones needed for the job you offer.
That was it about what ‘Snowflake test’ is and why it is not a good tool to use during interviews.
We have seen that it has many problems, which could easily be solved by simply using a different kind of questions and applying certain activities that may improve relations between both employees and employers.
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