We all know a little something about the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Whether it’s their voyage to the moon in 1969 or their latest quests to discover other galaxies today.
However, there’s a lesson we can all learn from America’s space agency.
You see, to land a job at NASA, you have to possess a certain skill set and knowledge in order to make their next big adventure work.
In fact, according to sources, getting into their astronaut class is 74 times harder than being enrolled at Harvard University.
In numerical terms, around 18,300 people applied for the chance to fill one of 15 spots in 2017.
So with this in mind, how can your business attract the same kind of bright sparks in your industry?
Here’s a little info on their recruitment drive…
Take stock of what you’ve got
A lot of businesses recognise that a position needs to be filled. Although, they don’t usually evaluate what type of person it should be.
What I mean is that you can hire a highly talented individual, but will they fit into the dynamic of the existing team?
To use a football example, Leicester City didn’t win the English Premier League with a squad of superstars. Instead, they had a team of talented and hard-working players who wanted to succeed together.
NASA has created a 4D system which helps promote diversity, openness and an understanding within their agency.
Running a series of assessments, coaching sessions and workshops, NASA can identify areas of weakness. This means they can improve the overall performance of their current team.
This then allows them to actively look for a more specific person in their recruitment process.
In your business, it’s always worth investing in training programmes every so often. It will help to build spirit and establish the characters and skills you already possess.
Share the ‘burden’
There’s a lot of pressure on finding the right candidate for a position. That’s why NASA uses a team approach to the process.
NASA doesn’t leave all of the decisions to their HR team. Instead, they ask certain members to sit in during assessments and assist in going through the applications.
This way, they can get a real feel for who they think will fit into the current team. In theory, I’m not telling you to pull out every member of staff in your business, otherwise, your productivity levels will take a major hit.
However, you should consider bringing in a few neutral faces to contribute to aid the recruitment push. It might help you eliminate bias and give you a more holistic view of what your business really needs.
Get creative with your interview questions
Although the NASA recruitment process can take up to two years to complete, there are a number of direct questions they like to ask.
They’ve been known to bring in a psychologist to evaluate the candidate’s response to a question. NASA’s Kelley Slack said: “We’re looking for the ‘right stuff,’ but we’re also trying to get rid of people with the ‘wrong stuff’”.
Her suggestion to businesses is to ask candidates about their past relationships and experiences with other colleagues and managers.
This should then take them out of their comfort zone and challenge them to see if they can turn a potential negative into a positive.
Test a candidate’s abilities
Once NASA has finished all of the initial stages, they carry out an assessment day. This includes inviting around 120 applicants (from thousands) to attend the Johnson Space Centre in Houston for medical evaluations, orientation and further interviews.
Some of the tasks will test a candidate’s teamwork attributes as well as their physical capabilities.
In your business, having a group interview stage can really give you a better understanding of individual candidates in a work environment. If you ask some of your current employees to get involved, you’ll be able to assess their personality and attributes within your existing team.
If running a group interview isn’t feasible, you should always look to hold an initial phone interview stage to get a brief feel for the candidate. For tips on what to ask, take a look at our previous blog.
While you can’t exactly follow every stage of NASA’s in-depth recruitment process, you can certainly use these examples as a series of top tips and a guideline to success.
Try adopting their thorough and team effort approach. In return, you’ll create a team of talented employees who feel involved in the important matters of the business. This will not only create a loyalty beyond belief but will make the recruitment process for new staff a lot easier too.
Just remember to be open-minded and ignore typical reasons not to employ someone like having too many tattoos or if the candidate has a few gaps in their CV.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll undoubtedly find your next star employee in no time at all.
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