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Values-Based Recruitment Interviews
Overview and Objectives
• Overview of Values-Based Recruitment (VBR)
• Understanding of Values
• Best Practice Assessment and Selection Principles
• Introduction to Values-Based Interviewing (VBI)
• VBI Approaches and Techniques
Training Objectives
• Create opportunities for learning and sharing knowledge.
• Enhance existing interview skills by refreshing and clarifying
knowledge of assessment best practice.
• Summarise the VBR evidence base.
• Increase understanding of VBI techniques, including VBI
interviewer skills and effective evaluation of applicant performance.
• Provide opportunities for interaction, participation and
• Consider how VBI techniques are implemented in our
To get the most out of the session…
This session belongs to you, please:
• Actively engage into discussion and exercises
• Share your experiences and opinions, where comfortable
• Respect confidentiality
• Appreciate and listen to other people’s points of view
• Focus on peer learning and support throughout
• Use opportunities to record your reflections; consider and review
your learning objectives
Understanding VBR
Understanding VBR
• A range of tools and techniques to assist with recruiting individuals
with values aligned to the organisation and the right attitudes
required for roles
• Measuring the extent to which an individual’s approach, attitudes
and motives align with the values within the NHS Constitution
alongside competency and skills
• Considers how attitudes, motives and values of applicants influence
their behaviour
• Focuses on ‘how’ and ‘why’ an applicant makes choices
• Getting the ‘right people in place, doing the right thing, in the right
• Recruit for values, train for skills
VBR – HEE Definition
Definition: Values Based Recruitment is an approach which attracts
and selects students, trainees or employees on the basis that their
individual values and behaviours align with the values of the NHS
Purpose: The purpose of Values Based Recruitment is to ensure that
the future and current NHS Workforce is selected against the values of
the NHS Constitution so that we have the right workforce not only with
the right skills and in the right numbers but with the right values to
support effective team working in delivering excellent patient care and
Delivery: Values Based Recruitment can be delivered in a number of
ways: through pre-screening assessments, to values based
interviewing techniques, role play, written responses to scenarios and
assessment centre approaches amongst others.
VBR Benefits
• In-depth information for recruiters regarding applicant suitability.
• Insight into applicants’ values and behaviours
• Reflects commitment to NHS values and delivery of high quality
patient care.
• Applicants gain understanding of NHS Constitution values and their
• Reduces the attrition rate
• Enhanced performance translates to more positive experience for
VBR Drivers - NHS
“Much of what needs to be done does not require additional financial resources,
but changes in attitudes, culture, values and behaviour.”
Robert Francis QC1
• Delivery of high quality and safe patient care, consistently, across
professional, institutional and geographical boundaries.
• Support effective team working that enables delivery of excellent
patient care.
• Time and costs associated with poor selection decisions.
• Research evidence identifies benefits of alignment between
individual and values in the NHS Constitution
Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, Robert Francis QC, The Stationery Office, 2013
VBR: Research Evidence
• Values are motivational goals that influence behaviour – complex
relationship means assessing values in recruitment is more
• Tailored approach to measurement is more likely to accurately
assess the diverse requirements of different job roles/professions
across the NHS.
• VBR recruiters should represent the values the organisation is
seeking to attract.
• Multifaceted approach to organisational values required beyond
recruitment issues alone. VBR is only one part of embedding
values in the NHS.
– ‘value internalisation’ and ‘behavioural modelling’
VBR: Research Evidence
• More detailed evaluation of effectiveness and efficiency
of VBR measures is required.
• Interviews can be effective methods for VBR if:
− Designed appropriately (based on role analysis)
− Structured
− Relevant and standardised questions
− Panel of interviewers trained in best practice interview
techniques is utilised
− Validated scoring criteria exists
The Case for Change [EXAMPLE]
Reasons for implementation of VBR at [INSERT
Supports recommendations in the Francis report
Evidence of the benefits of values alignment
Specific drivers for VBR in the organisation:
Understanding Values
The Importance of Values
• A set of enduring beliefs which a person holds about what is
right and wrong/what is good or undesirable.
• Values influence behaviour; complex relationship with other
factors to consider (e.g. knowledge, skills, experience,
• Relatively stable but may change/adapt based on experiences
or environment.
• Organisational Values: describe culture, ‘the way things are
done around here’, linked to vision, goals and strategy.
Describing Values
Compassion (NHS Constitution): Compassionate care ties closely with
respect and dignity in that individual patients, carers and relatives must be
treated with sensitivity and kindness.
Courage (NSPCC): We communicate openly and honestly, challenging the
status quo and using our independence and experience to lead change for
children in all our activities.
Integrity (UK Civil Service): Putting the obligations of public service above
personal interests.
Loyalty (British Army): Loyalty binds all ranks of the Army together: it goes
both up and down. It turns individuals into teams, creating and
strengthening the formations, units and sub-units of which the Army is
Respect (Network Rail): We respect our environment, our communities and
all the people we work with.
Passion: (Coca-Cola): Committed in heart and mind.
NHS Constitution Values
• Developed by patients, public and staff.
• Values that underpin the NHS, integral to creating a
culture where patients come first.
• Foundation for individual organisations to build on,
tailored to local needs:
Working together for patients
Respect and dignity
Improving lives
Commitment to quality of care
Everyone counts
What do these values look like in our organisation?
NHS Employers
Values Mapping Tool
• A quick and easy tool
designed to help
organisations identify how
their own local values link
to those of the NHS
• Downloadable resource
from NHS Employers
• Includes step-by-step
flowchart for mapping
Best Practice Selection and Assessment
Best Practice Selection
• Standardisation
All applicants experience same process; assessed using the same
methods, against the same criteria; standardised documentation.
• Fair and Defensible
Clearly defined selection criteria; competencies and criteria
developed via role analysis to ensure accuracy; trained assessors to
implement process consistently to ensure defensibility.
• Reliable and Valid
Multiple assessments by multiple trained assessors; evaluation of
selection processes; standardised scoring.
Best Practice Assessment
• Familiarise yourself with the exercise and target criteria
• Observe the applicant’s behaviour fully and with an
open mind
• Record the behaviours fully and accurately without
judgement or evaluation at this stage
• Classify the evidence from the behaviour demonstrated
in relation to the target criteria
• Evaluate the quality of the evidence in relation to the
target criteria
Assessment Bias
Aim to be fair and unbiased when observing and recording behaviour.
• Discrimination: Stereotypes can be powerful barriers to accurate
• 'Halos and Horns': First impressions we make, influence later
– Halo Effects - occur when a person makes a positive first
impression which then colours everything they say or do.
– Horn Effects - negative impressions created in the first place
could have a lasting effect.
• 'Red Rags': Habits, words, phrases which to you may be like a 'red
rag to a bull’, causing irritation and stopping active listening.
Assessment Bias
• Attribution Effects: Attributing 'inappropriate' behaviour in a person
to an inherent part of their personality, rather than circumstance or
• Primacy & Recency Effects: Remembering the behaviour or
comments from either the beginning or the end of an encounter.
– May remember applicants from the start or end of the day rather
than the middle.
• Concentration: Difficult to concentrate on something for more than
10 minutes; be aware of this to avoid unintentionally missing
important information.
‘Real World’ Assessor Stereotypes
white stilettos
limp handshakes
designer stubble
close-set eyes
white socks
double-barrel surnames
male earrings
Volvo drivers
peroxide hair
male long hair
heavy make-up
sweaty palms
belly showing!
Recording Information
• Factual information is transparent and easier to classify than
subjective judgements.
• Non-judgemental Records: Non-biased accounts of what actually
happened; avoid ‘good’, ‘poor’ and ‘appropriate’.
• Accurate Recording: Record all the relevant information during the
exercise, not after.
• Complete Recording: To provide an overall picture of what the
applicant said and when – provides context.
• Language and Movement: Record actions (descriptively) as well
as words where appropriate.
• Specific Records: Recorded statements should be specific and
describe what took place or was said.
Classifying and Evaluating
• Review the record of applicant behaviours/comments for
evidence (Classify); some notes will not reflect evidence
of required competencies/values.
• Evaluation of evidence; make use of scoring indicators
to determine the quality of evidence.
• Utilise standardised scoring scales and guidance.
• Where applicable, provide comments to explain scoring
to assist with applicant feedback.
VBI Approach and Effective Techniques
Values-Based Interviews
Aligned to our values.
Probing questions designed to elicit evidence in relation
to learning and reflection
Provides greater insight into what is important to an individual
Discussion focused on ‘how’ and ‘why’ an applicant makes
particular choices in the work environment
Fluid interview style, responding and adapting to the information
provided by the applicant.
Values-Based Interviews
• Similar to competency based interview, different focus
• Applicants provide examples of demonstrations of
behaviour consistent with values
• Flexible based on role/level
• Lead question with ‘follow up’ probing questions
• Key criteria/’things to listen for’/indicators
• Greater focus on:
Choices made
Reasons for behaviour
Competency based interview
Values based interview
•What did you learn from it?
•What impact did it have on you?
•What would you do differently?
•How did you feel about it?
•Why did you decide to…?
Conducting the VBI
1. Complement with existing recruitment practices.
• Assessment of competency based knowledge and skills still
– Selection process should assess the technical knowledge and
skills and the individual’s values fit.
• Candidates must demonstrate values and technical
2. Standardisation and objectivity - process and scoring.
• Consider paired interviewers; interviewers can alternate questioning,
one can focus on observing and recording whilst the other questions.
• Semi-structured interview to allow flexibility.
Stages of a VBI
1. Interview Planning
– Interview panel; secure availability of trained assessors
– Timescales and logistics; assessment venue
– Advertising and attraction
2. Interview Preparation
– Select appropriate values based questions for interview
– Ensure standardised interview documentation is prepared
» Positive/negative indicators for values defined; suggested probes
– Provision of relevant information; applicants and interviewers
Stages of a VBI
3. Conducting the Interview
– Welcome, put applicants at ease, build rapport.
– Remain fair and objective; remember assessment bias
– Utilise standardised interview questions and suggested probes
– Follow best practice assessment principles: FORCE
4. Decision Making and Feedback
– Ensure all interview documentation is complete; utilise VBI output,
combined with other assessment outputs to inform selection decisions.
– Provide constructive feedback; use examples of evidence and describe
(not evaluate) applicant performance against these.
5. Evaluation
– Determine the effectiveness of your VBI; does the VBI produce good
quality information to inform selection decision making?
Skills for VBI
Clarifying, probing, ‘peel layers’
Active Listening
Cues, key words
Body language, actions, behaviours
Building rapport
Open body language, introductions, explaining processes
Being authentic
VBI Questioning Techniques
• Open questioning style:
• Consider use of closed questions; useful if facts required
but may limit ‘flow’ of conversation required to elicit
• Summarise to clarify understanding; ensure that both
parties have the same interpretation and expectations
VBI Questions
Value: Collaboration
• Describe a situation where it was important for you to
establish/develop an effective working relationship…
– Why was this relationship significant?
– What did you learn from this experience?
– What was the outcome?
– How did you react/feel about developing this relationship?
VBI Questions
Value: Integrity
Tell me about a time when you had to address a difficult
situation with a colleague…
For example, a time when you observed poor performance, a
situation where you felt you had to ‘do the right thing’…
Why was it important to address this situation?
What was the outcome?
How did you feel about addressing the situation and the
How did you perceive your colleague’s reaction?
Evaluating and Scoring VBIs
Evaluating VBI Evidence
Apply best practice principles – ‘Classify & Evaluate’
Classify – review observation notes in comparison to the positive and
negative indicators identified for each question to classify evidence from the
Evaluate - decide on the appropriate overall rating for each question, using
standardised scoring system.
Hints & Tips:
Re-read interview notes carefully and clarify anything that is unclear – don’t
make assumptions
Refer to the positive/negative indicators for each value
Look for more than one piece of evidence for each value
Look for supporting evidence
Attempt to reconcile conflicting evidence
Avoid tendency to generalise good/poor responses from one question to
Scoring Frameworks
• A scoring framework should be used when evaluating an applicant’s
responses at the VBI.
• Assessors/Interviewers should have a clear understanding of the
positive and negative indicators associated with each question
within an interview.
• Indicators are tailored for each value/question.
• Applicants will be given a score for each question and an overall
score for the interview.
• Assessors/Interviewers should be aware of the weight applied to the
• 4-point rating scale used for consistency of scoring
• Scoring framework is based on values identified.
• As with other assessments, focus is not on ‘correct’ answers but
the extent to which evidence to demonstrate values is provided
Very little or no evidence of positive indicators demonstrated;
mostly negative indicators displayed
Some evidence of positive indicators demonstrated, although
limited and with areas for development; some negative
indicators displayed, one or more causing concern
Good evidence of positive indicators demonstrated with minimal
areas for development; few negative indicators displayed and
none causing concern
Strong evidence of positive indicators demonstrated; very few
or no negative indictors demonstrated, any displayed
considered to be minor in impact.
Example: Value - Integrity
Value Description: places importance on behaving in an open and honest
manner; taking responsibility for actions.
Positive Indicators
Negative Indicators
Recognises learning from
decisions/mistakes made; accepts
Avoids taking responsibility for
Was forthcoming in explaining
decisions/actions; willing to share
experience and learning
Was hesitant in explaining
Demonstrates positivity in dealing
with problems; takes a proactive
Discussed issues in a negative
manner, identifying problems rather
than challenges
Demonstrates respect for others
Lacks sufficient respect for others
Candidate VBI Feedback
VBI Feedback
• To be conducted for successful and unsuccessful applicants
• Feedback should be factual, objective and constructive,
based on evidence from interview documentation.
• Want applicants to have positive perceptions of our
organisation, successful or not
• Values should be demonstrated in interactions with applicants
in the same way they are expected to demonstrate values
during interview
• Feedback mechanisms: telephone feedback, written reports
Providing Constructive Feedback
Hints & Tips:
• Ensure feedback is information-specific, issue-focused, and based
on observations/evidence
• Be direct/straightforward – ensure clarity of message
• Be specific – use examples from the evidence recorded
Provide observations not interpretations
Be descriptive not evaluative
Providing Constructive Feedback
Hints & Tips:
• Be sincere and authentic
• Avoid mixed messages e.g. ‘yes but..’, ‘however’
• Seek input from the applicant to clarify observations and
• Consider tone and manner in which you communicate
• Seek/offer alternative suggestions to support development
• Provide an opportunity for the applicant to offer their reflections
Review and Action Planning
Summary & Review
Review of learning objectives:
Understanding of VBR
Understanding of VBI approach and techniques
VBI in Practice: skills development
• Record reflections in your learning log/worksheets
Share experience and learning
Reflections on learning
Action Planning
Consider how learning will be transferred from the
workshop back to your department
What has been your own personal learning and development
How will knowledge gained inform application of VBI in your own
SMART Goal Setting
Goal Setting Theory - When individuals have specific and difficult (but
achievable) goals, effort is enhanced and performance and persistence
in pursuit of goal-related tasks improves.
Time bound
Action Planning
Individually, reflect on what you have learnt in terms of:
Your strengths and areas for development (specifically in relation to VBI
knowledge and skills).
Plans for VBI in your own department (refinement, review,
Based on this, what goals would you like to set? These may be
in relation to:
Personal development – VBI skills
Refinement or development of existing VBIs in own department
Implementation of VBI in own department
Record your reflections
Making It Happen – Blocks &
Blocks to transferring your knowledge from today back into the
Factors that may hinder you in achieving these goals E.g. Time, selfbelief, skills, personal strengths, opportunities
Bridges to transferring your knowledge back to the workplace:
Factors that may enable you to achieve these goals E.g. Personal
strengths, enhanced perspective-taking, commitment to enhance
performance, personal qualities, resources, opportunities, self-belief,
peer and supervisory support
How can these blocks be overcome by making use of your bridges?
In pairs, discuss the blocks and bridges for your personal goals
Record your reflections
Group Feedback & Discussion
• Highlights / most enjoyable elements
• What have you found most challenging?
• One key action you will undertake / commit to as a result of
this training
Reminder: Only share information that you’re comfortable sharing
Record your reflections
Thank You
Example Exercises
Exercise 1: Experience of VBR
• Group Discussion
What is your experience of VBR?
What is your current interviewing approach?
What is your experience with conducting values-based
Share your experiences and provide examples:
• Challenges
• Successes
Exercise 2: Spotting Values
In pairs
Review example interview responses
What values are being displayed?
Where is the evidence? Descriptors?
What else would you ask to elicit further evidence?
Record reflections or key notes on your exercise worksheet
Exercise 3: First Impressions
What are your first impressions of these people?
Be aware of the judgements you make about people
Exercise 4: Reviewing the Evidence
Review examples of observation notes recorded by assessors as evidence of
applicant behaviours in a role-play exercise:
Which are effective records of applicant behaviour?
Which are subjective judgements or vague, general records which do
not describe actual behaviour?
Example Observation Note
A) Tested the role-player’s understanding by repeating back their comments and
seeking confirmation of accuracy
B) Inappropriately dressed, not very professional
C) Interrupted the role-player when he was trying to explain how he was feeling
D) Dealt with the role-player’s concerns excellently
E) Referred the role-player to the internet for more information but did not suggest
any specific websites
F) Mature, considered approach to the exercise
Exercise 5: Defining VBI Questions
In pairs, discussion and group feedback
Consider 1 or 2 values:
How would you define this value?
What lead question would you ask to elicit evidence?
What probing questions would you need to elicit further
What would you expect to see in someone demonstrating this
value – behavioural indicators?
Use the worksheet to record reflections and summary of discussion
Exercise 6: Delivering the Interview
In pairs, VBI practice and feedback
Choose 1 value each and define your question
Interview each other
Record observations and commentary
Provide Feedback to each other
Group Feedback
Record reflections or key notes.
Exercise 7: Evaluating VBI Evidence
In pairs
Select a values based question (defined earlier) for one
organisational value
Define positive and negative indicators
Conduct a VBI
Interviewer should record observations/responses
After the interview, interviewer should classify and evaluate
evidence (interviewee may assist)
Alternate roles, each individual should have an opportunity to
O,R,C & E.
Group Feedback
Record reflections or key notes in exercise worksheet
Exercise 8: Providing VBI Feedback
In pairs
Use evaluated evidence from the interview conducted in the
previous exercise/example interview outputs
Take turns in providing feedback on performance.
Spend 5-10 minutes preparing your feedback
Key points using evidence from recording interview notes
Justification for scoring.
Provide constructive feedback on the interview
performance/demonstration of evidence to support the specified
Group Feedback
Record reflections or key notes on your exercise worksheet
Published August 2014. Updated September 2014. © NHS Employers 2014.
This document may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission.
The NHS Confederation (Employers) Company Ltd. Registered in England.
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