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Cristy Limegrover
Productivity Success Integrator
Asked a question last year

In Traction it talks about an "Eight-hour on-the-job trial". Can you please elaborate this? I am confused how you would role this out in an offer letter, in practice how it would work (is this a day of "show-and-tell" or do you watch how the new hire interacts / picks things up? I guess I am confused what can be decided within the first eight hours and how EOS recommends implementing this step?

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Hi, Cristy - 

In my past life as a bakery owner, we found that trial shifts were critical in determining a good fit. Trial shifts are a "no strings attached" approach that works well for both parties. The following is my experience share from using EOS in my own company - not a prescription on how to do it from EOS Worldwide. I hope it helps you see how this might work for you. 

The assumption is that you have hired for both a combination of core values and skills. Right person = core values. Right seat = skills match. You MUST have both. The trial shift is all about assessing in real-time the assumptions you have made about the potential new hire's core values and skills during the interview process.

During the interview, you should be giving the core values speech and asking open-ended questions to determine if the candidate fits the company's core values. My advice here is: if the lights do not go on in their eyes while you are giving the core values speech - move on. If you see them leaning forward, actively engaged in providing authentic answers to your questions about your core values, then you are probably good here. If you genuinely feel they are a core values fit, they are a "right person." That's step one.

"Right seat" is about skills. In most cases, they are bringing with them a set of skills that are critical to the job. During the interview, you share with them the roles in their seat on the accountability chart. They need to have GWC (get it/want it/capacity to do it) for ALL of the roles in their seat. It should excite them to demonstrate their proficiency in these areas because this is how they are wired. If you are fairly certain that they have GWC, then they are "right seat." That's step two. 

For step three, you explain to them that it's important that for both of you to feel there is a good fit, you would like to schedule a trial shift. The trial shift is a "no strings attached" (paid) exercise. At the end of the shift, if they don't feel it's a good fit, they can walk away. The same goes for you. If you don't feel like it's a good fit, you won't extend an offer. It's important that they understand the ground rules here. Once they agree, schedule the shift and cascade the message to the rest of the team.

During the shift, I would typically stay by their side for the first part of the day, explaining the specifics and expectations of the job. Then I would remove myself and let them be with other team members for a while. We found it was always a good idea to have an exercise ready that they could complete on their own, based on their resume. (Ex. decorate a cake with the inscription "Happy Birthday Mom.")

About six hours into the day, I would meet with key staff members and we would do a quick People Analyzer on the candidate based on what we had seen that day. Ask the team for specific feedback on red flags and core values mismatches. If the candidate meets the bar, decide if you want to extend the offer to them.

At the end of the shift, you and the candidate meet and give each other feedback on fit - and then decide together what the next steps look like. Have a check for payment for the day in hand. (We would 1099 them.) 

If you are ready to extend an offer, do so. If not, tell them why. Be open and honest.

After a trial shift, I heard everything from "This job is not what I thought it was. I'll take a pass," to "I am ready to start tomorrow." You never know what they are thinking, so it's important to have your spidey sense on high alert here. Take it as a sign from the universe if they take a pass on the job.

Keep in mind, you've got to feel like it's a "hell yes," too. The challenge for some of us is to not get caught up in the moment and get excited about the candidate's POTENTIAL. Really use and rely on the EOS Tools. The Accountability Chart, Core Values, and People Analyzer do the heavy lifting for you. Use them to take the emotionality out of the decision. And definitely get input from the rest of the team. Don't make your decision in a vacuum. 

Will you get it wrong sometimes? Yep. But if you have done your due diligence you're far better off doing a trial shift than not doing one, IMHO. That's been my experience. I hope this helps see how you could do it in your company. Hope this helps!



Hi Cristy - While waiting for a Professional or Certified EOS Implementer to answer - check out this great post by Julia Langkraehr (Certified EOS Implementer): Hiring the Right Staff: An In Depth Guide130