We have been exploring how Talking Mats can be used as a tool to support business – both a framework for interviews and appraisals. Because it supports reflection, it is an ideal framework for employers to use with job candidates.
The recruitment process is time consuming for organisations, and any errors at this stage can be costly for teams. When I applied for the post of associate with Talking Mats I wasn’t surprised that the actual interview was engaging and different from any other interview experience.
The first part was for the candidates to teach the interview panel a skill, in 5 minutes. As a speech and language therapist this made a lot of sense to me, as teaching people a skill is more empowering than merely sharing your knowledge.
The second stage of the interview was using a Talking Mat to consider my levels of confidence in relation to aspects of the post.
Having used Talking Mats with children and parents in my clinical work, I wasn’t used to being ‘on the other side of the mat’, and experienced first-hand the positive aspects.
Firstly, it gives the interviewee permission to break eye contact. This immediately takes away the pressure of non-verbal feedback from the panel e.g. if one of the panel is smiling encouragingly, it is tempting to focus on that one person and possibly say too much. The focus being on the cards and the actual mat can reduce anxiety, supporting people to clearly express their views.
Another aspect of Talking Mats is that the person interviewing, hands to the candidate a picture card on one aspect of the topic e.g. knowledge and skills.
The multi sensory aspect i.e. auditory , tactile and visual, supports the candidate to focus on this one concept and share his or her reflection.
The conversation is then built up and captured on an actual mat and the candidate has the opportunity to move the options on the scale as the conversation progresses.
Talking Mats as a communication tool maximises the capacity of individuals to say what matters to them. How many people leave an interview feeling they didn’t say what they wanted to?
P.S. I got the job!