Why personality profiles save you from making bad hiring decisions

Whether you are doing a leadership development programme or playing cards against humanity, learning about yourself and others is a very human driver. You may have done one of those quizzes on Facebook or Instagram that tells you which Friends character you are, or which Disney Princess you'd be (they are a bit of fun), or done a robust behavioural assessment online, but both are driven by the same science.

As far back as we know, ancient civilisations attributed animal, elements or the stars to explain why people are the way they are. Greek philosophers spent years studying, exploring and interpreting people and behaviour. The 20th century made it into a science. Now we are in the 21st century we apply neuroscience to the mix and get pretty good data to predict how someone will fit into a role and their probability of success. 

I have been using profiling tools for years. Often it forms the beginning of a coaching programme, aiding elf-awareness and emotional intelligence. Usually it forms part of a team development journey so team members can learn what makes each other tick, and shifts from judgement to understanding. More often than not, I am asked to support in recruitment decisions. The reason is simple. It gives you data. And if you want to improve performance, certainty and minimise costly mistakes, data is your friend.

Imagine having a decoder that tells you exactly how to praise someone. Or a manual to tell you which team member likes to be pushed, and which customer needs a little more hand holding through the process. 

Think how easy it would be to hire someone if you knew whether they were a process follower or a rule breaker, a challenger or ideas person. You can filter your applicants by selecting people that behaviourally fit the role, the team and the culture. Once that is out of the way, you can focus on skills and experience. 

I recently chatted to Amber Hurdle and she summed up the recruitment process perfectly. She says you need to 

"look at the head, the heart, and the briefcase. The briefcase, Do you have the experience? Can you do this job? The heart is what are your personal interests? Do you do you actually like the industry that you're interviewing for? What are your values? Do they match with ours? What we really need to understand is the head. When we're looking at candidates we need to know How will they do the work? So we use a tool, an assessment to understand what your innate needs are in a work environment - that helps predict what drives your behaviour."

Now in the world of online applications, 1 posting might get hundreds, thousands even, of applicants. How do you even begin to sort through that. Well first you need to look at the basics - Are they eligible to work in your sector or country. Do they need a minimum qualification or years of experience? They are the first questions you should be asking in your process. Once you have filtered those that fit the basic criteria, now you need to make an assessment based on the person on paper. You shouldn't be looking at names, locations, date of birth, or any other protected characteristics (unless you are proactively trying to recruit certain protected characteristics). Asking people to complete a short online quiz about their behavioural profile can help filter even further. 

If you are looking for a team member to do a methodical piece of work with a high level of accuracy, you want to filter out the rule breaking, spontaneous people. Perhaps you need a sales person who is exceptional at building relationships and empathising - well you need to filter out those who are competitive at all costs. 

And as you get to the final candidates, it's worth investing in a full behavioural report. Not only does it tell you who will fit the role, the team and the culture, but it will also give you a development plan for their onboarding year. It gives the leaders a plan for how to lead, motivate, engage and communicate with them. In his book Principles, Ray Dalio shares how he puts the personality profile markers on everyones security (baseball cards) cards, from the leaders to the blue collar workers. 

Every employee at Bridgewater can view the baseball card of every employee, present and past, with the intention of maintaining a high level of transparency among coworkers. 

OK for most leaders that is a step too far, but just imagine how much easier it would be to design teams, delegate work, motivate and inspire people if we knew what made them tick, their strengths and weaknesses. It removes the masks and allows everyone to focus on skills, abilities and experience. And that's what behavioural profiling does for you. It's data that propels you forward and minimises misunderstandings, conflict and bad hiring decisions. It's a leadership gift.

I use Everything Disc profiles in my work now. I have tried many, all have their place, some should be left for social media quizzes, but the principles remain. The more we know about each other, the more potential we have for cohesive, productive and healthy teamwork.

We can send you a sample report now, or get your own report. Just get in touch.

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