Using Behavioral Profiling to Select the Best Candidates and Lower Turnover
One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2017 is to systematize hiring the right people. In my experience, hiring is always a major issue at companies from $1 million to $100 million in revenue. The problem is that we rarely have systems to help make it manageable, and since it’s one of the most important drivers of growth, owners and executives really can’t delegate it (not with good results anyways). So how can we take some of the pain out of the process?
Don’t agree that the hiring process at your company is painful? Let me ask you this: The last time you realized you had an interview with a new potential hire on your calendar the next day, how did you feel about it? Did you say, “hot damn, I can’t wait to get up tomorrow and get to work so I can meet a new potential employee” or was it more like, “crud, I have to burn two hours tomorrow doing an interview … I wonder if I can move it or pawn it off on HR to handle without me.”
The solution lies in using behavioral profiles to improve your process. These “tests” don’t tell you about people’s personalities, rather they are designed to help you understand how employees will behave at work. Are they going to be autonomous, outgoing, and detail oriented or conservative, introverted and slower paced? Depending on whether or not you are hiring a salesperson or a bookkeeper, you’ll be looking for very different profiles.
The first question is which behavioral profile you should use. Truth be told, there are many to choose from, which can seem overwhelming. But don’t worry, I’ve done the research for you and will share with you my two favorites.
For hiring, my preferred behavioral profiling system is called Culture Index (www.cindexinc.com). My favorite part about this profile is that you purchase a one-year license (it costs several thousand dollars a year) and then you get unlimited access. With Culture Index, you can have as many candidates or employees take the profile as you want.
The biggest mistake that I see companies make with hiring is waiting to do behavioral profiles until too late in the process. Because behavioral profiles often cost $50-100 each, many companies try to save money by not “wasting” a profile on a candidate until later in the hiring process. I believe that candidates should fill out profiles at the very beginning of the hiring process to avoid “wasting” your top executives’ time interviewing the wrong candidates. Overall, $50-$100 is a small price to pay if it prevents your company’s CEO and top executive(s) (i.e., Head of HR, COO, VP of Operations) from burning an hour or two at lunch with the wrong candidate. In order to get over this psychological hurdle, I recommend Culture Index because having your candidates fill out profiles will be guilt free.
My second favorite thing about Culture Index is that they have come up with a brilliant system to make it easy to figure out if a candidate would be a good fit for each position. The hiring manager simply answers a bunch of questions about what kind of person would be well suited for the position and then Culture Index creates a template of which behavioral profile the ideal candidate would have. You can create unlimited templates, so you can have one for salespeople, bookkeepers, executives, front line employees, and then when your candidate fills out their profile, you can easily identify which position is the best fit.
The Culture Index template keeps you and your hiring managers from lying to yourselves. You know what I’m talking about: You interview a candidate and you know that they probably aren’t going to be a good fit for the accounting department where you have an opening (since they’re a people-loving extrovert who gets bored with detailed work) but you justify it because they are so awesome and you really want them on your team. Two months later, you’ve spent countless hours training them to count your beans and they walk into your office one Friday afternoon and tell you they have accepted a position in sales with a competitor because they just can’t stand spending 40 hours a week managing your payables. Culture Index will help you avoid this trap because it gives you a visual graph of your candidate’s behavioral profile and compares it to the graph of what the ideal candidate for the position would look like, so you can’t cheat! Unless the graph of your candidate matches up with the graph you created for the position back in the cool, rational light of day, then you cannot make the hire.
Behavioral profiling using Culture Index is just the start of a world class hiring process. Once you have a candidate that fits the right profile, then you have to determine how many times you’re going to interview them, what questions to ask in each interview, and how to close the deal once you’ve got one that you want to hire. For answers to several of those questions, I recommend the book “Who” by Geoff Smart and Randy Street.
Once you hire a new employee, I like to use the Everything DiSC Workplace Profile to better understand who they are and how they are going to interact with the team. The DiSC profile places employees on a continuum of behavioral traits including Dominance, influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. I don’t use the DiSC as much for hiring, but more to lower turnover with the current team.
After they have joined the team, I give new hires the DiSC and then I hold a staff meeting to discuss the results of their DiSC profile (depending on the size of the company, I’ll invite the entire staff or just the new hire’s department). Every new hire I’ve ever profiled has always been interested to learn about their own behavioral preferences and how they differ from their co-workers.
In the disaster mitigation and restoration world, business owners (and often their top managers) tend towards being high in the dominance (D) trait. This dominance is good for getting a fire damaged house cleaned up, but not always so good for morale. The challenge is that high D’s drive towards getting the job done; however, immediate action is not always aligned with your client’s need for support, communication and compassion. As a business owner and leader myself, I often have to take a deep breath and spend some time with a client explaining what I am about to do and why before getting down to business. It isn’t my natural behavioral tendency, but all it costs me is a little extra energy so that I can build rapport with my client and help them understand their situation better. The DiSC profile helped me learn this about myself and it has paid massive dividends. High D’s like me often need some help in the emotional intelligence department.
The good news is that we can all choose to modify our behavior depending on the situation. For example, if I give a new employee the profile and find that they are high in the dominance trait, I can make them aware of this tendency to be overly aggressive so they understand that sometimes their unbridled need for results can be overwhelming. I don’t want them to change their personalities, but rather understand that situationally they may need to temper their exuberance when it’s time to complete interact with a client whose home or business has recently been destroyed by water or fire.
There is another huge benefit to the Everything DiSC profile. They offer FREE “comparative” reports, which allow you to take any two employees you’ve profiled and run a report that will show them how they are alike and different and offer suggestions on how they can work better with one another. Many times when employees approach me with a “we can’t get along” problem, I won’t even broach the subject until I’ve given them a comparative DiSC report and they’ve read it over and met to work it out amongst themselves. This approach doesn’t work for every employee conflict, but many times a little bit of perspective on each other’s natural behavioral tendencies allows them to see things from the other’s point of view and solve their issue. One more tip: My wife and I each took the DiSC and ran our comparative report and it has worked wonders for our marriage!
To start using DiSC, I recommend that you invest in profiling every one of your current staff members (each profile costs about $45-$55). I use a third party website to manage all of my profiles. I recommend www.resourcesunlimited.com to my clients since they have always given me excellent support. They make it easy to email each employee their online profile, and they manage filing all the completed profiles in an online database. I have 24/7 access to all of my staff’s profiles. Plus, I can print free reports using their cloud based service.
Every business has trouble with hiring, and if you have more than one employee, then undoubtedly you have people issues from time to time. Behavioral profiling has been a silver bullet for me in making people issues more manageable by using tools that are a lot more reliable than my “gut.” I’m not saying your gut shouldn’t play a role in the hiring process; however, the more you systematize your approach, the more you can rely on others to help you hire, interview, and manage as your company grows. Our industry has enough unknowns already—use behavioral profiling and hiring won’t be a disaster for your company!
Jonathan Slain is the founder of Disaster Ventures Unlimited which provides consulting and other services to disaster businesses that want to double in size or sell within five years. He can be reached at [email protected] or 216-870-4219.