Posted by: Joe Hoffman | September 1, 2009

The Art of the Hire Part IV – Behavior

Imagine that you are going to buy a new car.  One of the first things that you do is build a list, mental or written, of the behaviors or characteristics of your new vehicle.

o    It goes fast.
o    Holds the road
o    Carries people and cargo
o    Gas mileage
o    Cost to buy

All these can be easily measured, so you put a range against each one to describe the behavior of your ideal new car.

o    Goes Fast        Zero to 60 mph in 7 to 10 seconds.  Top speed 120 mph
o    Holds the Road    Runs a ¼ mile “S” track in 10 -18 second
o    Carries people and cargo  Trunk Space, Rear deck size etc in Cubic feet
o    Gas mileage        Between 23 and 27 mpg local
o    Cost to buy        Less than $35,000

Except for auto enthusiasts and people who want bragging rights, we don’t care how the designers and manufacture arrives at the performance and behavior.  You just need and want to know that when you leave for that camping trip, it will hold your stuff, keep up with the semis on the interstate, climb the mountain road and not cost a new mortgage on your house to keep it fed.

There are literally hundreds of vehicles out there to choose from, from drag racers (goes very fast, doesn’t hold the road real well), to two seater sport cars (goes fast, holds the road, no storage space) on down to SUVs and sedans (Not very fast, not too good at holding the road, lots of space).  We can peel off the drag racer and you won’t be buying a new Koenigsegg ($1.2 Million) but there are still a lot of SUVs and sedans that will work OK.  The more specs that have at the outset, the easier and more effective the choice.

As a business leader, you want to hire the best people, those that will enhance your business. One of the most important aspects of identifying the great employee is their on the job behavior.  How will they respond to the daily pokes that life offers?   Suppose that you are in the hospitality business.  Would you hire a great undertaker as your bartender?  Even if he or she could mix any libation your customers wanted.  Probably not! The behaviors that make for best fit in each job are pretty different.

Behaviors are things like:
o    Energy Level
o    Assertiveness
o    Sociability
o    Manageability
o    Independence

Just as in the vehicle choice, most of us don’t really care how the psychology of the person is designed; we just want to know how they will behave in real life.  If you know what you need for a particular job, there are tools (assessments) available to identify the good choices from the bad.  If you already have people that you consider great in that job, then a benchmark can be built against them to fine-tune your choice even tighter.

Getting at this level of detail through an interview process is very difficult even for highly trained (and expensive) psychologists.  A business can use assessments, spending less than a few hundred dollars and save the interview for the important stuff, like personal chemistry.  The bottom line result, if you use tools that are reliable and offer predictive validity, is a lower cost per great hire, lower turn over, higher productivity and of course, better business performance.

If you are in hiring mode or are thinking about a turn around in the recession being on the horizon, contact me at Quade Consulting.   With our support, you will hire great people and improve your business performance.  We guarantee it!


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