How to Hire People That Will Make Your Business Succeed

Hiring qualified candidates means striking a balance between the right skills and the right behavior. No one wants an employee who’s a good cultural fit, but has mediocre competence at their job. But, a skilled employee whose way of thinking and acting conflicts with the rest of the organization or with customer needs causes more harm than good.

How do you decide what your candidates need to succeed in a position? To answer, let’s look at an example from JetBlue.

Jet Blue and People Analytics

A Wharton University of Pennsylvania blog explains how JetBlue solved the challenge of hiring the right candidates to be flight attendants. Initially the company thought that they should focus on hiring ‘nice’ flight attendants. After all, who wouldn’t want a nice, pleasant flight attendant? What they found, however, was surprising.

Through a study of their customers, they learned that being helpful is better than being nice. A flight attendant that wasn’t as nice but was helpful in what customers needed would be looked upon more positively. 

"People will tell you they know the right kind of person for a given job. But what we think isn’t always what is best,” said Ryan Dullaghan, Manager of People Assessment and Analytics.

To find out what makes an ideal candidate, JetBlue uses a combination of tactics to find people who have the best fit for their organization, including psychological assessments, structured interviews, video interviews and work samples. Through their focus on fit, JetBlue increased retention and employee engagement and decreased employee absence, all things that can impact a company’s revenue and team morale.

Hiring Salespeople

This experience isn’t unique to JetBlue. This happens all the time, especially when hiring salespeople. Take a look at some of the traits of two McQuaig profile types below, which do you think would be good at sales? 

The Enthusiast

Cooperative
Team player
Energetic
Outgoing
Sensitive
Helpful

The Classic Generalist

Decisive
Driving
Persuasive
Assertive
Goal oriented

The Enthusiast is charming and makes a great impression in an interview. But what happens when this sensitive person, after all their helpfulness and co-operation, gets rejected? They might not enjoy selling as much anymore and the feeling of rejection may make a larger impact. While an Enthusiast appears to have a good profile for sales, this one quality can take away from their aptitude for it. Salespeople need to be assertive and goal-oriented enough to push through the rejection and make the sale, even if it takes 3, 6 or 9 follow ups to do it.

The friendly and outgoing enthusiast can easily sell themselves as the best candidate for you. They’re excited to work and seem sociable enough to make the sale. A driven and persuasive Generalist, through their persuasive efforts, will likely make you feel the same. Without any form of analytics it becomes difficult to tell the difference between these two candidates. Thanks to the halo effect, you’re likely to go with the one you like best (probably the enthusiast). Here’s how our customers determine what type of candidates they should be hiring.

Finding the Right Fit

Our customers use The McQuaig System to create a behavioral profile for the position. This becomes a target they measure candidates against. Through use of the McQuaig System, they can see if there is a match, potential match or not a match in behavioral fit. Candidate insights in the easy-to-read reports include a candidate’s:

  • Attitudes and beliefs
  • Motivations
  • Stability and persistence
  • Maturity and judgment
  • Aptitudes and capacity to learn
  • Temperament and behavior patterns
  • Match to the role
  • Role-specific behavioral interview questions

With this information, our customers are able to find the right candidate for the role.

The Takeaway

Skills can be learned on the job, but behavior is difficult to change. Not only that, but hiring for fit is a strategic move that improves your company’s bottom line. After their focus on fit, JetBlue increased retention and employee engagement, while decreasing employee absence; all things that can impact a company’s revenue and team morale. With the help of assessments and people analytics, you can see these changes in your organization and reap the benefits.

What kind of tools do you use to hire the right people?


Posted by Kristen Harcourt

10 Sep 2015