Hiring qualified candidates means seeking out a careful balance of 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. Likewise, an extremely skilled employee whose way of thinking and acting is in conflict with the position, the rest of the organization or with customer needs ultimately 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 the plight of Andrew Biga, Director of Talent Acquisition, and Ryan Dullaghan, Manager of People Assessment and Analytics, at JetBlue. Both were panelists at Wharton People Analytics Conference and recently tackled this exact dilemma. Initially they had thought that they should focus on hiring ‘nice’ flight attendants. After all, who wouldn’t want a nice flight attendant? What they found however was surprising.
Through a study of their customers they learned that being helpful is more effective than being nice. A flight attendant that wasn’t as nice but was helpful in what customers needed would be looked upon more positively. Dullaghan, stated that “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.”
To find out what IS best, JetBlue uses a combination of tactics to find candidates that 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.
This experience isn’t unique to JetBlue. This happens all of 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 Classic Generalist
Many would choose the Enthusiast, and they’re certainly charming enough to make a great impression in an interview. But wait … 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. Instead salespeople need to be assertive and goal-oriented enough to persist through the rejection and make the sale even if it takes 3, 6 or 9 follow ups to do it.
In an interview, the friendly and outgoing Enthusiast can easily sell themselves as the best candidate for you. They’ll be excited to work and seem sociable enough to make the sale. A driven and persuasive Generalist will likely make you feel the same. Without any form of analytics it becomes very difficult to be able to tell the difference between these two candidates and chances are, thanks to the halo effect, you’ll just 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 and then measure candidates against that target. 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
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 all of this information, our customers are, like Jet Blue, able to find the right candidate for the role.
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 and decreased 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.
By Kristen Harcourt, Sep 10, 2015 7:30:00 AM