Matching personality traits (especially aptitudes/talents, motivated drives/patterns, and temperament) should form the core in screening and assessing people for jobs, as well in placement and/as promotions.
The Neural Network theory is used in baseball for team player selections and it is an apt theory for use in employee selection as well. It is defined as the one solution to coming down to the most plausible and ideal answer where two or more variables seem to make equal case for decision making, (Nielsen, 2018). Choosing from aptitude, motivations and temperament can be similarly challenging thus it would take careful consideration to come to the factors and attributes that best serve in the best interests of the organization.
To start off, any employee has a role to play in the pursuit of organizational goals and objectives. It is always effective to first define these goals before finding employees because essentially, the employees should be a good fit for those goals. The attributes to look for in the employee on the line-up for a promotion or placement will be depending largely on what role he/she is to play towards furthering the ambitions of the company. This is the initial stage in any screening process and this should narrow down the expectation spectrum. It follows that the post advertising will thus call for applicants with specific qualities which in itself is a screening process all on its own in that performance data assessments are goal-oriented, (Poli, 2013).
That said, the vast recruitment personnel face the conundrum of what to prioritize even where they know the eventual expected outcome of the recruitment or promotion selection. An example is an imaginative accounting firm, Skylarks, seeking a human resources administrator. They know that their company needs someone who can perpetuate their culture of employee engagement, encourage open communication and also be able to manage and ensure that employees follow the code of ethics of the firm. This outline means Skylarks needs someone who is a good communicator with great intra-personal skills. At the same time this person has to be experienced in the accounting field to be able to perpetuate the code of ethics.
To get this person, the firm considered from their application, those of people who had proven records of interpersonal experience through considering the number of people previously managed or directly linked to the employer in their role capacity. This would show aptitude and temperament potential. As a follow-up reference seeking calls to find out such qualities about the candidate as level of engagement and interactive capabilities would further establish this assessment criteria, (Carr, 2011).
The applications can also show communication skills through the general presentation of the curriculum vitae as well as the expression of personal goals and data. It would also give a highlight of interests. These are key in determining the level of extrovert features such as how often the person enjoys meeting and talking to people. For example, a person who enjoys travelling may be indicative of a person who enjoys social circles , is a great communicator and one who works well even in the presence of other people; a team player, (Poli, 2013).
The leadership roles require a mix of experience, soft skills and potential of the candidate employee. Typically, it may be difficult to see which of the three to put at the fore of the selection scoop thus narrowing down the needs of the company becomes mandatory, (Nielsen, 2018).
To assess for experience, it is easy because for existing employees this is observed through following working history and annual evaluation reports of that employee. In fact what determines their suitability for the nomination is usually the experience observed over the period of working with them. On the other hand, experience for the new employee who is being considered for a managerial role means taking information from their resume on past working history. Experience is a good indicator of aptitude for the internal candidate, (Kovach, 1993).
Assessing for talent can be much like assessing for motivated drives or patterns. These are those attributes that may not be easily identifiable and would need more than the resume to determine. An employee may have talent that never got an opportunity to show through or flourish and may be driven but never given a platform to enthusiastically demonstrate that motivation. For that reason, it would take deeper observation and at times word of mouth from colleagues to know more about those minute and not so obvious features like talent and motivational drives, (Kovach, 1993).
Temperament is not as easy to determine during an interview. Some firms have resorted to throwing in candidates with their usual employees whose qualities they know well. This is to determine the interpersonal skills and interactive capacities of those candidates in the day to day running of the firm. It also ensures that they are a good fit with the regular atmosphere and culture of the firm. A person who can take criticism, or one who can be patient with slow learners is a top choice for promotions and these can easily be assessed on the go through how they interact with others. Temperament is a feature of social intelligence, which is a soft skill, (Komar et al, 2010).
There are various ways through which employees may be assessed for both recruitment and promotion during interview or recruitment processes. It is mandatory to outline the desired goals from each role being recruited for thus ensuring that the attributes sought for fit in with that goal. Assessment ranges from observation, biodata and even the testimonials of colleagues.
Validating the traits that are actually needed for a specific job has been an ongoing debate for some time now, (Armstrong 2007 quoted in Buttiens and Hondeghem, 2015). While everyone has some talent of sorts, it is difficult to determine which traits best fit in with the work requirements. For the most part, organizations have always focused on academic credentials in job selection, (Kovach, 1993). This is damaging in that hardly has there been adequate education in most positions except perhaps the professionals field. The vast requirements in most positions are the ones you learn on the job. In fact, studies have revealed that by the time graduates leave school, their curriculum of four years back would have been overtaken by the fast changing business environment. Employers now prefer internship experience and volunteering work recommendations than grades.
According to Thompson (2018) employers now focus on practical experience as mandatory prerequisites in placements;
“even desirable internships can resemble worthless months of servitude, where meaningless tasks interrupt long stretches of numbing boredom. Yet, employers will eventually regard these agonizing periods of numbing boredom to be the most significant professional moments of our college career.”
The argument is that graduates focus on grades and never take time to learn practical work or be involved as interns yet those are the qualities that employers should look for because they point out to productivity much more than any college qualification ever can.
Simultaneously, a combination of both extrinsic and intrinsic factors of capability is the key to finding the right fit for a position, (Komar, 2010). Whilst academic qualifications may give an indication of the cognitive aspects, most positions require more than the ability to do arithmetic and memorize concepts. They require someone who is rich in aptitude and this cannot all be measured by academic demonstration but rather requires hands-on assessment, (Carr, 2011).
The reason psychometric tests have become popular is that organizations have found that hiring merely basing on academic qualifications has given rise to an increase in training costs. The employee will still require extensive training on the job to be able to execute his/her work productively. In an economic sense, it becomes plausible to consider how easily teachable the applicant is rather than how well they have studied for an examination, (Komar et al, 2010). Traits that have to do with teachability such as aptitude, agreeableness, commitment and a certain amount of passion to ensure that the employee has a higher propensity to stay on the job.
Another factor to consider in traits for placement is that of resource allocation. It has been identified that most positions would require only two months of training on the job before someone becomes proficient in them, (Norman and Bobrao, 1975). In view of this, when an employee is hired based on academic credentials they tend to be more expensive in terms of salaries and yet would still require further training thus thwarting all efforts on resource management. On the other hand, the not-so-academic applicant may not require a high paycheck and yet can learn the job in precisely the same time as the academic.
It takes a study of the business environment and the specific job requirements to know which traits to focus on. That said, the prudent placement personnel would always seek to maximize on productivity, make the most of the budget while getting the best candidate to fit in with the environment. These are not paper-based traits and yet they form the largest benefit factor for the company, (Poli, 2013). The metrics for these soft skills can be identified through simulation and also through recommender comments.
It is important to make applicant selections based on those traits which are intrinsic rather than the extrinsic ones because production, loyalty, low turnover of the employee as well as cultural suitability all depend on personality traits. The hard skills are easily developed but the soft skills cannot be trained as easily. At the same time, academic qualifications can point out to some cognitive factors such as aptitude which all contribute heavily to the productive flow of the individual. It is, therefore, important to [place value on social intelligence as a standardizing attribute in applicant suitability.
Verifying the existence of certain traits relevant in an applicant demands active assessment. These can be in the form of various tests that can help feature those intrinsic qualities that one cannot find on the resume. Such tests include aptitude tests, psychometric tests, performance data as well as standardized tests. Each of these has certain qualities to test for and when carried out properly will help you get the most suitable candidates for your work requirements, (Norman and Bobrao, 1975). It also follows that including the applicant in your work environment briefly can show you much in terms of assimilative attributes, interaction as well as a certain level of emotional and social intelligence, (Carr, 2013).
As stated by Kovach (1993), psychometric tests are ideal for measuring a candidate’s cognitive abilities as well as personality and behavioural styles. These are important for matching up the candidates to the requirements of the position for which they are being evaluated. Psychometric tests are organized to give an indication of a candidate’s thinking patterns through testing in numeric, verbal and diagrammatical reasoning, (Warsash academy.co.uk, 2018). The purpose of these tests is to further narrow the selection pool in that it points out the cognitive skills of the applicant better than their resume or curriculum vitae. It helps to ascertain to what an extent the candidate can rise to the occasion when it comes to problem-solving and thinking on their feet. Psychometric tests are becoming a major component of the selection process because they are standard in nature.
However, some candidates argue that psychometric tests do not aptly showcase their work-relevant skills. Because they are standard and across the board, they do not feature certain specific requirements of some positions and therefore, cannot be a good measure of the candidate’s suitability for that position, (Thompson, 2018). The general consensus though, is that psychometric tests give a good measure of the ability of the candidate to cope with the scope of the demands of most positions.
Another test that may prove effective in assessing for traits is the performance test. This can be coupled with biodata for collection of information unobtrusively and in ways that give clear metrics, (Poli, 2013). Performance tests are done in real time with the candidate. The candidate is given a task or an assignment to perform that is related to the requirements of the position for which they are being evaluated. The candidate is then measured on the metrics of time taken to complete task, innovation, confidence as well as other variables that may help come to the final assessment result. The reason for various variables is that it is generally expected that candidate may not be well-versed in the direct position demands but at least their experience and aptitude levels should be high enough for them to execute tasks well, once trained.
The disadvantage of performance tests is that they require innovation and much preparation on the interviewers as opposed to question and answer type of interviews. There have to be varying tasks and coming up with these tasks may prove time-consuming for most placement persons.
Effectively, aptitude tests give a good indication of employee suitability. One school of thought is that these tests should be standard and yet timed so that there is no room for tampering with outcomes, (Komar et al, 2010). The candidate is given a set of tasks and evaluative questions which are time-prescribed and the way in which they execute the solving of these problems in such a restricted time gives more to the employer than would the regular standardized tests. For example, when testing for temperament and ability to work under pressure without losing one’s calm; a candidate is given a scenario in an actual work set-up, then other employees are made to interrupt and walk in on the candidate as they work, and role-play a regular day’s features. How well the candidate will react to the disturbances and yet solve the problem well will give more to the interviewer than would hours of work history talks and resume readings.
Hard measures when combined with soft measures in testing will reveal both intrinsic and extrinsic abilities of the candidate but it is the intrinsic features that are primal to the selection process. The extrinsic abilities such as work performance, experience, target meeting and all can be developed easily and can be measured easily. Soft skills are harder to evaluate thus may require a mix of tests. They may also require a lot of time if actual results are to be generated.
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