How Do I Hire Job Candidates Who Will Behave Like My Top Performers?

Recently I spoke at a British Columbia Contact Centre Association Learning Event. During the discussion, one of the attendees asked “how do you hire a candidate that will behave like other top performers in the contact center.” In this person’s organization, the selection process relies only on interviews.

To measure potential behavior in a job candidate, we need to be able to measure his or her work-related attitudes, interests, and motivations. Typically, you will measure the candidate during the pre-employment hiring process. While a well-designed, structured behavioral interview can help you evaluate work-related attitudes, interests, and motivations, the use of a personality assessment will provide a better measurement of motivational and personality-job fit.

A well-designed personality assessment will provide you with an objective measurement of a job candidate’s big five personality factors – extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. As a web-based assessment, personality assessments offer you an approach to administer a low cost tool early in the pre-hire process that does not require recruiter intervention.

You should make sure that the personality assessment is designed for job fit measurement.

Once you have selected a personality assessment, you then link your high performers and low performers to the assessment. You have a few options here:

Option 1

Have your current job incumbents complete the assessment. You can then create a scoring model using your high performer and low performer assessment scores to determine a pass/fail threshold. You will only be able to link to production performance metrics in this approach.

Option 2

Administer the personality assessment during the pre-employment testing process but only collect data. After you have hired enough candidates and they have worked for a long enough time-period, you can then review assessment data and compare it to both turnover and performance data to create a scoring model.

Option 3

Start with option 1 and then update the model to incorporate attrition data.

Just a note of caution, measuring personality will be helpful to evaluate a job candidate’s personality-job fit. But, successful job performance is more than just personality. An employee’s on-the-job success is a function of:

1. What an individual can do which includes work habits (dependability, detail orientation, and organizational skills), cognitive capabilities (critical thinking, decision-making, and problem solving), interpersonal characteristics (sociability, interpersonal sensitivity, empathy) and;

2. What an individual will do which depends on his or her work-related attitudes, interests, and motivations (personality).

In addition to measuring personality, you will want to measure their abilities and skills. For example, some attrition in contact centers (and other frontline service, support, and sales jobs) looks like a behavioral issue (no call, no show) but is really performance driven.


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