Anyone who has been in a job interview recognizes that there is more to a successful match at work than meets the eye. Job descriptions can be limited in the keywords they use and in how much of the day-to-day they cover; likewise, resumes are paired down to summaries of key experiences, and therefore are a limiting view into the person.  This year has challenged the usual hiring motion even further, as employers have to interview in a mostly remote context. In order to get a more comprehensive view into behaviors, the following behavioral interview questions tend to be asked:

  •   “What are you naturally great at?”
  •   “What are any areas of improvement you have to focus on?”
  •   “What kind of job would make you feel fulfilled?”


When it boils down to it, how can anyone answer questions regarding themselves without a clear understanding of their personality, motivations, and goals? How do you actually know what you’re great at – when often that’s what’s easiest, and least noticeable, because it’s not as much effort? How do you know which ones of these could be most relevant for this particular role, in this particular company? You may know what you want from an occupation today; however, where will your one-of-a-kind traits and skills take you down the line?


Right Time, Right Place: the Reality for 30%

 There are reasons for employees and employers alike to make sure folks are being recruited for the proper jobs. 

70% of individuals aren’t in the right jobs

That’s what Talent Tech Labs reports, adding that ‘Successfully placing individuals in the proper job results in more fulfilled, happier workers, better companies and better economic profitability.’ 


Outside of lower levels of employee satisfaction, those mismatches negatively impact organizations’ bottom lines. The cost of a bad recruitment starts at 30% of the worker’s 1st-year earnings; the United States Department of Labor reports greater losses, as positions such as sales have larger ramifications. The added costs include overhead for performance management, additional coaching, additional tools, as well as potential loss from other high-performing employees, the loss of business opportunities… the list is long, and the stress is real.


Finding Fulfillment

Abraham Maslow, psychologist, famously identified a hierarchy of human needs, the tiered system in which basic needs, like safety and physiological requirements, have to be met before an individual may reach a greater fulfillment level – a state Maslow refers to as, “self-actualization.” The concept is that when fundamental needs such as shelter, water, and food are met, humans then can move into identifying more abstract necessities associated with creativity and development. Reaching a self-actualization level has been discovered to be related to, ‘Greater curiosity, life satisfaction, positive relationships, self-acceptance, personal growth, environmental mastery, purpose in life and autonomy.’


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

 ‘A poet must write, an artist must paint, and a musician must make music, if he’s to be at peace with himself. What a man can be, he has to be. He has to be true to his nature. That need we might refer to as self-actualization.’ (Maslow, Abraham H. (1954). Motivation & Personality. New York, New York: Harper and Row Publishers.) -A. Maslow


A piece of the puzzle for attaining self-actualization is feeling fulfilled at work.  Pew research indicates that 30% of staff members in the U.S. see their work as, “A job to get them by.” That means that there is a loss of opportunity for both employers and employees – an opportunity to unlock potential, happiness, and yes – revenue.


That’s why the concept of “meaningful work” is of increasing interest and attention. Total rewards is being looked at in a more comprehensive manner, and has given way to various stereotypes , eg. pegging specific generations as caring more about a salary and other generations caring more about this greater sense of purpose at the workplace. But, it seems that members of the generations presently active at work – which includes Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers, and Traditionalists – can agree that all of them value meaningful work, and find common ground upon a fundamental definition of meaningful work, one involving intrinsic motivation at its core.


Behavioral Assessment: What is it?

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, such assessments at work, also called personality assessments, are, ‘Systematic assessments of candidate personality profiles utilized to measure the viability of applicants based upon things such as potential, work style and culture fit.’ To make the process consistent across everyone who takes it, they are typically surveys that can be completed by computer or by mobile phone, asking questions with ranges, to understand behavior in the workplace.


Typically, the assessments are made up of job-associated questions based upon required competencies to perform a job.  Older incumbents screen for 4 – 6 key categories, but more modern approaches use more nuanced sub-categories to better understand specific behaviors relevant in the workplace, including communication style, interpersonal communication, whether someone prefers to work independently or with others, and more. To obtain a broader view on the candidate, behavior assessments dive into past and situational behaviors. 


As with any employment tool, there are disadvantages and benefits to utilizing behavioral assessments in the process of hiring. While tests such as these represent an investment, they save time on overall interviewing, and the more modern versions address issues such as adverse impact in the process, enabling companies to leverage a broader pool of talent to deliver business outcomes. They also save time during the interviewing process, as they save hours of interviewer time and enable consistent evaluation across all candidates, including internal and external candidates. 


Success Starts with You

 In using tools such as personality or behavioral assessments to figure out more information about their own competencies, motivators, and behaviors, professionals may better understand themselves. And beyond the fundamental needs that workers require to survive – such as income – recognizing the proper environment where a person’s passion and skills will thrive has been demonstrated to have a major impact on satisfaction rates for employer and employee alike.


What kinds behavioral interviewing tools exist?

Some of the behavioral interview questions reflect older data and practices. They include DiSC behavior inventory; Caliper Profile; the Hogan personality test; the SHEL test; and the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). 


DiSC Behavior Inventory. DiSC is based on the idea that there are 4 fundamental factors: (D) for “Dominant,” (I) for “Influential,” (S) for “Steady,” and (C) for “Compliant.” Organizations utilize the DiSC to learn about a candidate’s professional behavior style and her or his capability of working as a part of a team. 

Caliper Profile. The Caliper test measures 20 behavioral traits. The output includes an interpretive guide, percentile ranks for different answers, and summary.

HPI (Hogan Personality Inventory). The assessment studies 7 primary scales and 6 occupational scales (“Stress Tolerance,” “Service Orientation,” “Clerical Potential,” “Reliability,” “Managerial Potential,” and “Sales Potential”) in conjunction with 42 subscales.

SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire. The test offers companies an indication of how specific behaviors affect a candidate’s work performance.  Prospects are assessed in 3 areas: “Emotions,” “Thinking Style and Feelings,” and “Relationship with People. They’re given 4 statements and have to choose which statement least describes them and which statement best describes them.

MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is made to determine if the personality of the job seeker is more geared to 1 of 2 tendencies in these groupings: “Judging vs. Perceiving,” “Thinking vs. Feeling,” Intuition vs. Sensing,” and “Extraversion vs. Introversion.” Prospects who take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are then made to fall into 1 of 16 personality types.

More modern platforms such as Aptology leverage more nuanced views of the both the role and the candidates to help leaders understand which behaviors move the needle on objective metrics

Missing half the picture?

For employment selection purposes, it may well be as important to understand and profile the job as it is the person. This is because employment is all about putting the right person in a specific job and that involves knowing the job really well. It is simply not enough to know that the person possesses certain characteristics (e.g. is self-motivated, or service-oriented, has attention to detail, etc.) without the context of the job or wider organization. 

What’s more, two positions that have the same title in the same industry do not mean the same thing, and may require different behaviors to be successful. In other words, one must understand the specific role for the company at hand to truly understand if – and what – other roles across the organization and beyond would make for a successful transition. It is also important to note that roles may evolve over time; leaders must be weary of “library” roles which may be modeled on data that can be decades old, which does not accurately reflect today’s business needs or available talent pools.

For this reason, the older behavioral tools are not very useful for selection purposes because they focus on the person, and not the job or the culture. It is far more important to truly understand the unique demands of the job and the competencies needed for success in that job than it is to know a candidate’s personality or even skill levels. If you are using an assessment in the hiring process, look for one that takes exceptional care to analyze the job carefully and then builds a template to screen for that job comprehensively. Ideally, the “job template” should be customized and quite deeply detailed before you can trust the results predicting the potential success of particular candidates. The best solutions make that possible through a platform, so the company can retain that information and so the data can show any evolutions over time.

Customized Success: Behavioral Understanding Starts Inside

How is a customized job template built? If you are using an assessment for recruitment and selection purposes, you will most definitely want it to compare the person to the actual job to yield information about job fit. Better assessments are able to customize the job template to the specific job through a platform, where data is collected on performance and on the existing team; coaching is made available on gaps; and internal as well as external candidates can be reviewed based on the customized behavioral profile. 

When Hiring, How Many Employers Make Use of Behavioral Interviewing?

Over 80 % of US Fortune 500 and 75 % of UK Times 100 companies are using personality assessments to aid the recruitment and hiring process for their businesses.

These tests, when used alone, may help with self-discovery and understanding, but might not offer an effective projection of a worker’s performance in a particular role. However, along with other data, they may serve as a powerful recruiting resource.


Personality Tests: What are their benefits in recruitment?

  •   Effectively designed assessments may reduce the opportunity of placing the incorrect individual in the incorrect role – an error that’s detrimental for colleagues, the employee, and the organization as a whole.
  •   Personality tests assist headhunters and recruiters in better understanding how to keep workers motivated and engaged while at work.
  •   Learning the unique information that personality tests provide may assist headhunters and recruiters in studying a prospect’s potential match inside a company culture.


Do Not Wait for Hiring to Use Behavioral Insights

  •   It is possible to learn more information about your team’s strengths, as well as areas needing to be improved
  •   It is possible to better understand specific situations which permit team members to perform at your best
  •   Personality assessments may assist employees in identifying your dislikes and likes and identify potential internal advancement opportunities
  •   Learning your type of personality may assist you in better understanding other people and foster a more productive work environment.


Are you prepared to streamline the next round of recruiting with customized, data-driven interview packages? To watch our full demo please feel free to get in touch with Aptology to learn more and get started.