Recently I was reading a great article by Jim Madrid (see Linked In “Corporate Training Group Discussion) about “Winning and Retaining Great Employees”. In the article, Madrid cites study results showing that almost half of newly hired employees fail within 18 months. According to the study that surveyed 312 companies (collectively hiring 20,000 people), poor interpersonal skills were the key culprit behind employees’ brief tenures. Attributes including an employee’s inability to accept manager’s feedback (26%), inability to understand and manage emotions (23%), lack of motivation to excel (17%) and having the wrong temperament for the job (15 %) comprised the key failure factors behind the all too rapid employee turn-over. Lack of necessary technical skills only accounted for 11% of the separations!
As an experienced team leader and department manager for fortune five-hundreds, mid sized businesses and small start-ups, this article really got me thinking about the ways in which I hire and qualify potential members of my team.
Until recently, I had subscribed to the three great fundamentals behind candidate selection: “Will” (Just how motivated and hungry are they really, for my open position?) “Skill” (Do they really have what it takes to do the job and hit the ground running? And, if not, how much training will it take to get them performing to my standards, and do I have the time, budget, resources and energy to get the new hire up to speed?) Finally, my favorite…”Fit” (Will this candidate fit into the company’s culture and more importantly, will they fit with my team’s collective spirit, morale and mindset?) I have always viewed this as the most important “X” Factor, as this attribute will determine whether my candidate will truly mesh with the rest of the group. And more importantly, will they be capable of providing that critical emotional “glue” that others on the team will be able to fall back on, during times of stress and tribulation?
And so, I must confess that until very recently, those three simple attributes governed my interview mindset, guiding me as beacons of light through many tough hiring decisions. Then, last week I had an epiphany, during a conversation about the virtues of a Myers-Briggs personality -type assessment. Now, I may ask myself: “Is my candidate an extrovert or introvert, a sensor or an intuitive….a thinker or a feeler… a judger or a perceiver? What I know now is that these simple personality traits can make all the difference in the level of autonomy an employee needs, the level of corporate structure that an employee prefers, the style by which an employee will communicate …and most importantly, the way in which an employee will process information and make core decisions! For example, a pragmatic, realistic, direct and too-the-point “sensor” may be a poor choice for a position that requires numerous brain-storming meetings with imaginative, highly creative colleagues on a weekly basis, regardless of how high their apparent will, skill and fit quotients may be!
It’s easy to understand how these personality attributes will certainly influence and predict a hire’s potential success (or not!). Post-script to my epiphany? I am now going to add some type of formal personality analysis into my hiring process. Will, skill and fit don’t quite cover all the bases anymore….it’s that critical “fourth parameter” of what I like to refer to as one’s ‘personality DNA’ that also needs to be assessed, to insure long-term success for the candidate, the company, the team………..and for me, the hiring manager!