The candidate profile describes the preferences of an employee who will be successful in the position, and these attributes are not identical to the job description or company culture.
Every manager will recognize the situation of the employee who is reliable, qualified, and appears to be engaged with their job and co-workers, and yet does not seem to ‘hit the mark’ on their key assignments. The reason: while they are engaged, it is not a deep and natural match of their work preferences. Depending on their unique characteristics, such an employee will either take on work that has not been assigned (because it is more aligned or interesting to them…and do a great job at it) or just never establish a consistent rhythm of productivity that defines them as a great employee.
A candidate’s profile is only one aspect of the hiring process, but a critical component.
Overview of Candidate Profiles of Four Work Style Preferences
Results / Action – Preference
- Getting immediate results
- Causing action
- Accepting challenges
- Making quick decisions
- Taking Authority
- Solving problems
Accuracy / Quality – Preference
- Concentrating on key details
- Thinking analytically, weighing pros and cons
- Checking for accuracy
- Analyzing performance critically
Dependable – Preference
- Performing in a consistent, predictable manner
- Developing specialized skills
- Helping others
- Handling excited people
- Creating a stable, harmonious work environment
Influence Others – Preference
- Contacting people
- Making a favorable impression
- Creating a motivational environment
- Generating enthusiasm
- Viewing people and situations with optimism
Most jobs require a combination of two of the work attributes described above. For instance, a Staff Accountant is generally most successful when their preference is accuracy/ quality and dependable, while the Director of the Accounting Department may be most successful with a work preference for accuracy/ quality and results/action.
Elements of the candidate profile can be included in the interview process. There are assessments employers can purchase for candidates to complete to as to their preferences. However, this can also be done with questions and skill testing. Specifically,
- Include in the job description and advertisements desired candidate profiles, such as: The successful applicant (example: customer service) will enjoy helping others and following the established customer protocols. 50% of your work time will be spent in phone contact with our customers and remaining 50% of the time entering data in the customer data management software.
- In the interview process, create choices for the candidate’s response to explore their preferences. For example, ask: If you were given a choice of 1) to train a colleague on the customer data software, or 2) audit the customer database, which would you choose and why?
- Ask questions about the candidate’s past job experience in this light; ask, for example: On an average week, how much time did you spend on phone support and how much time was spent data management? What percentage of time in work activities is your desired balance?
- Skill Testing or Scenario Response. Create a simple exercise that captures part of the job activities. For instance, if handling difficult customers is part of the work, create a scenario of a difficult customer for the candidate to respond to. Do they have ease in response? If not, perhaps such situations would be a drain on them over time which will limit their enjoyment of the job as well as reduce their effectiveness in the work.
In describing and considering work preferences in the interview process, both the potential employee and employer glean better information in the hiring process.
Please contact me with any questions you have about your hiring needs.
Rita Casey, Ph.D.
Serving Clients in the San Francisco Bay Area and Nationwide by Phone and Email.