Friday, October 23, 2009

Job-Fit Success


Looks can be deceiving; a magnetic personality can be a cover-up. We all make assumptions when meeting people for the first time. We like to categorize: outgoing, shy, confident, loud etc., but we are too complex to be labeled and sealed into a box from mere observation. Maybe it can seem harmless -- we miss out on a few friendships that we've judged too harshly too soon, but in the workplace it can be a different story. Hiring is more a process than simply observing the clothes our candidates wear or the cars they drive, and whether they smile, making many claims of their skills or cowers in the corner, mumbling their responses. While these factors are important and can be telling of certain behaviors, it's not enough. We need to go farther and make a valid prediction of job-fit success. How will this candidate's behavior, personality, abilities and values interact on the job and affect his/her work? Employment screening by way of checking criminal history and validating a candidate's skills is crucial but still falls short. A key ingredient within the employment screening process is behavioral and psychological assessments. In this way, personality and abilities can be assessed. Past behavior often predicts future behavior, but not always. Even with no criminal history, an employee can turn and sometimes a psychological assessment is the only clue.

Take the recent case of a plant employee, Derek Valdez, who's been arrested for allegedly kidnapping a co-worker in Pleasant Grove, Utah. It wasn't such a pleasant day for a 21 year-old man, starting his first day at work -- a frosting company for cakes. His trainer, Derek Valdez, offered to take him out to grab a drink, but they never stopped, passing the local convenience store and numerous gas stations. Anytime the victim protested that he wanted out of the vehicle, Valdez sped up. Eventually the 21 year-old man escaped when he ran into a local A&W, claiming he had to use the bathroom. Valdez was caught and booked into jail for investigation of kidnapping. Valdez' employer was bewildered, having had no problems with him and finding no history. Perhaps an involved psychological assessment may have provided some clues (Read the full story here).

We can't control all factors in predicting job-fit success, but a good start is a behavioral assessment. When choosing an employee screening program, don't skip this step. Are our future employees open, agreeable or perhaps a little neurotic? What is their approach to solving problems and executing a plan? Successful employee performance -- one of the goals of all companies -- is motivated by a good personality fit.

1 comment:

CB O'Donnell said...

The world, or U.S. Society at the very least, seems filled with sexually frustrated deviants yearning for the opportunity to express their repressed identities as deviants. This is the facet of their personality that they carefully hide from public view.

Rather than privately nurturing these personal demons, perhaps they should instead enjoin the assistance of qualified counseling.

That way they could confront their problems, deal with them constructively, and move past them much like alcoholics who recover from alcoholism, or drug addicts who recover from their addiction.