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Most of us assume that behavioral assessments and personality profiles are one and the same. In fact, they are as different as night and day, as the following points illustrate.

Personality Profiles
At one time or another most of us have taken a personality profile and have found them to be fairly accurate (at least to those who know us best). They are often effective in measuring broad personality traits that we all possess to greater or lesser degrees. Knowledge of someone’s personality type can be interesting, but is often of limited value when determining a person’s suitability to a specific job. One must assume that an individual’s personality type will translate into behavior necessary for job success; an assumption that only occasionally holds true.

To illustrate the limitations of personality profiles for hiring purposes, think of your ten best employees. Are they represented by the same personality type? Having consulted with hundreds of companies over the past 15 years I’m willing to bet your answer is no.

Question: If top performers in specific jobs don’t share the same personality type, what do they have in common?

Answer: Behavior.

Top performers sharing the same job title possess similar behaviors important in performing their jobs. For example, Jill is an introvert by nature, but as a successful bank teller she never fails to smile and address known customers by their first name. These critical job behaviors have contributed to her winning the coveted Teller-of-the-Year award at her branch despite her not being an “outgoing” person in her personal life.

Can you think of similar examples in your organization? Behavioral Hiring Tools Behavior is what separates top performers from their average counterparts, or those who should never have been hired in the first place.

The most effective behavioral hiring tools are those based on a job analysis with proven top performers who do the job (as opposed to existing personality profiles that are normed on various employee groups). Basing future hiring standards on the measured, observable, behavioral approach of top performers makes it possible to consistently hire candidates that meet, or in most cases, exceed your performance expectations.

Behavioral Hiring Tools
Do not make assumptions about how broad personality traits translate to on-the-job behavior. They directly measure the behaviors identified as critical to job performance. As a result, employees hired using behavioral tools are extremely productive (up to 300% more productive than their average counterparts) and diverse in every sense of the word.

Benefits of behavioral hiring tools include:

  • Measurable results
  • Benchmarking successful employees
  • High face validity
  • High Content & Criterion Validity
  • Diverse workforce
  • Effective communication of job expectations
  • Focus on critical job behaviors rather than broad personality traits
  • Turnover reduction
  • Identification of high potential candidates
  • Increased productivity of up to 300%

Behavioral tools do not purport to identify personality types. They measure the behaviors necessary for success in a specific job. Personality profiles are sometimes useful as a negative screen (confirming that someone should not be placed in a sensitive position). Behavioral assessments act as positive screens, affirming that an individual possesses the behaviors necessary for job success.