Picking a personality to fit

Recruitment tips for managers

By David Marriott     

With such a tight labour market, employers cannot be too picky when it comes to recruiting staff.

The cost of hiring the wrong person is higher than taking the time to find someone with the right personality fit for your business.

Think about the time and monetary costs of having to go through the recruitment and training process again. It’s better to find the right person in the first place.

The key to finding that candidate – is to concentrate on their personality and culture fit within an organisation. Use my tips and make your recruitment job easier.

Effective interview techniques
It’s not just the jobseeker who needs to be prepared for the interview ; you need to do some homework too. A recruiter will need a good understanding of what type of individual will fit into the business.

You need to think about the ideal candidate’s personality, skills base, attitude and manner and then use interview techniques that draw this information out: Be clear on the competencies required for the job, including your required output and key performance indicators. Determine characteristics and traits of the person you think will succeed in the role. Look at employees who are doing well in the same job and list what they bring to the position.

Prepare a job description for candidates
Read each person’s resume and cover letter before meeting them so you know their experience. It will also give you a springboard for questions.

Prepare interview questions beforehand covering the skills base you need, but also questions that will help you assess the candidate’s behaviour. Using the same set of questions for each interviewee is fairer and makes it easier for you to determine the candidate with the best fit. Help the candidate relax with small talk and easy questions first.

Listen more than talk
Watch for non-verbal clues, such as body language and facial expressions. Appraise the candidate’s personal presentation. Explain the recruitment process clearly and remain neutral throughout. Use behavioural questions. A candidate’s past behaviour is a great way to understand how they will operate in the future. Use behavioural questions to find out how the candidate responded in a previous situation similar to the job they are interviewing for, or give them a role play example and ask what they would do. This technique will give you a good insight into which people have the traits, characteristics and competencies suitable for the job.

Ask non-work related questions
While you are finding out the activities a candidate enjoys in his or her free time, you can assess how they will fit into your business. For instance, someone who likes BASE jumping is a risk taker who might get bored with routine, or a person who enjoys spending their spare time alone might not like a job where a lot of networking is involved.

Consider your gut instinct
With all the tools available to assess the suitability of a candidate, your gut feeling is still an important indicator. If you have spent the whole interview thinking their personality is going to wreak havoc in your business, it makes good business sense to listen to that instinct. You know what type of person fits into your organisation, so trust that knowledge.

Research the right personality fit for your organisation
An organisation’s cultural fit is difficult to define, but you know when you have found the right employee because they feel right. Culture is made up of the life experiences, values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviour of the entire organisation, from the executives to the trainees. Basically, it is the rules of your workplace and you need to have a very clear idea of what that is before embarking on any recruitment. Once you know the organisation’s cultural fit, it should be easy to work out the personality profile of the person you need to recruit.

Identify culture fit through psychometric testing
Many employers now use psychometric testing as one of their recruitment tools. This testing method gives an insight into the way a candidate thinks and works that you cannot find out through their resume or in a 20-minute interview. Psychometric testing falls into two categories: aptitude and personality. Aptitude tests measure numerical, verbal, comprehension, abstract or spatial reasoning skills and information checking. Personality assessments look more at interests and motivations through a series of questions. Candidate’s answers are compiled into a profile, which you can compare with the profile of the person you are seeking.

Reference checks
After sorting through a bundle of candidate’s resumes, choosing a short-list, interviewing, psychometric testing and listening to your instinct, there is one more task to ensure you have chosen the right person for your business – check their references. Be specific when you speak to referees and ask how the person coped in behavioural situations to help assess whether their personality fits with your business.

David Marriott founded Constructive Recruitment with business partner Giles Keay in 2003. He is a technical and operations recruitment expert with over 15 years experience in recruitment. Constructive Recruitment specialises in construction, infrastructure and resources sectors throughout Australia and overseas from offices in Sydney, Brisbane and recently opened Perth.

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