Terry Thompson, Surrey, BC, CYBF Mentor, tesh@shaw.ca

Managing Corporate Culture article series

There are many types of personality profiles (also called psychometric profiles), and firms who will administer and interpret the profile. All involve the candidate answering a set of questions which then generate the profile. Some providers have their own profile and others are experts in administering profile questionnaires developed by other expert parties. There are profiles that can be used for specific types of jobs (e.g. managers, sales, operations, administration etc.), while others can be used for any position. Some profiling processes can be very extensive and expensive and some can be a simple questionnaire and much less costly.

So how do you find the right one?

It really depends upon the objectives you have for the profiling exercise. Some large companies use expensive profiling services for the most senior management positions (e.g. CEO, CFO etc.). My preference, given that I wanted to use it to structure interviews for my short list of candidates and thus would need to use the service multiple times, was to keep it simple and reasonably priced. However, it had to be effective – meaning that it provided relevant and accurate information.

The process that I followed to find a provider that worked for me was:

  • Googled human resource consulting firms and looked for those that offered personality profiling services;
  • Contacted those that looked like a good fit for the types of position(s) I was looking to fill to find out more about them and their profiling services;
  • Picked the one I liked best and checked their references to ensure that their results matched their representations.

The provider that I ended up using the most was designed for management positions and proved to be very effective.

Working with the provider

As mentioned in my previous article, work with the provider to establish the results from a profile that would be a good match for the position you’re looking to fill. This then sets the benchmarks against which to evaluate the fit of the candidate (or employee).

At the start, always use the provider to interpret the results for you and explain to you how the test scores relate to the interpretation. All of the profiling questionnaires provide computer generated narratives describing the results. Do not rely on a simple reading of the narrative. Until you have considerable experience with working with the provider in how to interpret the results, and can compare actual employees to the results after they have been hired, always use the provider to help interpret the results.

The ultimate objective of the interpretation is whether or not the candidate (or employee) is a good match for the position.

In the end, when it comes to personality profiling, make sure to do your homework and select the right profile and provider that will enable you to achieve your desired outcome(s).

Should you have any questions or feedback regarding the content of this article, please email Terry Thompson at tesh@shaw.ca ©

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