Behavioural profiling – is it worth it?

I distinctly remember discussing the benefits of behavioural profiling with a sceptical person who held the purse strings to the HR and recruitment budget.  I found myself outlining why, particularly for those key leadership or senior roles, I wouldn’t want to recruit without it.  Why?

  1. People get very good at interviews, it’s not that hard to devise your own competency “storyboards” and work out what the interviewer is ultimately looking for.
  2. There are great career guidance books on the market (I recommend John Lees’ bestseller, How to Get a Job You’ll Love) and the internet is absolutely full of sound interview techniques and advice on body language – your candidates really can go in very prepared to wow you on the interview panel.
  3. The cost of recruitment is enormous – “the median recruitment cost of filling a vacancy is £8,000 for senior managers/directors and £3,000 for other employees”, CIPD Resourcing and Talent Planning Report 2012 

  4. Behavioural profiling gives the interviewer a snapshot of a candidates preferred behaviour – the subconscious preference which can be sustained over a long period of time.  It also gives the interviewer a good idea on how the candidate will respond to their environment, the job role and how they can be best developed, which means that there is more information available for picking the right person for the job.  Here I give a note of warning, whilst I am a great advocate of behavioural profiling, I do not think it is the only hurdle each candidate must jump in order to get the job, it must be used as a tool in amongst a properly devised sifting process, qualifications/experience validation and a well prepared interview.
  5. The cost of getting that key appointment wrong is even more enormous than the cost of recruitment in the first place; the CIPD estimates the average cost of recruiting the wrong person is £8,200, rising to £12,000 for senior managers or directors (EEOC figures).
  6. Once you know someone’s behavioural profile, it makes it so much easier to manage them as an individual and to understand what motivates them, causes them to want to get out of bed in the morning and come and work for you, develop their strengths, engage them in the organisation and devise ways of managing their weaknesses.
  7. For the candidate, I have never met anyone who isn’t interested in the results – self-understanding gives great satisfaction and is integral to personal development, and let’s talk about cost again, how much is wasted on training and development which is not addressing an individual’s needs or their gaps in knowledge? If we get the development targeted properly, we could spend our dwindling training budgets more effectively, help to keep our employees happy with the investment they are receiving personally and that sense of satisfaction leads to better retention.

So for all those sceptics out there – my advice is don’t underestimate the true value of behavioural profiling, give it a go – I was able to prove to my finance friend mentioned above that it had enormous benefit to our organisation and used properly can genuinely save on costs too.

For more information on the science of behavioural profiling, have a look at Thomas International PPA.

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