Hiring The Fastest Turtle
Asking potential new hires for opinion about themselves is like asking the fastest turtle the same question. The fastest turtle believes they are fast because in their environment of slow turtles, they are the fastest. Their opinion of themselves was derived comparatively from their environment. If you hire the fastest turtle because they believe they are fast and then put them in their new environment of rabbits, they quickly fail miserable leaving them and the organization confused as to why they aren’t performing. The truth is they didn’t fit in the first place and it’s sad that they have been living a misconception for so long. People’s opinions of themselves can be as inaccurate as those of fast turtles. They can adamantly believe a wonderful and unique feature about themselves that is day and night from the truth because it is often based on their past environment as the reference point. That is why it is critical to use a normative assessment in the hiring process to determine core behaviors and not rely on self-opinions.
We love it when leaders disagree with the behaviors their scores suggest on our normative Talent Traits® assessment. With a .81 data reliability, the behavioral scores on the Talent Traits® are very likely to be accurate, and the self-opinions of the leader or the new hire candidate are more likely to resemble those of the fastest turtle. We commonly get responses from people stating “I feel my scores are accurate” or “most of these scores are true except for that one”. These statements reveal opinions. What people are saying is “I agree/disagree with these scores based on who I know myself to be”. Sometimes opinions are accurate sometimes they are not. In a hiring situation, candidates are very willing to embellish leadership behavior opinions because they want the job. Bottom line, don’t base your hiring decisions on self-opinions because the cost of making bad hires (fast turtles) is killer.
Take for example this common response we hear when in an assessment related conversation “I disagree with that one score. It’s just not me”. It’s not you because you are still in a self-opinion frame of mind like the fastest turtle and they completely forget that the new normed reference point is not related to their self-opinion. Remember, a normative assessment asks tens of thousands of people in working America the exact same questions, and based on the answers, candidates are compared to a normed group like comparing turtles to all animals in the wilderness. Now that you are compared to a known fixed group of people, this is how you compare agree or not.
Another reason people disagree with their scores is because normative assessments do not follow dictionary definitions of the scales or constructs measured yet people do see through the lens of a dictionary. Correcting this is a matter of education and is easy to move past.
The point being, the belief that people have about themselves is often shaped by their environment. That is why the fastest turtle thinks with adamant certainty that it has the virtue of speed. Identifying the core behaviors of a leader or a new hire candidate without this environmental influence is critical, but can only be accomplished with a normative assessment. What a great day when you can reveal to somebody the truth about their behavioral makeup in a new light so they can be themselves and go to work on it.