Last week I left a meeting with a new client and I was buzzing. A fantastic company, great USP, ambitious MD, loyal client base, yet something was missing. After three and a half hours of discussing various problems within the organisation, the verdict was clear: people at different levels, although loyal, are in wrong jobs. Administrators doing sales, people with no man-management skills running teams, hyperactive individuals working in accounts.
I’ve spent the last ten years working with various organisations helping them recruit the right staff. I’ve also spent a lot of time advising Managers and Directors on what type of people they should recruit to allow their businesses to flourish. I’ve learnt one key thing: you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. A great salesman will not always make a good manager, a good administrator can’t easily progress to an account management role, and the fact that someone is good with numbers doesn’t always mean they will make a good accountant.
Another common mistake Managers across many organisations make is to assume that someone who has done a certain role before and has industry experience will be the right fit for their business. They seem to be a perfect addition to their team due to experience, but it’s worth checking if they have other attributes to make things happen. Different organisations have different company cultures. Characteristics needed when working with one employer (being organised and tenacious, paying attention to detail, doing what you say you will do and simply turning up at meetings) might not be the most desired traits a growing business within a very competitive marketplace will need. They require hunters, people who will keep going regardless of how difficult it is to get new business, individuals who won’t be phased by anything and that can get job satisfaction from ‘chasing the prey’ and finally closing the deal.
Different organisations need different personalities to fit their teams. But also, different people suit different jobs. I’ve seen many employees get promoted only because they were loyal, have been with the business for a long time and know it inside out. These factors don’t guarantee that they will succeed in their new role. I’m not saying employers should not advance their long-standing employees (I’m a big promoter of growing your own!), but they should always take their personalities and capabilities into account. There is no better way of assessing those than applying psychometric tests and learning more about the people who work for you.
You may think you are an experienced interviewer or you have known someone for a long time, but it’s your business, your team’s performance and your future that we’re talking about. If you can make a more informed decision, if you can learn more about the people you’re appointing or promoting, then why not? I have used psychometric tests for years and have seen many organisations benefit as a result. I was once a sceptic myself, but there is no doubt that psychometrics add value, they help you see more and make better decisions. I’d advise every employer to use them, but use the right ones and use them wisely!
CEO of Bridgewater Resources UK