Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could change our personalities at will? We could reduce conflict, increase communication, and improve productivity with little effort in this magical scene.
As employers, in addition to the above, wouldn’t it be grand if we could seamlessly coach our employees to achieve greater career success by changing their styles of behavior?
Of course, it would. The good news is there's a way to enable and coach different personality styles that actually work. It requires a quick and easy assessment to get started and a willingness to modify coaching and leadership techniques based on personality styles.
Employee behavioral assessments are helpful to understand the personality traits of job applicants and current employees. This behavioral / personality assessment makes it possible to uncover an individual's deeper motivators, preferences, and behaviors, plus how those traits will affect their performance in a particular role.
Sometimes individuals naturally evolve over the years to become more effective in their work and personal lives. And sometimes, we can help individuals consciously develop the characteristics they need in a given job. However, certain traits are easier to change than others.
With insights gleaned from a behavioral assessment, you can better predict job compatibility by gauging an individual's similarity or dissimilarity to the duties and personality patterns required to be successful in the job, your work culture, and with their peers and supervisor. Behavioral often is a bigger factor in fit than skill sets. Skills can be developed and improved. Some personality characteristics cannot.
Researchers have identified five characteristics that largely govern how our personalities function. These “big five” factors are generally believed to be fairly constant throughout our lives and may be attributed to genetics and the environment.
In concert with this finding, researchers at Stanford University propose that change is possible over our lifetimes. Even more encouraging is a finding that change tends to be for the better. But note that scientists disagree with this proposition. Some observe that while change may occur, it is likely to be nuanced.
Each of the five personality traits tends to develop in different ways through our lives:
1. Conscientiousness (efficient/organized vs. extravagant/careless). People are likely to improve in this area throughout their lives; with maturity comes greater conscientiousness. We develop this trait most strikingly in our twenties as we take on adulthood's work and family responsibilities.
2. Extroversion (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved). Extroversion is the trait of being energized by interacting with people; introverts are energized, in contrast, through thought and other solitary activities. However, extroverts may perform quite competently and even excel when working alone, and introverts may socialize effectively.
It has been observed that women may need somewhat less social support as they age, but men stay more constant in their extroversion orientation. Both genders may improve their social skills through experience and practice.
3. Agreeableness (friendly/compassionate vs. challenging/callous). Our abilities to get along and emotionally support others may improve as we age. The thirties and forties are the life decades most apt to show development in this aspect of personality.
4. Openness to experience (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious). Openness is defined as a willingness to try new ideas and experiences. This trait may decline somewhat with age. As we grow older, we may become more set in our ways. Still, there is a great deal of variation among people at all stages of life, and we are not doomed to become inflexible over time.
5. Neuroticism (sensitive/nervous vs. resilient/confident). Neuroticism is our tendency to worry and sense instability. Women are more likely to somewhat overcome this trait over the years relative to men.
What you can change. . . and what you may not be able to change.
While these five personality traits are the cornerstones of personality development, many other specific competencies are amenable to measurement via behavioral assessments, which can be changed. The extent of change that is possible varies by trait.
What Does a Behavioral Assessment Actually Measure?
Assertiveness: The need to make things happen.
Communication Style: The need to work with people versus the need for proof.
Pace: The speed at which a person operates.
Structure: The degree of dependence on rules.
The Omnia behavioral assessment is known for its easy-to-read, easy-to-interpret eight-column bar graph that displays these four behaviors as pairs of columns because every trait has the opposite. Just one assessment and eight columns will give you all the information you need to make your next hire successful!
The competencies that are the easiest to alter are generally those that are primarily relevant to the work environment. Coaching and training can help willing student progress in oral and written communications, political savvy, chairing effective meetings, planning, goal setting, and customer service.
At the other end of the “changeability” spectrum are those characteristics that are most resistant to change. Intrinsic intelligence is difficult to improve, though book learning is, of course, possible. Creativity, analytical skills, integrity, energy, assertiveness, and even ambition remain unyielding to training and coaching.
In the middle are certain behaviors that may be susceptible to change, but the process is not easy. These competencies include listening, negotiation, change leadership, being a team leader, and conflict management.
All in all, it is important to understand our own personality traits and associated competencies as well as these characteristics in those we employ. Acknowledging how traits vary in their amenability to change helps us determine how to help employees contribute most effectively to the workplace and select (and achieve) appropriate career goals.
As more and more organizations shift to using a remote workforce, the traditional in-person interview is also shifting into a virtual context. Remote interviews may not seem like they’re all that different from a physical interview. Still, they introduce many factors that can make them more difficult to manage if a company doesn’t put a lot of thought into implementing them.
Fortunately, several strategies are easy to put in place and will make remote interviews more likely to select the ideal candidate.
One valuable step to include in any remote interview process is leveraging tools to narrow down the candidate pool to qualified and suitable applicants. Pre-employment assessments are incredibly useful in this regard because they can help organizations screen out candidates who lack the competencies necessary for the position. Cognitive testing measures a candidate’s ability to think abstractly, comprehend new ideas and solve problems, which is often critical to success in any new position. Behavioral assessments allow interviewers to determine which candidates are likely to be a good long-term fit for an organization. These assessments measure a candidate’s core traits and intrinsic motivators. Hiring managers gain valuable insight into fit for the job and how to effectively manage and motivate each employee once they are on board.
The results of these tests can be used together as part of the initial decision-making process. For example, if someone possesses all the hard skills necessary for success in the role, but exhibits behavior that suggests they will quickly be looking for another job, it might make sense to prioritize other candidates. These assessments are easy to implement remotely and can be used as a screening tool to determine who moves on to more time-intensive interviews.
When an organization commits to remote interviews, it needs to make sure it has the infrastructure to support that process. Many video conferencing platforms are available to choose from, but it’s a good idea for the company to choose one and stick with it. This helps to avoid any implementation problems and ensures that everyone involved in the interview process knows how to use the technology.
Some organizations may get by with a phone call or straightforward video conferencing software, but some positions may require additional features. For example, a candidate for a programming job may need access to developmental tools to complete a sample project as part of the interview process. It’s important to understand what tools will be needed ahead of time so that the interview process can be designed around the organization’s technology.
Going through the interview process is stressful, but the stress can be even greater when the applicant must use unfamiliar or complicated technology. Organizations need to be clear when providing interview details. If the applicant has to download a special application to conduct the interview or be in a specific location (such as a quiet room rather than a bustling cafe), that information needs to be communicated early and clearly in the interview process.
If assessments need to be completed before a live remote interview, the interviewer must provide reasonable deadlines to ensure that testing is completed in time for them to evaluate the results. They should also provide a resource list if video conferencing software is unfamiliar or complicated to launch. For example, many companies are using Zoom, which is simple to set up and use, while Skype is robust but requires all users to have an account and software downloaded. This ensures that any potential problems are sorted out before the interview begins and avoids losing precious time to troubleshoot technical issues.
Having more people involved in the hiring process generally leads to better outcomes. According to a UK-based Behavioural Insights Team study, having more than one person involved in evaluating a candidate is far more likely to result in a good hire. In cases where applicants are very similarly qualified and have few “easy” differentiators, just involving two people in the interview process increases the likelihood of making the best choice by almost ten percent. Having four people involved improves the odds by almost twenty percent.
That’s because having different perspectives involved can reduce the chance of bias and raise concerns that a single person might overlook. However, the challenge when it comes to remote interviews is determining when having more people involved will make communication difficult. Hosting a video conferencing meeting with a large group increases the likelihood of interruptions and can make it difficult for the candidate to know who to focus on. When possible, the remote interview process should only involve the core team that will make the final decision. Having an agenda and communicating who speaks when is also helpful.
The same soft skills required in in-person interviews are necessary for remote interviews. It’s important to have a system in place to give the interview structure. That could include assigning specific questions to different interviewers or implementing a system for recognizing people who want to speak (such as a raised hand icon). The person leading the interview needs to have a very organized approach to ensure the conversation runs smoothly.
As with a live interview, it’s imperative to plan. Rather than relying on off-the-cuff Q&A, a structured interview focuses on specific areas and ensures that the interviewer gets the information they need from the candidate. 90% of all questions asked during an interview should be related to the position or the company. Having behavioral assessment data can be especially helpful in pre-planning because the interviewer can ask questions better to evaluate the organization’s cultural fit.
In addition to distilling the applicants' pool to the most qualified and best fit before the interview, assessment data is incredibly helpful for guiding the interview process. It saves time and resources but cutting out unnecessary questions and identifying the top candidates. Whether it’s measuring an applicant’s overall mental aptitude with cognitive testing or getting a better picture of their personality with behavioral testing, Omnia assessments can help organizations improve their interview techniques and make better overall hiring decisions.
To learn more about incorporating our scientifically validated assessments into your remote interviews, contact our team today.
As more employers shift to a remote workforce, managers look for ways to manage their teams more effectively. Whether a company is hiring new employees or transitioning workers into a remote context, having easy-to-interpret, actionable data about behavioral tendencies and cognitive traits provides leaders with an invaluable resource for developing a remote management strategy.
When it comes to obtaining this data, there are few methods more effective than employee assessments. The benefits they provide are well worth the effort to implement them!
There are a few different categories of employee assessments that organizations use to gain greater insight into their workforce. Often administered early in the hiring process, job assessments are an invaluable tool for gathering information about a candidate’s cognitive abilities, behavioral tendencies, and skill competencies. For existing employees, assessments tend to focus on developmental needs, identifying areas they need to grow and better contribute to the organization.
Most employee assessments take the form of a short test, usually completed in ten to thirty minutes, and the employer receives the results. The results are compared to pre-defined scoring ranges established by the employer. This data makes it easy to analyze candidates objectively during the hiring process and help identify tendencies or deficiencies that may not appear during the interview process.
Although they use the same terminology, test-based employee assessments aren’t the same as a more general employee assessment. The latter is more akin to a performance evaluation, which combines objective performance metrics (often called key performance indicators or KPIs) with a more subjective evaluation of an employee’s job performance. While such reviews might incorporate employee development assessments to evaluate what skills an employee has gained or needs to improve upon, these tests are just one component of a more holistic evaluation process.
However, it’s important to note that pre-employment testing benefits are useful beyond the hiring process. The data can provide actionable insights that help leaders manage their teams more effectively over time.
Yes. Most employee assessments are administered online. One of the benefits of pre-employment testing is that it is less vulnerable to bias. Rather than spending excess time and resources, employers can focus on a select group of highly qualified applicants.
Managing a team remotely is a new challenge for leaders accustomed to overseeing employees working in a physical office. Remote teams have different communication needs, building trust and fostering a collaborative work environment. Fortunately, much of the assessment data gathered during the hiring process can be quite valuable when managing a remote workforce.
Cognitive testing provides insight into how well people learn from experience, adapt to new situations, and comprehend new concepts. This data can indicate which employees will function independently and which will need more hands-on direction. It can also reveal which employees are more likely to communicate effectively, which will be invaluable for any leaders looking for people who can take on some management-related tasks.
On the other hand, behavioral assessments can provide insights into employee motivation and the best ways to manage remote employees. This data shows how assertive an employee is, what communication styles are most effective, the pace at which they operate, and how much structure they need to perform at a high level. It can also identify potential sources of conflict. If one employee is prone to frustration and anxiety, pairing them with more aggressive tendencies could be a recipe for disaster.
With over 30 years of experience in helping companies optimize and improve their workforce, The Omnia Group offers a range of scientifically validated employee assessments that can provide tremendous insights. Fully compliant with EEOC/ADA guidelines, our proprietary assessment tools are free of age, race, gender, and cultural bias.
To learn more about how the Omnia Profile can help your business evolve its hiring and management process, contact our team today for a consultation.
Filling an open position is often a much more complicated process than organizations expect. Even if the hiring manager has a good description of the job, the responsibilities it entails, and a picture of what an ideal candidate would look like, they must still sort through applicants and find the candidates who seem best suited for the role. And that’s before the interview process even begins.
The pressure to expedite the hiring process has led many organizations to turn to pre-employment testing. Used properly, pre-hire assessments can make it easier to manage candidate pools and make the right hiring decisions.
Organizations use various pre-employment testing types to quickly gather information from a candidate that might not otherwise be revealed in an interview situation or by reviewing a resume. The data collected from a pre-employment assessment makes it easier for hiring managers and organizations to decide which candidates would be best suited for a position. Used properly, pre-employment testing can help to reduce bias, identify qualities that might otherwise go unnoticed, and assess development potential.
Of course, it’s always worth mentioning that pre-hire assessments like a cognitive ability test or a personality test for jobs (instead of a more general personality test not designed for business applications) are most effective when supplementing a robust hiring process rather than replace one altogether. While they’re typically administered before the initial in-person interview, these assessments generate data that can be used at every stage of hiring and recruitment.
According to SHRM’s 2017 Talent Acquisition Benchmarking Report, the average organization takes 36 days to fill an open position. Every day a position remains open places more strain upon a company in one form or another. Productivity can suffer as the responsibilities associated with a position are distributed to other people, making it more difficult for them to do their jobs effectively. Key decisions can be drawn out, creating delays elsewhere in the organization. Furthermore, the uncertainty associated with not knowing who will be accountable for a specific role can take a toll upon employees and potentially threaten client relationships.
Pre-employment testing allows companies to streamline and expedite their hiring process in several ways. For example, hard skills and cognitive tests are often used as an initial screening tool for weeding out blatantly unqualified candidates. If someone is applying for a position that requires specific technical skills, it’s important to know whether they’ll be capable of doing the job. While their resume might indicate they have the right experience, that work history might not have prepared them adequately for the work they’d be responsible for (there’s also a possibility that they’re lying on their resume). Administering a pre-hire assessment will provide data-based evidence of whether or not they can actually do the job. If they can’t, there’s no sense in moving them along to the next hiring process phase.
Another advantage of pre-employment testing is its ability to generate data that hiring managers can use as the basis for questions throughout the interview process. In many instances, a comprehensive pre-hire assessment can serve the same purpose as an initial phone interview, which rarely produces meaningful insights other than confirming the information provided on a resume. When the hiring manager sits down to conduct a more thorough interview, they will already have specific topics they can focus on rather than wasting half of the interview asking questions to uncover the same information.
Many organizations understandably want to conduct multiple interviews involving different people within the company. Unfortunately, having to coordinate several schedules can complicate the hiring process. An unexpected cancellation can force an employee to wait for days or even weeks before another meeting can be scheduled, which means the company will have to get by shorthanded for even longer. Pre-employment testing can gather much of the information that could be obtained through a brief interview. Those results can be shared with the relevant personnel, potentially eliminating the need for multiple interviews and removing another obstacle between the candidate and the open position.
Eliminating candidates in the early stages is extremely helpful in expediting the hiring process as a whole. The faster organizations can narrow the field of potential hires down to a manageable list, the more quickly they can conduct the necessary interviews and background checks to make a final decision. This is especially important for companies that don’t have a strong succession pipeline to identify and prepare high-potential internal candidates to step into key roles should they become vacant unexpectedly.
While many organizations can “get by” when a key role goes unfilled if the position is left open for too long, the pressures of covering the gap can cause dissatisfaction among other employees. In a worst-case scenario, the company may end up hiring someone after a prolonged process only to find that another key contributor has decided to leave due to the frustration of being forced to do someone else’s work. By keeping the hiring process as short and efficient as possible, disruptions caused by vacancies can be kept to a minimum.
Whether you’re looking to administer a personality test for jobs or cognitive ability tests as part of your hiring process, The Omnia Group has a scientifically proven pre-employment assessment that will fit your organization’s specific needs. While the Omnia Behavioral Assessment may be our most popular form of pre-hire testing, we also offer cognitive assessments, grammar assessments, and even development assessments that help give you an idea of what a candidate is looking for in career development.
With easy-to-read graphics and attentive support and guidance from our knowledgeable staff, each assessment report provides your organization with a wealth of information that makes it easier for you to make the right hire at the right time for the right reasons. To learn more about our customizable assessment solutions, contact our team, and transform your workforce today.
An employee’s soft skills can make or break their job performance, especially in leadership positions. Technical or “hard” skills are certainly important, but having good soft skills—those personal characteristics like agreeableness, empathy, the ability to influence and listen, likeability, and the ability to resolve conflict—will determine whether an employee can enlist the necessary cooperation and buy-in from peers, subordinates, superiors, and even clients and vendors, to do their job well.
So, how can you identify a candidate’s soft communication skills? Unfortunately, someone with poor or underdeveloped soft skills can harness enough superficial charm to convince a hiring manager they possess these attributes in spades. But being able to put on an act in a short interview isn’t the same as using soft skills in the workplace. In these cases, the manager might not see the truth until it’s too late.
According to Forbes, these are a few of the key soft skills all employers want workers to possess:
Apart from the right experience and qualifications, employers want workers with good soft communication skills, the ability to work well in a team, good problem-solving skills, good time management and planning skills, the ability to take criticism, and a strong work ethic. Anyone being considered for a people (versus project) management position should also possess coaching, mentoring, and influencing skills.
When we consider that resumes are usually reviewed for technical skills, correctly discerning your candidate’s soft skills sounds nearly impossible. After all, 45-90 minutes (the length of the average job interview) is not a lot of time to gain real insight into a person’s true character.
Here then, are ten soft skills interview questions to help you make the most of your time (and the candidate’s) and focus on key soft skills in the workplace.
This question will provide some insight into the candidate’s learning agility and sense of curiosity. It may also reveal their preferred learning style and resourcefulness when seeking assistance from others.
Rejection is often an exercise in humility. Listen carefully for signs of resentment or hostility when they recount having their ideas shot down or criticized. It’s also important to see how they handle the aftermath of this situation. Did they become sullen and critical, or did they buy-in and contribute to a positive outcome?
While this may seem like a straightforward question about work ethic (and it is), it also offers a glimpse of the candidate’s time management skills. Are they constantly working late to go above and beyond expectations, or do they need to put extra work to meet them?
There is no excuse for disorganization in today’s era of time management tools and applications. Leadership candidates need to know how they keep themselves on track because those habits will often trickle down to the rest of their team.
This question looks at time management and planning skills and provides insight into the interviewee’s emotional intelligence, learning agility, coaching skills, and ability to build consensus and manage conflict.
As they emerge, handling problems is one thing, but laying out a strategic and visionary plan for success from the start is quite another. This question forces candidates to consider whether they have the ability to translate big picture goals into short-term objectives and get their team on-board with a “can’t fail” agenda.
The most successful leaders are always learning. Resilience is among the key soft skills that organizations want leaders to trickle down into their teams. Finding out how people respond to setbacks is a good indication of whether or not they will bounce back from disappointments and frustrations in the future.
Integrity matters in any organization. Will the candidate go along with the crowd when asked to cross a line, or will they take a stand and make the case for doing the right thing? While the latter type of employee may spark the occasional conflict, those conversations almost always benefit the organization in the long run by steering it clear of ethically dubious decisions.
Dismissing an employee is difficult, even if the person is being let go for justifiable (and documented) cause. The potential for conflict is high, and if mishandled, the situation could expose the company to liability. Leaders with good soft skills should have an idea of how to handle those conversations.
The best employees and leaders are always learning. Ideally, their desire to learn should be contagious, encouraging the people around them to level up professionally and grow personally. There should also be an incentive for leaders or managers to learn new things to pass on to the rest of their team.
Keep in mind that as the candidate is answering the questions, you’ll get the opportunity to assess his or her communication skills and style. While your gut reaction is rarely a perfect judge, you should be able to see if the candidate can communicate comfortably and effectively. For a deeper understanding, you should consider using soft skills assessment tools during the interview process. These tests provide information in a more controlled environment, which helps you assess their soft communication skills without the potential bias that comes with an in-person interview.
Soft skills development should be a major component of every employee development plan. The ability to communicate effectively and build strong working relationships is incredibly important for success in any organization. While it’s important to target candidates who possess key soft skills during the hiring process, developing those skills will help make them even more successful in the future.
First off, what are cognitive assessments?
Simply put, a cognitive assessment test measures an individual’s ability to think critically. By focusing on key mental processes, these tests can evaluate the subject’s ability to reason, solve problems, comprehend ideas, and learn quickly. They are distinct from behavioral assessment tests, which are also an important part of the recruitment process thanks to their ability to reveal how employees behave in work situations and what natural tendencies they tend to exhibit.
General cognitive ability appears to be relevant to work performance even when job specifics vary. In other words, while skill requirements vary greatly among different jobs, general cognitive ability contributes to success in many fields, especially for jobs with complex responsibilities.
This is because people with greater cognitive ability tend to learn new tasks more quickly and absorb new information more readily. Cognitive ability is actually a rather broad concept that includes many types of mental processes. Verbal and mathematical aptitude are the abilities most typically tested, but a well-designed cognitive assessment interview scrutinizes various areas.
Therefore, a cognitive assessment test results are much more nuanced than a simple IQ (intelligence quotient) score. When used in conjunction with behavioral assessment tests, cognitive assessments help assure that hiring decisions are in the organization's best interest and that individuals with the greatest chance of success are selected.
Cognitive assessment tools help avoid bad hiring decisions, which can be extremely costly. The Harvard Business Review reports that as much as 80 percent of staff turnover is attributed to poor hiring decisions. According to some estimates, the average cost to replace a poor hire is about a third of the annual salary and benefits. This means it could cost $15,000 to replace an incumbent earning $45,000 in salary and benefits. Making the right hire the first time is critically important.
The best cognitive assessment tools help substitute for insufficient information gleaned from references. As more references provide only the basics and shy away from giving an honest appraisal, companies are always looking for other ways to obtain a more comprehensive assessment. More importantly, the data generated by cognitive assessments are far less biased than the candidate's references.
Every professional position requires the new hire to adapt to a different environment, regardless of how similar their previous job was. Getting these employees up to speed on their job responsibilities can be a daunting process. If they can’t absorb information quickly, onboarding could take even longer to complete. Cognitive assessments evaluate a new hire’s capacity to quickly learn the job and begin producing results for the organization.
The average job tenure for employees between the ages of 25 and 34 is only three years. With so much turnover, it is critically important to identify job candidates who can catch on quickly and are likely to remain in their position for the long term. Finding candidates with the ability to be successful for prolonged periods of time is incredibly important for organizational stability and growth. This has led many organizations to implement various cognitive assessment tools for adults to identify candidates who could have a long future with the company.
Cognitive assessment interview tests have been tested and highly reliable and statistically valid for many jobs. Furthermore, validity increases along with the greater complexity of more demanding jobs. Because tests can be administered to applicants in a mere 15 minutes or so, they are among the most widely used cognitive assessment tools in use today. They make a significant contribution to evaluating applicant suitability to the job without slowing the selection and hiring process. The tests have natural advantages in terms of ease and low cost of administration. Many applicants can be tested simultaneously in groups. The tests can be scored rapidly by computer scanning equipment.
While cognitive assessments are often used during the hiring process, they can also be quite valuable for developmental purposes. The assessment results provide a good baseline for the candidate’s skills and capabilities, which can then inform future development efforts. After the candidate is hired, additional testing can evaluate their self-awareness, plan career development, and enhance team performance.
Cognitive assessments are one of the most powerful tools available to an organization during the hiring process. Rather they relying on gut instinct or guessing how a candidate might perform in a new role; cognitive assessments provide actionable data that can be used to make better decisions and provide measurable results. Armed with this information, organizations are more likely to make the right hire the first time and greatly reduce the costs so often associated with filling a critical position.