At the age of 19, I thought I’d make an amazing paramedic. I’d been successfully working as a lifeguard and swimming instructor for a few years. Each assessment and evaluation I’d been put through, I passed with flying colours. I was certain my fate was sealed and I’d be an amazing first responder. My memory and intelligence allowed me to achieve optimal results in any simulation. I could easily recite any procedure for examination or treatment. In the end, however, this ability was not what truly mattered. Today, for reasons that have become extremely clear to me, I am not a paramedic. What I didn’t realize is that my youthful success as a lifeguard would have very little bearing on my ability to be an effective paramedic.
We all move through the world differently. We all have specific preferences for interaction with others and preferred communication styles. Our individual abilities to handle criticism and stress vary greatly from person to person. So how does this effect suitability for a job?
Have you ever hired someone you thought would be great for the team but ended up being a complete fiasco? When you offered them the job, you perceived them as suitable in one way or another. Perhaps they had every required qualification or skill. Maybe you liked their response to a critical project question during the interview. Or was it the glowing references that helped seal the deal? Likely, a combination of a few factors solidified the candidate as worthy of an offer. So why didn’t it work out?
Why a Promising Hire May Not Work Out
All too often, test scores, practical evaluations, and formal education are leveraged through the hiring process. Job descriptions often reference years of experience or specific disciplines of study as requirements for a position, using this information as the basis for a qualified candidate. But what happens when you can perform, but have not been exposed to the type of stress the job will require you to handle?
A friend of mine, an introverted individual whom we’ll call Jeff, is the Controller for a small Manufacturing firm in the province. After graduating with a degree in finance from the U of S, Jeff accepted a position as an internal auditor at the Saskatchewan office of a large, multi-national accounting firm. The pay was great, he had all of the qualifications they were seeking, and the company was a familiar brand with great employee experiences available. So why didn’t it work out?
Introversion is often seen as negative trait. People tend to mistakenly believe that introverts have little interest in working with people and a lesser ability to work in a changing, reactive setting – simply because they don’t have the need to speak out as often as others. Though Jeff has a more quiet personality, (when we meet for coffee, he’s happy to listen as I enthusiastically monopolize the conversation), he enjoys working with people and often draws more energy and ideas from an interactive group than from working alone. The position at the firm required him to sit in an office and evaluate forms, facts, figures and numbers for the majority of his work day. Interaction with others was electronic at best. Most employees either worked through lunch or met with clients. He was miserable.
Jeff was more suited to a smaller organization with a more interactive team; just like I was more suited to a position with less emotional variance and controlled environments. In both cases, the qualifications, test scores, and skill-based evaluations checked out. It was our innate personality traits and preferences for human interaction that confirmed job suitability.
So how do you ensure your candidates are suitable for the work, the team, and the corporate culture? Contact SmartHire® today.