This is final of three posts in our “Hiring Matters” series. When operating in a hostile environment, who you hire is absolutely critical. Not only must they be properly qualified, they must also be able to work under extraordinary pressure. Rob Coulthard, Managing Director, Judgement Index UK Ltd, who has worked with several UK military units, offers his advice on hiring, evaluating risk and more.
In the first two blogs I discussed the potential issues with many selection methods. These included factors such as reviewing a candidate’s self-generated history/CV, references lacking integrity and the use of a personality assessment to predict risk.
Probably more important than those points is the fact that a candidate can easily hide issues in an interview or not reveal a great quality that would help you see them as a fantastic employee. Even the most seasoned professionals can find it hard to see behind the mask of someone determined and skilled at hiding potential issues or, in contrast, miss the qualities of a potentially great candidate who just finds it hard to sell themselves.
At this point it's appropriate to look closer at how analyzing someone's values, capacity for good judgment and wellness can give the hiring team some key but otherwise easily hidden clues to predicting performance and risk. The problem is measuring these critical areas, and even a highly skilled occupational psychologist can struggle to gain the depth of information that will indicate a risk in a candidate.
Training to become proficient at value-based interviews or using a values-based analysis tool can support the interview process and help to uncover key factors. In turn, this can dramatically reduce risk and increase the likelihood of hiring a high-performing candidate.
Below are some cases where a specific analysis of values has been beneficial, although the framework and concept would work in many hiring scenarios and the application will have synergy with risk and performance prediction in whichever sector you might be in.
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst: In a small blind pilot study, value-based analysis was used at week 2 of an 11-month Officer Cadet (OCDT) training course. Specific behavioral values were mapped against the OCDT assessment criteria and predictions of success and risk were made. At the end of the training when the course merit order had been declared, the results were compared against value-based predictions. The predictions were accurate to 3.6 percent of the final merit order, and 75 percent of the Cadets who failed to complete the training were picked out and named in advance. In simple terms, we were very accurate in predicting high performers and risk candidates.
Financial Sector (Single case): Harry, a senior manager in a large London-based firm, was being mentored around performance issues. This effort was relatively unsuccessful due to his lack of consistency and ability to apply himself. He was assessed using a value-based analysis and at the initial feedback session (before he saw his report), he was asked to reflect on his strengths, development areas and any factors of stress and energy that may affect him. He consistently reflected that he was ‘cool’ and in a great place. At this point, having tried to tease out of him that he may have some challenges, the results of his assessment were revealed. He immediately looked at the scores relating to performance stress and wellness. He then broke down and sobbed while relaying that he was not well and needed help. The conclusion was the hidden risk was Harry himself. He got help quickly and after a short period of time was back operating at the high level of performance for which he had always been known.
UK Government Military 2 Mentor Scheme: The scheme involved training veterans as mentors to work with challenging youths in schools. Value-based analysis was used to assess candidates in order to predict role capability and also the stability and potential risk of candidates while they were operating in a challenging environment. Behavioral values were measured and mapped against key role capability areas, along with identifying the wellness and transition stability of the candidate. Although the future role was not in a hostile environment, it could be argued that mentoring challenged youths from some inner-city schools is fairly risky!
My company has supported the selection of over 500 veterans to date. The data we have produced on veterans suffering various levels of anxiety was similar to studies carried out by various organizations and charities. What was significant in this work was our ability to raise awareness among a number of veterans that they potentially needed help. Subsequently, some participants were diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and other anxiety issues. Some participants also had already been diagnosed with PTS. It should be noted that PTS is nearly always managed and controlled effectively and should not be viewed as a condition that alienates or restricts employment.
The value of value-based analysis
These are just some examples of the success of value-based analysis, and some of the hundreds of cases in which my company’s Judgement Index has assessed individuals, teams and whole organizations. In every case, participants comment on how strange and different a value-based behavioral interview and assessment is—yet it manages to very accurately identify underlying strengths, development and risk in the people and teams. The net results are then a dramatic improvement in performance and a reduction of risk.
Aside from employing someone skilled enough to undertake complex value-based interviews, a solution that can be seamlessly incorporated to any current selection system would be to use the Judgement Index, an online assessment that is simple to administer and take. It only takes about 15 minutes to complete, yet it is the most sophisticated and accurate assessment tool of its kind. Used by an array of world-leading academic and corporate organizations it has over 40 years of research behind it.
If this last blog of 3 has prompted thought and interest in how we can support your current selection and staff development systems then contact us and we will be delighted to offer free advice or even set you up very quickly with a free trial initiative. If you have any comments on any aspect of this blog or feel you could add to the discussion, tweet HELP @HostileRisk.
By Rob Coulthard, Managing Director, Judgement Index UK Ltd firstname.lastname@example.org