This is post one of three 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, offers his advice on hiring, evaluating risk and more.
As hiring manager, have you have ever called it wrong and wondered after a few months who it is you actually employed? Did you really fall for that slick CV, dubious references and the cool interview that the candidate delivered?
The truth is that managers often get it wrong when trying to predict the performance (and more importantly the risk of poor performance) of the people they know, let alone those they are looking to hire for the first time. The problem with most organizations’ selection and review system is that they do not look deeply enough at the candidate, but instead look at evidence around the candidate while making their assessments.
At selection, most organizations look backwards at a candidate’s history, i.e. CV, criminal background check, interview and references. While these will likely offer a sanitized of view of how they have performed before, these indicators are never enough to predict future risk or performance potential, particularly when employees must function in new and different hostile environments. As the saying goes, past performance is no guarantee of future performance.
Identifying a new hire’s risk
A manager can assess the risk represented by a person by analyzing his or her (or team’s) value-based judgment, stress tolerance and wellness. Through effective insight into these underlying factors, the manager can build a holistic view of that individual and their likely reaction and performance in any environment where there is risk, including the security of assets and people. In the security sector, risk increases if individuals and teams are under stress and their coping ability is weak or inhibited. Regardless of an individual’s potential, distress and wellness issues will significantly decrease performance and increase risk.
This is why it is critical to identify individuals and groups that represent a higher risk by look at underlying factors that hinder performance, highlighting key performance indicators and factors such as focus, decision-making capacity and awareness of their environment.
Psychometrics is not enough
Some defense and security organizations are taking a proactive stance to managing risk and using psychometric screening in an attempt to uncover more information about their candidates’ resilience under stress. The problem with most psychometrics is that they are personality-based. Although they will give you some insight into the character traits of an individual, they are not contextual and will rarely identify capability strength or wellness issues and risk.
The other problem that comes with most tools of this nature is that they are based on self-reporting and potentially easy to cheat. A typical question contained in common stress evaluation tool would be something like “rate out of 5 how well you sleep at night.” This is unlikely to uncover an unwell candidate if they are desperate for a job.
In the next blog I will discuss what simple steps can be taken to identify high performers and those who may be a risk at all levels through an organization.
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