Effective Profiling - Look both ways before you cross the street


Effective Profiling - Look both ways before you cross the street
October 2, 2014, 8:00:00 PM EDT   By Mike Russiello

Effective Profiling - Look both ways before you cross the street

We've recently implemented a new "Profiling" tool designed to help our customers get a better feel for the scores in their HR Avatar pre-employment test score report. In order to help clients make the most of it, we describe what baselining is and discuss how to use it effectively.

Introduction - Baseline your running pace

Picture of a group of runners running for exercise Any time you start using a new measurement scale, it's initially a bit of a struggle because you don't have any points of reference. For instance, let's say you started running for exercise for the first time in your life. You typically run 3 miles a day at a 9 pace per mile. Is that good, or bad? How can you know?

To answer this question, you can gather some information to evaluate your performance. Perhaps you ask some people at work or school how fast they run. Once you ask a few people, you will get a sense of how fast people run and you can envision where you stand along this scale. In other words, you've created a baseline that you can use to interpret your own performance.

As you can imagine, how you feel about your running pace depends on who you talk to when you create your baseline. If you ask only the really good runners, you are likely to feel pretty slow by comparison. But if you ask people who are out of shape and don't run much, you will probably feel like Usain Bolt.

If you want the most useful and realistic baseline, you should talk to both fast and slow runners. Only then can you see if you are with the slow group, the fast group, or somewhere in between.

When you cross a street, you should always look both ways (even when you're not running).

In other words, you need to compare yourself to BOTH the "fast" runners and the "slow" runners in order to get the best picture of where you stand.

These same principles apply when evaluating job candidates against your current employees.

Profiling pre-employment test scores

All HR Avatar score reports use a 0-100 scale for the overall score and for each attribute or trait that is measured. They also include a color-coded interpretation based on general psychological research. However, what hiring managers really want to know is: "How a candidate compares to my best employees?" In other words, they want a baseline that can help them select the candidates that have the most potential to become high performers.

Now, using our runners analogy, you can see how comparing a candidate to only your high performers may not give you the best possible picture. For example, let's say your high performers score between 70 and 95 on a particular attribute. So, if a candidate scores in this range, you can assume the candidate should be a high performer, right? The answer depends on where your low performers score. If they score in the range 20-65, then you are right. However, what if low performers score between 65 and 85? In this case, they overlap the high performers and the attribute doesn't differentiate between high and low. In this case, the attribute is not useful in selecting high performers.

Now, keep in mind that an HR Avatar pre-employment test typically measures 10 - 20 different attributes. Of these attributes, some will differentiate the high and low performers in your company and some will not. Part of the game is determining which attributes do differentiate effectively and then concentrating your hiring decision-making on those attributes only (or mostly).

Of course, you can't know which attributes truly differentiate and which don't, unless you measure both groups.

Where do you find the low performers?

So, you get it, right? Measure BOTH high performers and the low performers for best results. However, there is sometimes a problem with this approach. Assuming you are a good manager, your low performers are in short supply, since you've either fired them or they've seen the writing on the wall and quit. So how do you measure the low performers if there are not enough of them around?

Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to this problem. In time you can use the test results of candidates that you hired who turned out to be low performers after all. Tests are never 100% accurate. They may help you hire fewer low performers, but they won't prevent you from all hiring mistakes. After a time, you may accumulate enough low performer test scores to revisit your baseline. However, this takes patience. A more involved, and usually superior approach is to perform a careful job analysis that analyzes the job from the bottom up and determines the key performance-related attributes based on collected data. However, this approach often requires more resources that are practical.

So what's our advice?

If you can't afford a full-blown job analysis, we suggest you start with a baseline composed of high performers only. After a period of testing and hiring, a sufficient set of test results for low performing employees become available, and the baseline is revised so that only the most predictive attributes are used. It's continuous improvement in motion, and it works.

As an employer, you want to hire the best employees you can. While there's enough complicated science and research out there to confuse even the most thoughtful managers, the basics are simple:

  1. Know what you are looking for - define the job requirements ahead of time.
  2. Evaluate at least 3-5 seemingly qualified candidates for every job.
  3. Collect as much information as possible from different source, including interviews and pre-employment tests.
  4. Make your decision based on thoughtful review of the information you've collected.

Creating a baseline is a small part of this process that will help you with item 4 - the final evaluation. In the end your hiring decisions will be incrementally more effective. Over time your staff will be second to none. Good luck!

There are currently no comments for this product. Be the first using the form below.
Add a Comment

Follow HR Avatar
Follow Us Follow Us Follow Us

Meet the Avatars
Follow Us
Follow Us LinkedIn LinkedIn
Follow Us Facebook Facebook
Follow Us X Twitter
Subscribe to our Newsletter Tips & Updates
COPYRIGHT  ©  2024   HR Avatar, Inc.   |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy
Go to Home Page
This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More