Creating a Job Assessment is an important tool within the Predictive Index platform for performing a number of different critical functions. For starters, this benchmark can assist with generating alignment around key attributes necessary for success in a role. Often, just the process of getting key stakeholders together to have this conversation can generate real value. Not infrequently, different members of the organization may have very different ideas about what success in a role looks like. Taking time to discuss and align is an important exercise in its own right.
However, the Job Assessment can add additional value by generating an awareness of critical components for success that extend beyond the functional skillset. Exploring both the key behaviors and the cognitive needs of a role can add a depth of understanding to what success entails, as well as offering some protection against misalignment between an individual and the role itself.
Defining Behavioral Needs
Consider a sales role beyond functional expertise with sales, which might include: an understanding of and experience with managing a sales pipeline; comfort with shouldering a personal revenue goal; a strong personal network and facility with lead generation and client outreach. You would also anticipate a salesperson having an outgoing and relationship-orientated personality, a capacity for flexibility and proactivity, and an inherent drive to achieve goals and remain steadfast in pursuit. These behaviors would be a natural extension of the functional demands of the role, and every bit as important in aligning the right individual to the demands of the job. Putting someone into this role who did not possess these behaviors would be jeopardizing sales success and setting yourself up for an attrition problem.
The Importance of Cognitive Scoring
You could extend this example by also considering the cognitive components of the role. Salespeople benefit from being “quick on their feet”—capable of processing data rapidly and making complex conceptual leaps—as well as having strong memories to retain product or service information, or practical needs like remembering a client’s name or a shared interest that helps to build rapport. Lastly, I would argue that strong problem-solving skills generally benefit a salesperson too, as any type of sales activity is correlated with helping clients to solve a problem, or set of problems, as a precursor to the sale itself. Cognitive tends to get overlooked, but data suggests that cognitive scores are most highly correlated with success in a role. Leaving out cognitive scoring potentially removes a key data point in your evaluation of a role and of qualified candidates.
Integrating Performance Criteria into the Job Assessment
Beyond these reasons for establishing a Job Assessment, there are two further points that bear mentioning. The first is related to data analysis: the ability to perform a nuanced evaluation of your top and bottom performers to create better coherence between the role and the individuals filling the role. It’s extremely difficult to know why some individuals succeed in a role and others fail with nothing more than a resume and a short interview to provide insight. Even when you have a role filled through internal promotion, you may not have enough information to fully understand factors for success. But adding behavioral and cognitive insights, in addition to resume, interview or even current job performance data, can provide enough key data points to allow a meaningful pattern to emerge.
In many instances, we have helped clients to gather this type of performance data and analyze results to create an objective and meaningful benchmark around role success, which then informs a new or updated Job Assessment for the position. If you take your top and bottom 10 performers and consider their behavioral patterns and cognitive scores, more often than not you see a clear pattern emerge: certain behavioral patterns succeed more frequently; and top performers are more likely to share a narrow cognitive range.
More Points to Consider
When this data is still fuzzier than you like, adding tenure in the role, the effectiveness of their leader in helping them (or hindering them) to succeed, the range or variety of their experience, and the measure of their emotional intelligence can all help to generate more clarity. The point is to increase the data points you have in order to land on a truly meaningful profile for success in a role. More data is always better! And this improved profile will save you time and trouble in future hiring efforts, as well as preserving stronger role retention.
The last point relates to actually evaluating performance itself. While a strong Job Assessment can help you define what success will look like in a role, more often than not the candidates considered for the role will not be a perfect match to that benchmark. Having that profile well defined will foster better conversations around alignment and allow you to appreciate differences in an appropriate context.
For example, if a candidate for a role has the right measure of dominance, sociability and flexibility in behavior, but is more reactive than proactive in pace and response, this could be an issue when timing is critical to a role. In a customer service position, if response time to customers and speed of execution are the most critical factors for success, then this miss would be important to understand and consider.
Balancing Behavioral and Cognitive Scores
Similarly, when candidates have the right behavioral match, but miss on the cognitive component, speed of learning is then a critical question for consideration. If you can allow a candidate a longer runway to become comfortable and proficient with the knowledge required to execute their role, then the cognitive result would be less critical. Similarly, if the job doesn’t require processing complex new information, or they have been in a similar role for an extended period of time and are therefore familiar with the demands of the role, the score may not be critical to success. But for individuals moving into highly complex roles, where information, or conceptual, processing of new information is critical, the cognitive score may be an essential part in understanding their fitness for the role.
Clearly then, the Job Assessment plays an essential role in the Predictive Index system. From defining necessary behavioral and cognitive components for success in a role and building alignment from stakeholders around essential attributes, to providing benchmark data to understand why some individuals succeed and facilitating more nuanced discussions around candidate fit, the Job Assessment creates a necessary benchmark that can improve how you use the Predictive Index and the results you get. Pulling this data together and learning to use it for complex discussions around role benchmarking and candidate fit takes time and experience.
Contact the Oliver Group to learn more about how to use the Job Assessment effectively and begin to build your expertise in working with this data!