This is a guest post by fellow entrepreneur, Devin Day. He shared this experience with me and I thought it was both interesting and useful. I hope you get something out of it, as I have. Thanks Devin!
I can still see his face. The looked-great-on-paper developer who turned out to be a total nightmare.
As Co-Founder of a startup, I wasted a lot of time and money hiring employees like him. Employees who just didn’t “fit.” Salaries of $62,000 in three months, to be exact.
I thought I was doing it the right way: posting jobs on Craigslist, LinkedIn and other popular sites, then selecting a candidate based on his/her education, skill set and experience. I was wrong.
A systematic approach
Intesi!, a company specializing in behavioral assessments, estimates that 80% of hiring decisions are based on a candidate’s intellect and experience – 85% of turnover is due to behavior or style incompatibility.
That statistic rings true for me. After spinning my wheels, refereeing arguments among employees and spending too much money for too little output, I cleaned house and set out to find a better way.
I needed a systematic approach to finding the developers and staff with the right behavioral traits for each position. Not only that, I needed employees who were coach-able, and I needed to understand what motivated each of them. In the end, the DiSC test provided me with the information I was searching for.
The DiSC test
DiSC stands for four characteristics: dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness. A DiSC behavioral assessment will tell you which one of those characteristics is strongest in each candidate, so you can hire employees who fit your required role. The test removes a lot of the guesswork by indicating how a candidate is likely to react in various situations.
More importantly, a DiSC test can help you define each position. When you’re hiring your first few employees as a new business owner, a position’s roles and responsibilities may not be completely defined.
Undefined roles = hiring failures. Employees need to know what’s expected of them.
Finding the right test
After a lot of research and implementation, I’d recommend using a three-part DiSC test which includes:
- Role Behavior Analysis – defines your needs for the position
- General Characteristics Test – profiles the candidate
- Cross-Reference – a report compiled from the two tests above
There are several companies that offer the type of DiSC test you’ll want. Intesi! is the service I use. It’s cost-effective and provides plenty of information for start-ups. DiSC Unlimited is another available option.
After letting go my supposed “rockstars”, the DiSC test helped me identify some “greener” candidates who turned out to be incredibly talented, hard-working, passionate and loyal (not to mention less expensive) employees.
All of the folks at my company, including myself took the test to help us further understand our strengths and weaknesses. I felt the results to be spooky-accurate, and they’ve improved our communication, cohesion and progression. Here is a snapshot of some of the stengths identified in my test.
Do you think employee “fit” is important? How have you corrected past hiring mistakes?