For years, we have all been told to hire people for behavior. Countless articles and books have been written on the subject; behavioral interviewing techniques have been developed and taught; and of course, hundreds of behavioral profiling tools have plastered the market, all towards the end goal of helping to better identify the “right” behaviors for the job. Heck, many people still believe that they even possess some kind of “special” powers that enable them to quickly obtain a “gut” feeling about the person sitting in front of them during an interview. Today, I'm going to tell you that we have been misled and that this is NOT the correct approach.
Here’s why: behavior is mostly learned. So in an interview, people are on their best behavior and are to some degree acting! They are trying to behave the way they think we want them to vs. acting like who they really are. Then, you hire them and after a short while, the real person shows up. You start asking yourself, “what happened to that person I hired?”
The scoop: You need to hire based on individual personality traits. Traits are pre-determined before we are born and originate from your synaptic connections, which lie between your neurons (brain cells). Traits determine how we think and feel, and predict how we will behave in most situations. By about the time you are fifteen years old, your traits have pretty much solidified. This is also one of the reasons why a typical fifteen-year-old believes that they know everything!
The following is a list of some common personality traits:
Assertiveness, Self-confidence, Competitiveness, Agreeableness, Introspectiveness, Cautiousness, Optimism, Impatience, Pro-activeness, Compliance and Detailed-orientation.
Behavior is learned but is mostly determined by our traits.
Examples: if your hardwired traits include being introspective and cautious, your behavior will typically be reserved, and the resultant communication style will be direct and factual. If your hardwired traits include Self-Confidence and Assertiveness, then the resulting behavior can include being independent, competitive and taking charge of situations.
Behavioral Adaptability: We all learn to adapt and adjust our behavior depending upon our knowledge, experience, values and motivations. The older and wiser we get, the easier it becomes to know how and when to adjust our behavior – like in an interview or when you’re dating someone new! And as I said earlier, some people are really good at this.
For those of you who believe that you possess those magic powers to quickly size up a person in the first few minutes of an interview, allow me to share with you what is really going on. The more hardwired your traits are, is how or what you will define as “normal” behavior. Therefore, anyone who behaves like you gets the thumbs up; anyone who does not get’s the boot.
Two points to consider about this:
- People can adjust their behavior and “act” just like you during the interview, and this is likely not even the real traits or behavior of the person.
- YOUR traits and behaviors that you are measuring candidates against may not be the ideal behaviors of the job you are hiring for.
Now here’s the real problem with behavioral adaptability: the issue is NOT IF WE CAN ADAPT, but rather HOW LONG WE CAN SUSTAIN changed behavior.
The good news is that neuroscience has revealed that we all have an innate measurable ability to adapt and sustain changed behavior, and a few of the more advanced personality profiling tools can now measure this.
See if you qualify for a free Personality Profile that will measure your behavioral adaptability score.