How Personality Test Data Can Help You Create a Dream Team
To avoid a hiring disaster, at LexION Capital I use personality test data to make successful hiring decisions. They provide objective, academically rigorous and data-driven metrics to corroborate other aspects of the hiring process like interviewing that are highly subjective and vulnerable to personal bias.
But that's not all personality tests are good for. Personality data shouldn't die once an offer letter is sent. It remains a valuable tool at your disposal to help you manage more effectively, leading to increased efficiency, better time-management, and happier employees.
It can in fact help you create your dream team.
Personality Tested Teams
At LexION, our mission-driven approach is the driving force behind all of our decisions. It infuses everything we do, and shapes our unique company culture as a very anti-Wall Street, Wall Street firm. Knowing a new hire's personality data allows us to best acclimate them to our mission and culture of tolerance and respect. When you know someone’s inherent frame of reference--whether they are predisposed to think logically and analytically, or whether they process information intuitively and sensitively-;you have insight into how best to communicate key information.
Case in point: one member of my team, who works intimately closely with me, is a level 19 "feeler" on a Kiersey scale of 1-20. She is very sensitive, intuitive and relates to the working world through an initial frame of emotion. I, on the other hand, am only a 4 on the "feeler" scale. As a very dominant "thinker," I am incredibly analytical and my initial response to most work situations, even those fraught with emotion, is to think my way to a solution. Early on, this dramatic disparity in our communication styles led to misunderstandings and some watery eyes (you guessed it--not mine). When I actually sat down to review the personality data, it was abundantly clear that our lapses in communication stemmed from our natural differences in the way we work. Armed with that insight, our communication is now smoother, more seamless, and more productive. We even share frequent laughs about the subject; she will joke, "Well, I and all 19 of my feelings have an opinion..." to which I will respond, "You know I've already used up all 4 of my feelings this year."
Personality work temperament data gives you much more than "what five words would your friends use to describe you?" It is key to understanding a person's specific combination of natural talents and innate strengths. When you uncover that, you can immediately place people in positions and on projects that will allow their unique array of characteristics to be put to best use.
Some of this is simple common sense: you wouldn't pick a quiet introvert for a sales job. But often the difference in people's skill sets can be more subtle or nuanced, and in a performance-driven environment everyone is quick to say, "Yes, I can do that."
I've ignored personality data in the past, and it has always come back to haunt me. For example, I hired one affable young extrovert to work in a back office role. New to NYC, he didn't have much of a social structure outside of work. From the day he started to the day he left, he talked nonstop, and cracked up the team! He did not get his operations work done, and as a result of his charming and distracting conversation, neither did anyone else. In these cases, you can't fault the new hire, who of course will express a can-do attitude. That positivity and enthusiasm is great, and no entrepreneur would expect anything less. But there is a big difference between confidence and competency. The responsibility lies with you, the business owner and head of hiring, to place people in positions where they will be successful and a true fit for your team's needs. This is especially true when hiring recent graduates, young people who are just starting to make their way in the workforce and are in the midst of learning who they are at work. You have to decide where confidence ends, and tangible skill sets begin.
Sure, you could make some educated guesses about who is the best person to tackle which types of work. Or, you could tap into hard data that gives you a window into someone's particular blend of skills and tendencies, and cut down dramatically on the guesswork. People are going to be more successful, more quickly. This will help both them and you. They will be more excited about their work; you will have much less on your plate as a manager when people are working within their spheres of natural strengths.
When people have the chance to do what they are naturally good at, they thrive--and so does your business. Who doesn't want to be set up for success?
ELLE KAPLAN | Columnist | CEO, Lexion Capital Management
A finance expert and self-made entrepreneur, Elle Kaplan is the CEO and founding partner of Lexion Capital Management, the only 100 percent woman-owned asset management firm in the U.S.