We’ve all been there: you finally found the perfect person for the role, yet two weeks in and you know they’re not going to work out. Anyone who has done their research can come across as the perfect fit at interview, so how can you tell if this is a true reflection of on-the-job performance? Especially for small businesses, the cost of making the wrong decision can be enormous; ACAS estimates around £30,000 for replacing a single member of staff.

Using a combination of personality assessment and structured interviewing, you can gain a much clearer picture of on-the-job performance than interview alone will ever provide. Here are our three tried-and-tested steps to finding the perfect candidate.

View the recruitment process similarly to how you would view buying a car. If you need a new car, the first thing you do is research. Before you set foot in a car dealership, you’ll already have some idea of the type of car you want; you won’t be looking at two-seater Smart cars if you’re the sole driver for a family of five.

The same applies for recruitment: before advertising your job, you need to determine exactly what you need.

A Job Analysis Survey is an ideal way of doing this. Gathering information from those who know the role well, it helps you identify the characteristics crucial for success and provides a prioritised list of the qualities you should be looking for in potential recruits.

Now that you know what you are looking for, what next? It’s all very well saying “we need someone who is team-oriented, highly organised, and resilient”, but what do those characteristics look like in a person? And how can you find a person who actually has those characteristics?

The answer is to use a robust and well-validated psychometric measure of personality.

Assessing someone’s personality gives you a reliable insight into their natural competencies and how likely they are to succeed in a particular role. The psychometric tool should give you data that lines up with the results of your Job Analysis Survey, allowing you to identify people who are the best fit for the role.

There are plenty of psychometrics on the market, just as there are plenty of cars to choose from. But it is crucial to identify a measure that actually works. You can find a psychometric that sounds amazing, produces beautiful visual reports and talks the talk, but if it doesn’t have a solid grounding in theory, research and validation it is effectively useless.

To identify a reliable psychometric, here are some things you should consider:

  • Who has created the psychometric? Do they have a background in personality assessment or is this their first foray into the field? Check the credentials of the company that has created the test to see if it has a strong heritage in personality research.
  • Check independent reviews; don’t just take the salesman’s word for it! The British Psychological Society conducts independent reviews of psychometric tests – you can check to see which tests perform well via their website.
  • Look through the Technical Manual. A good psychometric will have a Technical Manual explaining the development, research and theoretical grounding of the test, as well as its applications, usage, case studies, etc. A weak psychometric won’t have this: its grounding will be wobbly and case studies won’t be backed up by solid data, giving you untrustworthy results.

If your psychometric passes these tests, you’re on the right track!

Now that you’ve used a psychometric to whittle down your pool of applicants, you need to incorporate the results of the assessments into your interviews. In the interview, you need to seek evidence of the candidate’s successes and probe areas of potential weakness.

For example, if a candidate is only an average match on attention to detail and you’ve identified this as a key characteristic for success in the role, ask some questions to explore how the candidate will deal with this: although it may not come naturally, have they trained themselves to perform well in this area? Do they have any evidence to back this up?

Using a psychometric that produces an Interview Guide can be very useful – the report will guide you through each of the relevant competencies and suggest probing or evidence-seeking questions for you to ask.

So, there you have it: three steps to finding the perfect candidate. Personality plays a huge part in the workplace so it is crucial to factor this into your hiring processes and identifying a psychometric tool that can help you do this will save you time, effort, and money in the long-run.

PCL’s Profile:Match2 tool is specifically designed to allow recruiters to identify and predict on-the-job performance. Starting with the Job Analysis Survey, reports can be produced for Sifting, Selection and Interview stages, allowing you to base your recruitment decisions on well-validated psychometric data.

Find out more about Profile:Match2 here, and register here to take a FREE Job Analysis Survey.