Profiling Candidates and Employees

November 9, 2010


well-dressed-business-people image | profiling candidates and employees

Profiling can be a useful way to improve your odds of putting the right people in the right seats on the bus. In the book “Good To Great” Jim Collins refers to this as one of the attributes of great companies. It is essential in building high performance team for the long haul as well as managing through the inflection points and short-term needs that businesses face all the time.

This got me thinking about if getting the right people on the right seats of the bus is essential then having a methodology, process, or a framework in how to do this as best as possible would be a requirement. As I am certain many of you have witnessed and quite possibly been directly involved in moving people around from one job to the next in response to a change in the business, the economy, or an organization’s results. In fact one could argue that organizing around business problems or problem individuals can be a disaster.


- Never organize or reorganize around a person that is not competent for the job they are in. Not being competent might not be the fault of the individual and typically isn’t. In a lot of cases people get put into jobs out of need, to fill a gaping hole, or out of an assumption that the person can grow into the position. Sometimes the needs of the business change causing the requirements for the role to be different than initially assumed.

To improve chances for breakthrough results businesses need to assess people for roles based on a number of interdependent factors or attributes. These attributes include traditional assessment criteria and also non-traditional ones.

Traditional assessment criteria include education, experiences, prior management roles and past evaluations. These assessment criteria are the basic framework for assessing someone’s ability to take on a new role. Some things to look out for are the subjective aspects that might put a spin on the individual including “likability”, relationship to others, and basically anything that might unfairly influence a decision (one way or the other) around the person. This doesn’t mean that subjective criteria are not important and, in fact, one could argue that some subjective criteria are above all most important. As an example a person’s reputation for being fair, ethical, dedicated, resolute, open to ideas, etc. while impossible to measure are the cornerstone to great leaders. These items are critical and take great leadership and management to effectively identify and assess.

Here are a few things to look for:

- Competency to do the job

- Experience in prior jobs and assignments that align to new role

- Education/Certifications – as required.

- Sincere Interest in the role – defined as someone running to the role instead of running from their current role

- A balance of confidence and humbleness around the opportunity

- A team player – puts the value and results of the team ahead of themselves. They should have demonstrated this in prior roles

- Innovative – Demonstrates the ability to solve problems outside of the box

- Willingness – Last but not least sometimes businesses require what some would view as a job or career compromise yet others view as necessary for the betterment of the company. This translates to a willingness of the person to take on the assignment.

If companies take a more formal approach to defining the seats in the bus and filling those seats by looking across all the critical attributes the odds of success and breakthrough results improve.

About Frank Picarello

Frank is a well-respected leader in providing technology services to small and medium-sized businesses. He is currently COO for TeamLogic IT, Chairperson for CompTIA's Small Business Owner's Group, and a member of CompTIA's Unified Communication Committee.

View all posts by Frank Picarello

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