Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Data Driven Approach to Hiring Talent

Have you ever worked with someone who empowered and motivated you to do more? What about working with someone who drained your energy or made a project take longer than necessary? What if you could go to work knowing that your team was designed based on having traits that support a positive and productive work environment? What if there was actually a psychological assessment tool that could identify and assemble the perfect work team? This might sound like Myers-Briggs or other Personality Tests, but many personality measures only scratched the surface of what is being developed to support a data driven approach to hiring talent. As many of us know, the cost of hiring the right candidate could cost a company millions when you take into account the impact of one individual and their influence on an entire team and the organization. One wrong team member could promote a negative work environment or improve a team’s drive to do more.

In September of this year I touched on the topic “The Future of Identifying Top Talent”. I briefly discussed new psychological assessment tools that could improve the recruiting process. To continue with is topic I would like to share a little background on how I came to understand a data driven approach to hiring talent.

In 2001 I was introduced to several professors who were working on understanding human factor variables known to influence human behavior. One of the professors, Dr. Marilyn Dudley-Rowley, completed and published her work on deviant behavior in extreme environments. She challenged me to read her work (which was roughly the size of an encyclopedia). After reading her dissertation, asking questions and learning more about human factor variables, in 2002 she invited me to join her at UC Berkeley for a presentation about what she coined the “third quarter phenomenon”. When we arrived at the university she asked me to set up the microphone and welcome guests as they made their way to their seats. When a small group of doctors and scientist arrived she turned to me and introduced me to the group. Unaware of her intentions, she asked me to present her research findings…and I did.

The third quarter phenomenon is a point in time when a team will either achieve greater success or massive failure. Depending on team design it could go either way. Dr. Dudley-Rowley’s research identified significant variables in team design that could lead to success or failure outcomes. It was my job to carry her legacy and the legacy of other research scientists to identify and verify exactly what these characteristics were and to find a way in which we could measure their impact on individuals and teams. As I continued my research on the subject, more and more questions developed to which I read books and literature covering industrial-organizational psychology, motivational behavior, personality assessments, cross-cultural issues and a host of work place design and human factor variables. Then in 2012 I developed and implemented my research questions. I discovered ways to measure these characteristic variables known to influence team outcomes.
In 2014 I completed a research project that identified measurable characteristic variables which explained how one individual could influence others based on these characteristics. Yes, environmental factors play a role, which leads us to applying the data differently depending on surroundings. Discovering this new method for measuring psychological variables of an individual and correlating how it impacts an entire team’s ability to achieve success was a long process. As I continue inviting organizations to apply this process, I will publish the results for the benefit of everyone.

When we consider a data driven approach to hiring talent we extend far beyond knowledge and skill sets that traditional recruiting has accomplished. The new data driven approach is looking at identifiable and measurable psychological characteristics that can be assessed. These variables are then correlated with team performance and combined with other research findings like the third quarter phenomenon. The goal of a data driven approach to hiring talent is to support the development of teams that are more likely to succeed than by chance alone. Imagine that in just a few years we could have a data driven talent index helping to support the recruiting selection process.   

Author: Dr. Eduardo Diaz, helping you exceed expectations.

About the Author
Dr. Eduardo Diaz is an organizational leader who applies peer reviewed research findings into actionable performance measures. He is an expert at identifying key human factor variables that influence individual and team performance outcomes. He is also a key talent acquisitions leader at Alexan Consulting Enterprise Services, LLC (ACES) in Sacramento, California where he manages a database of over 5,000 technology candidates. 

His experience in identifying highly productive talent through applied quantitative measures has forged a unique recruiting process, best hiring practices, and identification of skill sets that support increased organizational team performance. His assessment process was developed in collaboration with his colleagues in Osnabruck, Germany and he continues to further develop its applications with the goal of supporting the selection process for teams planning to embark on long duration space missions.

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