Jobseekers are being faced with all manner of extra hurdles in addition to the humble interview, before securing an offer. One method increasingly used by employers is behavioural profiling – but what exactly is it, and why are you more likely to come across it these days?
- Setting the scene
- What is behavioral profiling?
- Give me the reason…
- Profile yourself – online
Setting the Scene
‘I had one hour with a line manager, then a profiling test – followed by a second interview with the personnel manager, who went into my behavior and motivation – in a big way!’ reports David Johnson, a recently qualified management accountant. ‘She not only went into my strengths and weaknesses but gave me all sorts of scenarios and really made me think about how I might respond in certain given situations.’
This grilling really gave David something to think about – although at no time did he feel intimidated or challenged unjustifiably. ‘Although I was apprehensive at first, I could see why she was using the profile – and I don’t think my profile was all that bad!’ In the end, David got the job – and he says, ‘One of the first things they did when I started was to go over my training programme, including areas which had been highlighted in the profile as needing attention.’
What is behavioural profiling?
Based on performance in the working environment (as opposed to the conventional ‘personality tests’ that traditionally send shivers up the spines of potential recruits), behavioural profiling endeavours to give employers a true picture of an individual’s conduct while carrying out his or her job. Because of the influence exerted by external factors – such as the actions of colleagues and demands placed on people – in many cases, behaviour is seen as a better indicator than personality to determine how someone will operate. In these instances, behaviour is defined as ‘one individual’s response to certain defined stimuli’.
The DISC system of profiling looks at four key behavioural factors – dominance, influence, steadiness and compliance. These are derived from two behavioural axes – one which measures on a scale between assertiveness and passivity, and one between control and openness.
Give me the reason…
While many companies employ behavioural profiling to sift candidates before interview selection, the ultimate use is to help recruiters by stressing potential problem areas that would normally not come to light during a run-of-the-mill interview. ‘I use the profile to investigate these issues with reference to the job in question,’ says Sally Ball, a recruitment manager in a nationwide accounting firm. ‘But the results can also enhance the interview – by learning what motivates someone, I can get them to come out of themselves a bit more, revealing more helpful information and taking the edge off the tension of the interview.’
Behavioural profiling is also regarded by many employers as a tremendous tool for second interviews. ‘Second interviews can often simply be repeats of the first – you end up answering the same questions but to a different representative of the same potential employer,’ says Peter Humphrey, Director for TalentSphere, ‘By using behavioural profiling for second interviews, employers can provide candidates with a challenge, as well as generating enthusiasm – more often than not, those who emerge from the interview feeling drained are more positive about the opportunity. They also realise the company clearly places great importance on its recruitment procedures, and therefore it’s no mean feat to land a job offer there.’
Profile yourself – online
Behavioural profiling doesn’t just help recruiters – many individuals have been able to take advantage of profiling in order to help plan career development. Results and interpretations can help with choosing specific paths, or specialist career niches.
‘It’s important to remember, though, that many factors need to be taken into account when weighing up career options,’ says Peter Humphrey. ‘Behavioural profiling alone can’t supply you with the ultimate ideal career move, but it can provide useful insights into your organisational and decision-making strengths.’
Once you know where you want to be, then you can also use your behavioral profile to augment your cv or construct targeted covering letters, drawing on the strengths and competencies highlighted to match those required. As Peter concludes, ‘It’s always worth learning as much as you can about your own motivations and characteristics – especially those aspects perceived by others and those of which you’re unaware yourself. And you might like what you find out!’