Dan Maxwell
February 22, 2017

If it was possible to predict performance every company could build incredible teams of top performers.

What if it was possible to predict performance?

We try to predict performance when we use behavioural interviewing. Our assumption: if they’ve done it before, they can do it again.  After all, without some assurance a person has what it takes, why would we hire someone?

However, this approach doesn’t always work so well. In general terms, 1/3 of employees are considered to be top performers, 1/3 average and 1/3 below.  If that’s the case, 66% of the time we’re not doing a good job of predicting performance; 33% of the time we’re missing the mark entirely.

It seems the more accurate question would be: how well can we expect to predict performance?

There are several factors to consider. Some of them e.g. education and intelligence can be measured quite easily.  In other areas e.g. skills and experience, it’s harder to be certain.

However, there is one factor that has an impact on the performance of any job in any company i.e. personality – more specifically, personality traits.  What’s more, traits can be measured quickly and accurately.  Unfortunately, they are rarely measured – unless it’s done by “gut feel”.

Traits are one of the most accurate ways to predict performance because they uncover a person’s innate characteristics which consistently influence their behaviour. When we understand someone’s core motivators (another way to describe traits), we have a window of insight into how they think, relate to others and naturally respond to situations.  Performance in any job is shaped by traits.

This knowledge also helps us better assess if someone has the natural ability to use their skills, learn from experience, make effective use of their education, or capitalize on their intelligence.

Can performance be predicted?

A realistic answer to this question is: yes! No matter how hard we’re trying to predict the outcome of a hiring decision, we can do better if we assess for the right factors and measure them accurately.  When we focus on traits, we’re leveraging one of the most powerful tools available, to discover ahead of time, not only whether a candidate can do the job, but will!

If you’ve missed the mark in a past hire, perhaps you’re ready to try this approach in your next one.