How to Incorporate Emotional Traits in Hiring

Include affect measurement in the pre-hire process. Determining a job candidate’s likely affect is, by itself, a powerful indicator of likely job performance and fit. When used in conjunction with other pre-hire assessments, the quality of these recommendations improves.

Identify relevant outcomes. For each job role, identify the key desired outcomes and measure employee performance against those. Using these outcomes as leading performance indicators — and as a way of continuously validating pre-hire assessments — will identify higher-quality candidates earlier in the recruiting cycle. This improves quality of hire and reduces the likelihood of poor downstream job performance.

Recruit and hire for team fit. Recruiters don’t intentionally hire job candidates who are poor job fits — it’s one of the reasons why so much is invested in pre-hire assessments.  However, industry studies consistently report that poor supervisor-subordinate fit is one of the leading reasons for separation. Identifying which candidates fit best with which teams will reduce costly and disruptive attrition.

Match a candidate’s emotional makeup with the correct job. Identifying an applicant’s affect during the recruiting process helps prevent putting him or her into a job that he or she is poorly suited for. Performing this job fit analysis before making the offer improves the chances that a new hire will be retained longer and perform well.

Create teams with similar affect. Even though contact center teams are not as dependent on each other for success as other teams, research suggests that the performance of teams improves when their members have similar emotional characteristics. This notion extends to the supervisor-subordinate relationship within the team as well.

Todd Merrill is the chief technology officer at HireIQ Solutions Inc., an HR technology firm. He can be reached at