March 17, 2017

Author: Jerry Brennan  

Graphic of Left Brain Right Brain. Testing 1-2-3: Instruments to assess cultural fit in your organization.

"We're sending you for some additional tests" is a phrase associated with dread in day-to-day life. In the world of executive search, however, it is a positive next step: you are past the initial interview stage and are being moved on for further consideration. Get ready for an experience that will help you learn more about yourself than you may have known previously.

Just as DNA is unique to each person, so too is culture to organizations. Of consistent importance to the clients SMR works on behalf of is the suitability of a match between the company and any new corporate security hires. This is not a new concept, but we have recently seen an increase in assessments being factored into hiring decisions for a broad range of security management positions. The visibility of security roles in organizations has reached heights not previously seen, and corporations have a keen interest in ensuring the right choice not just based on experience and skill set but also on personality and behavioral traits.

The word "test" is a misnomer as these assessments are not pass/fail. They are also not tests you can prepare for, so no late-night study sessions ahead of time are necessary.

There are a wide range of instruments available and many of them can be tailored to an individual corporation's requirements. They measure a large number of characteristics and behaviors and are used to inform the hiring company about your corporate compatibility that may influence your success in the role for which you're being evaluated. Some even generate relevant questions for the hiring company to use during further interview processes.

An early vehicle that most people have been aware of for years is the Myers-Briggs Talent Inventory. The MBTI places individuals into one of 16 different profiles based on answers to a series of questions. It was first published in 1943 and is still in use today. While the MBTI is certainly useful, today's managers frequently want a deeper dive on their potential new hires, and the instruments SMR generally use provide a much more in-depth profile of candidates.   For example, The Hogan Personality Inventory evaluates people on seven well-known dimensions affecting professional success. The HPI can help our clients understand whether a candidate possesses the characteristics that are important to succeed in a position or if the individual's tendencies will interfere with their performance. It measures attributes such as ambition, social tendencies and learning preferences.

The Hogan Development Survey addresses performance differently by measuring eleven behavioral patterns that manifest when a person is stressed or tired. The HDS highlights these aspects of a candidate's profile to aid the hiring company in understanding the style in which an individual would be best managed.

We also frequently utilize DiSC assessments. DiSC is a generic term, and there are many different forms of the tool available. DiSC measures behaviors that are observable, neutral and universal. This allows the employer to understand what they would see a new hire do on the job, no matter where in the world the position was located. The version of DiSC that SMR uses allows for more differences across respondents, placing candidates into one of 384 categories. Contrast that with the 16 profiles of the MBTI, and you can see how far these personal assessment tools have advanced across the years.

Some of SMR's clients have further in-house assessment processes. In addition to other measurement instruments, it is not uncommon to see candidates for the top-tier CSO, CISO and Director of Security positions be invited to spend several hours with the hiring company's psychiatrist/psychologist. This process further analyzes a candidate's suitability for placement within the company's culture.

All of these processes can sometimes be overwhelming for both candidates and hiring companies. An important aspect for candidates to keep in mind is making the correct match for themselves. If you've been through the assessment process with one or more of the above-mentioned tools, the results will have been shared with you. This gives you a unique opportunity for self-reflection to better understand your personal tendencies. Information like this is a powerful tool when you are using introspection to refine exactly what you want to do in your security management career.

The company that advanced you to this next level of evaluation wants to make the best hiring decision possible. Regardless of whether you are the successful candidate, you can utilize the experience to help you better identify the roles you should invest your time in pursuit of.

The end result is a win-win for both client and candidate alike.


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Questions? Contact us directly and let us know how SMR can help you source the candidates who are best suited for your corporate culture.