Finding employees who are a good fit for an organisation is a challenge every business faces. But an even harder challenge to overcome is identifying who makes a good fit for your organisation.

First, let’s ask what makes an employee a good fit for an organisation. Some experts say identifying a good fit for the organisation involves selecting people whose personality traits suit the organisational culture and the nature of the job. Other experts say it is the matching of the employee’s abilities with suitable work.

Enter a plethora of assessment tools to aid in the selection process, each with its own level of subjectivity. Face-to-face interviews, for instance, are a common way to select potential employees. But face-to-face interviews have a tendency to rely on the ability of the interviewer, which lends subjectivity and imprecision to the selection process.

Personality or psychometric tests and strength competency tools are also commonly used tools to assess a candidate’s personality and ability.

While these tools are useful, many tend to be generic. As a human resource practitioner, I am interested in exploring how the subjectivity in the selection process can be minimised, and assessing an individual’s willingness to do the work he will be hired to do.

The Reiss Motivation Profile is a universal, scientifically tested assessment of an individual’s basic motives. Created by Emeritus Professor Steven Reiss who was searching for answers to the questions, “Who am I?” and “What really motivates me?”, the Reiss Profile consists of 16 basic desires that provide insights into an individual’s values, aims and motives.

With the ability to identify an individual’s values, aims and motives, HR and hiring managers can understand what really drives an individual to do the things he does.

There are three features in the Reiss Profile I am particularly impressed with when it comes to the selection process.

The first feature is its defining ability to provide a snapshot of an individual’s basic desires. A candidate is assessed not merely by which of the 16 basic desires he has but by the combination of those desires. That defines one person from another with greater clarity.

The second feature is its predicative ability as a person’s motivators do not change drastically over time. So knowing one’s motivators is a useful way to identify what make a person willing to continue doing those things over time.

The third feature is its precision as it can measure the intensity of each motivator, giving greater distinction to each profile.

How it works

Let’s take the example of a bus company looking to hire safety inspectors. The safety inspector role requires someone who is systematic, is willing to carry out safety checks defined by the company, and who will carry out the job responsibly and consistently.

To assess the candidates’ suitability for the job, the recruitment manager will look out for a combination of two high-scoring motivators in the Reiss Profile — a high Order and high Honour score to find a good fit for the safety inspection job.

In the Reiss Profile, a person with a high Order score is one who naturally works best when there is a set structure in place. Hence, from the company’s point of view, a safety inspector with a high Order score is a good fit as he will be naturally willing to follow instructions and rules.

In addition, a safety inspector with a high Honour score is one who will remain consistently true to his principles and, hence, will carry out the safety inspections responsibly because he believes it is the right thing to do.

This contrasts with someone who is goal-orientated. He may be swayed more easily by the pressure to complete the inspection quickly.

With this information, the hiring manager is able to accurately identify the most suitable candidates for the safety inspector job.

Hiring the wrong person can be a costly mistake when companies have to subsequently spend time and resources trying to fix the problem or looking for someone else. It may be worthwhile to invest in tools that take a lot of the guesswork out of offering someone a job.