Your Future Relies on Your Past!

It isn’t often that I reach out to say thank you to someone who’s made a fool of himself. But today, I have to thank Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto, Canada who the world now knows is doing just that. In fact, Mayor Ford’s behavior over the past year may have some people thinking he is a good example of how high-profile leadership can take over someone’s psyche and create a totally different person.

On the other hand, others view Mayor Ford as an example of overconfidence stretched to the point of arrogance. While he may have initially swept his voters along in a wave of enthusiasm, his world is falling apart. His air of superiority, his unwillingness to show weakness and his inability to accept any responsibility for his actions are quickly overshadowing any of his messages as well as any previous accomplishments. 

While Mayor Ford’s behavior appears to be “new” to many readers, I suggest that it’s not. In fact, one of the key philosophies of good management is that past behavior is one of the best predictors of future behavior, especially when in similar job roles. Over the years, this philosophy has been well accepted and has led to the development of evidence or competency-based interviewing. It’s also led to the wide use of psychometric assessments as a secondary examination of each candidate. 

Our Career Partners International clients and candidates will be interested in learning more about what an executive search professional looks for and what tools are used to get to know their candidates better. Let me share this with you now.

Competency-based interviewing – Selection decision making must be made on evidence rather than the feelings and opinions of the interviewer. While I do assess organizational cultural fit, in order to avoid speculation, I look for concrete answers to specific experiential questions. I focus on past experience and ask for evidence that demonstrates the candidate can successfully deal with similar problems my client might be experiencing. I ask for real examples as I want to learn about their situation, what action was taken and the result. This style of interviewing avoids the tendency for candidates, especially good communicators with an over inflated sense of confidence, to give hypothetical responses. 

Psychometric assessments – Online psychometric assessments have become an indispensible tool. These tools enable me to dig deeper into the personality, communication style and character of each candidate. It also allows me to compare and contrast a number of candidates in order to find the best fit as well as comparing to any and all individuals who have taken the assessments in the past.

One of my favoured tools is called The MERIT Profile. This assessment provides me with a view into 10 character competencies grouped into the Attitudes, Beliefs, and Commitments of the person completing this assessment. As well, it assesses communication and work style. The profile is easy for clients to understand and allows them to discuss key candidate features and determine organizational fit.

A second tool, the Self Management Pro provides good backup information on my candidates. This online assessment provides a detailed report on how each candidate responds to leadership requirements as personal self management, motivation, approach to learning, lifestyle management, teambuilding, and their approach to conflict resolution.

Once again, referring back to Mayor Ford and his high-profile flow of bizarre behavioural indiscretions, I can say with confidence that our assessments would demonstrate this behavior is a culmination of life habits, attitudes and beliefs. Any private sector organization would be hard pressed to accept the risk of hiring such a candidate.

Mayor Ford is getting a lot of attention and I’ve created more press by referring to him in this article. However, I believe Ford is a good example of why as a search professional, I turn to a multitude of tools and a comprehensive selection process to ensure an effective assessment of senior level, seasoned candidates.

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