Hiring can be a tedious task. For years, companies looking for the ideal candidates poured over resumes, narrowed them to a few, brought some in for interviews, and crossed their fingers that they selected the right person. Some companies branched out and handed the responsibility off to headhunters to reduce the burden. While that lightened the load, making the final decision still fell on the company. But now, times have changed.

Today, you have access to a vast array of resources, from apps to social media, which can help you evaluate a person’s compatibility long before you ever meet in person. And now, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) you can screen resumes to find the most qualified candidates based on skills, experience, credentials, personality, and more. This is incredibly valuable because it allows you to make predictions of how well a person will perform specific tasks. Even greater is the efficiency these assessments offer. What previously demanded many hours from our human resources team to gather, review, and assess this type of data, can now be done in minutes.

At a networking event I was convinced how our personalities align with our abilities. It was one of our Biz Group meetings where contractors from around the country get together. Our facilitator, George Hedley, invited a specialist in personality assessments to discuss what characteristics each of our personalities revealed.

In preparation for the meeting, we each took the DISC assessment, which aims to predict job performance by categorizing individuals into four personality traits: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance. Most people in this group had been working together for more than five years and knew each other very well. However, the personality expert had never met any of us. To our surprise, after reviewing our survey results, he was able to go around the room and accurately describe each one of us, our personalities, and the positions where we excel within our companies.

The group got a big laugh when I was identified as a risk taker who always has many balls in the air and that I am unable to stay focused on any one task for very long. He also said I am a visionary and because I am not laser-focused on details, I may see things in the future before others do. He added that I likely have many employees and probably own more than one company. Lastly, he said I need people around me who are structured to balance out my organization otherwise I will have problems. I was shocked. He was exactly right, and I briefly wondered if someone had fed him inside information about me, but I knew he learned it from my DISC assessment.

This guy went on to further prove the incredible power of DISC by pointing to a contractor and telling him that in his world, it is his way or the highway. He wants things a certain way and wants it now, or he goes nuts. He concluded his evaluation by describing him as someone who gets angry when people talk to him about minor details instead of getting to the point quickly. He was spot on.

He described another contractor as someone who struggles to make decisions in a timely manner. He said he constantly asks the same questions and rehashes topics. The group got a chuckle out of that description because we had been dealing with this guy’s indecision and endless rehashing for years.

It was unnerving how well he was able to characterize all 15 of us with surprising accuracy based on what he learned from our brief personality evaluation where it took us years to get to know one another to that degree. That exercise turned me into a believer in personality tests. Admittedly, Laurene Huffman, who is our Director of Training and Development has told me this for years. Had I listened to her from the onset rather than following my gut instincts, we could have avoided several serious hiring missteps. We have since incorporated this testing into our screening process to determine if an applicant we are seriously considering is a good fit for a particular position.

Here is a good example of how DISC assessment is applied. I am a DI type who wants things done now and can influence people to do them. However, I get bored quickly and often skip over critical details of some projects. Based on that information, I would make a terrible estimator. Mike King, our Director of Estimating and one of the best I have ever seen in that position, is a CS personality. He has proven that those factors are essential in an estimator role and as such, we look for those traits when considering a candidate for an estimator position.

Our companies spent far too much time wishing, hoping, and praying that we were hiring the right people. We leaned on our instincts, went with our gut, and many times were convinced we had made the best decision, but time proved otherwise. Thankfully, we no longer play the guessing game when it comes to staffing. We are building a solid team based on concrete evidence.

DISC is just the beginning, but I am not saying it will solve all your staffing problems. This assessment has been around for nearly a century, and while it has proven to remove many of our hiring barriers, it is limited by human error; some people are prone to lying and still others have skewed self-awareness. Looking to the future, we will soon incorporate AI into our assessment to strengthen its accuracy. We will get a more in-depth understanding of who we are adding to our team with the addition of publicly available information like social media, previous job titles, experience, skills, and interests. Then, once a team is in place, we can take it a step further by utilizing this methodology to increase productivity, fill in skill gaps, and promote skill development.

I encourage you to take a step back and review your present team to see how each personality has different approaches to work. Take it a step further and have everyone take the quick assessment. Then have an assessment expert explain how Personality Traits align with Job Responsibilities. I guarantee you will find it to be insightful and it may even open dialogue on how you can better utilize the strengths of those around you. Applying this to your hiring practices does not eliminate the responsibility of picking the perfect candidate, but it sure helps take the pain out of the process.

Damian Lang is CEO at Lang Masonry Contractors, Wolf Creek Construction, Buckeye Construction and Restoration, 3 PLS Labor Services, Malta Dynamics Fall Protection, and Safety Company, and EZG Manufacturing.

To view the products and equipment his companies created to make job sites safer and more efficient, visit his websites at ezgmfg.com or maltadynamics.com. To receive his free e-newsletters or to speak with Damian on his management systems or products, email dlang@watertownenterprises.com, or call 740-749-3512.

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Published Date

January 15, 2024

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Damian Lang

STI/SPFA Apparel