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Using Profiling with DATA

A Bit of History

Many people are familiar with some form of profiling with assessments. The old way of doing this was to select a group of “top performers” in a particular job. They completed an assessment that was supposed to measure a set of characteristics, and the results were combined into a template or profile. Job candidates took the same assessment and their results were compared to the profile resulting in a percentage match number. There was a myriad of problems with selecting the “top performers,” so the resulting profile was always a bit questionable in terms of its accuracy. The accuracy and reliability of the psychometric instruments used was another major problem. Still, it was better than using only interviews and resumés to make hiring decisions.

The inherent problem with any form of profiling is that knowing that an individual candidate is an 85% match to the profile does not describe the individual performance capabilities of that person. Knowing that a person is an 85% match to top baseball players does not describe whether they are a good hitter or a solid fielder or that they have a superb curve ball. It also does not tell what parts of the job they cannot do. Neither their strengths nor their weaknesses are clear.

A Key Difference

BestWork uses a much more advanced approach, using agile DATA to describe how a candidate can deliver each specific job behavior that is necessary for a particular job. This enables the business to judge whether the candidate’s particular strengths match what is needed in the job and whether the candidate’s particular weaknesses are acceptable. This specificity of job behaviors allows that information to be used for management recommendations; to understand how they will fit into existing teams and much more.

It is important to note that BestWork is designed to identify those candidates who cannot do the job. Using DATA is simple and practical. There are no reliable ways to pick out “top performers.” People are far too complex.

A Tricky Application of DATA

From time to time, BestWork clients have used the DATA to generate colorful displays showing the range of Acceptable and Unacceptable ranges of scores on the various elements of a job. Sometimes, they have set up three levels of scores, color coding the ranges as Good/Green, OK /Yellow, and Not Acceptable/Red. The design of BestWork absolutely supports identifying the Red or Not Acceptable ranges. By recognizing that a candidate is lacking a critical job behavior, employers avoid bad hires. When a Red/Not Acceptable occurs, it triggers a simple DO NOT HIRE. However, the decisions that follow from Yellow/OK and Green/Good can be tricky. The reason is that people tend to rely on the colors rather than evaluating the more detailed information that is provided by the charts and the report text. Knowing that a candidate can handle detailed information is a higher quality of information than seeing that the candidate is Green on that capability. It becomes tempting to count the Greens and Yellows or to use one to balance out the other without really knowing the specifics of the job behaviors. BestWork’s report provides a much richer language for discussing the job performance capabilities of different individuals. We recommend strongly that only Red or Not Acceptable be used for these types of displays. Once bad hires have been screened out, the descriptions in the Job Reports can contribute to the candidate discussions in direct and specific ways.

One Other Caution

BestWork has hundreds of reports, each addressing specific job performance issues, covering many different types of jobs. Many jobs, however, are quite similar, requiring almost the same strengths and abilities. Using profiles, there is the belief that every job needs a different profile. Actually, BestWork reports are designed to support hiring decisions and job performance evaluations without the need for creating special profiles of “top performers.” Job performance depends upon three things:

Attitude: Motivation, Values, Interests

Skills: Knowledge, Experience, Education, Training

Hard-Wired Personality Traits & Cognitive Abilities

The traits and abilities measured by BestWork do not change so that if an individual is capable of doing one job, they can also do any other job requiring the same strengths and abilities. They will only need to acquire the knowledge and skills needed for the new job.

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