The Science Of Finding The Right Leader

By Paige Nero

Senior Director of Talent

Do you really know who you’re hiring?

Why incorporating assessments into your hiring process can support a successful leadership transition

In today’s ever-evolving, competitive environment, finding the right leader the first time is essential. The cost of a “bad hire” can have a significant impact on an organization, both financially and culturally. That is why one of the first questions our clients ask us at the beginning of an Executive Search is, “how will we know that we’ve found the right leader?”

The answer to this question has multiple layers. Through our team’s collective experience as internal leaders and external consultants supporting a variety of dynamic organizations, Catapult has developed significant expertise in search and selection. We know the answer to this question is not simple.

Executive Search is a comprehensive process that should include multiple data points for identifying and evaluating candidates. Incorporating assessments into the hiring process is an important data point that adds significant value and should not be overlooked.

Predictive, valid and reliable personality assessments allow search committees to go beyond the surface to truly know who they are hiring and ensure they get it right the first time. There’s an art to this and it’s one that we’ve perfected.

How can assessments improve your hiring process?

Often, it can be difficult in a traditional interview setting to go beyond the surface to really understand the leader you are hiring. Most candidates at this level have perfected their interview technique and do a fantastic job of highlighting their strengths and bringing strong experience and examples to the conversation.

Assessments on the other hand allow us a “look behind the curtain” to better understand a leader’s ability to build and maintain high-performing teams, which is the most essential feature of leadership. Of course, understanding a new hire’s strengths is important and we can collect these data points effectively through interviews and reference checks. But understanding an individual’s development needs and potential blind spots can be difficult.

That’s why incorporating assessments into the search process can provide valuable insights and allow hiring managers the opportunity to:

  • Understand the candidate’s immediate challenges and potential coaching needs.
  • Reflect on and evaluate current team dynamics that may detract from the candidate’s success.
  • Further understand the candidate’s strengths and areas of opportunities that may impact team/organizational performance.
  • Further understand how the style of each candidate will fit with the organization’s needs now and in the future.

Learn who they really are

When selecting the appropriate assessments to incorporate into your hiring process, it is important to understand what they bring to the table. After years of research and experience, our team has identified a suite of assessments that allow us to provide our clients with in-depth knowledge of candidates’ work style, behavioral preferences, potential performance risks, core values and motivators, critical reasoning ability and emotional intelligence.

Understanding critical components of an individual’s personality, leadership style and areas of development can establish a strong foundation for ensuring organizational fit and building long-lasting relationships.

The assessments Catapult utilizes are the Hogan Assessment Suite and the Emotional Intelligence 2.0. The Hogan Suite includes the:

  • Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI)
  • Hogan Development Survey (HDS)
  • Motives, Values & Preferences Inventory (MVPI)
  • Hogan Business Reasoning Inventory (HBRI)

The Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is a separate assessment tool. These assessments are:

  • The gold standard in behavioral and personality assessments
  • Tested, valid, and reliable
  • Backed by over 30 years of industry-leading research

Further details regarding each assessment can be found on the these respective websites:

“The quality of people’s lives depends on their careers. The quality of people’s careers depends on the organizations in which their careers are embedded. The success of these organizations depends on their leadership. The effectiveness of the leadership depends on the characteristics of the people in leadership roles. Ultimately then, personality drives leadership, leadership drives organizational performance, and who is in charge matters greatly for the fate of organizations and the people in them.” – Robert Hogan, Hogan Assessments Founder, on his Leadership Matters Blog

How can we help?

Catapult Executive Search & Search Assessment Services

Our team is available to support our clients with Executive Search. But we understand that not all searches require the assistance of an executive consulting firm and that the cost is not always in the budget. That is why we offer our Search Assessment Services as a separate option to our clients, so we can support their internal recruitment processes.

Just like the executive search engagements we lead, we step in to support the final stages of the search process by distributing assessments to the top candidates. The results are then debriefed with the hiring team. This discussion includes the insights outlined above, and also provides customized recommendations to implement into the recruitment process for each finalist for further evaluation. This can include tailored questioning specific to each candidate and their references, scenario-based questions and case studies.

Ultimately, our leadership assessment services are customizable and vary based upon the needs of our business partners. We recommend starting with a formal discussion with a Catapult associate to better understand the specific, unique needs of your team and its leaders. From there, we would develop an approach and ensure it meets your objectives.

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