Profile mapping: Every day the people management area has at its disposal a growing range of profile mapping tools. They contribute to decision-making when composing the staff of professionals at different levels of the company. In a crisis, waste is avoided.
The shortage of talent is a reality in several segments. Therefore, making a mistake in hiring is costly and, worse, compromises the company’s future performance. Since studies show that hiring the wrong person costs an average of 18 times the position’s monthly salary, how do you choose the most efficient tool? What is the difference between one and the other? Is it possible to avoid errors?
We have identified the 5 key points for you to assess the consistency of the profile mapping tools available on the market.
The first major distinction between the tools is in the object of analysis: some map behavior and others, personality.
Personality is formed in childhood, up to 2, 7 or 14 years old, depending on the reference theory. Once established, it only changes in situations of trauma or major impact. The naturalness of the person is a robust and reliable predictor of what can be done naturally, spontaneously and with less effort, personality being the essence. Therefore, as people do what comes naturally to them, their results tend to be higher, as well as their satisfaction.
In order for the person to ‘better deal with the society to which he belongs’, behavior is molded to the context and adjusted over time. Certainly it can be learned. However, the need to always adjust to the environment demands an extra expenditure of energy that could be used with another focus. There is a relevant increase in physical and emotional exhaustion when it is necessary to ‘constantly play a character’, ceasing to be yourself. In short, it’s like stretching a rubber band, it goes to a certain point, goes beyond that, breaks. By dealing with challenges that are more consistent with your natural profile, the potential for success increases.
Still on the subject of personality, there are characteristics that mask the exposure of certain behaviors. For example, the level of hypercontrol is one of them. By ignoring the personality, there is a risk of assuming as natural an attitude that requires great effort from someone, without it being noticed by others. Then there are cases where ‘everything seemed to be going so well’ and the person suddenly explodes or resigns listing several nuisances never mentioned before.
Approach used by companies
It is usual for companies to use tools that map learned behavior in selection. This happens with 6 of the 9 best known on the market. The other 3 map the personality. The interviewee wants to show his best, who he has learned to be within an ideal profile. However, if the tool identifies the learned behavior, the size of the effort to demonstrate an attitude goes unnoticed. Between a candidate who does it hard versus who does it naturally, who performs better in the long run?
The second relevant difference is in the grouping of responses. There are type and stroke tools. In those of type, each characteristic has a pole, and the individual is allocated on one side or the other, without gradation of intensity. The instrument respondent is ‘one thing or another’, black or white, in the dimension that polarizes intuition x reason. With traits, the intensity of the characteristic is identified. So there’s black, white, and every shade of gray in between. With this it is possible to distinguish two people of the same type.
In the form of calculation and presentation of results is the third difference: standardized x absolute results. As an example, think about the height of a normal population, the shortest might be 1.50 m tall and the tallest 2.05 m. Therefore, someone 1.55 m will be perceived as short in relation to this population – these are absolute results, raw numbers.
When the numbers are distributed on the normal curve, the results are standardized and the person who is 1.50 m tall has his height among the lowest 2% of the population. Thus, when standardizing the result, 1.50 m gross corresponds to zero in the standard. When thinking about height it’s easy to remember that zero is relative. But when it comes to the level of curiosity, forgetfulness comes. For example, saying someone is in the 6% of the curve leads to an incorrect interpretation, especially when the mean of the reference population is unknown.
What is most observed as a danger in tools that bring only standardized results is the interpretation of results as if they were raw. Since the average is different from one characteristic to the other, it is not possible to compare different scales with each other as if they had the same average. Consequently, this generates serious errors of interpretation.
The fourth distinction between the tools is in the reference population. If compared to a basketball player, a person 1.60 meters tall can be considered short. When compared to a child, perception changes. By nature, many tests are derived from clinical research. In these cases, the average of the population with which the correspondent is compared has little or no relation to the corporate world. By the way, this explains why many tools miss the composition of their reference population.
Tools that compare individual results with market executives are more accurate in this regard. Therefore, they measure how much a particular person tends to stand out professionally.
Another reflection on this topic concerns the veracity of the reference population. The respondent may lie about his position, or he may indeed be president, but in a 3-person company. In this case, the comparison with a multinational president in a complex context loses its meaning. Thus, adding the result of new respondents to the average without guaranteeing the real situation of the mapper, can distort its representation.
How do you know if the answers from the profile mapping tools are reliable?
Finally, there is a risk that humans try to influence responses. Therefore, knowing the accuracy of the measurement and having mechanisms to identify any attempt at fraud makes a difference.
Want to know more about profile mapping?
See the comparison between the main profile mapping tools on the market. For example, the Label course and the Sócrates test.
Published November 2015. Revised and expanded October 2018 and April 2020.