ndc Executive Selection

Spotlight on Psychometrics - Using Hogan Assessments for Executive Selection

ndc has helped many organisations to be strategic and scientific about increasing the probability of getting the right fit for performance and culture when making internal and external senior executive appointments.

The Hogan Assessments are powerful, evidence-based psychometric tools that – when combined with expert consulting – help organisations improve performance in both leaders and their employees.

"So, in a nutshell, a great support for a qualitative process of hiring best talents for the company.”  
Marc Olivier Blain, VP HR Danone Waters China

Common Executive Selection Challenges:

  • The interview process alone is not getting to understand the full potential and risk in the psychological make up of a candidate
  • There can be limited views of the strengths and "derailers" of candidates
  • Some board members can show preferences for different candidates so further objectivity is required
  • More data is needed to confirm a hunch
  • The company wants to change culture and wants to know that candidates will be true to the company values
  • Reputational risk associated with making the wrong appointment.

I interviewed Dr Martin Egan, ndc’s CEO about how ndc approaches Executive Selection.

Why does ndc combine consulting expertise with psychometrics to support executive selection?

Firstly, all the research on recruiting highlights the risk of human bias and blind spots leading to ‘recruiting in our own image’.   This risk is strong, particularly when addressing issues of Diversity and Inclusion in the recruitment and selection process. So, by taking a rigorous scientific approach – while we don't eliminate human bias and selection fully – we at least have our eyes open and are more conscious about how we make decisions and assumptions.

Ok, but why a consulting approach?

So most recruitment HR staff have relatively robust and perhaps even good enough processes for selection.  However, when you put the lens of recruiting through the context of business success,  high performing teams,  culture fit,  job role fit,  negative fit and risk mitigation for a role,  you usually find significant improvements can be made to the selection process.

It is essential before beginning any selection, that we understand fully the requirements of the organisation - not just from a competence perspective for the individual and the role (the historical focus of recruitment) - but also from the wider organisational perspective. This can include:

  • Understanding the strengths and development areas of the team
  • Understand the management styles of the team
  • Understanding the desired culture for the organisation

Once those wider requirements are understood, we can assess whether the new recruits are not only a good fit for their role, but they are also a good fit for the team and for the culture.  This brings complementary yet much needed differing skills.

How does the Hogan Assessment help with selection?

The main reason that we use Hogan over other psychometrics, is that the tool was developed with business in mind from the very beginning. It's based on the hard science of the Big Five factor model – OCEAN - for psychometrics. Ocean is an acronym for Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.

These are all measurements to assess the candidate.  But Hogan has adapted the OCEAN model further by adding two other selection scales.

  • Inquisitiveness &
  • Learning approach

These seven scales make Hogan much easier to consider job performance in a work context.

So Hogan measures personality?

No – Hogan measures Reputation.  The Hogan instruments are reverse engineered to tell you the behaviour you are likely to display and the reputation you're likely to have, not the personality you have.  So by people taking the questionnaire themselves, it has been reverse engineered in such a way that it's going to predict the reputation someone will have in a role .

What is the process of using the Hogan assessment in the selection process?

The ndc approach gives so much more than an off-the-shelf approach.  It isn’t about the report – we create a humanistic experience by:

  • Involving the candidates themselves (providing them with valuable feedback and development areas for their professional growth) &
  • Helping recruiters to tailor the process and shape the whole experience

When the candidates have completed their questionnaires, we may flag with the recruiters some areas that we think would be worthy of further exploration.  Examples of this could be that somebody's ability may include

  • An inability to control impulses (e.g. anger management issues)
  • An inability to challenge the status quo, or be overly challenging to the status quo
  • A difficulty in managing stressful situations
  • A reluctance in dealing with difficult employees 
  • A strong ability to deal positively with change or creativity

We don't flag all of these, but we will flag the pertinent elements to the client and their culture.

The client then studies the Hogan report, and our review of the debrief, prior to the second interview. In most cases, the CEO and HR director will understand their own Hogan profiles very well.  As they understand their own profiles, they are able to see the complementarity or the conflict that can be with the candidates they're interviewing.

The more used to working with ndc the recruiting panel gets, the more we find panels who are purposely looking for their opposites in the interviews.

Have you got any examples of how this has worked with a client?

We used this approach with Danone Waters China who were working towards a customer-centric culture.  We ensured that candidates who didn't have a disposition towards caring about service were flagged in the selection process.

Here is the feedback from Marc Olivier Blain, VP HR at Danone Waters China about the advantages of using our consulting/psychometric process:

  • “It confirms or challenges the assumptions made during more classical ITW process.
  • “It provides insights on the candidate's match on the company culture as the process involves an alignment on company's values.
  • “It provides clear answers on the match of candidate to the role, but also on their potential to grow further within the organisation incoming years.

So, in a nutshell, a great support for a qualitative process of hiring best talents for the company.”

If you would like to know more on how ndc’s Executive Selection service could help you and your company, please contact Jonathan Lancaster by email here or by phone on +44 (0)7931 944288.

Written by:
Matt Burdock

Executive Coaching, Culture Measurement, Leadership Development.

December 13, 2022