Understanding the traits that make people tick

Traits

Assessing a candidate’s competencies tells you whether they have the skills and behaviors needed to be successful in the job you’re trying to fill. And for many roles, particularly entry-level and frontline ones, this is enough information for you to decide who makes it through to the next stage.

But if you’re recruiting for managers or leaders, or looking to fill your leadership pipeline, it’s important to understand who the person is – not just what they can do.

Our assessment solutions can give you this understanding. They allow you to assess a candidate’s traits, along with their drivers, against a detailed success profile for that role. So you’ll have a full picture of your candidate or high potential, and can decide if they’re the right fit.

Strong but malleable

Traits are the internal qualities a person has, such as their personality traits and personal motivations. They include attitudes, such as confidence or optimism, as well as other natural leanings, such as social astuteness and learning agility.

Traits exert a strong influence on behavior. They can tell you how a person is likely to approach challenges and relate to others, but they don’t guarantee how someone will act.

They’re especially important when it comes to assessing leadership potential. That’s partly because certain traits, such as learning agility, are critical to a leader’s ability to succeed and move up the ladder. It’s also because personality profiles look substantially different at each progressive level of management.

  • First-level supervisors
    At this level, the traits that correlate strongly with engagement and performance include the need for achievement, curiosity, persistence and adaptability.
  • High-level executives
    Curiosity and the need for achievement are very important at this stage too. But top leaders also score highly on risk taking and tolerance of ambiguity.

While traits are core to who someone is, they aren’t necessarily permanent. Just as a person can learn new skills, they can work to strengthen existing traits or develop new ones. And someone who’s naturally introverted can still make an effort to network if they feel motivated to do so.

That’s why we find it helps to assess traits and drivers together.

 

Take a Closer Look

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