16 Feb 2017

ABC is more important than CDE

(When Attitude, Behavior & Culture-fit is more important than Competence, Diploma & Experience).

Last week, a senior business leader shared his frustation to me.
He just hired an external talent 2 months ago to hold a senior position in the organization.
The candidate has gone through all the process. Interviewed by at least 4 persons, HR, CEO, 2 peers, ...etc. Still, after 5 months he started working they realized that the candidate does not fit to the team and struggled to perform.
After all those selection process and 3 months waiting for notice period (in the previous company) and now it seems that they have to go back to Square One.
He is extremely piss off and ask what he should do.
Not for this candidate because it is a lost case and most likely he will have to ask him to leave. But at least he wants to make sure that they will not repeat the same mistake.

Well, it seems that this is not the first time I heard about this situation.
What's wrong then?

Becase we invested a lot of time, energy and money for the wrong part of the selection process.
Most of the selection process and the interview focus so much on Competences and Experiences.
If you add the D for Diploma, you have the complete formula of the wrong recipe. CDE : Competence, Diploma and Experience.
That is the focus that we have in most of the organization.

Lets take an analogy.

Both fish and eel can swim, so lets call swiming the competence. However fish can only swim in the water . And eel can swim better in the mud.
And they will only perform at their maximum potential in the right environment.
So if you only test or assess their swimming ability without assessing the environment inwhich they will swim, you are not conducting the right assessment and you will fail to predict their future performance.

During the recruitment process you should not only assess the competence, diploma and experience (CDE), but you also have to focus on their ABC (attitiude, behavior and culture-fit).
Often the ABC factor will play a stronger influence in the performancenof on idividu.

The problem is often the selectionn
 process ( assessment and interview ) focus so much on CDE factor and not enough focus on ABC factor.
Look at some questions that you usually ask during the interview:
- what is your diploma
- why did you study this major
- how many years of experience you have  in managing this ....
...etc ... etc exp

Most of them (if not all of them) are related to CDE factors (competence, diploma and experience).
Very few questions (or none) are related to ABC factors (attitude, behavior and culture-fit).

No wonder you might get a good fish who is able to swim very well but that fish cannot swim in your company (who just happen to be a muddy environment), or perhaps an eel who cannot perform at maximum potential in the water.

So lets start focusing our selection and recruitment process on the ABC factor.

This means in addition to your assessment related to Competence and experience (that you still have to do, we need to also asses about their attitude, behavior and culture-fit.

What can you do ...

1. Understand the culture in your own organization and observe what kind of talents perform well in your organization

2. Conduct reference check about the candidate, not only about him, but also about the culture of his current company (local or multinational, matrix organization, stakeholders relations complexity, established/incubative organization ...etc)

3. Ask the candidate specific questions about how he adapt to different environment (ask specific real life examples that he had done in his life)

4. Ask the candidate to share life experience about the struggle that he had in his life and what did he do to get out of it, assess his persistence and perserverance.

5. Discuss with the selection commitee, based on ABC factors, will he be successfull in your organization

Remember, often ABC factors (attitued, behavior and culture-fit) are much more important than CDE (competence, diploma and experience)

Warm regards

Pambudi Sunarsihanto

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