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DiSC and EI: The Hiring Combo You’ve Been Waiting For

There’s a lot talk today about the genuine merit in trying to hire employees skilled in emotional intelligence. Among the assessment tools we’ve used at Leading With Courage Academy, one of them is designed specifically for new hires from outside the organization. It evaluates candidates on nearly 70 aspects of emotional intelligence, providing the organization with a detailed report of the candidate’s level of emotional intelligence. So, well before you hire an individual, during the interview process you can screen for EI to see if the person has high emotional intelligence, is going to be a bit of a project or simply doesn’t fit in with your culture at all.

With this in mind, how useful could hiring for EI be in particular for a company going through a merger or acquisition? Imagine that a private equity company is charged with installing a new leader and needs to make sure the leader gets off on the right foot with the culture. We don’t want to simply evaluate them on the basis of their background and experience, do we? Those might not be the best indicators alone. We also want an indication of how well they’re going to bring skills such as empathy, inspiring performance, and self-awareness that aren't on a piece of paper. Measuring for EI may be a great way to obtain that keen understanding.

DiSC and EI Working Together Here’s where the magic can truly happen, however: One of the tools we use in addition to our EI tool is a DiSC assessment that measures behavior preferences and tendencies. Some people view DiSC and EI as similar assessments but in reality, they aren't substitutes for each other at all. Here’s why: What DiSC measures is far more stationary. EI is much more fluid.

You can use the EI tool in hiring process whereas it’s advised not to use DiSC to make hiring decisions. For example, let’s say the DiSC assessment says you’re a strong “I.” Does that mean you can't be a good finance person? Of course not. Everyone can do any job and any style can do a job. Therefore, to hire exclusively on the basis of a person being a “D,” “I” “S” or “C” is not the most useful or appropriate way to apply that tool.

What's been interesting is when you run comparison reports through DiSC. One of our clients in a hiring mode has ensured all of their salespeople have taken a DiSC assessment. They've been hiring and interviewing a variety of candidates. When they add member to the sales team, they have him or her complete a DiSC assessment that’s specific to sales, run a comparison report between that individual and one or two people that could be their supervisor. This gives the company a sense of the best fit between a manager and a new hire. Is Fred going to be a better fit for our new hire? Or Sally? Or Peter? Which one is going to sync up with them the best and where are the commonalities?

Mind you, this approach is not done with the purpose of ensuring everyone in the company looks, acts and sounds the same. However, at the same time, they don’t want to put people in their environment that are such polar opposites that they’re not going to collaborate. They're looking for these better matches from the very beginning.

Now let’s pair that with the candidate’s EI scores. Suddenly, you have a richer picture that indicates whether or not that the person is going to succeed. We recently learned that when the U.S. Air Force began screening for emotional intelligence, its recruiters increased their ability to predict successful hires by 300%.

This may or may not be the “Holy Grail” for hiring managers, but the combination of DiSC with emotional intelligence screening could go a long way toward helping managers understand who is going to be a very good fit for the culture and who is going to be an obvious misfit worth avoiding.

Once They’re Hired, Then What?

Let’s say you’ve just hired a high-level individual at the Director tier or C-Suite. After your new hire has spent at least six months in your environment, there have almost certainly been some new developments by this point: They’re more entrenched in the organization, so others have formulated opinions about them based on their firsthand experience.

Now it’s time for you to marry both DiSC and EI so that you can get a behavioral assessment that provides insight into their tendencies as well as how that person is “showing up” in front of others. This should serve as an excellent baseline, but you’re not done yet.

With the DiSC assessment and EI findings complete, have the individual do a 360 self-assessment to reveal how and where they might need more help. This sets up a structure each year or so for them to be reassessed to show what progress they’ve made.

Everyone in the organization should take a DiSC assessment so you can run comparison reports that allow you to compare new hires, managers, director boards, peers and colleagues.

Reduce Your Hiring Risks

See, understanding how your leaders and emerging leaders in the organization doesn’t have to be a guessing game where you hope your newly installed hire at the top is going to be somebody who lasts for a long time. By conducting several assessments, each one will uncover something different about the person as they validate one another. With the DiSC and EI combination, it’s a better way to manage and shape your talent.

About the Leading With Courage Academy

The Leading With Courage Academy facilitates leadership assessments, workshops and coaching programs, including DiSC, emotional intelligence, and employee engagement, that help individuals and teams realize peace of mind and confidence as more effective leaders.

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