Adding Employee Profiling to your Business Hiring Strategy

Your green email icon bubble says you have 270 messages—all resumes for the new job position you posted yesterday. You sift through them, starring the ones that look good, discarding the ones that don’t. You select 15 candidates for interviews. The applicants are strong, each one with skills that would bolster your business and whose personalities would be a good addition to your team.

Businesses often talk about benchmarking in relation to their financials, but employee profiling can also help in setting a hiring standard that measures potential employees against your highest performers—kind of like creating an I.Q. test specific to your business.

Dr. Charles Handler, an analyst and thought leader in talent assessment with Human Capital Institute, says employee profiling can be very insightful and effective in talent search strategy. In this methodology, whoever creates the assessment identifies high-performing employees in your business and gives them a survey designed to measure a variety of key characteristics related to job performance. Those scores are then used to create a benchmark score profile that defines your hiring standard.

“The idea is that the response pattern of high performers serves as a benchmark against which all applicants are filtered. The logic being that applicants that score the same as high performers have something in common which indicated that they too have what it takes to be a high performer,” says Handler.

Like any hiring methodology, employee profiling has its pros and cons.


  1. Removes Subjectivity: After resumes have been vetted, personalities assessed, and past employers interviewed, employee profiling is one step beyond our subjective view of an individual that can measure data and analytical skills and measure suitability for a position in your company.

  2. Allows Delegation: Having a measurement tool and hiring standard in place makes it easier to delegate hiring duties to management and others in the company.

  3. Proficient and Cost Effective: Employee profiling can not only speed up your hiring process, but make it more thorough—plus, it doesn’t take much to implement such an assessment. And though the initial assessment creation may require you to hire a third party, having that profiling tool at your fingertips can leave you less reliant on a talent firm to find your perfect candidate.


  1. Umbrella effect: In most employee profiling cases, employers have one assessment created for their business. That is, one test meant to capture overall performance criteria, but not the data specific to each job in a workplace. As Handler says, “The profile created as the hiring standard is created by only a few individuals. The fewer the data points used to construct the profile, the less confidence one can have that it is actually a full and accurate picture of performance.”

  2. Test Results are not a sure thing: It cannot be automatically assumed that a candidate’s poor performance on an assessment is an indication that they are not a fit for the job. It’s important to account for what may have led to poor performance. According to Handler, “It is one reason a job analysis is an important part of creating a selection system, as it allows one to ensure the key elements of job performance are accounted for in the selection process.”

  3. Cannot stand alone: While employee profiling is a valuable tool to be added to a company hiring strategy, it is an accompaniment to interviewing, checking background resources and listening to your own business instincts. In other words, you still have to sift through those 270 resumes to select those few who will go through employee profiling.

There is no question that hiring the right people is tricky. And at the same time, finding the right candidate before investing time and money in training is imperative. When the interviewing process is done and background sources have been checked, employee profiling might be one more step you can take before you hand over a new contract.

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