So you nailed the interview.

You developed an easy rapport with the interview committee, charming them with that adorable story about your new puppy. They were impressed by your experience and skill set. You even deflected their tricky question about your greatest weakness by insisting that you work too hard and care too much.

When the job offer comes, you eagerly accept. But as months pass, you find yourself hitting the “snooze” button a few more times each morning.

Work isn’t working. You try your hardest, yet everything -- from your chatty nature to your disdain for bureaucracy -- seems to clash with those around you. How could such a promising position turn out so badly?

Maybe the problem doesn’t begin with you. Perhaps it boils down to fit - how your behaviors and inner drives align with this particular job and workplace.

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In fact, research shows these employment mismatches are common, with as many as 46 percent of new hires failing within 18 months. One common mistake, says Jill Berg, a talent optimization consultant with The Predictive Index, is when managers hire a candidate they like, vs. one who best fits the position.

It’s the reason that Berg, who owns Spherion Staffing in Fargo, helps businesses incorporate the Predictive Index into their hiring and management practices. The algorithm, often called “PI,” is sort of like a Match.com between the right employee and the right job.

Jill Berg is the owner of Spherion Staffing. Submitted photo
Jill Berg is the owner of Spherion Staffing. Submitted photo

While a resume reveals someone's experience and skills and an interview can uncover whether a candidate jibes with the company’s mission, the Predictive Index digs deeper. It requires candidates to complete an assessment that measures four core human drives, then creates a behavioral pattern for each job candidate that provides insight into how they work, how they like to be managed, whether they do better working independently or with others, and what motivates them.

In a world where Gallup estimates the cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times that person's salary, smart hiring is more important than ever.

The key, then, is to make sure the job suits that person, rather than expecting the person to squeeze themselves into a job like an ill-fitting pair of shoes. A bad fit is exhausting for the employee, frustrating for the supervisor and unproductive for the company. "We are completely turning people into human pretzels when we don't work with them in their area of strength," Berg says.

Developed by WW II flight navigator

The PI was first developed over 60 years ago by Arnold Daniels, a World War II flight navigator who led more than 30 successful missions across Germany without a single combat casualty to his team of 11 men.

U.S. Army Air Corps officials were so impressed by this feat that a psychologist was sent to work with Daniels and study the secret to his team's success. By 1955, after extensive study of leading psychologists and collecting data from thousands of people, Daniels crafted the algorithm for the first Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment. Today’s Predictive Index is based on the same algorithms, although it’s now wrapped in super-fast software and has added additional features such as team-building components and cognitive-skills assessments. Available in 140 countries and 70 different languages, it has become known as one of the most reliable and extensively studied tools for matching the right person for the right job, Berg says.

Locally, large employers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota use the PI as part of its hiring process.

"It has been helpful! By creating job profiles in Predictive Index we have found job matches for candidates and noticed these matched new hires have stayed with the company for a longer period of time," says Kristin Gille, AIRS-PRC, talent partner with BCBSND Human Resources.

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So how does it work?

In the first portion of the behavioral assessment, applicants are asked to choose from a list of adjectives to describe what they think they’re expected to be like in the workplace. In the second portion, they list the adjectives they think they really are.

The questions will measure the intensity of four different human drives:(See chart on page .... for more information).

Dominance, the need to exert influence on people and events.

Extraversion, desire for social interaction with others.

Patience, need for consistency and stability.

Formality, drive to adhere to rules and structure.

Everyone possesses some combination of these four drives. An individual’s behavioral patterns are also shaped by which drives are more pronounced and their ratio to the other drives. For instance, someone who ranks high in dominance and extraversion, but low in formality and patience, might make a great salesperson, because their assessment reveals they love interacting with people, don’t mind taking risks and like facing new clients every day. Conversely, if someone ranks high in patience and formality, but low in dominance and extraversion, they might be happier in a behind-the-scenes role that requires an eye for accuracy while working alongside the same trusted team members, year after year.

You + job = Perfect match?

The key is to see how that person's profile (the overall summary of how they score in each of these four areas) aligns with the ideal profile for that position. Berg works with employers ahead of time to create this template for a perfect candidate, in which they will also fold in factors such as the cognitive demands of the role.

The farther the candidate's drives deviate from the ideal drives for the job, the more stress they will experience in that role. "You will see absenteeism, burnout. You will see people saying they have so much anxiety," Berg says.

That isn’t to say someone who deviates from the ideal profile will automatically be ruled out, Berg says. Hiring managers still will sometimes click with a certain candidate, and be determined to hire them even if they lack some of the necessary skills and behaviors.

At that point, Berg reminds managers they will need to assess whether they are willing to coach that person through those gaps or to delegate those areas to someone else.

“Sometimes there are wrong seats,” Berg says. “Then it's up to us, as leaders, to figure out what would be a better fit for that person in the organization?”

Of course, not everyone likes the idea of using an algorithm to hire human beings. In HR Today, a magazine for human-resource professionals, one West Coast-based consultant cited examples when managers ignored assessment results after an applicant aced the interview. “Had we made the decision to hire based on that personality test, we would not have hired some very good people,” she says.

Berg stresses that the test is just one of many factors considered in the candidate-vetting process. When working with companies, she stresses that they focus on people’s strengths first, and that there are no “bad” behaviors, just differences. PI is based on the idea that placing people in jobs where they can succeed by being who they really are is a win for all involved.

Want to see how you stack up on PI’s Behavioral Assessment? If you don’t mind sharing your email or getting contacted by a customer service rep, take a sample test at: https://www.predictiveindex.com/demo/