How to hire the right employee

Sometimes the worst part of being an employer is the tedious hiring process. Initial questions include: Where do I start looking for candidates? What should the qualifications be? How long should it take to find the right person? The list goes on, but a new Internet-based tool by Kolbe Corp. (Phoenix, Ariz.


Sometimes the worst part of being an employer is the tedious hiring process. Initial questions include: Where do I start looking for candidates? What should the qualifications be? How long should it take to find the right person? The list goes on, but a new Internet-based tool by Kolbe Corp. (Phoenix, Ariz.) can take some second-guessing out of the employee hunt.

The firm says its Kolbe Warewithal Online program, located at , gives managers a new tool for making recruiting and selection decisions, developing high-performance teams, improving leadership and career management, and enabling innovation.

The Kolbe Concept looks for four creative instincts, or Action Modes, that can be found by evaluating job candidates. These abilities are:

  • Fact Finder: Handles information gathering;

  • Follow Thru: Organizes information;

  • Quick Start: Deals with the unknowns; and

  • Implementer: Manages the tangibles.

Action Modes are determined by taking the company's Kolbe A Index text, which reveals candidates' natural strengths and abilities and gives participants the language to describe them. For each Action Mode, a natural advantage is decided by a person's intensity level. These levels include insistence, accommodation, or resistance. Test results show 20% of participants are insistent, 60% are accommodating, and 20% are resistant.

Hands-on example

The Kolbe Concept was used recently by Buschman Corp. (Cleveland, O.), a steel fabricator of metering rods for paper mills. Tom Sherman, Buschman's president, took the test and used it in the firm's employment process—from hiring to education. "After taking the Kolbe Index, I was amazed how accurately it predicted my approach to getting things done," he says.

Mr. Sherman adds that Kolbe's process generates synergies and helps create teams with a more optimal balance of participants. Each team begins with a different conative makeup—the reasons behind people's actions—for each project. If this mix isn't thought out properly, a "conative meltdown" could occur and cause an imbalance of skills, tendencies, and behaviors. If an engineer is working alone, then the conative makeup of the support staff is also a factor.

Though managers were concerned when Kolbe was implemented at Buschman, participants progressed from adapting to individuals to working together as a team. Buschman's job candidates now take the test and get a full report and career coaching, even if they aren't offered a job.

Insistent engineers

Since engineering relies on collecting and assessing data, determining priorities, and defining terms, insistent Fact Finder is the Action Mode most common for engineers. Among these Fact Finder engineers, nine of 10 are insistent types with a tendency to go into research or design engineering. Likewise, insistent Quick Start or Fact Finder engineers may be especially inventive, while insistent Follow Thru engineers could make excellent software programmers or systems engineers. Insistent Implementers can be good model builders and experimentalists. Even engineers found to be resistant or accommodating regarding these modes can offer traits beneficial to a company. "It would be wrong to think that to be a good engineer you had to fit a certain Kolbe profile," says Mr. Sherman. "I even think there is a role for resistant Fact Finder engineers."

Three kinds of "Fact Finder"

An Insistent Fact Fact Finder Will:

An Accommodating Fact Finder is willing to:

A Preventive Fact Finder won't:

Source: Control Engineering with information from Kolbe Corp.

Collect data

Review data

Require documentation

Define terms

Use terms properly

Need to be appropriate

Establish priorities

Work within the priorities

Offer justifications

Determine appropriateness

Respond appropriately

Be tied to tradition

Seek specificity

Give specifics

Get bogged down in minutiae

Provide historical evidence

Review historical

Over-analyze evidence

Quantify and rank order

Accept rank ordering

Need on-going evaluation

Create analogies

Test analogies

Need exact comparisons

Assess probabilities

Go with the highest probability

Choose the obvious solution

Put it in writing

Review written material

Require written proof

Author Information

Lara Jackson, editorial assistant

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