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Selection in the Real World


Jeans resized 600I was recently invited to guest-lecture in an undergraduate Personnel Psychology class. I was quick to accept as this particular professor started me down the I/O path that I’m still enjoying today. I started thinking about what I could tell undergraduate students that would be valuable to them both in and out of the classroom, and I landed on the topic of employee selection. Hiring has become so much more complex since I sat in a BSU classroom, and it really hasn’t been that long.

In many companies employee selection is marked by a few common practices:

1. It begins with an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
Large multinational corporations use Applicant Tracking Systems to efficiently gather information about large numbers of candidates, evaluate minimum qualifications, and screen out candidates who do not meet basic job requirements. This technology often dictates the kind of information that candidates provide as well as the order and format in which the information is submitted. This can lead to a lengthy application process, which may leave candidates feeling frustrated and poorly-represented by the information solicited. These feelings are likely exacerbated if the individual fails to meet the minimum qualifications and is immediately eliminated from the selection process.

2. It’s not what you know, it’s who you are.
A recent Hyper Island study found that 78% of 500 leaders and employees surveyed rated “personality” as the most desirable employee characteristic, followed by “cultural alignment” at 53%, and “skill set” at only 39%. It is no longer enough to have the right education or previous experience. Candidates must also be able to demonstrate critical individual attributes, such as drive, teamwork, and innovation.

3. You may not be applying for just one job.
When applying for a given position, candidates’ qualifications may be evaluated in terms of the job for which they are applying as well as more broadly. Organizations may apply candidate information to multiple job profiles to determine not only if the individual should be hired, but also where he/she should be placed. In addition, given the challenges associated with finding and retaining high-quality talent, employers are increasingly considering candidates’ long-term potential. Proctor & Gamble’s Careers site offers the tag line “We hire the person, not the position”. They state that they hire not just for a given position, but with the expectation that each candidate should have the potential to grow in the company.

4. Just like a good pair of jeans, it’s all about fit.
Organizations are largely defined by their unique values and culture. To ensure continued success it is critical that they hire employees who fit with that culture and can embody those values. Candidates who demonstrate a high level of aptitude for the job, and perhaps even show leadership potential, may not be hired due to a lack of fit. Employers know that employees who are not a good match for the organizational culture may perform well in the short-term but be difficult to retain.

What common selection practices have you seen in the past? What trends do you see building in talent acquisition?

Can Spite Be Productive?


Society generally views spitefulness as a purely negative characteristic – there are hundreds of parables to this effect dating to the beginning of recorded history. However, an article in the New York Times recently described findings from several studies showing the bright side of spitefulness. Here are some highlights: 

  • Spitefulness tends to come with elevated levels of aggression, psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism.
  • Men tend to be more spiteful than women and young people more than old.
  • Stressful circumstances – partisan politics and divorce among them – can provoke spiteful outbursts from otherwise temperate people.
  • According to anthropologist Frank Marlowe, what looks like spite is often a matter of image-making. “If you get a reputation as someone not to mess with and nobody messes with you going forward, then it was well worth the cost.”

Spitefulness isn’t something Hogan measures directly – although our research department told me spitefulness would possibly correlate with the Hogan Development Survey Skeptical, Bold, Leisurely and Mischievous scales – but the article was an excellent illustration of one of our core concepts; that there is no such thing as a purely negative (or positive) personality characteristic.

Intrigued? Check out how your greatest strength can become your biggest weakness here.

Hogan Distributor Profile: Sierra Alta


India is mysterious, intriguing and vast. So it is no surprise that countless talent management firms have gotten lost navigating the folds of this complex and ever changing market. Thus it is with great delight the Hogan Global Alliances Network can say we have Sierra Alta at helm of the region’s distribution channels. With managing partners Dr. Pradnya Parasher and Rahul Baswani bringing a combined 60 years of psychology and business expertise, we are overwhelmed by their team’s ability to consistently grow and expand the Hogan brand throughout the Asian subcontinent since 2010.

Like many of our distribution partners, one of the keys to their achievement is conducting regular certification workshops, consistently targeting the same major Indian and Sri Lankan cities on an annual cycle. “Keeping a consistent rotation of workshops provides us with a perfectly soft but proactive way to market Hogan Assessments as well as Sierra Alta’s breadth of talent management capabilities,” notes Rahul. “We are able to build on these training opportunities with additional educational services, such as our regularly scheduled Hogan Graduate Club meetings, and Best Practice sharing events.”

Another, lesser known secret to Sierra Alta’s continuously rising success is leveraging Hogan’s global network of multinational consulting partners. “We take pride in partnering with organizations such as Right Management and Aon Hewitt,” says Dr. Parasher. By supporting the Indian business units of these well established players in the market to deliver quality consulting around the Hogan instruments and reports, Sierra Alta has developed invaluable partnerships which they can call upon when their own clients require support on projects that go far beyond their current capacity. “We never have to worry about responding to our clients’ ever growing needs,” she adds.

“But this wouldn’t be possible without the experiences that so many other distributors around the world are willing to generously share; Mobley Group Pacific in Greater China, A&D Resources in Denmark, and Peter Berry Consultancy in Australia, just to name a few,” Rahul explains. “The Global Alliances Network is a great family and we look forward to partnering with each and every one of them on international projects.”

With this positive attitude and willingness to collaborate across boundaries, Sierra Alta in India is a perfect embodiment of what we like to call a ‘Truly Global Hogan.’


Ask @DrTCP: The under-representation of women in leadership


There are three popular explanations for the clear under-representation of women in management and entrepreneurship, namely: (1) they are not capable; (2) they are not interested; (3) they are both interested and capable but unable to break the glass-ceiling: an invisible career barrier, based on prejudiced stereotypes, that prevents women from accessing the ranks of power. But what if all of us are missing the bigger picture? We asked Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic.

What do you think is the cause for the under-representation of women in management?

In my view, the main reason for the uneven management sex ratio is our inability to discern between confidence and competence. That is, because people commonly misinterpret displays of confidence as a sign of competence, we are fooled into believing that men are better leaders than women.

Do men actually have an advantage over women when it comes to leadership?

The only advantage that men have over women is the fact that manifestations of hubris — often masked as charisma or charm — are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women.

Why are we drawn to narcissistic individuals for leaders?

Leaderless groups have a natural tendency to elect self-centered, overconfident and narcissistic individuals as leaders. Freud argued that the psychological process of leadership occurs because a group of people — the followers — have replaced their own narcissistic tendencies with those of the leader, such that their love for the leader is a disguised form of self-love, or a substitute for their inability to love themselves.

What do you think about the “lean in” debate pushing women to be more like their male peers?

It strikes me as a little odd that so much of the recent debate over getting women to “lean in” has focused on getting them to adopt more of these dysfunctional leadership traits. Yes, these are the people we often choose as our leaders — but should they be?

What are women doing right when it comes to management and entrepreneurship?

In a comprehensive review of studies, Alice Eagly and colleagues showed that female managers are more likely to elicit respect and pride from their followers, communicate their vision effectively, empower and mentor subordinates, and approach problem-solving in a more flexible and creative way, as well as fairly reward direct reports. In contrast, male managers are statistically less likely to bond or connect with their subordinates, and they are relatively more inept at rewarding them for their actual performance.

Do women have an unseen advantage by being more humble?

Arrogance and overconfidence are inversely related to leadership talent. Whether in sports, politics, or business, the best leaders are usually humble — and whether through nature or nurture, humility is a much more common feature in women than men. For example, women outperform men on emotional intelligence, which is a strong driver of modest behaviors.

So, then, what’s women’s biggest barrier to achieving equal representation in leadership positions?

One of the biggest problems is the lack of career obstacles for incompetent men, and the fact that we tend to equate leadership with the very psychological features that make the average man a more inept leader than the average woman. The result is a pathological system that rewards men for their incompetence while punishing women for their competence, to everybody’s detriment.

What can we do to stop the unnatural selection of male leaders and entrepreneurs?

First, we can debunk the myth of leadership and entrepreneurship as masculine. Psychological research has shown that even when we know stereotypes are inaccurate, they still affect our decisions. Uprooting the stereotype that men are naturally better suited for leadership and entrepreneurship would encourage competent women and discourage incompetent men. Second, we can bet on competence rather than confidence – for investors to bet on actual rather than self-perceived talent.


SIOP 2014 Symposium: The Emergence of Abusive Supervisors. What Makes Them Mean?


SIOP Hawaii
The discipline of leadership is highly romanticized (Meindl, 1985). In particular, the popular press sensationalizes leaders by assigning them heroic qualities and crediting them with herculean feats of success. Common observation, however, suggests great people are almost always bad people (Acton, 1887) and that power is abused with surprising regularity (Kellerman, 2004). A relatively new wave of leadership research has exposed this phenomenon under a variety of banners, including petty tyranny, destructive leadership, and managerial derailment. Abusive supervision is one such area that focuses on the hostile actions perpetuated by a supervisor against their subordinates.

Although abusive supervision is a relatively low base-rate phenomenon (Tepper, Duffy, Henle, & Lambert, 2006), the annual damages it perpetuates in terms of health, productivity, retaliation, and employee withdrawal has been estimated to exceed $20 billion (Tepper, 2007). Clearly, the reduction of such behavior would greatly benefit followers and firms alike. While an impressive literature has been amassed on the consequences of abusive supervision (see Schyns & Schilling, 2013), relatively less empirical work has addressed why leaders – intentionally or otherwise – engage in subordinate mistreatment. At the time of his major review, Tepper (2007) noted only three studies on the antecedents of abuse, leading to calls for future research into its origins. Recognizing the likelihood abusive supervision is a multilevel and dynamic phenomenon, the goal of the current symposium is to address this question from a variety of vantage points, including leader characteristics, leader self-concepts, and environmental forces. Our ultimate aim is to help guide future research into this burgeoning arena.

The first study revisits the “great man,” or, in this case, “terrible man,” approach to leadership by pitting the normative side of personality (the Big Five) against its darker or maladaptive counterparts. Further, as a new trait model, Simonet, Bolen, and Nei argue derailing tendencies (as assessed by the Hogan Developmental Survey, HDS), owing to their interpersonally dysfunctional nature, should incrementally predict an abusive proxy above and beyond normative trait models. Using sequential logistic regressions and dominance analyses, they find multiple dysfunctional tendencies (e.g., excitable, cautious, leisurely, dutiful) increase the likelihood of classifying a supervisor as being too forceful and insensitive in their leadership style. Limitations are stressed and implications discussed.

Next, adopting a person-situation interactional approach, Schilling and Schyns provide a more likely portrayal of how supervisors’ dark side traits express themselves in harmful ways. Specifically, they found a main effect for Machiavellianism predicting abusive supervision. This finding was moderated by stress indicating Machiavellianism is less predictive of abusive supervision under high stress situations. They also found a main effect for narcissism predicting abusive supervision. This finding was moderated by procedural justice indicating that narcissism is more predictive of abusive supervision under low procedural justice situations.  Collectively, findings suggest self-interested persons are more likely to mistreat subordinates, a tendency which is exacerbated by unfair procedures and potentially, at least for Machiavellian individuals, mitigated by stress.             

The final panelist considers an array of macro-environmental factors which, to date, are woefully underrepresented in contemporary studies of abusive supervision. Using an ecological framework, Mulvey further develops the model of abusive supervision by considering the contextual factors of instability, perceived threat, cultural values, and an absence of checks and balances. Mulvey argues that this perspective allows for a richer and more useful set of research questions and conclusions. As such, this paper highlights the limitations of a purely behavioral perspective providing a contrast to the other papers.

This symposium will be held Thursday, May 15.

References available


Faking It


Hubris or humilityEver heard that phrase “fake it until you make it”? In his latest book, Confidence, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic advises that “when you are competent, fake modesty. When you are not, fake competence. And if you cannot fake competence, then try to fake confidence.” 

While the narcissistic attitude that goes hand in hand with charm and enthusiasm can be a handy asset for promotion, it has its downsides. People with narcissistic tendencies are likely to be impulsive, unrealistic in evaluating their abilities, pigheaded, and entitled, to name a few.

In a recent online trend, humble CEOs are being lauded for their superior leadership styles and healthy organizations. Learn more about the perfect balance of hubris and humility in the workplace.


The Dark Side of Learning Agility


Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Conference Board event in New York City which focused heavily on talent management strategy, and many of the sessions were insightful. A presentation by Korn/Ferry covered a hot topic in the talent management circles these days – learning agility. As defined by Korn/Ferry, learning agility is a professional’s ability and willingness to learn from experience, and subsequently apply that learning to perform successfully under new or first-time conditions. Agile learners possess innate tendencies that position them for success in leadership role. Professionals with high learning agility are described as people who...

  • Continuously seek new challenges
  • Solicit direct feedback
  • Self-reflect
  • Think critically in first-time situations
  • Work well with all kinds of people
  • Thrive on change

Korn/Ferry measures learning agility through an assessment, and participants are scored on 5 dimensions: Self-awareness, Mental Agility, People Agility, Change Agility, and Results Agility. Although Hogan does not have a separate assessment to measure Learning Agility and its 5 dimensions, I do think a savvy Hogan interpreter can find intuitive connections between the 5 learning agility dimensions and Hogan’s HPI scales. I’ll save a full mapping Hogan to learning agility for another blog post.

In my opinion, Korn/Ferry’s philosophy is solid and makes intuitive sense, but is slightly flawed. Is there such a thing as the dark side of learning agility? Here at Hogan, we think too much of a good thing can derail one’s career. This can be especially true of agile learners, who constantly seek new knowledge in several areas. Although they take initiative, possess a broad-range of knowledge, and are generally curious people, they might also be described as arrogant or know-it-alls. Perhaps the agile learner is willing to apply only his knowledge or ideas, which can create a reputation of being difficult to work with and stubborn. I believe too much learning agility can derail an agile learner’s career. Have you ever met someone who seems to know everything about everything? Has anyone observed a derailing, agile learner?

Hubris v. Humility: Which side do you pick?


Hubris or HumilityWe’ve talked about the good aspects of being a narcissist, especially when climbing the corporate ladder, but what about humility? When placed side-by-side, the two qualities bring to mind arch nemeses – hubris, the ever-charming yet self-absorbed compatriot, and humility, the soft-spoken, humble negotiator.

While narcissists’ secret power is their compelling charisma which masks their weaknesses, the humble wield an arguably even greater power – the power of modesty.

People with low self-confidence and ambition constantly evaluate their weaknesses and work tirelessly to improve while individuals with narcissistic tendencies tend to listen to positive feedback and ignore the negative.

Jim Collins, a leading authority on management and author of Good to Great, spent more than 30 years investigating why certain organizations are more successful than others. Collins found that companies led by modest managers consistently outperformed their competitors, and tended to be the dominant players in their sectors. He also found that humble leaders tended to stay at their organizations longer than their arrogant counterparts, and that their companies continue to perform well even after they leave because humble leaders often ensure a succession plan before they depart.

Learn more about the secret powers of both narcissistic and humble leaders and judge for yourself which side you’re on in our ebook Hubris or Humility?


Everything is Awesome!


Legos[Spoiler Alert – This will pretty much ruin The LEGO Movie for you if you haven’t seen it]

I love LEGOs, so when two of my kids wanted to see The LEGO Movie I happily took them. In the movie, the wizard Vitruvius protects a superweapon known as the Kragle from the evil Lord Business. When Lord Business steals the Kragle, the wizard prophesizes that the Special will arise and find the Piece of Resistance to destroy the Kragle and Lord Business’s evil plans.

Enter Emmet, an ordinary construction figure who always follows the instructions and builds things by the book. He’s far from special, but when he stumbles upon the Piece of Resistance he is thrust into leadership over a rebel group of creative Master Builders. They tell Emmet of a time when characters from all playsets worked together to build hodgepodge worlds and adventures. Confused and angered by this chaos, Lord Business built walls to separate the worlds. He now intends to use the Kragle to freeze the world in this ordered state.

We eventually learn that the story is playing out in the imagination of a boy playing with prized sets belonging to his father, a micro-managing businessman. The playsets are separated by walls, and signs reading “Hands Off” or “Do Not Touch” warn others not to play. The father chastises his son for combining characters and playsets, starts to use Krazy Glue to permanently set the pieces, but notices his son’s work and asks him about it. The father is shocked to learn that he is the antagonist in his own son’s struggle to play freely. His eyes now opened to his suffocation of his son’s creativity, the father relinquishes control and lets his son lead the way as they play together.

Snuggling with my kids, I was overtaken by the allergens floating around the theater’s air-conditioning, as well as the movie’s message. All too often we micro-manage others instead of allowing them to explore their own way. As an admitted control freak, I struggle with this as a parent. But the more I considered things, the more I thought that The LEGO Movie applies not only to parenting, but also to how business can kill innovation.

Think about it. Are your organization’s leaders solely focused on doing things by the book? Do they think that combining things in new ways ruins them? Do they build walls or otherwise separate people? Do they micro-manage? Worst of all, have they said “That’s the way we’ve always done it”?

If you answered “yes” to more than a few of those questions, you may work for Lord Business. But the good news is you can be Emmet. Not everyone is creative, but creativity can come from almost anywhere. So throw out the Krazy Glue, grab some nail polish remover, and unglue your bricks at work.  Break them apart from how they should be and see if you can make something better. Make a mess and don’t be afraid to fail. Toss out the instructions. See if someone on the other side of the wall wants to play. You may be able to create something really innovative if you’re not afraid to put your pieces together in a new way or combine your pieces with someone else’s.

But…when you’re done innovating at work, go home. Put your things down. Resist that urge to pick up your iPad or turn on the TV. If you’ve got young kids, get down on the floor and play with them. Let them lead. If your kids are older or if you don’t have any kids, no worries. LEGOs are awesome for grown-ups, too.

Drinks with Hogan | Personality Assessments for Selection


Everyone has made a bad hire. In fact, research shows that more than half of new employees fail. In the third installment of our new video series “Drinks with Hogan”, Global Alliances Consultant Dustin Hunter briefly walks us through using personality assessments in a selection context.

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