After They're Hired ... Don't File Away Those Assessments!
It was a long, challenging search but you’ve finally identified the ideal
candidate. You used a thorough process to define the requirements of the
position. After a second round of interviews, you administered a well-validated
selection instrument and ran several reports. After reviewing all of the
information, the answer was clear…the candidate is perfect for the role!
Now what happens to the information that you gleaned from this process? Once the
candidate has accepted the offer, many organizations I know will promptly file
the assessment results in their recruitment files and close off the search. As
helpful as the reports were in the selection process, they then gather dust.
In my work as a Leadership Coach I have found inordinate value in the use of
Assessment results AFTER the selection process is complete. Once the new hire is
in the new position, powerful insights can be gained from the reports, providing
further value to the organization and new hires alike.
I recently coached a sales executive, Peter (not his real name), who had moved
into a challenging new role. Within the first week of joining the organization,
Peter and I met for the start of a 3-month executive onboarding program. One of
the first steps in the process was to have a full debrief of the model
underlying the Assessment tool and the reports that were produced, based on his
In our initial meeting, it was evident that Peter was inordinately fired-up
about charting a new course for the sales organization. He was like a racehorse
charging out of the gate, eager to have his direct reports embrace the ideas he
had, based on his experience at his former company.
We walked through Assessment. His particular profile revealed that he was a
highly results-oriented, driven individual, who verbalizes a lot and displays an
extremely fast-pace. As we talked, he began to see that rather than creating a
connection with his direct reports… something he was very interested in doing…
he was in effect shutting them down. Peter was so excited to share his ideas
that he was coming on like gang-busters.
Peter’s direct reports were shaking their heads saying, “Who does he think he
is? I wish he would simply LISTEN to us and we could tell him about the
challenges we face in this company and how they need to be addressed.”
In many organizations it would be months down the road, when the proverbial car
is already in the ditch, that Peter’s manager would contact Human Resources with
the command to “give this guy some 360-degree feedback so he can see what he’s
doing to his people!”
Building in a confidential, one-on-one debrief of the Assessment up-front,
before the pressures are too intense and the leader has already created a “name”
for himself… is a proactive investment in preventing derailment. In my research
on success factors and derailers in the first 3 months with a new employer,
“listening and observing” is one of the most important behaviours for leaders to
demonstrate. Providing the benefit of this research, coupled with information
from the individual’s own profile, is a powerful way to help the new hire
internalize the messages they need to get right away.
Peter and I were also able to spend time with his Manager, helping her to
appreciate where she might need to help Peter to course correct in the first few
months, because of his particular profile.
So… what could you do to more proactively and deliberately build an Assessment
debrief into the process of transitioning a new employee into their new role?
What additional support could you be providing to the new hire’s manager? How
might this set them both up for success?
In my Clearing the 90-Day Hurdle™ process, I administer a Personal Profile
Analysis (PPA) to each coaching client. This is a highly-reliable and
well-validated instrument available through Thomas International Inc. We use
this information to determine the areas of focus for our coaching. It helps the
client and I recognize the strengths that need to be leveraged in this
all-important timeframe. In the first 3 months with a new organization, personal
branding is key. It is critical to leverage strengths quickly to help to carry
my clients through the overwhelm that often accompanies starting in a new
It’s also important to pay attention to the watch-outs or “limitations” in
Thomas language, so that I can help focus my client’s energy on avoiding the
typical derailers in the first 90-days and pay close attention to those areas
that the individual’s profile indicates might be his or her particular nemesis.
We then leverage a report called “How to Effectively Manage”, which described
how the particular candidate is best managed. We use this information to ensure
that the new hire is proactively managing upwards with the new boss, right from
the start. What does the boss need to know about my client’s motivational and
developmental needs? I find that discussion of this report fosters strong
connection between the boss and new hire. It helps to cut through what I call
the “politeness dance” of the initial few months. It is my experience that too
much time is wasted walking on eggshells in the early days of forming this key
relationship. Open, candid conversations can be jump-started through effective
use of the Thomas tools or other effective Assessments.
So what happened to Peter? With the insights gained from the Assessment tools,
he was able to acknowledge to his direct reports that his eagerness to pursue
the changes he desired was likely getting in their way. By building in time to
listen to their ideas and using a more collaborative process to develop a shared
vision, he rallied his team to fantastic year-end results. After sharing his
profile openly with his direct reports and his boss, he asked for their support
to tip him off whenever his behaviour suggested that he wasn’t listening and
benefiting from the ideas around him. Peter is thriving in his new role and his
company is delighted with the leadership he is providing.
For more about how I use the Thomas reports in my Clearing the 90-Day Hurdle™
program, I welcome your questions at
Sue Edwards is a Leadership and Business coach who specializes in working
with leaders in transition to new roles and new organizations. To download a
free copy of Sue’s report: “Top Ten Success Factors (and Seven Deadly Sins) for
Leaders Transitioning into Organizations”, click here