We hired them for their abilities and fired them for their personality.


I was recently working with a long-term client of Hogan when my contact made the above statement. As the discussion continued, the client cited behaviors such as arrogance, emotional outbursts, lack of decisiveness, stubbornness, poor interpersonal skills, inflexibility, and ass-kissing as a few of the reasons why their last senior-level hires did not work out. When we examined the company’s track record over the past two years in hiring senior level talent, more than half of the hires did not work out. How could this be? It’s a Fortune 500 company, a leader in its industry, and its hiring process was refined. The company used the best recruiters, was careful, involved many people in the process, and invested a significant amount of resources in finding top talent. What were they missing?

Interestingly, during our entire discussion, not once did my contacts mention a lack of technical competency, education, intelligence, or general ability as the reasons for failure. Like most organizations, it was clear the hiring process focused on finding talent with the desired work experience and technical competence. In fact, the company was incredibly efficient at finding intelligent people who had a proven record of successful performance. These candidates were the best of the best, leaders in their field, and yet, over half failed miserably.

Toward the end of our discussion, it was clear the organization did not understand how each of the candidates’ personalities fit the job and the organizational culture. They made the all too common assumption – if the candidate was successful at Company A and met the competency requirements, he or she will surely be successful in our company. Like many other organizations, they failed to understand what is happening under the surface – beyond the polished interview, impeccable resume, and solid performance record. It’s a story we hear daily at Hogan, and here are some of my key points to anyone considering using Hogan’s inventories in a pre-hire situation:

PROVEN – Time and again, personality has shown to predict future job-related behavior as good as or better than interviews, cognitive measures, and simulations. From a statistical standpoint, validity coefficients increase exponentially when organizations supplement these hiring methodologies with a valid personality assessment.

INSIGHTFUL – Hogan’s assessment battery provides unparalleled insights into a candidate’s day-to-day work style, derailment tendencies under stress, and core value drivers. As mentioned above, combine these insights with the other common components of the hiring process to develop a thorough recruitment and onboarding process. These insights can also be used to strengthen the behavioral based interview process by targeting specific areas of strength or concern which might have not been noticed earlier in the hiring process. 

ORGANIZATIONAL FIT – Hogan’s pre-hire solutions answer the following organizational fit questions for hiring managers:

    • How well does this candidate fit the critical success factors of the job or workgroup?

    • How well do the candidate’s core values match those of the organization?

    • Are the candidate’s innate, unconscious leadership biases congruent with the long-term strategy of the company?

    • What are the most critical personality risks of hiring this candidate, and are we willing to put up with those risks?

  • How can we maximize the onboarding process and what development opportunities should the hiring manager direct his or her focus?

AFTER THE HONEYMOON – Hogan provides a predictor of what will happen after the “honeymoon period” is over. When the pressure is on and your candidate is no longer a newbie, how will they react to the environment? Hogan’s report can provide insights into the potential areas of risk, and managers can take proactive steps to prevent a potential failure. 

As leadership talent begins its great exodus from the workplace over the next couple of years, those organizations who can effectively strategically staff critical roles will hold a competitive advantage. It only makes sense that hiring managers and leadership selection teams use all available forms of information to ensure a candidate is the appropriate fit for the job and the organization.