Executive Search – Personality Profiling and AI

Making a hire at Executive/ C Suite level is a daunting task. Some companies like to go on gut instinct and whilst I’m a big believer in listening to your gut, using technology such as psychometric/ personality profiling can add a further dimension and give a more scientific and informed set of data to consider.

When hiring at a senior level, particularly C-suite, there must be a direct correlation between financial investment, time, and diligence.

 These are after all the people responsible for leading and shaping the future of the organisation. As seen over the last number of years, these are the people that make key decisions when faced with wider socio/ political disruption such as a pandemic, war, or climate change.

How do you know if your latest senior hire will work well with the rest of the senior management team? Will they lead in a way that is consistent with your culture and values? Will they drive the change required or be a calming influence when you need to steady the ship? Are they capable of leading from the front delivering hard messages and driving transformational change?

The cost of making a bad hire at Executive level, according to a study by economist Eileen Appelbaum and sociologist Ruth Milkman, can cost up to 213% of a c-suite level employee’s salary. We must also consider the effect such an appointment can have on staff morale, potential employee and customer attrition, productivity, and reputational damage. From this you will see why gut instinct alone is a risky strategy.

At Artemis Executive Search, as part of our search process, we assess the behaviours of candidates through personality profiling. We use Thomas International which creates a DISC profile – assessing the traits of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance. We survey our clients at the start of the process by having them create a Human Job Analysis which ultimately does 2 things.

1. It allows us to ensure all people involved in the hiring process are on the same page in terms of they type of person they are looking for, or it shows where there is divergence, allowing a conversation to be had to acknowledge this and be aware or review as we progress throughout the process.

2. It gives us as Search Consultants an understanding of the type of behaviours we are looking for when assessing and interviewing candidates.

During the process, usually at second stage interview we will have our candidates carry out their personality profiling by answering several questions. This creates the candidates unique DISC profile.

We can then assess how closely they match the clients human job analysis. It should be pointed out this is not the deciding factor as all other aspects from CV/ skills/ experience/ interview technique and often gut come into play as well.

Of course, there are many other types of psychometric/ personality profiling testing available nowadays such as Myers Briggs, McQuaig, and Insights and this field will no doubt become even more useful and insightful as AI continues to develop at pace.

There are nuances between all these tests of course and there are too many tests now available to mention them all. Some will look at observable behaviours whilst others concentrate more on cognitive processes and preferences. While all the above have their individual merits and go through periods of popularity some are more prevalent within the selection process due to a higher level of visual representation ie. graphs, whilst others are more suitable for understanding the makeup of your existing board/ senior team, for example the Insights team wheel.

There are some tests that can look at the level of critical thinking an individual employs and others will be situational judgement tests. There is certainly a lot of choice.

Whatever we think of personality profiling or behavioural testing one thing is clear, we are entering completely new and unchartered territories with the development of AI. With Dating websites currently claiming to find your perfect match by simply looking at a photo of your face, who knows where we will be in five- or ten-years’ time……….


For more information on how we help our clients hire business critical senior appointments get in touch with me – sarahm@artemis-humancapital.com