Characters reveal character

     The human resources departments of law enforcement agencies go to great lengths to try and hire the best candidates. Oral interviews, background investigations, psychological testing and polygraphs are par for the course in the hiring process...

     Following the Trait Summary are the Insight Statements, which create the majority of the report. Each of these concise statements describes a key piece of the candidate's personality. There are thousands of possible high-impact, non-generic Insight Statements. Examples of positive and negative Insight Statements include:

  • Intelligent, creative and innovative; always looking for a better way to get the job done.
  • Has an exaggerated sense of self-importance; overly sensitive to criticism.
  • Thinks everyone is out to get them.
  • Intense angry feelings; unlikely to take responsibility for the hostility they feel.

     "People doing hiring or interviewing can use the Candidate Insight Report to quickly make a decision whether they want to move the individual along in the interview process or look at other candidates," explains Ryan. "This short, easy to read and understand synopsis of the individual can be used as a road map for the interview."

     Ryan gives as an example an individual whose profile indicates he is stubborn. Knowing this, the interviewer may adjust the questions he asks or how he interprets the responses. "Ultimately the question becomes, 'Can we live with this stubborn individual who has some other positive traits?' " says Ryan.

     Although developed for corporate America, Bolke views this pre-employment screening opportunity as a great advantage to law enforcement. "With such a public trust and high-level authority position, it's critical this type of technology be used in the hiring process," he says. "For what it costs to complete one of these profiles, it is worth it to keep a horrifically bad apple out of your organization.

     "Combining this test with a polygraph and background investigation will really get all your ducks in a row."

Improving employees
     The Candidate Insight service also can be used to better aid current employees when pursuing career paths and resolving conflict. The law enforcement field requires officers with diverse skill sets. There are detail-oriented investigators, workhorse traffic enforcement officers who can't stand being behind a desk and enjoy issuing tickets, and deceptive, quick-thinking undercover operatives, just to name a few.

     "You need all of these people to make law enforcement work," says Bolke. "But what often happens is people end up in the wrong position and get labeled as potentially bad employees. If a tool like Candidate Insight were used constructively, you could get much better use of your employees by better fitting them to their jobs."

     Traits deemed negative could be turned into positives, and positives as negative. Bolke gives as an example the position of undercover narcotics agent. A by-the-book, detail-oriented, high moral authority person would be better suited to a highly proactive, uniformed crime suppression unit than undercover work. In the same way, an individual whose profile indicates a strong sense of right and wrong and yet a tendency toward deceptiveness would be better suited to the undercover environment.

     "If we can take some of these people who have negative traits and find places where those negatives are positive, you can better utilize your personnel just based on this," he says. "All of a sudden this person is going to be your best employee rather than your worst because you have him in the right place for what his personality is."

     Knowing an employee's positive and negative traits also can aid in dealing with problems in work performance. Bolke uses one of his own negatives -- doesn't like to be wrong -- as an example. If his supervisor would call Bolke into his office and tell him that how he handled an incident was wrong, Bolke admits he would immediately put up his defenses, and what could have been a constructive discussion becomes a conflict.

     But if both parties know the personality traits ahead of time, and that such a way is probably not how to approach this person, another plan of attack can be made. Instead of saying the officer was wrong in his tactics, the supervisor can suggest that there may be a better way to handle the incident and ask the officer for suggestions in how to improve his job. "They are going to be far more receptive to a way to better improve how they work as opposed to telling them they were wrong in how they handled something," explains Bolke.

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