In industries where safety is critical, hiring managers are faced with the problem of how to discern between candidates who are safety conscious and those who are not. The stakes are high because the potential costs of hiring an employee who isn’t safety conscious can result in lost time, damaged equipment, fines and injuries (some fatal), higher costs and lost revenue.
Although it’s true that some hiring managers have a ‘knack’ for selecting candidates that turn out to be safety conscious, most hiring managers are at a loss to know how to predict which candidates are most likely to be safety conscious and those who are not. Plus having a ‘knack’ is not a transferrable skill because it’s largely based on instinct and subjective reasoning, so can’t be taught to others. With so much at stake – for the new employee and the company – a more scientific method of selection would take the guess work out of critical hiring decisions.
Predicting a potential employee’s aptitude for safety is possible with the use of behavioural assessments. These assessments should not be confused with assessing skills – a certain skill set is still required to manage job requirements effectively and this should still be done by hiring managers. What behavioural assessments are good at doing is identifying behaviours associated with safety and the degree to which candidates possess these behaviours – with a high degree of accuracy. This allows hiring managers to make a solid hiring decision based on evidence of safety behaviours rather than intuition or a ‘gut feel’.
Although there are a variety of behavioural assessments, those specifically focused on safety will evaluate a candidate based on the following list (or something similar) of characteristics. Depending on where the candidate scores on a scale for each characteristic, it can help to determine if their natural behaviour is safety conscious or safety averse.
Candidates who score high on the compliant scale tend to adhere to organizational guidelines and are usually rule followers. Those who score low have been found to often ignore authority and rules and can be reckless, causing accidents and injuries
Candidates who score high on the strong scale are steady under pressure. For those who score low, they are found to be panicky and will often buckle under pressure, making mistakes that could prove to be costly and even fatal.
Aside from being a pleasure to be around, it has been found that cheerful candidates have an even temperament and are more focused. Conversely, those who rank low on the cheerful scale are found to be irritable, are not focused, often make mistakes and lose their temper.
Candidates who score high on the vigilant scale are focused on the task at hand and therefore tend to be safer than those who are easily distracted.
Cautious scorers are those who evaluate their options before making risky decisions. Those who have low scores in this area tend to be reckless and are prone to taking unnecessary risks.
Candidates who score high on the trainable scale tend to listen to advice and enjoy learning. Conversely, candidates who score low in this category tend to be arrogant, over-confident and hard to train.
To learn more about how behavioural assessments can help your organization hire safety conscious employees, contact us.