Where Does Behavior Fit in the Hiring Puzzle? Blog Feature

By: GreatAmerica on March 17th, 2021

Where Does Behavior Fit in the Hiring Puzzle?

Hiring and retaining top talent is the topic of the day. In keynote addresses, headlines, peer groups and conference rooms everyone wants to know, “How do we hire for long-term success?”

Much of our current hiring processes are designed around a candidate’s background.  Does the person have N+ certification? Experience in business-to-business sales? Are they a college graduate?

Why then do some people with similar experience and education succeed and others fail?  With all the talk of millennials you might think this is a new dilemma, but history shows us it is not. This was the basic question Walter V. Clarke, an accomplished organizational psychologist first asked himself in the 1940’s. He noted that in many cases while experience and education were similar, he reasoned the success or failure was due to the difference in the individual’s behaviors. A behavior is the way in which one acts or conducts oneself.  An example of a behavior might include logical, methodical or calm.

Yet very little of our hiring process takes into account the behaviors needed to support the role in our company, our company culture and the interactions with our customers. Different natural behaviors are a better fit for different roles.  For instance, do they like to multi-task and seek variety and change or are their behaviors more methodical and systematic?

There are a couple common methods for assessing behavior in candidates:

  1. Behavior-based interviewing is rooted in the belief that past performance predicts future performance. Basically, if they’ve been able to demonstrate that behavior in the past, they should be able to do so again in the future. It is a type of interview question that invites the candidate to tell us a story, give us a specific example of a time they did something. We listen for the application of their behaviors and how those relate to the role we have open.
  2. Behavioral assessments are tools, usually online, that identify strong behavior tendencies a candidate has. Walter Clarke reasoned that individual behaviors differed which were the key elements in predicting success. As a result, he went on to develop a behavioral measurement tool, the Activity Vector Analysis (AVA) through in-depth research, theories, studies and joint development with other prominent psychologists. His is just one tool designed to match the natural behaviors of the person with the behaviors needed for success in the role.

Sally Brause, speaking at the BTA event in Orlando this week explains, “Understanding the behaviors required for success in a position and then using an objective assessment tool to determine if a candidate has those behaviors, can give you great insight that can otherwise be difficult to achieve through an interview.”

Assessing behavior fit for the role and company culture can help you hire and retain top talent.

If your hiring process is not giving you the results you desire, consider adding a behavioral assessment component to your process. The addition of a benchmark for the behaviors needed for success in the role will help strengthen your ability to identify and hire for long-term success.


GreatAmerica is the largest independent, family-owned national commercial equipment finance company in the U.S. and is dedicated to helping manufacturers, vendors, and dealers be more successful and keep their customers for a lifetime. GreatAmerica was established in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1992 and now has offices in Iowa, Georgia, Minnesota, and Illinois. In addition to financing, GreatAmerica offers innovative non-financial services to help our customers grow.