CloneIf you look at statistics on the predictive reliability of the hiring process, you’ll find that the hiring process is, on average, about 50-60 percent reliable, if executed well.

The point is that hiring is a bit of a gamble, and many would say that a 50 percent chance of success is unacceptable. Most employers should realize that, given the frailty of the hiring process and the hostile talent climate, they really need to up their new hire success rate. Recruiters have come to accept 50-50 percent predictive reliability as the norm, but that isn’t actually acceptable.

One way to boost the new hire success rate is employee profiling, which can help companies find clones of their superstars during the selection process. Employee profiling means taking a look at top performers and finding out if they share any common traits that are not generally found in lower performers. This should produce an organizational success profile: an ideal combination of traits that will lead to success in a given organization.

You can’t just assume that someone who succeeds in competitor organization will succeed in your company. In fact, this study found that star investment analysts from one firm generally failed to perform when moving to a new firm. This indicates that success depends on context. Developing an organizational success profile will help you hire people who will succeed in your specific organization, increasing the predictive validity of your hiring process.

Employee profiling doesn’t have to be a game-changing exercise in HR analysis. It can be a modest project — even one supported by an intern. It’s likely you’ll need success profiles for each different role and perhaps an overall success profile for roles which are too uncommon for large-scale analysis, such as office managers.

I’d recommend that you start on your most numerous or important roles, such as sales, production, or development. The process from here is fairly simple: take a look at performance reviews and talk to managers to ascertain who your top 20 percent of performers are in each specific role. Then, conduct a detailed profile on each of these performers. Look at their personality profile, skills, years of experience, qualifications, industry background, and their styles of working and communicating. You might even look at their outside interests. You can include any legal and fair quality or trait.

What you are looking to establish are patterns or traits that cluster among your star performers. For example, do all your best salespeople have science degrees? Do they focus mainly on social-network marketing? Do they come from a specific industry area? How much experience do they tend to have?

Once you establish a success profile, you can use it in your hiring process to find clones of your superstars, increasing the predictive validity of your selection and assessment processes.

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