How Talent DNA Helps You Hire Better People

How Talent DNA Helps You Hire Better People

If there’s one thing recruiters have no time for, it’s tools that are put in place, not because they add any value, but because everyone thinks they should be there. It’s expected that you have this tool or that tool. One of the most common tools you’ll find in this category? Talent Assessments. 

Talent assessments are everywhere in the recruiting industry. They are that can of chili everyone keeps in their pantry—there because you feel like you need it, even though you know it’s not bringing any value to your food supply (apologies to canned chili lovers, if those even exist).

So how did the recruiting industry get to this point? Well, to be fair talent assessments at face value seem like a pretty good idea. They give you, on paper, a way of profiling a candidate and learning a little bit more about them. But when you begin to pull the layers back, the flaws that exist inherently within talent assessments start coming to light:

–Assessments are just that—tests for individuals to take that give you one single point of reference for an answer. There’s very little data that goes along with them, just deadend answers.

–The buck stops at candidate profiles. So you’ve got your candidate tested and put into an assessment category. You use that category to decide whether or not it’s a good fit. If that candidate turns into an employee, what good is it to you what kind of category they fell into on your talent assessment?

–The most glaring issue is talent assessments lump candidates into one of a few broad categories, and that’s as specific as the results get. Sure, there’s extra info for each category that can give you a little more insight into what that candidate might be like based on the category they landed in, but you’re still only allowing for a few different “types” of candidates to be sorted. Not to crap on Myers-Briggs, but there are more than 16 different types of people in this world.

But you still need a way to measure skills within candidates beyond interviews, and that’s where our team at Kinetix takes it up a notch. Who needs talent assessments when you can have a fully-fleshed out Talent DNA?

Talent DNA is a system powered by our friends at BestWork DATA. The process is very similar to talent assessments, so it’s familiar to candidates, but it gives results that are much more thorough and in-depth than an assessment gives—a win for candidates and a win for you. That’s because what you end up with isn’t a category that your candidate should be shoved into, but rather a set of data points about your candidate that can be analyzed in many different ways to tell you more about your candidate.

Though there are eight indexes on which Talent DNA ranks a candidate from lowest to highest, I’ll give you a taste of three of these indexes here:

Faking Good

This is a good first example of a Talent DNA “strand” that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s as good or bad as it seems. Put simply, faking good is a measure of a candidate’s willingness to be frank and honest in all situations, even if the situation isn’t going so great in their favor. You may look at this and think, So it’s how good a candidate can lie? Not quite. We view it more as a candidate’s coachability. If someone is high faking good, they’re going to need a stronger hand to guide them than someone who is low faking good might. There are many times when you actually want someone is high faking good (think: sales).

Cognitive Skills

Cognitive skills is pretty much what it sounds like, but it’s an exercise is overcoming your biases as a recruiter and manager. Rather than thinking of someone with low cognitive skills as “dumb” and high cognitive skills as “smart,” this index shows you how quick someone is on their feet, or, how fast they process information. If your candidate scores low on cognitive skills, but the job they’re applying for is a slow-paced one, they might be just the right fit.


This index is all about motivation, and nothing to do with how well a candidate would perform on your team. There’s tons of behavioral interview questions you can ask that tell you how much of a team player a candidate is; this DNA strand tells you how a candidate is motivated—are they driven by their singular performance, or are they driven by the entire team getting to a win? If you’re looking for someone who needs a ton of recognition or should be competitive, go for candidates scoring low on team.

As you see with just these three examples, Talent DNA gives a ton of info. Rather than grouping candidates into one category, you’re looking at how high or low they fall into ALL the categories. You can see how all these intersect to build an interesting profile for a candidate that can be viewed and weighted in many different ways. The best part is, the data points aren’t good just for hiring candidates. Once the candidate becomes an employee, these are tools you can use in coaching employees as effectively as possible—good stuff to know when it comes to managing an employee’s performance.

Learn more about Talent DNA and all the strands that make it up when you download our white paper for free, today!

About the author

Kate Weimer is a Marketing Lead at Kinetix, specializing in social media recruitment marketing and account management. Using a combination of her background in social media and love for the written word, she’s shoving all buzzwords aside and making HR and recruitment marketing work in today's digital world. Want to hang? Hit her up on Twitter or LinkedIn , or contact her via email.

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