Successful companies and organizations have realized that when you attempt to teach a pig to sing, you become very frustrated and it annoys the dickens out of the pig. If you want someone to sing, the best animal to look for would be a songbird. They are infinitely more qualified than any other animal and will be happy doing it.

The animal kingdom is a great place to compare what were talking about when it comes to selecting the right person for a specific job. A rabbit is great at running and hopping, not so good at flying and tree climbing or swimming. A squirrel is great at tree climbing, jumping from branch to branch and running and not so terrific at swimming, hopping, or real flying. A duck is great at flying and swimming, but not so good at running, hopping, and tree climbing.

Imagine asking each them to become another animal for 10, 15, 25, or 30 years. They wouldn’t be very productive or happy either!

Personality does make a difference in a new hire’s success. Testing can help you make the best decision. Jim Collins, author of Built to Last (Harper Business, 1994), has consistently stated, “People are your most important asset. Actually, the right people are your most important asset and you can’t get the right behaviors or results from the wrong people. How do you measure the right behaviors or personality traits?

Selecting a top-performing employee can be very difficult and challenging. How can any hiring manager truly know a job applicant after a 30‑ to 50‑minute interview? They can’t and don’t. It’s nearly impossible to actually get to know someone in such a limited time frame.

More often than not, potential hires are considered based on their experience, skills, and appearance. The point is that 50 to 70 percent of most job qualifications hinge more on personality than skill. Different jobs require different personality traits. You would certainly look for them in the interview process. If your company needed to hire a salesperson, you may want to hire an individual who is assertive, persuasive, self-assured, an excellent communicator, pressure oriented, determined, self-starter, creative, and goal‑oriented.

But what if you were looking to hire a computer technician, would you want the same personality traits as the salesperson or would you rather look for someone who is into details, is good at solving problems, has patience, good analyzer, logical, steady and be of service to others.

Now, the million-dollar question is which of the descriptors are skills‑that could or can be learned in a classroom or training program and which are more, as expected, influenced by our personality. The answer to the question, without doubt, is that most of them are personality traits, not skills. Individuals may attempt to learn or display them to get the job, but these same traits most times are short-lived, with the person returning to use his or her ingrained personality traits to attempt to do the job he or she was hired for.

Regrettably, without impartial assessment, the hiring decision maker often never uncovers important behavioral or personality traits. Conventional hiring practices focus the hiring decision maker on personal appearance, whether the hiring decision maker gets a good “gut feel” and what the applicants have done, not whom they actually are. At the end of the day, job performance‑‑good or bad, focuses on how well the individual’s personality is in alignment with the job. Personality and behavioral assessments, when correctly implemented, are excellent tools for helping to manage and motivate each employee, while helping match the right person to the right job.

Turnover is the inevitable result of mismatching people to jobs, people to companies and people to people. The term “human resources” is misleading. Just because you have humans, working in your company doesn’t mean you have resources. For people to be productive, they must believe in themselves and their contribution. People must feel that their talents and personalities are compatible with their work and their co‑workers. They must believe that they can use the unique talents inherent in their individual human nature.

Turnover costs more than you think!

Although the true cost of employee turnover can be difficult to calculate, and rarely seen on a profit and loss statement, most CEO’s, Presidents and CFO’s do not disagree that bad hiring decisions affect their bottom line.

Calculating tangible and non‑tangible costs is often a real eye‑opener for most managers. Since time is money, personnel costs‑‑the number of hours multiplied by wages‑plus benefits and additional costs mount up when one considers the time that must be committed to the interview process, reference checking, reviewing resumes, and placement of employment ads.

Tangible costs can include advertising, employment agency fees, professional assessment, relocation expenses, training, salaries and benefits, staff changes, termination, and outplacement fees. Meanwhile, the intangible costs, those that cannot be weighed accurately, are business losses resulting from customer relation’s problems and lost sales, ebbing employee morale, lost productivity, and missed opportunities.

Companies and organizations state that turnover can range from $6,500.00 to turnover a non-performing hourly employee to $500,000.00 or more to turnover a senior executive.

What are companies and organizations doing to insure better hiring?

Successful companies are strengthening their selection process. They have discovered it all starts with hiring the best possible person for the job. Hiring personnel are being trained to conduct interviews that are more effective; assessments and tools are being utilized to get a better understanding of the candidate, to match his or her personality and behavioral traits with the job. Hiring managers are trained to use the interview probes generated by the assessments to gain additional insight into the candidate’s personality strengths and weaknesses as they relate to the job he or she is applying.

These same companies are investing their hiring dollars more effectively. Doing the most important thing first, selecting the candidate who has the best opportunity to succeed in the job.

Bill Schult is the founder of Maximum Potential Inc. He is a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst, developer of Proception2, Business Motivators and author of DISCovering Your Style.