How to Use Assessment Tools in Hiring Recruiters

QUESTION: What traits/factors do you look for in your P3 results (Drake P3 is an assessment tool for new recruiters) when looking to add recruiting staff to your own team? My biggest problem is not in recruiting or controlling the deal. My issue is controlling the staff. I’ve taken the DrakeP3 test myself and plan to incorporate it as a test into my hiring process to see if it makes any difference in helping to identify candidates that are actually going to take the role as a recruiter in our firm and  work hard. Blaine from Seattle, WA

ANSWER: This is such a good, loaded question because the biggest mistake you can make is using the assessment tool thinking you are going to weed out the bad recruiters and bring in the good ones. DrakeP3 may have changed some of the parameters, and my gut feeling is you could talk to people at Drake and they’ll walk you through profiles for good recruiters.

Just as a quick summary, if it wasn’t obvious, DrakeP3 is an assessment tool to help you uncover the traits that have been present in the biggest potential recruiting billers and the most successful people out there. I’m going to go through what those are including what to look for, what not to look for, how to use the test, and how not to use the test when trying to find people that will work hard.

During the first decade of my career as a recruiter, I figured out the biggest problem in my ability to lead a recruitment team was my inability to hold people accountable. When I switched that parameter and I got very clear with expectations on the front end, and then, following through with a very strong accountability system on the back end, the same people that “stunk”, bluntly, excuse my French, in the ‘90’s, became successful in the 2000’s.

The profiles of the recruiters I hired stayed pretty much the same. Instead of thinking “I can’t” manage; “I can’t lead”; “I can’t put systems in place” I began to look inward.  Instead of asking, “Why can’t I find people that will work hard?” I said, “What is it in me that is allowing so many people to fail?” 

Back to Blaine’s question about the DrakeP3. You want fairly high extroversion, the ability to talk to people. Generally, as owners of recruiting firms, we have no problem finding high extroverts. There is no surprise in the test or in the assessment when you get the results that say they’re pretty high on extroversion.

The next trait is dominance which really is the ability for one to assert themselves. You want that above zero—above the line. You will think you have interviewed Mr. or Ms. Perfect Recruiter and they are going to be at or below the line in dominance. Bluntly, when I took the test for myself, I was just slightly below zero.

Confrontation and assertiveness are not traits that are a natural trait for me. It is something I have had to train myself in through a ton of frustration and things not going my way.   Finally I had to say, “Well, I’m going to have to get stronger with my ability to confront,” or choose to continue to be mediocre both in management, leadership, and the ability to raise my billings.”

Very low assertiveness, meaning negative 5, 6, 10, is probably going to be too hard to train as a good recruiter.  If you have somebody with very low assertiveness or dominance on the DrakeP3, they are going to “buy” everything a candidate or client tells them, meaning if a client tells them, “We only pay 15%. We want a 6-month money back guarantee,” it’s going to be significantly harder, but not impossible, to naturally train them and have them evolve to the point where they can put up a sales argument to get that person to pay your terms.

The other trait measured is conformity. You want this trait below-zero, meaning somebody that is very, very high in conformity. If you gave them six steps and step 3 wasn’t present, they might stop at step 2 going, “I don’t know how to move forward.” Somebody lower in conformity, a little bit lower in conformity, figures out a way around things and gets a little bit creative on solutions. Very, very non-conformist could be somewhat passive/aggressive and take your training and then decide, “Screw it. I know a better way than Blaine to do this work. I’m going to do it my own way.” So, you don’t want too low, but you want that below zero.

Low patience is the next desired trait. If I leave a recruiter leaves a message and you say you’ll call me back sometime next week and I check in with that recruiter and they say, “Well, what’s going on with Joe? He said he might call me back sometime next week.” Well, it is sometime next week.” “Yeah, well, it’s still not the end of the week.” They are extremely patient and very high patience is not a good formula for recruiting. Generally, you want them in the negative numbers.

With that being said, many, if not most, of the recruiters I hired did not conform anywhere near perfectly with the DrakeP3 test. What the assessment gave me were areas I had to coach my employee. If I only hired close to or semi close to Drake ideal recruiters, I would have missed out on my three biggest billers

The assessment is somewhat firm dependent. If I only hired a couple of people that were really anywhere 2+, 3+, 4 above the dominance line, which I did not.  A lot of people were -1, -2 or zero, but I know how to coach those people. I knew how to teach them the language. What the assessment will not tell you is those that will do the work. Statistically, and I measured this, one in 20 people that you hire will naturally have the initiative to be successful without you providing defined structure and accountability.

When I come across owners that are around a long time and say, “If you really thought about it, Joe, the recruiter you hire that you gave them a little bit of training, you gave them like a little bit of a nudge, turned their shoulders in the right direction, went off on their own and figured out the business without a ton of coaching is about 1 in 20.” That doesn’t mean 1 in 20 are successful, but the model of recruiting is 6 or 7 out of 8 fail. When that no longer became acceptable to me, I began asking myself, “What is it in me that is allowing this result in them?”

I began to figure out what it took to be successful and I engineered daily and weekly recruiting metrics on minimal, acceptable performance on activity, and integrated this into the interview process. 

On the other hand, I have seen people subscribe to Drake P3, and before they do the first interview they will do the assessments to determine whether to interview the person or not based on their profile. I think that is a huge mistake. The best use of a Drake P3, or any other kind of assessment tool that you might be using is to give it to those you like after the first interview.

If I thought I wanted to bring them back, I would sit them at a PC in my office and have them do the Drake P3. They may or may not have been interested, but I had that as a basis for my second interview. Because if they were low dominance, for example, I could ask them about situations in their career where they had to confront somebody in their job and how they handled it.

Those are just some ideas on how to use assessments. The big thing I am going to warn you and implore you not to do is to not use it as a tool to figure out who will do the work or who to hire. It will give you insights to go deeper into the interview to determine if they will match your culture.

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