Who we are and the results of being

- in recruitment -

By Ecaterina Cocora

“Most of who we are is the result of the interaction of our genes and our experiences. In some cases, the genes are more important, while in others, the environment is more crucial.”
Professor John Ratey, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Who are we? What are we? What makes us take specific decisions and DO what we decide? What motivates us and why some of us are good at something and others not. Why do we like particular colors, or why do we feel comfortable in a specific environment where others are not so comfortable?

Why do we resonate with specific music or tones or words that, for others, might mean nothing? Why do we naturally tend to love people or analyze things or feel happy when we reach the targeted results? Life, personal or professional, puts us in such different and sometimes unexpected situations as a suite of personal choices. Why do we choose what we choose?!? There are so many questions!

My interest is in having a straightforward way of analyzing people’s behavior, specifically in a working context, that ensures the employee’s happiness and performance.

I have always been an optimistic person. After many years of readings, analysis, and research, I’ve concluded that the latest neuro-science discoveries bring light and facilitate our understanding.

Working in the human resources area, I never liked to play with humans’ lives and always looked to have a solid ground of my decisions when placing a person in a new job. Seeing or talking with a person for the first time trying to match perceptions with the CV, the tech, and soft skills with whatever the position implies is not easy, especially if we aim for the perfect match.

What a perfect match means? In my opinion, we achieve it when the employee is happy, motivated, and gets out the best of his/her version performing on the job. 

We need to simplify and get to the essence. We need to understand the required BEHAVIOR on the job and match it with what the candidate loves to do and naturally/inborn tends to act. Narrow all these down to what matters related to KPIs, cultural values, and team relationships.

Still, what is behavior and what generates it?

As many scientists consider, the behavior is produced by the interaction of specific chemicals (neurotransmitters – dopamine, serotonin etc., and hormones – testosterone, oestrogen, etc.) and brain networks. However, this theory implies also considering that:
 – different levels of these chemicals can produce different effects: excite or inhibit
 – these substances do different things in different brain parts
 – each interacts with others in different ways under different circumstances
 – each harmonizes with many other bodily systems and brain circuits, setting up complex chain reactions
 – the combination of these substances represents the internal triggers for action still influenced/altered by the external ones
This is the wonder of the extremely complex human being!

The scientific studies that were completed during the last 20+ years give us several hypotheses that we may benefit from when recruit and select:
 – we can’t label people or fit them into ‘boxes’
 – neuro-plasticity is real and express the brain’s capacity to change and adapt as a result of experience – behaviors are based on perception (perception of self and the environment), so if perceptions change, the behavior will change too

We, all, are confronting with astonishing complexity.
Solving the dilemma of “a good hiring or not” is strictly dependent on the tools used. There are no right or bad candidates, but only contextual matches or mismatches, between person and environment, between the person and the task to accomplish.
Choosing the right instrument to reveal the candidates’ behavior or a person’s expressed natural tendency to be, makes all the difference and validates perceptions. And analyzing the self-expressed behavior is far more objective and predictive. Still, based on this, we have to determine in the same objective and predictive manner the appropriate behavior that brings performance on the job.

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