What’s in a Benchmark Profile?

I bet you don’t want this answer – it depends. But, truthfully, it depends.  Normally I will develop a benchmark profile to portray how a person thinks and makes decisions, how they prefer to behave, and what gets them up in the morning (other than caffeinated products) and carries them through the day.

I usually will work with executive staff and ownership to identify the other side – what characteristics are important for an individual to be successful in both the position and in the company.  Recently we placed an accounting professional in one of our client company’s.  We knew from establishing the benchmark profile that we needed a person who exercised balanced decision-making, enjoyed analyzing and solving problems, had little need for social interactions, and enjoyed theoretical problem-solving.

These are just a few characteristics of the benchmark profile, but when my client asked when the candidate was going to decide on the job offer, I had to explain that the chosen candidate had previously advised me that they would decide by the end of the week. So, my client needed to be patient as the candidate was thoroughly analyzing all the benefit parameters, the work hours, the commute, etc., consistent with their candidate and benchmark position profile.

DEI Neutral?

Another one of our clients offered that the benchmark profile development process is beneficial in conducting a candidate neutral evaluation process – meaning that the assessments used do not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, race, sexual orientation, gender preference, or disability.  In one sense, the benchmark profile is neutral in all respects, and enables a selection process to incorporate this objective and validated data into the candidate review and selection process.  As DEI initiatives grow within companies perhaps it will help to develop more objective and beneficial benchmark profiles for company positions.

Developing the Profile

In this COVID (and post-COVID) world I realize what I say may be a challenge for some, but think about the process first, then the outcomes. It’s important to understand what functions the position will perform, who the selected candidate will interact with, what type and kinds of decisions the position will be expected to evaluate and make, what the office layout will be (whether virtual or in the office), where the selected candidate will be challenged – both from ownership, other executives, managers, staff, and clients.  In essence, we need to understand and develop a successful candidate benchmark profile.

As part of this process, we also need to develop a solid understanding of the client company’s environment and culture, so that we can select out value and motivator factors for the company that will resonate with a benchmark candidate profile.


This may sound straight-forward, and actually it is.  Part of the challenge with many companies is to help them to understand that the “one best way” that they have been using from other assessment companies needs further evaluation.  I am not a Frederick Taylor fan, but I have been asked to assess these “one best way” assessments and hiring processes a good amount of my recruiting career. Yes, there are other ways.

Normally, I ask a prospective client to consider a different option, evaluate that option objectively against the chosen assessment process, and consider using both their existing assessment and a complimentary benchmark profile for a position alongside each other. In this manner the prospective client can more objectively evaluate each of the assessment results and identify whether or not there is merit in considering another way.

  • Think this opportunity is something new?
  • Consider that Peter Drucker, over 50 years ago, wrote about the “knowledge worker,” one who generates value with their minds.
  • Are we fully embracing these opportunities?
  • Have we developed assessment processes that benchmark the important decision-making, behaviors, and motivators needed by our companies during and post-pandemic?

Thanks for providing your attention.  Be well and stay safe.

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