Plum ensures that you know the Talents of your candidates to help you know how they will perform. Sometimes, a candidate's Match Score may differ from their interview performance or your own gut feeling about their potential in the job.
It may be the case that a candidate has a high Plum Match Score but does not seem right for the role.
Plum is likely one of many data points in your candidate selection process. We suggest it be used alongside other job relevant information such as interview performance, a candidate’s resume, past work experiences, technical skills, etc. While the ideal candidate will score well in all of these areas, we know this is not always the case and sometimes information can be conflicting. We encourage you to decide the weight you wish to give to each of these data points, including the Plum Match Score, prior to evaluating candidates. In the instance of conflicting information, you will already have a standardized process for evaluating and combining different sources of information.
Plum can help surface people for the role who may not fit the typical mold but would still be very successful in the role. It may be worthwhile to take a deeper dive into if the reasons you believe the candidate may not be a good fit are truly reasons they may fail in the role or if these lean more towards ideal preferences in a candidate.
Candidate Responses on the Discovery Survey
A candidate may seem like a great fit but has a low Match Score. One possible reason for this is candidate effort. Did the candidate take the time to properly and thoughtfully answer the questions? Perhaps the candidate did not answer honestly but rather responded in how they thought they should respond. Both of these would impact the candidate’s assessment results. It is always important to request from candidates that they answer as honestly as possible and that they allow themselves proper time and space to take the assessment.
That being said, it is important to remember that knowledge, skills, and Talent are distinct categories. A candidate can have the knowledge and skills but not possess the Talents required to thrive in the role. A great match will have all three.
If you decide to proceed with the candidate, despite them having a low Match Score, we recommend tracking that candidate to see if they were able to be successful in the role.
Sometimes, a candidate may have a low Match Score but do well in the interview. This is because the Plum Discovery Survey is designed to assess someone’s natural abilities or baseline. An interview, on the other hand, may tap into natural abilities but will also evaluate an individual’s compensatory strategies for Talents. A compensatory strategy is a technique individuals use to help them perform a Talent well, even when it is not something that comes natural to them or drives them. Candidates with a lot of work, training, coaching or mentorship experience can have developed very strong compensatory strategies. These strategies are important as many jobs will require individuals to perform all ten Talents at some point. It is certainly important to ensure candidates have compensatory strategies in place for Talents that drain them. However, at Plum, we argue that a great match for the role is a candidate who naturally enjoys using the Talents you deemed essential for the role, and who will not have to rely heavily on compensatory strategies as this can lead to burnout long term.
We always need to be mindful for bias as it can sneak in at many points in the selection process. For example, it can be the case that referrals or preferred candidates can come with a personal bias of having an employee that is similar to a peer/superior, which is why there were referred. Another common source of bias happens in interviews. Research has shown that candidates who are extraverted, agreeable, and generally perceived as “likeable” tend to score well, despite that they may not be the strongest candidate for the role. We encourage you to trust in the Match Criteria you selected as being important for the role and that an individual’s Match Score is a representation of how well that individual fits with that Match Criteria. In addition to using Plum to assess a candidate’s Talent fit, one way to decrease the likelihood of this type of bias interfering in the selection process is to use structured interviews over unstructured interviews.
Match Criteria Quality
We do recommend a minimum of 3 Expert Contributors (when it is possible of course) for your Match Criteria creation, to ensure that it is a strong representation of what Talents are needed to be successful in the role. Having a significant amount of low scores for a role may raise the question as to whether the Match Criteria you are setting for a role actually corresponds adequately to the profile types in the candidate pool that your organization is attracting. For more information on the best practices for Match Criteria creation, consult this article.