_MG_7405r2_IEA_2013_byKenSergi_Ginger_Lapid-Bogda_960xWhen my long-term client (a social subtype 7) wrote me an email asking if I could create a hiring process that would hire large numbers of excellent candidates that could be up and running quickly and that also would use the Enneagram, my internal reactive answer was NO! I was (and still am) so firmly convinced that Enneagram type should not be used for hiring since type has no correlation to skills or to self-mastery (aka level of psychological health, Emotional Intelligence, and Social Intelligence); skills and EQ (Emotional Intelligence), however, do matter.

But, given that my client, the social subtype Seven, always thinks about what is possible, and I have done enough self-development to double-back on my presumptions when such a reactive response occurs, I pondered this: How can this be done? The “this” refers to using the Enneagram for a group hiring process.

This was created in 2012, then streamlined in 2013 and 14 with incredible results at Salesforce.com, the winner of multiple prestigious awards for innovation. The key was not to use type for hiring but to use candidate self-mastery, with the Enneagram system as a guide. Then we added multiple team activities in which candidates could be observed all day long by “assessors” – organizational managers, technical leads, HR specialists, recruiters, and administrative support staff – for their self-mastery, Social Intelligence and ability to work effectively on a variety of team-based tasks.

Studied extensively by Deloitte Touche, the results they found were extraordinary: a faster hiring process (down from 7-8 months from sourcing to on-boarding to 3-4 months); better quality hires (higher engagement, more resilience, and higher productivity); and lower cost per hire (both in terms of managerial time and recruiter time). The actual process, as well as a comparison between traditional hiring and Social Intelligence Hiring (SIH) can be seen in these two graphics.


But, then the question was how to translate this one-day exhilarating hiring process into a two-hour IEA conference presentation? It was not easy, but it was dynamic, exciting, and created quite a buzz around the conference later on. With a completely filled room (attendance had to be closed as soon as the session started as there was simply no more room), the three other SIH consultants – Matt Ahrens, Eileen Heaton, and Michael Heaton – and I led as close to a real simulation of SIH as humanly possible.

First, Eileen led a small group warm up with the following question: Why should we not use the Enneagram in hiring? Next, Matt reviewed the major concepts: What is Social Intelligence?; What is the cost of bad hires?; The overall SIH process; The results; and SIH versus traditional hiring.

Next, I led a simulation of SIH, including an energetic mixer of all participants (complete with prizes for the 1st three winners), and a team-based Enneagram activity in which some attendees were trained as “assessors” and the remaining attendees (including Matt, Eileen, and Michael) were “candidates,” divided into four random teams. Each “candidate” was given the “Level of self-Mastery” tool which describes each type at low, moderate and high self-mastery; Inside each tool was a post-it that told them and only them whether they were to behave on their team as a high, moderate, or low self-mastery candidate. The “assessors” were trained in the hallway how to use an observation form that included both level of self-mastery and productive team behavior. The team task was to create a monument to the Enneagram, with each team given the exact same art supplies.

After the team activity, I then facilitated a simulated hiring discussion and decision-making session with the “assessors” who, after all, were in the role of hiring managers. So as to not make this an award experience, we focused on Matt (playing a low-functioning 9), Eileen (playing a high-functioning 1) and Michael (playing a moderate-functioning 6). The “assessors” played right along, the conversation was very, very close to the real thing! In the remaining time, Michael led a Q & A session.

Fun, informative, high-energy, stimulating, contagious: all these words describe the participant experience. Michael, Eileen, Matt and I had a wonderful time being together again and were super-satisfied that we gave everyone as close an experience to the real thing as we could do in the time we had. Even more, we realized afterward that we had created a simulation that we could actually do in companies to show them what SIH is all about before they embark on the process!

If you want to learn more about Social Intelligence Hiring, you can read all about it on our website: social-intelligence-hiring.com.

Ginger Lapid-Bogda is an organization consultant, trainer, coach, and Enneagram author and teacher who works internationally with organizational clients and Enneagram professionals, conducting Train-the-Trainer and ICF accredited coaching certificate programs. She can be reached at [email protected] or 310-829-3309.