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Hiring for the head and the heart: Why team building isn’t all about experience

With The Great Resignation still churning around us, you may be asking yourself—where do I find the right employees? Where do I find people who have the experience to do the job, and the interpersonal skills to stay on and thrive?

If you’re a technology leader struggling to build a high-performing team, consider this solution: Hire someone who doesn’t have the experience necessary to do the job… yet. They might be sitting right under your nose.

Join 10,000 companies solving the most complex people problems with PI.

Hire the right people, inspire their best work, design dream teams, and sustain engagement for the long haul.

“Inexperienced”—and fully qualified

My first encounter with PI’s Behavioral Assessment came early in the COVID-19 pandemic—March 2020. Sitting at my receptionist’s desk at a small health care clinic, I noticed an email from my colleague arrive. She had been interviewing at other companies, and one of them had asked her to complete the BA. I quickly signed up for an account, took it myself, and read my results: Operator!

When I shared them with my colleague, it opened up a wonderful dialogue between us. If that had been the end of my relationship with PI, it would still have impacted my life for the better…

I never imagined that within 16 months, I would be working for The Predictive Index as a Software Engineer.

I didn’t jump straight from writing medical bills to writing code. There was, of course, a transformational phase! Like so many others during the pandemic, I left my position at the clinic to find a job that felt more supportive and aligned with the rest of my life.

I gravitated toward tech, thinking I’d enroll in a program for UX Design, only to find that I loved the challenge of coding. I enrolled in a three-month boot camp program, where I learned HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Node, SQL, and a touch of Python. In three months, my skills grew by leaps and bounds—but I was still worried about my job prospects. Who would take a chance on someone with so little experience, and such an unrelated professional background? 

Talent optimization starts with recruiting.

One of my peers from boot camp told me about the job posting for The Predictive Index’s PIoneer Academy Program: three months of intensive training in the company’s tech stack and tools, led by a dedicated mentor. It sounded too good to be true, and I applied as quickly as possible—not even necessarily expecting to hear back. Within 24 hours, I had been contacted by a recruiter who sent me the Behavioral and Cognitive assessments. 

I can’t emphasize enough the impact of my interview process with PI. Having now completed my Talent Optimization Certification, I can look back and see the craft of TO throughout it all. When the process began, my interviewers already knew I had the raw cognitive ability to do the job. The Behavioral Assessment let them know that I would be a stabilizing presence in the engineering department—a quality they were looking for in new employees at the time.

My interviewers were able to ask informed questions to target my areas of strength, and my areas of opportunity. After several rounds of interviews, I was offered a spot in the academy. Because of PI’s interview process, they could confidently bring me aboard based on the contents of my head and my heart.

Head Heart Briefcase framework

An open briefcase can be filled with skills. 

Then, they filled out my briefcase. Participating in the PIoneer Academy program was nothing short of a transformative opportunity. I and three other junior engineers (with likewise varied work backgrounds) were brought on in a cohort. None of us knew C#, Typescript, or Angular when we were hired—but we learned together with the support of our dedicated, compassionate mentor, who was herself a graduate of the first PIoneer Academy cohort!

All four graduates of the PIoneer Academy are now productive, individual contributors on our separate engineering teams.

How The Predictive Index enables employees to grow and achieve

This type of program wouldn’t thrive in a place where talent optimization isn’t on the table. PIA was possible because PI’s interview process is smart, trustworthy, and backed by science. They knew they were bringing aboard driven, curious people who would fit the role, the team, and contribute to the company’s culture and goals. 

If you’re considering updating your hiring and training processes, turn to people data! With PI and talent optimization, we can expand the realm of who can do what, open our minds and our doors, and confidently hire for heads and hearts. I am so grateful that they did.


Clare is a Software Engineer I at The Predictive Index.

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