An interview with Jan Scheck


At Talent Acquisition Live Jan Scheck will be interviewed live on stage on the concept of Talent Optimization. During the session the audience will have the chance to participate and ask all the questions they have. We at the organisation had a chance to ask Jan some questions upfront.


Predictive Index currently focusses on Talent Optimization ( This model consists of 4 phases. Design, Hire, Inspire, Diagnose. Can you explain a bit about all four so the reader understands the concept better?


The essence of Talent Optimization is to align the People-strategy of an organisation with the business strategy in order to ensure that the strategic goals will indeed be achieved. As such, Talent Optimization embraces Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Talent Development and Employee Engagement.


The groundwork for Talent Optimization is being laid in the Design-phase in which, next to purposefully designing the organizational structure required to be successful, a company will evaluate the leadership abilities as well as the alignment of the senior leadership team around the business strategy, making adjustments where required. Finally the Design-phase is the time for the intentional design (or re-design) of the company culture.


Once the groundwork completed, the Hire-phase then focuses on attracting the optimal talent to match the requirements as defined in the jointly developed Job Assessment which will comprise the behavioral and cognitive targets for each individual position. By measuring candidates’ motivational drives and cognitive abilities, leaders will be equipped to land top talent while a cultural interview will help to ensure candidates’ cultural fit. Finally, a behavior-based analysis of Teamwork styles helps to predict new or future team dynamics. All above elements in combination contribute to efficiently identifying the overall best match.


The Inspire-phase focuses on developing employees’ talents and abilities through helping them to become more self-aware, using workforce analytics to improve management outcomes and actively managing employee engagement. This phase typically includes various forms of talent development such as career path planning, leadership development, strengthening and protecting the company culture as well as optimizing team performance.


In the Diagnose-phase the company then takes stock of where it is at in it’s quest to achieving the strategic goals. By means of an Employee Engagement Survey relevant data will be collected and measured, the evidence analyzed and prescriptive improvement actions defined and actioned.


The talent optimization model has a holistic view on talent. At TA-Live we of course focus on the ‘acquisition of talent’. Can you tell us what a recruiter should do differently from what he or she does not when you look at talent holistically?


By design, the Talent Optimization model intends to protect employees and certainly also employers against the four forces of disengagement of an employee being the mis-alignment with the job, the mis-alignment with the manager, the mis-alignment with the company culture and the mis-alignment with the team.


So, to the extent that recruiters are not already doing this today, my recommendation would be that they look beyond the mere sourcing, attracting and selecting candidates to fill vacancies here and now and to think of people as the strategic resource that they are.


Could you describe your ideal talent acquisition process from a talent optimization point of view?


The first step is to identify the behavioral and cognitive requirements for the given position by means of a Job Assessment which brings together the input of all relevant stakeholders. Subsequently measure candidates motivational drives as well as their cognitive abilities and match those with the job requirements.


As next step I would then suggest to establish the cultural fit through a specifically developed cultural interview.


Finally I would want to make sure that the new hire will fit well within the team she or he will become a part of.


In his book Work Rules Laszlo Bock, former HR director from Google, looks at talent in a holistic way too, but he does state that recruitment is the most important HR process. Since as he states, you can train someone from acceptable to good, but you cannot train someone to the point of genius. Those you need to hire. Do you agree with that?


I agree that recruitment is indeed a most important process as this is the time when one enriches the organisation with new talent. I would however want to put this into the perspective that an organisation does not only need geniuses but indeed requires a meticulously trimmed, optimal balance of talent in order to achieve its strategic goals. This leads me to conclude that one can only recruit the right talent if one has done one’s homework in the Design- and Diagnose-phase.


At TA-Live you will be interviewed on the concept live on stage and the audience will have a chance to ask questions. What is the one question you really hope to get from the audience?


That is a difficult one. I am really open to any question that the audience might wish to ask. But I could imagine that many will ask themselves how to get started with Talent Optimization given that it may appear to be a bit daunting.


The good thing is that I think that I have a good answer to this …