5 Truths About Detail Orientation In the People You Hire

My company gets the opportunity to be involved in thousands of hires ever year.  It’s an interesting test tube, especially since we help other companies hire.  So, it’s not our culture we’re hiring for most of the time, but the individual cultures of the client who partner with Kinetix.

As part of that, I’ve grown up a little bit related to assessments.  Growing up is healthy, I encourage everyone to give it a shot.

What have I learned about the behavioral traits of candidates?  Plenty.  Let me give you some notes related to a very important trait that most assessment platforms cover – Detail Orientation.

You know Detail Orientation – People who are high details are list builders, and they have a list to guide them ever day.  They have coded priorities in the list, and they get stressed if they are not in a position to cross things off the list.  People who are low details (I’m just below the mean) are not list builders.  They are less organized that the high detail people.  Tasks can slide from day to day and from week to week and they sleep like a baby.  The high details person can’t take that.

Apart from the definition, here’s 5 things I’ve learned about Detail Orientation in the last 3 years:

1.  On a team of any size, you need high details people to get #### done.

2.  Low details people will drive high details people crazy.  Crazy, I say…

3.  High details people don’t generally drive low details people crazy.  They think the high details people are adorable when they’re freaking out.

4.  If allowed to, high detail people will create a culture where crossing things off a list trumps the value of creativity and ideas.  Turns out you need both.

5.  One of the most powerful combinations known to man in today’s business world is Low Rules Orientation, High Detail Orientation.  That means someone likes the chaos of an unstructured situation and wants to create the solution (aforementioned creativity and idea generation comes with that) but has the detail orientation necessary to execute on the plan.

What did I miss?

You know that someone can do the job through knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) + work experience.

Don’t forgot to dip into the DNA of what makes them tick.  Here’s a whitepaper I did a while back called “Would You Hire OJ?” to serve as a thought-starter to thinking about the value of what makes someone act the way they do once you hire them.

The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing us that diversity is solely defined by Title 7.  Just as important as the normal definition of diversity is making sure you don’t surround yourself with mini me’s/yes men/carbon copies from a behavioral perspective.

Never assume your level of detail orientation is right.  There’s pros to hiring people who look different than you in this area, whether you’re high details or low details.

FOT Background Check

Kris Dunn
 Kris Dunn is Chief Human Resources Officer at Kinetix and a blogger at The HR Capitalist and the Founder and Executive Editor of Fistful of Talent. That makes him a career VP of HR, a blogger, a dad and a hoops junkie, the order of which changes based on his mood. Tweet him @kris_dunn. Oh, and in case you hadn't heard the good word, he's also jumped into the RPO game as part owner of a rising shop out of ATL, Kinetix. Not your mama's recruiting process outsourcing, that's for sure... check 'em out.


  1. Diana says:

    Love the combination of Low rules orientation and high detail orientation…perfect combination!

Trackbacks for this post

  1. 5 Truths About Detail Orientation In the People You Hire - Aim Blog

Comments are now closed for this article.

Contact Us | Hire FOT to Speak | About FOT