The Science of Selection
27th September 2021
How to take the subjectivity out of selecting the right person for the job
“It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it” I was told by Manjula Bray, a Business Psychologist who we have been working with at Linea. Manjula has a degree in psychology, is an HR professional and specialises in the development of people. She is quick to point out that psychometrics should be part of a wider assessment process, of course. But when we first spoke I was struck by a story that she told me about the American telecoms giant AT&T. The company split its graduate intake in one year into two parts: One part that had been recruited without psychometric input and other part that had. Fast forward twenty years and a far greater percentage of the psychometrics group were still employed by the company with many performing significantly better than those in the other group.
Finding the right person for the job can be a subjective business. Typical mistakes include hiring someone with similar personality to your own. After initially screening on – for example – technical skills, qualifications and experience you may still end up with a pool of candidates that fit the bill. And that’s where recruiters can become subjective: “Out of the 6 that meet our criteria, I like number 2 the best. He’s like Bill Davies, who has always been an excellent manager”
The trouble is that once you introduce personal bias, you skew the recruitment process, sometimes ending up with the “least worst” candidate rather than measuring against initial criteria. By adding in other methodologies at this stage – or indeed at other stages – you can obtain a more balanced picture of a candidate. Using psychometric tools you can create a framework of questions that test not only the individual’s likely reaction to situations, but also their comparative fit to the organisation’s culture. And that tells you more about the likely behaviour of a candidate once they are in post.
With Manjula’s expert help we introduced psychometrics into a selection process for a key role. It couldn’t have happened at a better time. Two candidates had reached the final short list after initial applications and two interviews. It was too close to call as to which person would suit the role and the company culture better. But with the introduction of psychometrics we were able to hone in on some specifics. A psychometric questionnaire helped us identify two different personality profiles and predicted behaviours both of which were measured against our original shopping list of behaviours.
The process was a success. It had been scientific: We had started with a shopping list of behaviours and made sure that the panel of selectors did not deviate from it throughout the assessment process. I am sure that this removed subjectivity and resulted in an excellent recruit who is thriving within the company much to his and indeed the company’s delight. I hate to say it but if you get the recruitment process right first time, you won’t be needing to come back to us a second time!
- Read the AT&T story we talked about in the blog: http://www.apa.org/research/action/managers.aspx
- Want to know more about psychometrics? Click here to visit the British Psychological Society’s information page
- Find out more about Manjula Bray here
- Email me here to discuss how these types of methodologies could help you recruit better