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CopyrightThat Introversion and Extroversion Thing!
Posted by Paul 13/03/18

The terms “Introversion” and “Extroversion” were popularised by Carl Jung so successfully that they are now part of our everyday language and understanding of personality.
When it comes to job suitability knowing whether someone is introverted or extraverted is seen as crucial because finding a candidate who is comfortable in their work makes their success in the role more likely.
While most personality assessments used in candidate screening measure levels of extroversion or introversion, there are many misconceptions about how to interpret them. Part of the reason for this is that we tend to use them in black and white terms with assessments such as MBTI (based on Jungian theory) definitively sorting people into one box or the other
However, the more established psychological theories of personality (specifically the “big Five” model of personality that has emerged as the dominant way of understanding personality in the past few decades) view introversion and extroversion as two ends of a continuous spectrum, and most people fall somewhere in the middle. Though you may tend to feel more introverted than extroverted or vice versa, these distinctions exist in degrees, not as completely separate types.
It’s also important to understand that falling closer to one end of the introversion/extroversion spectrum isn’t better or worse than the other; there’s no such thing as incorrect answers or a bad personality according to personality assessments. We can say though that certain traits are more predictive of success in certain jobs. As it applies to job suitability, how introverted or extroverted a candidate is relates to how comfortable they are with certain job requirements. For instance, if a candidate feels more energized after spending time alone- a significant indicator of Introversion, they might not be comfortable in a position in sales or customer service, since these roles require frequent, extended customer interaction. This is not to say that someone who is more introverted couldn’t be a good sales person, but they may just find the position to be more draining than a candidate who is more extroverted, who may find those kinds of interaction stimulating. Similarly, an extroverted person i.e. someone who is stimulated by group company, may not feel satisfied working as an analyst who works independently all day.
Personality fit is a useful part of identifying the right candidate for the job inasmuch as people who “fit” well within their role are more likely to excel. Just as significantly they are more likely to remain in that role for longer, reducing staff turnover and lowering recruitment and training costs.
Copyright Mystic Meg and the art of Recruitment
Posted by Paul 29/09/17

It never fails to amaze just how much recruitment revolves around a CV that outlines a candidates historical achievements and an interview conducted by a senior manager who claims a gift of ESP and insight . This enables the interviewer to know within two minutes(apparently) if someone is the “right person” for the job.

There is a significant amount of research indicating that past performance is a poor indicator of future potential and that interviews alone (let alone those that rely on gut instinct!) are particularly poor predictors of employment success. Furthermore, the cost of getting it wrong can be phenomenally high.Consider team disruption, loss of business and reputational damage as three significant factors beside the obvious cost of having to undertake a recruitment exercise again.

There is another way though.A recent survey by consultancy CUBIKs, found that 82% of employers consider “cultural fit” to be the single most important criteria when recruiting. To them this was more than a buzzword. They were able to define what cultural fit meant in terms of values and behaviours.

In a selection context, if we can understand what each corporate value looks like in behavioural terms, we can then design the best possible tools to measure these behaviours. This may include personality assessment, ability tests, situational judgement indicators, case studies, group exercises, role plays and presentations,as well as structured interviews.

Greater understanding leads to better tools and they can all offer ways to find out about the person and character, how they may react and whether they are a cultural and values fit for the business.

Using a range of different tools will also prevent any one element from carrying too much weight in the selection decision.The aim being to balance cultural fit with diversity -and also of course to eliminate the influence of the “mystic megs” who claim supreme insight!.
Copyright Making Coaching Count
Posted By Paul 30/06/17

Coaching young people to achieve their career goals is one of the most rewarding things that I am involved in. Whether it be working with young people to identify their strengths or with graduates to perfect their interview techniques, I find that my coachees are attentive, focussed and hungry to take that all important step on the career ladder.

I can contrast this with other coaching contexts that we have found ourselves in. Most organisations integrate coaching tools and techniques into their people development strategies but coaching has become one of those phrases that we all utilise without a common understanding.

For us coaching is about assisting individuals to achieve a desired goal. This can be achieved through a variety of techniques and interventions, but the key word is “desire”. If an individual takes responsibility for the achievement of a goal then its accomplishment becomes a real possibility.

Sometimes we are asked to work with employees whose performance or behaviour are seen as a management headache and who are then passed to an external “coach” for “correction.” Unsurprisingly these individuals tend to see the issues as the fault of their manager or the organisation in general rather than in themselves. In these situations finding a way forward is impossibile.

People are capable of great achievements but sometimes they need assistance to remove the blocks to success-and there are many invaluable coaching tools and techniques that can help to achieve this. For coaches the greatest rewards come from working with those who have the greatest need and who are prepared to take action, so its no surprise that young people, who have generally been the biggest losers during the economic downturn, should be so eager to find a way forward.

Posted By Paul
CopyrightLeadership and Situation
Posted by Paul 08/03/17

Leadership has become a hot topic over recent years. One of the major challenges though is that different people have different mental images of what apparently is a single concept. If people are asked to identify” effective leaders”, a diverse short list often emerges. Hitler Ghandi and Steve Jobs are all names that might appear. What becomes clear is that different situations call for different leadership approaches. Contemporary organisational life suggests that flatter or networked structures where team working is important has emphasised the need for leaders to be” player managers”. Facilitative leadership, the concept of empowering others to succeed has become a particularly critical requirement. Sometimes it is appropriate for the leader to lead from the front, sometimes by example, sometimes by influence, and sometimes by simply getting out of the way so that others can succeed. While there are certainly some personality dimensions that can influence a person’s effectiveness, it is possible for a leader to gear his or her style to the nature of the task and the circumstances of the people involved and so improve performance. In essence no one leadership style is universally applicable to all situations and no one style is inherently better than any other.

Leadership Judgement as an entity can provide telling and useful evidence about a person’s capacity to adopt effective leadership decision-making styles in a rounded, flexible and adapted way. The goods news for aspiring leaders and those responsible for their development is that leadership judgement can be measured and developed further. If you would like to know more about this universal hot topic and effective measures of leadership judgement please contact us.
Copyright Donald Trump; Personality and Predicting Success
Posted by Paul 24/01/17.

“ Can you tell us if our candidate will be successful in the job?” is a question we are asked frequently. Now that a widely known candidate has just started the most important job in the world, we thought we’d examine the possibilities for D Trump using some predictive personality models.

Someone's personality is their preferred way of dealing with other people and the world. In the last two decades individual difference psychologists have developed a trait approach to personality that differentiates people along 5 traits. These are extraversion (E), agreeableness (A), openness to experience (O), conscientiousness(C), and emotional stability (neuroticism) N. These are known as the big 5 and they are very effective at making predictions. Other generally understood traits include Narcissism(excessive admiration of ones own attributes), Psychopathy (egocentric and shallow emotions) and Machiavellianism,(manipulative,deceptive and exploitative).

Trump is extraverted, his energy is expressed outwardly.He is optimistic, and confident. However, he appears low on conscientiousness, which means that he does not plan very well, is not organised, and finds it hard to do detail and follow through.
Trump scores very low on agreeableness; he has a cynical attitude towards others. Low agreeable people tend not to have stable relationships,are unethical, and are generally not liked by others.
Trump scores moderate to high on openness to experience. This trait is often seen in entrepreneurs who are good at seeing “the big picture”, This is of course, his background.
He is emotionally unstable and reactive. Usually the emotion he expresses is anger. He has very low self-regulation skills (or self-control), a necessary ingredient for entrepreneurial success. Hence his high bankruptcy rate.
Trump is narcissistic, perhaps the most narcissistic person ever! He boosts his self esteem by demeaning and denigrating others. He is not authentic, and inflates his achievements. Research shows that narcissists can become aggressive if their self-esteem/ego is threatened. Power would also have fuelled his narcissism.
His extraversion and narcissism combine as a show of Hubris. He will make big bold moves, one may come off, but many will not. Trump is certainly action oriented, for better or worse. He scores high on social dominance, meaning he likes power over others, and believes in hierarchy, with himself at its head. High SDO people tend to be prejudiced.
High E and O combined with Low A and C are the classic traits of a psychopath. Throw in Narcissism and Machiavellianism and it’s not a pretty picture- psychologists know these as" the Dark Triad"!

Does this mean he will fail as POTUS? The sad answer is not necessarily! History teaches us that many political and business leaders have displayed these traits, which have turned out to be no barrier to achievement,at least in the short term. The question that remains though is; at what cost?
CopyrightWhy do I have to take a numerical test?
Posted by Paul, 29/11/16.

Candidates often ask why they have to undertake a numerical assessment even though the role they are applying for doesn’t immediately require numerical skills.You may think back to all the trigonometry you learned in school and point out that most jobs will never require you to find the cosine of an angle. But numerical skills are about much more than the minutiae you were taught in school. Maths skills, particularly numeracy and numerical problem solving are not only fundamentally important to everyday job functions but also are a strong indicator of broader cognitive abilities. And because cognitive aptitude is one of the most predictive factors of job success, testing your candidates’ numerical abilities is a great way to assess their ability to succeed on the job.

If anything, numerical abilities are more important than ever with the rise of big data. Companies are relying more and more on data to guide their decisions, and employees who can analyse and interpret data in ways that inspire actionable decisions are extremely valuable. Even employees who may not work directly with data are at a disadvantage if they can’t understand what the data is conveying on a basic level.

Mathematical prowess is an extremely critical, chronically overlooked ability. Numerical skills are associated with broader cognitive abilities, and they are reflective of a candidate’s critical thinking and problem solving ability. Yes, a lot of the maths we learned in school doesn’t end up being all that relevant for the majority of us, but basic numeracy is unavoidable in everyday life, and those who do avoid it are at a fundamental disadvantage. And for employers seeking critical thinkers and problem solvers, aptitude tests that measure numerical skills are a great way to gain insight into your candidates’ abilities.
CopyrightUnconscious Bias. What is it and why is it important?
Posted by Paul.31/08/16

Over the last few years “unconscious bias” has crept into the Human Resource dictionary as a universally understood concept. Our experience and conversations suggest however, that there is much confusion. The keyword here is “unconscious” indicating a bias that we are unaware of. The psychological dichotomy between our conscious and unconscious minds is well known,with our unconscious processing vastly more information than our conscious mind. Because the unconscious must process more information more quickly it constantly looks for methods and short cuts to aid its efforts. One of these is social categorisation which can lead to pigeonholing and eventually bias. The term “when the brain fires together the brain wires together” is now a neuroscience underpin and whilst it is impossible to avoid wiring together the patterns your brain sees on a daily basis, it is possible to unearth and address those patterns that could affect behaviour.

Some of the bias’s that affect the workplace include gender, age, disability, weight,-even height. If you are over six feet tall you are more likely to be a leader-possibly due to the assumption that tall = powerful. Because unconscious bias is a mind based phenomenon, it is possible to assess and measure it and results have been revealing.According to research conducted by psychologist Pete Jones,31% of employees tested in the Financial Sector are shown to have an age bias in contrast to 17% in the Engineering. In the Police Sector, gender bias is relatively low in comparison to other sectors and in Engineering rather high. This is significant because if selection and promotion decisions were affected by gender bias even just 1% of the time, in a large company five years into the future, a noticeable imbalance would be formed. It should be known that everyone has “unconscious bias.” When I took the test it told me that I had an elevated bias against white middle-aged men.My initial reaction was," some of my best friends are white middle aged men"! But brought into my conscious awareness I could see how this bias had developed.

We are able to help organisations to use unconscious awareness tools to identify and address bias and to use the results in a useful and ethical manner, raising awareness and, with time and training, conscious action. Do contact us for more information
CopyrightCognitive Aptitude and Predicting Performance.
Posted by Paul.29/06/16

Our business is well known for experience in psychometric assessment. People generally assume that this expertise lies in assessing personality and to an extent this is true. However its only part of the story because over 50% of our activitiy is focussed on assessing cognitive aptitude.

Cognitive abilities are the brain-based skills that we need to carry out any task from the simplest to the most complex. They have more to do with the mechanisms of how we learn, remember, problem solve, think critically and pay attention rather than knowledge per se.

These are many of the qualities that employers look for in almost every job description they create, so accurate assessment of these abilities in individuals are highly valued by employers. This is unsurprising as research has shown that cognitive aptitude tests are twice as predictive as an interview, three times as predictive as work experience and four times as predictive as education level in predicting job success.

Because cognitive aptitude is associated with decision-making ability and situational judgment, aptitude tests often have even greater value as a predictive tool the higher you move up the seniority spectrum. The abilities that cognitive aptitude tests assess are well-suited for recruiting employees who might be tasked with making independent decisions, coming up with big picture ideas, or managing others.

While cognitive aptitude tests measure general intelligence, they are not the same as pure IQ tests. Cognitive aptitude tests measure many of the same things that IQ tests measure, but they also measure other abilities that are more specifically relevant to job performance. For example, cognitive aptitude tests often measure attention to detail, an ability that is applicable to every type of job, but is less commonly associated with “pure intelligence.” These are the types of abilities that drive job performance because they’re so relevant to the day-to-day tasks of many employees. Ultimately by blending practical abilities with general aptitude, cognitive aptitude tests are highly successful at identifying the candidates who are most likely to succeed in their position.
CopyrightOutplacement-A time for reflection
Posted by Paul.15/03/16

Business change and the resulting redundancies that often accompany it are now part and parcel of life for all organisations. Redundancy can be one of the most stressful experiences that any individual has to face, carrying with it a host of negative emotions that may include shame, guilt, anxiety and a loss of confidence and belief. Psychologists agree that the experience can be as traumatic as a close bereavement.

Whist organisations are alive to the need to provide professional support to those effected by the process, not all have the same approach. Some see outplacement simply as help to obtain another job and its often great PR for a company if it can say that it has helped its former employees to find one quickly. However, for the individuals involved, it is vital that the process is so much more than that. For us it is important to carefully consider what life and career paths do individuals really want and what alternative routes are available. Based on careful consideration of these, we can work with individuals on a personal strategy to achieve success.

A bi-product of the downturn has been the creation of new ways of working based on different employment relationships. For some returning to permanent employment is the right way forward. For others the opportunity to operate as an independent contractor/consultant is a refreshing alternative to traditional employment. With an improving economy providing diverse opportunities, redundancy can be a great opportunity to go in a different direction.

Any effective outplacement programme should ensure that exploration of an individuals values, priorities and goals is a crucial 1st step in ensuring that those effected by redundancy can move forward from a vulnerable position in a positive way…and that needn’t mean accepting the first job that comes along.

To find out more about our personalised individual and group outplacement programmes,please get in touch.
CopyrightRecruitment Agents, Good Service, A new client
Posted by Paul 4/12/2015

Whilst many commentators have predicted the demise of the recruitment agency in an age of Internet enabled resourcing self-management, they seem to be mushrooming again. Many are dubious operators with nefarious practices but recruitment industry trade organisations boast that their members are handling 16% more vacancies than a year ago.
I’ve worked in and around the industry long enough to know that there are many agency operating methodologies, that all attempt to achieve the same end. Some companies behave like barrow boys exploiting a shortage of bananas,whilst others (sadly the minority) ,attempt to provide genuine added value solutions to their clients.

One way that they can do this is to provide quantitative evidence of a candidate’s suitability for a given role so we are pleased to have been getting enquiries from more enlightened operators who want to deliver psychometric assessment as part of their client offering.

Assessment solutions are a big part of our DNA but we often encounter resistance to their use. This is usually from those who have something to lose; often it is a candidate who fears they will not perform well. Recruitment Agents are generally amongst the more voiciferous protesters, seeing their use as a further hurdle that their candidate may fall at.

Not all fall into this category and over the years we have worked with major brands such as Robert Half and Michael Page who have employed us on some of their retained assignments. Their longevity in an industry of here today, gone tomorrow operators is testimony to the quality of their service. To this stable we’d like to welcome OMEGA RESOURCE GROUP as a NEW CLIENT who we have been assisting to recruit a CEO on behalf of a manufacturing organisation.
CopyrightWe're all Interims now!
Posted by Paul 25/9/2015

Every couple of years we undertake a thorough audit of our customer and prospect database to check whether the contact details that we hold are up to date. We have a lot of information so it’s quite a long exercise but the results are quite revealing. More than 50% of our contacts have changed jobs since we completed a similar exercise in 2013.

Our experience is that as a profession HR people are masters of their own destiny and rarely let the grass grow under their feet with many seeking new environments and experiences as a matter of course. HR is increasingly a project driven world and it is difficult to determine whether business demands or personal career decisions account for the seemingly high rate of job change amongst HR folk.What is clear is that many of our contacts have chosen to engage on a more flexible basis with their employers.

The HR function is, of course, experiencing the jobs revolution 1st hand as we transition to an economy where part-time/temporary/ contract/fixed term /zero hours become commonly understood employment terminology.It is perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that they themselves should be at the vanguard of this change.

In the very recent past HR professionals delineated themselves as “permanent” or “interim” but it seems to us that there is no real difference in perception anymore.