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Psychometric Assessments: An indispensible tool for executive search & HR professionals

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By: John Vijayarangam

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“Life is not about finding the right person, but creating the right relationships.”

Look before you leap. Test before you hire! As leaders in the business of headhunting and Executive Search we are often approached by clients who want not just intelligent and technically competent,  candidates but also ‘good Leaders’, and ‘team players’, and yes they should be candidates with ‘initiative and drive’. How would you really know from an interview session what the smooth talking candidates really have behind the facade of personality? Professional recruiters use a variety of tools and strategies to locate the star performers – those with a calibre are rarely discovered by the standard interview process that most companies use.

The key to success in business is money and people. The key to understanding people is personality psychology – getting to the root of the “nature of human nature”. Personality psychology answers three basic questions: 1) How and in what way we are alike; 2) How and why we are so different from one another; 3) Why we are different and why do we do what we do.

Psychometrics is the field of study concerned with the theory and technique of educational measurement and psychological measurement, which includes the measurement of knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and personality traits.

Personality assessments can be used at any stage of the employee lifecycle, not just for recruitment, and are an effective tool for assessing an employee’s development needs and planning for the future.

Human Capital Management

By using personality tests early on in the interview process you can quickly identify the most relevant candidates for the job by finding out key information about their working behaviour, such as:

  • How they will fit in with your working environment
  • How effectively they work as part of a team
  • How closely they match the key competencies required for the role
  • Where their strengths lie and where they will need more development.

What is Personality?

In common parlance, personality has two meanings or two sides and it is important to keep the two meaning distinct.

Actors & Observers Views

On one side, we have the “view from the inside” or the “actor’s view”. What you think about yourself, or who YOU think YOU ARE. Your self-concept, your hopes, your dreams, you ego, values, fears, aspirations.

On the other side, we have the “view from the outside” or the “observers’ view”. What OTHERS think about YOU. The YOU that we know. The person WE think you are based on what you reveal, your overt behaviour.

There are a few interesting points to note based on these two views. The view from the inside (The Actor’s View) is your IDENTITY. The view from the outside (Observer's View) is your REPUTATION. Your identity is the story you tell yourself about you, and who you are. Your reputation is the story others tell about you based on your actions, performance, body language, etc.

  • We use INDENTITY to explain your behaviour. We use REPUTATION to describe your past performance and predict your future performance.
  • REPUTATION concerns WHAT you do. IDENTITY concerns WHY you do it.

Personality


The Hogan Assessment

One of the leading providers of Personality Assessments, Hogan Assessments, USA offers an interesting suite of options for assessment of individuals.

The FOUR basic types of assessments covered by Hogan Assessments are:

  1. The Bright Side of Personality – to measure normal personality based on the Five-Factor Model (FFM).

    ♦  How does this person typically approach work and   interaction with others?
    ♦  What strengths can this person rely on to facilitate his/her performance?
  1. The Dark Side of Personality – to measure career-derailing tendencies including 11 patterns of behaviour that could impede work relationships and hinder productivity.

    ♦ What tendencies could derail this individual’s career or performance?
    ♦  How is this person inclined to respond when stressed, under pressure, or not self monitoring?

  2. The Inside – to measure your ‘key drivers’ and find out ‘what makes you tick’. Your Motives, Values, Preferences.

    ♦ What motivates and “drives” this individual?
    ♦ What type of work environment will he/she consider most motivating?
    ♦ What is he/she likely striving to attain

  3. The Cognitive Side – to measure if you are a strategic or analytic thinker

    ♦ How does this individual identify and solve problems?
    ♦ How will this individual approach problems?

Strategic Reasoning

Ability to see the big picture, infer relationships and identify potential opportunities, challenges, and problems.

e.g., looking and market trends, finding relationships between market factors, choosing key issues.


Tactical Reasoning

Ability to deal effectively with details, implement plans within a strategy, and use established rules or procedures to solve a wide variety of problems.

e.g., implementing programs, diagnosing problems, adjusting implementation to achieve results.

As HR experts we understand that we often have to dig deep and probe below the surface to check out the ‘true colours’ of an executive. We have found that Psychometric tools provide useful ‘handles’ for understanding, analyzing, and assessing individual before critical decisions are made. There are a plethora of assessments in the market and all quite good with each having their own significant strengths such as DISC, SHL, NBO, Harrison Assessments, FIRO (B) , Hogan, and several others. All have their own merits and demerits.

When flood comes, fish eat ants & when flood recedes, ants eat fish. Only time matters. Opportunities come for everyone

The key is to find out what your business needs,
check out what solution best fits in with your needs and then go for it.

The key questions to ask before you decide on which assessment to use are:

  1. Do the tests have global credibility and reliability? How long have they been in existence?
  2. Are the assessments truly tried and tested; do they have a reputed list of clients?
  3. Do the authors of the assessments have world class credentials, qualifications, with publications, research papers, and case studies to back up the findings?
  4. Do you have a sufficient menu to select from and decide what assessment to use and for what purpose?
  5. Do you have options to select from the size of the report, the style of reporting, and a summary solution like a ‘Coaching and Counselling guide’ with options to pay for only what you need?
  6. Does the vendor have a panel of trained experts available who will be able to analyze the results and give you in-depth analysis of the assessment results?

50% of the Hogan clients in the USA are in the Fortune 500 list which makes them a credible vendor for Psychometric tool.

There will never be another now -
I’ll make the most of today.
There will never be another me –
I’ll make the most of myself.

While assessments are good for a deeper understanding of self and others the key is to use the data we obtain for making improvements in self and others.

“When people throw stones in your path, it depends what you make with them. A wall or a bridge. Remember you are the architect of your life.“

Our thanks to John Vijayarangam, Director & CEO of Potentia HR Consulting, for the contribution of this article! Contact John for more details and information about executive search, HR consulting or psychometric testing.

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