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Personnel psychology

In previous blogs we have looked at some of the practical issues relating to recruitment and retention of staff. But is there a way of boosting your odds of finding the right people for your business that doesn’t depend on instinct or guesswork?

Many firms use personality testing to help them identify employees with the ‘right’ behaviours. The most commonly used example is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is designed to show how individuals see and interact with the world, giving insight into their motivations.

This test focuses on where a person gets or focuses their energy; the kind of information they trust; the process they use in coming to decisions; and how they deal with the world around them.

People persons

The objective of this and other tests is to predict what a person will achieve at work and what they will be like to work with. The theory is that businesses benefit from putting the right person in the right job, which in many cases is about finding personalities that best fit the role and the working environment.

Some experts believe that people who lack self-awareness can disrupt work teams and even antagonise their colleagues without realising what they are doing. They may struggle to understand why they react to situations in a certain way or how others are able to react differently.

In a working world where employees are more aware of professional development, personality tests can help them identify their strengths and weaknesses and show them what they need to work on to improve their career prospects.

Perfect personality…

Advocates of personality testing describe it as an essential tool for team building. Rather than using standard tests, employers can design their own assessment based on the characteristics they are looking for.

In some cases the results of these tests can also help candidates find jobs their personalities make them a good match for but that they may not have considered.

Businesses looking to identify potential employees with management potential might also consider emotional intelligence testing. Successful leaders often have skills that are associated with emotional intelligence, such as empathy and self-regulation as well as the ability to get the best from other people.

…or pyschobabble?

An obvious problem with testing is that people don’t always tell the truth. We have all been guilty of telling someone what they want to hear at some point in our lives and it wouldn’t be unusual for a candidate desperate to land a job to be economical with the truth.

There is no such thing as a 100% accurate personality test, so businesses should not assume that testing will accurately predict exactly how someone will react in every situation. There is also the danger that the process reduces individuals to stereotypes, regardless of their unique characteristics.

Regardless of your perception of the value of personality testing, it does not replace the need for proper interview processes and screening to weed out obviously unsuitable candidates.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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