“Walking around” on this site you will very soon notice and become aware of what kind of firm Gordon Consulting is.
We are behavior scientists and psychologists, specialized in personality assessment of people applying for advanced positions or training possibilities.

Welcome to get in touch – preferably by e-mail (we are not always at the phone)!
And very welcome to “walk around” on this site!

Each one of us has our breaking point

The following text is an excerpt from an interview with Hans Gordon about airline pilot aptitude assessments and tests .

“There are no mandatory requirements for psychological aptitude tests when recruiting pilots in large parts of the world that is left to the airlines themselves. This means that some airlines conduct psychological tests in an attempt to assess whether a person is functioning reasonably well, socially and professionally. Then there are airlines that can’t afford it. They cut corners and cross their fingers that anyone trained at an aviation school has the right qualities. The aviation school, most often private, has approved the student. Some budget airlines conduct some form of aptitude test, usually very simplified, that are not always compiled or evaluated by psychologists.

“I usually differentiate between what is known as a psychologist’s assessment and a test. When I receive anybody who is taking a test I tell them they’re not only there to be tested but to be assessed, and the assessment begins the minute they walk through the door. The assessment includes everything about them that I perceive. Their life experiences, what they’ve gone through, what they’ve learned from their experiences, how they’ve grown as a person, how they’ve reached various stages of maturity, etc. These are vital aspects.

“Testing usually looks at the purely cognitive skills, which are also significant because we people differ very much in that respect. This could involve logical analyses, spatial ability, working memory and multitasking capacity. We also look at their social life, the relationships they’ve had, how close and how long they’ve lasted, their family life and where their experiences have come in handy. In education they use the term test wiseness, which means I can do a test several times, prepare myself and learn what’s expected of me.

“With regard to the actual testing tools, even they differ from one psychologist to the next and between different psychology institutes. Some develop their own while others buy them. The means you could get vastly different results from different psychologists. If you want to achieve even better results by taking a test twice then you should either go to the same psychologist or two with similar tests. But if you come to me, I not only assess how you manage the tests, I also carry out a more extensive personality assessment.

“Personality is a complex thing. We people are creatures bursting at the seams with impulses and urges. We train during our early life in our trouble-free social environments to keep a balance between different types of internal urges and power games. This doesn’t mean they’ve disappeared, we just have them under reasonable control. That which we call the maturity process is actually gaining reasonable control over our own powers in our social interplay with others. The problem is, we can’t have reasonable control on any given occasion, but when the pressure dramatically increases from the outside world is when we may lose control. Each one of us has our breaking point.

“I look at it this way: a pilot candidate could come and showcase a repertoire of fully approved behavioural patterns and ways to collaborate, and so forth. If they later encounter circumstances that are extremely stressful and demanding and they begin to falter and not be bothered to keep up any longer, then that person is approaching their breaking point.”


Testing, testing, testing…

The Swedish main daily newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, has recently (January 2017) published a critical review, based upon two examining reporters, on the value of using personality tests during recruitment and selection of candidates to management positions or other positions requiring special skills. What the newspaper has found is that some of the renowned and often used personality tests are more or less of almost no value at all.
And based upon my experience the critical findings are correct. Psychological test instruments are generally quite poor tools for prediction of peoples’ future professional abilities, especially so when it comes to so called personality tests. In order to reach a more valid assessment it is necessary to widen the examination, making a more wide Angel investigation, taking into consideration lots of other information as well. I would not say that all tests are useless, but the results have to become considered as preliminary hints or sketches, creating some specific hypotheses, which have to be dug up into open light and tested by other means than just tests.
Assessing people is thus something that include much more than just testing, testing, testing by tests.

Is anxiety a well known word for you?

We have now entered the year of 2017. I happen to know people claiming that they are afraid of this new year, and the fear they feel has connections with all threats stemming from the terrorist movements.
Thinking of the concept anxiety – this is what i wrote some seven years ago:

Anxiety usually sits in an area between the heart and the stomach. Life suddenly feels more brittle than a pane of glass; everything could cave in, break, be blown to pieces. Those who have never experienced anxiety find it difficult to imagine just what it is like. Those with experience of anxiety know that all security is relative; nothing is absolutely secure and nothing is eternally sustainable.
Man is a biochemical and physiological marvel machine that runs on enzymes, glucose, hormones, minerals, proteins, oxygen, vitamins and endless other nutrients. The only thing that helps me feel moderately calm when laying my head on my pillow, closing my eyes and going to sleep is my relative faith in the machine continuing to pound even when I have no control over events as soon as I have dropped off. Wide awake during the day I can always imagine that I have better control, but that is a chimera. I know nothing about what is happening in my cell nuclei right now, or which parts of my brain have just become unusable due to constant neuronal dropout, or how my coronary artery is feeling; not even if my blood pressure is dangerously high or perilously low. Most people accept this, of course, but what choice do they have? One cannot keep an eagle eye on everything.
Human psychology not only encompasses thoughts and emotions, but also underlying basic instincts, essentially vague, at times hastily fleeing, fantasies and diverse mystical conceptions. The basic instincts are regulated via our physiological senses (hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching) in combination with our hormonal surges. Sexually charged images and their appertaining attracting and/or repellent powers, can pop up at any time and any place. My proneness to charge myself with aggressive energy is beyond describing in simple words. When I turn the other cheek I suddenly get the urge to hit out wildly with a sharp weapon; if none is available then I try to slay using words. The impulses know no limits. But my intellectual side, on the other hand, does; trained as it is throughout my life to follow a set of rational rules. Using mental exertion — something that costs every person more energy than they can imagine — I limit myself and behave in a way that appears to be fairly socially acceptable, which is after all the aim of all my efforts.
Anxiety usually occurs when the psychological equation does not add up. When I set my rationally based limits for what I intend to say and do, and how I act, the underlying stream of other movements could suddenly say the exact opposite. It screams no and threatens to break through; everything I have trained seems to fall apart; my built-in control function appears to short-circuit and stops working. Suddenly my whole existence seems to be on the line. Rapidly it is as though psyche and soma have to make a crucial decision: either total anxiety, a release of the unmentionable and with it a form of mental dissipation, or the body digs in as in a cramp and releases symptoms of ill-health: an asthma attack, a sudden migraine, acute lumbago, an influenza-like shivering fit, stomach sickness or other reactions in the skin, eyes, ears, stomach, genitals etc.

There are much more things that could be said about anxiety. Take this as a start only.