Tag Archives: Assessing people

Acting as a psychologist within recruitment and selection

A rose is a rose and a spade is a spade and there is not so much more to say about that (even though there are hundreds of different types of roses). But the man or the woman who applies to a position in a company or any other kind of organization may appear as he or she is exactly up to the requirements, but this could be “fake news”. Most Humans are early trained to become Masters of Disguise, meaning that several resources are used in order to convince other people that you are very kind even when you are not in the mood for that kind of feelings, and that your are very reliable, or very sustained, or very truthful or whatever even when you, yourself, have doubts about it all.

Anyway, when you apply for a job position that you really want, you will most probably straighten up and try your very best to stand out as the best of all possible candidates. Just looking at the surface is always tempting. Bright eyes, a good looking facial expression, nice clothes, hair dressed properly and we want really to find that this is the candidate looked for because we don´t like to stroll around with a generally critical mind. But, in the back of the brain, there might be some warning signs, leading to some doubts.
And this is quite often the corridor to the psychologist. “Could you please assist in this case”, is the start of the request. “Please try to come up with an answer of what kind of person this candidate is, not only in the recruitment situation, but later on, as a manager or a leader within this organization.”

For me this is a very well known situation. I have decades of experiences in detecting and uncovering several of all layers in humans, and yes, I quite often use test instruments, but as I do not look at them as completely realiable or valid, because there is no test that is complete in this sense, I have to trust my own senses when meeting and speaking with the candidate. And there is nothing mystical about my senses. I just have to be careful and as logical in my analysis as possible. In that respect I work almost as a judge in the court room: I have to interrogate and come to fair conclusions, and, most of all, I have to come up with clear statements based on facts and good enough arguments for my findings, and I can definitely not just refer to some points on a test scale, but I have to give a wide and deep enough description of the candidate to reach my goal.

Assessing people

Are you aware of your assessments of people around you all days long and everywhere?
What seat do you choose after entering the bus or the tram or the subway? At the side of the fellow with the long beard and the baseball cap turned backwards, or at the side of the well dressed old lady over there?
Which neighbor do you ask to enter your apartment or your house for a cup of coffee and a chat, and which one do you try to avoid as much as possible?
And so forth…

All of us are always checking out key things with other people. How they dress, how they move, how they speak – all of their behavior. The behavior itself is a language and you are the reader of that language. And as you read different kinds of feelings appear, and all those feelings within you could be described in colors: red as in warm, blue as in cold, yellow as in suspicious, grey as in neutral and so forth.

Are you a good reader? Are you always right in your assessments of others?
Well, that depends. You could have become trained during all your life, during all those years when you tried to get a better grip of what was happening to you and around you. But you could also have walked around in a quite foggy, misty area, just staying there, mostly listening to yourself and to no one else.

But – even if you are a good reader you can always end up in a situation where your final assessments of others may be completely wrong.
A professional psychologist, interested in professional investigation methods used to assess other people, has to get an insight in his/her personal limitations when reading people, and from that point become utterly cautious and careful and enduring and meticulous in his/her work, aiming to get everything right and not wrong.

And how do you know if the psychologist has spotted you right and not wrong?
Ask questions about it! Ask questions about the methods used, about the reading abilities, about the conclusions being done.
A good psychologist should quite easily respond in a clear way to you about your questions.