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Interview wars: Are candidates faking it?

Published:Monday | July 27, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Interview wars

As another group of graduates is entering the job market, the job interview takes on more relevance. Some candidates seek coaching to ace interviews while employers face the challenge of trying to make the right choices. How much of what takes place in the interview is genuine? Today, Trevor Smith shares some important insights on the interview process.

Your home renovation requires outside help. Your goal is to hire the skills that are most important to your project. If painting is your top priority, then the guy who is most handy with the paintbrush would get the nod - other things being equal.

A similar thought process is applied to the hiring process. Jobs have different 'personalities'. Guidance counsellors and majors in a war zone are expected to exhibit different behavioural patterns.


Role fit is the goal

Each job relies on certain behavioural approaches to achieve best results. Like handymen, while we may use a variety of behavioural tools, we tend to be more comfortable using some rather than others. Some behaviours require more energy from us. We can perform them, but they wear us out more quickly than others. You come alive as an MC, but nod off when double-checking statistical tables.

High-quality behavioural analysis (psychometric testing) can assist organisations in aligning jobs with individuals who are more comfortable exhibiting the desired behaviours. The recommendation is not to use behavioural analysis as the sole criterion for selection.

However, sophisticated analyses provide important insights into areas in which applicants will need more or less energy to get given tasks done.

One of the great benefits of psychometric assessment is the fact that it provides employers with a guide as to how to get the best results from new hires. It can take months of trial and error until a new hire finally settles in and performs at their best. A sophisticated behavioural profile equips employers and new hires with information to enhance performance from the first day at work.

The reports serve as a powerful user manual for employer and employee! They are of great value in guiding behaviour modification - a compass that directs the pathways to success.


Fear of faking freaks out some

There is a suggestion that psychometric testing should not be used in the recruitment process because candidates are more likely to lie at that time than at any other period of their association with the organisation.

If a high percentage of an organisation's applicants feel disposed to lie, then avoiding the use of psychometric tests is hardly the answer to a much bigger problem.

Applicants who try to cheat on their psychometric tests are also likely to lie in the interview and with their documentation. The great news is that there are assessment instruments that structure their questionnaires in such a way as to make cheating a high-risk adventure. This kind of assessment has a high degree of success in ensuring that the person you hire is the one who shows up at work.


Psychometric testing adds more value

There is another important consideration.

Best practice in performance coaching advises individuals to adopt certain "roles" that are best suited to achieving desired results in given situations. 'Act as if ...' becomes the key philosophy. Your domestic issues should not be manifested at work. Act as if all is well.

This kind of role playing is key to successful performance on the job! Organisations expend much effort in getting team members to play appropriate roles when at work.


What does this mean?

Organisations that use psychometric testing as an aid in the recruitment process are likely to select individuals who are more comfortable displaying the behavioural preferences that are desired in the role. There is also greater clarity for both employer and employee as to the nature of the desired behaviours.

Jobseekers are also well advised to seek roles that suit their behavioural styles.

Organisations that fail to use sophisticated psychological assessment tools are left to rely on intuition and periods of feeling out new hires before creating the conditions that maximise performance.

n Find out how the Success with People Academy'sÆ Role Fit - Candidate Screening Initiative can enhance performance in your organisation. Send email to 'Role Fit - HELP!' Trevor E. S. Smith is a partner with Extended DISC/FinxS International - world-leading behavioural assessment provider. The Success with PeopleÆ Academy provides performance-enhancing solutions for individuals, teams and organisations. It undertakes high-stakes candidate screening for the private and public sectors.