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Skills in psychology can have an important bearing on the interview and selection processes. Consider this, within only 13 seconds of meeting a candidate, the average manager ( whose interviewing skills more often than not are entirely self-taught ) will have already decided whether the candidate is likely to be right for the job or not.

Within only 19 seconds of meeting the candidate, the chances of the interviewer then changing his or her mind about the probable suitability of the candidate is only 3%!

Why, you may ask, is there so much apparent bias in the mind of the interviewer? The explanation is very simple. We spend our lives gathering and storing data and much of it is taken in through our eyes. Very high priority is given to our eyes, some estimates suggest as much as 70% of our brain's processing power is devoted to processing what our eyes are seeing. There is a search for recognisable patterns and these patterns have associations. Consequently, we are very, very quick to make assumptions about what we are seeing – and about what we like. The process operates at a subconscious level, we ‘feel’ what we have observed, we accept our conclusion as true – and without consciously questioning it.

Sometimes psychology can reveal that a job specification is not practical in the first place. For example, people who are exceptionally good at routine tasks, who are consistently accurate, very often dislike change. So, to seek an Administration Manager who is very quick to devise new administrative procedures and just as speedy when it comes to implementing them is going to be a very unusual animal in the first place and very unlikely to have receptive staff when it comes to implementation!

Research both here and in the USA has revealed that, on average, untrained managers select candidates correctly in only 25% of instances – just one in four! With the support of an appropriate and correctly administered psychometric tool this improves to 55% which is still only a little better that one in every two appointments. Only with skilled, trained interviewers does the success rate rise to between 82% and 85%, with an average of 83%.

An understanding of personality types and their associated behaviour patterns makes a world of difference to managers who carry responsibility for recruitment and for building effective teams. The impact on productivity is immense – not only are recruitment and induction training costs reduced dramatically, the increased stability of teams reduces the work load and associated stress which otherwise falls on staff who are struggling against the effects of undermanning or incompetent or disaffected team members.

Most people have heard of polygraphs, or lie detectors. Establishing the truth can be very important indeed, especially in the interview process. There are numerous behavioural indicators, including reactions from our autonomic nervous system, that constantly reveal the truth but it is surprising how few are known to the average manager.

Consequently, White House Consulting and its experienced psychologists can equip managers at all levels with the knowledge to be much more discerning, more confident and very much more effective when it comes to recruitment and selection.

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