Personality, gender stereotypes and leadership
“We’ve got our own competency model” sounds like an innocent phrase, but can be worrisome to an external consultant. Not all competency models are created equal, and even good ones can present a challenge to those of us who have to assess people against them.
We’ve all heard the horror stories about bad business decisions. Way back in 1876, Western Union turned down an offer to buy the patent on the telephone, as the device clearly had ‘no commercial possibilities’; more recently we could cite Kodak inventing the digital camera but then doing nothing with it (because it could have cannibalised their film business) or Lehman Brothers borrowing hugely just before the housing bubble burst. With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to see how wrong these decisions were, but the sad truth is that we are all prone to biases in our decision-making.
1.5 billion people in the world own a smartphone. That’s almost 20% of the world’s population; and in the US and Europe, 60% of the population own one. Such a ubiquitous device has become part of our daily lives. Many of us have it on hand at all times to check the weather forecast, get directions, access our text and email messages and read the latest news. Indeed, the average user spends three hours per day on a smartphone and 15% of all global internet traffic originates from smartphones.
As an Occupational Psychologist, something I’ve had to grow used to is being told by managers that there’s very little I’ll be able to add to how they currently recruit people. And so it was on the cold December night several years ago when I half walked, half skated across icy pavements to meet the night shift manager who had reluctantly been scheduled to see me.
Whether you need to hire staff for your own business, or you conduct interviews on behalf of a client, it’s important to get the most out of every job interview. As a business psychologist, I have studied selection methods carefully and practised them throughout my working life. Here are some tips on how to maximise the effectiveness of your next interview.
In the news this week, it seems that Humberside Police have come up with a novel way of recruiting their new Deputy Chief Constable. Prospective applicants were asked to include a ‘selfie’ with every request for an application pack. According to Chief Constable Justine Curran, this was because it was “vital that candidates embraced new technology” (hence presumably the idea that candidates should demonstrate their cutting edge technological expertise by taking and emailing a photograph). In Curran’s words, “it is vital that potential candidates understand the importance of embracing new technology within Humberside Police at the point of applying for the role”.
Visits to our Personality Matters blog were at an all-time high in 2014, and we covered a wide range of topics in our weekly posts. Over the last 12 months we've talked about the best MBTI-based books and the various resources available for L&D teams. We’ve promoted Movember, and we’ve commented on the Paul Flowers furore. We've also continued to thrive as thought leaders in a diverse range of workplace psychology issues, from recruitment and assessment centres to polarity management. But what are the top five posts that readers have returned to again and again?
Staff retention is a major issue for many organisations. Some environments are feeling the effects more than others - call centres, for example, are practically haemorrhaging employees. Consequently, HR professionals need to find more effective ways to retain talent. Our blog post offers ten top tips for engaging with staff and keeping them on board.
References on job candidates are a very valuable source of information, and yet they are being requested less and less by private sector employers. The main reasons are a fear on the part of the referee (or the referee’s employer) that if they give a candid reference, they might be sued; and scepticism on the part of the new employer about the value of any references they might obtain.