Identify Leaders

25 Jun 2009

Human Resources in the Modern Workplace

“When hiring for a position, taking into account the various interview techniques at the disposal of the average Director, Executive, HR Manager or Business Owner, we can expect that there is about a 70%  chance that the person employed will be an average or good employee.”

Employees fall into four categories: Excellent, Good, Average and Poor. There is also a small group who can be considered unemployable, but statistically speaking, they number less than 0.5% of those seen in the average interview process.

Excellent Employees:

  • Always go above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Are a perfect fit in their chosen field.
  • Add immense value to the Company that employs them.
  • Are trustworthy and loyal.

Good Employees:

  • Will go the extra mile when required.
  • Are generally good at their job.
  • Are trustworthy and loyal.

Average Employees:

  • Perform all of the elements of their position as required.
  • Are generally trustworthy, but not always loyal.
  • Work on a clock mentality. As soon as they are off the clock their obligations end.

Poor Employees:

  • Perform enough the required tasks of their position to stay employed.
  • Have no special loyalty to the company and can only partially be trusted.
  • Are clock watchers.

As the above figure shows, there is a good chance you will end up hiring an average or good employee, since most employees fall into these categories. There is also a small chance of gaining an excellent employee, but unfortunately a larger chance of hiring a poor employee. This is simply due to the fact that some people, although perfect for the position, do not perform well in the interview, while a person who is an average or poor fit for the position will be hired because they are good at interviews. This happens all the time.

So the question for your business is simply this: “How do I stack the odds in my favour?” The answer, surprisingly, is actually quite simple: psychometric testing.

Case Study

Let’s take a look at Jan Goodman, head of the HR department in a large national retailer. Jan was looking to hire a trainee for a mid-level management position. The position package is 45K plus superannuation. This means that hiring the wrong person, for just the 3 month trial period would cost the company in salary, superannuation, workers compensation and insurance, not to mention the wasted man hours of training.

Jan, being very good at her job, narrowed the field of 120+ applications down to a field of 20, based on previous experience and education. Jan then contacted RightPeople to conduct their OCEANIC Test. As a direct result of the test, Jan was able to narrow the field down to two candidates and after another round of interviews, made her choice. Ian, the chosen candidate from that selection process, has since completed his traineeship and is well on his way to becoming a senior executive in the corporation.

This is the kind of success story that is repeated time and again where psychometric testing is used in the candidate selection process. It’s all about finding the Right People for the position.

What is Psychometric Testing

Psychometric testing can appear under many names: skills testing, aptitude testing, personality testing, IQ testing, employment testing, career testing… the list goes on. The important thing to remember is this: psychometric testing is a branch of psychology dealing with the measurement of mental traits, capacities and processes via written and/or verbal tests. In other words, by measuring your responses to a set of pre-formulated questions, RightPeople is able to prepare an accurate report on your personality, cross reference this to the requirements of a particular position and draw a conclusion on your suitability for that position.

While we are on the subject, I still remember being around 12 years old and going with a friend, his younger brother and their father to choose a puppy out of the same litter for Christmas. My friend was old enough to choose for himself, but his father was going to choose for his younger brother. My friend chose the largest, most boisterous, most energetic puppy from the litter, literally within seconds of walking through the door. His father, on the other hand, stood off to one side and watched the puppies interact with each other. After about five minutes he made his choice and off we went.

The puppy my friend chose grew to be a really big dog that chewed up everything in sight, dug up the yard and in general ran riot. His brother’s puppy grew up to be a great dog, following commands, learning tricks and seeming to sense what you wanted of him.

I remember making a random comment about the difference between them at a BBQ a few years later. My friend’s father just laughed and said he knew exactly how they would grow up. He noted the energy and excitability of the puppy of my friend’s choice, but looking at the joy on his son’s face, he knew the battle was lost before it had begun. He then paid close attention to the rest of the puppies playing and noticed that while the rest were running, jumping, chasing and playing, one of them just sat quietly watching the humans and ignoring its siblings. This was the puppy he chose as the signs of intelligence and even temper were obvious. These were the traits he was looking for in an animal that was to share his house.

Humans, though, are more complex than puppies, and this complexity makes it harder to judge intelligence and personality. Although it is harder and more time consuming to correctly assess the human personality, it is quite important and indeed quite cost-effective to do so. That is why we at RightPeople have developed an extensive range of psychometric tests.

Although there are many tests available, from broad personality tests to specific skills testing (eg: MS Word Proficiency Testing), today we are going to look at one of the most popular personality assessments – the OCEAN Occupational Personality Assessment.

The OCEANIC Occupational Personality Assessment

The OCEAN Occupational Personality Assessment, also known as the Big Five Factor test, can be used across a range of industries for a range of purposes. This test gives a surprisingly detailed overview of a person’s base personality, and can allow us to predict with a degree of certainty how they will react in a range of scenarios, or if they have the particular key personality traits considered desirable for a given position or role.

This test is based on five distinct factors which are described below:


This can be best described as how open people are to new, or more specifically, unconventional ideas or ways of thinking about things. People who score low on this component tend to be regarded as conventional. Words used to describe this component are: Feelings, Actions, Ideas and Values.


This component consists of traits such as Competency, Organisation, Responsibility and Dutifulness. People scoring high on this component can be described as reliable, hard working, organized, disciplined and efficient, while in people with low scores the opposite is true.


This is a measure of how outgoing a person is. A person scoring high in this component could be describes as assertive, talkative, sociable, etc, while a low score could be described as shy, bashful, easily led, etc.


Interpersonal traits such as sympathy, compassion and generosity are the main traits measured in this component. This can also include modesty, trust and straightforwardness.


This measures people’s likelihood to suffer from neurotic episodes. These can range from very mild exacerbations such as self-consciousness, jealousy and irritability, right through to full-blown anxiety and depression.

One of the most interesting points about this test is that it has been found to be consistent across all cultures and languages over the 20+ years it has been in use.