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Psychology a perfect fit

PSYCHOLOGICAL screening can be daunting, but it benefits employers and recruits alike, according to experts.

Employers use the tests to confirm how candidates would fit their workplace, and to identify potential personality issues or the presence of psychopathology — for example, a diagnosable condition, Prahran Psychology’s Dean Janover said.

“Psychological testing tools offer an objective measure,” he said.

“They eliminate human error and pick up on things that might not come up through observation and interviewing.

“It is easy to put your best foot forward in an interview, masking underlying issues.”

At the same time, a good fit culturally is important for workers and their mental health.

If the fit is poor, it isn’t healthy for anyone.

So what can you expect from a psychological screening process?

Tests can be lengthy — 250 to 300 questions long — and can take two hours.

Many include internal devices such as “positive impression management”.

These systems trigger when a candidate seems to be portraying themselves in an overly positive light.

A psychologist typically reviews the test results and interviews candidates further about any inconsistencies or issues that come up.

Emotional Health Centre director Nicole Plotkin said successful psychological testing depended on the quality of the test administered, which vary from test to test.

Administering a high quality test is worthwhile, she said.

“If the tool has good internal consistency, you can learn a lot,” she said.

“A good interview does not translate into good performance in the workplace. You need more.”

In some cases, psychologists do assessments on an existing team to see how the group functions together, before advertising the requirements for a recruit.

“Typically this would happen where there has been conflict, and finding the right fit for the team is particularly important,” she said.

In all cases, it is essential to know what the team needs when you are looking for a new staff member.

Ms Plotkin herself won a job after revealing to the interviewer — her future employer — that, among other factors, she had an ENFP personality type on the Myers-Briggs personality test.

An ENFP personality can run with the ball and needs little guidance, which was precisely what the interviewer was looking for.

Psychologists can continue to help businesses after the recruitment phase to ensure good mental health within the workplace.

Interventions include psychological audits, training and employee assistance programs.

“Risks can be mediated by investment in mental health,” Mr Janover said.

“There’s a lot you can do.”

Thanks to PAULA BEAUCHAMP from the Herald Sun Newspaper

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