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Personnel Psychology in the Hiring Process

Personnel Psychology in the Hiring Process

In today’s employment marketplace, a poor hiring decision can prove to be a costly error for any company. The hiring process includes advertising for the position, recruitment efforts, time spent in interviewing and training, pre-screening testing (criminal background, drug and credit testing), and on-boarding procedures. Some statistics show that the average cost of replacing an employee equals 20 percent of the individual’s annual salary. Implementing a thorough competency assessment can save the company significant time and money.

Personnel Psychology

The estimated average cost of a new employee hire is around $4,000, which includes recruiting, hiring and training costs. To conserve money and resources, it’s critical to assure the right employee is hired from the beginning with the help of industrial-organizational psychologists, to make the most of those costs and reduce the risk of finding another replacement. A key factor in an individual’s candidacy is their competency of all elements involved with a position. A person’s core competencies are judged by two types of determinants:

  1. Skills, knowledge and technical qualification.
  2. Behaviors, personality characteristics and personal aptitudes.

Traditional hiring methods focus primarily on knowledge and experience, providing an evaluation of a candidate’s skills and technical credentials. To impart a more thorough assessment of a candidate, it’s important for an organization to include an analysis of a potential employee’s behavioral characteristics as well. This approach, which combines both behavior and expertise, is referred to as personnel psychology; working to identify the basic competencies required of an individual to achieve success, as well as an evaluation of his or her past experiences that demonstrate the required competencies.

Within an organization, personnel psychology offers the following:

  • Aids with the selection, evaluation and training of personnel.
  • Defines measures for job performance, maximum productivity and job satisfaction among employees.
  • Supports an organization’s human proficiencies with corporate strategies and goals.
  • Locates and outlines behavioral aptitudes, traits, knowledge and manner of thinking that have shown to be statistically tied to an organization’s success and financial gains.
  • Offers a shared language and unprejudiced criteria for evaluating and expanding employee and leader performance and potential.
  • Acts as a common agenda for developing consistent talent management procedures, structures, and training.

Common Procedures in Hiring

Many different methods have been developed to measure levels of competency, including:

  • Test skills: A candidate’s application can attest to their skills and qualifications, but unless those aptitudes are put to the test, an employer can’t know for certain if the skills are up to par. This helps the employer assure that the person being hired is truly qualified to do the job at hand.
  • Confirm certifications: Degrees, accreditations and endorsements are excellent contributions to a candidate’s résumé, but their validity should be confirmed, through written confirmation if possible. Many positions require professional certifications and licenses, and legitimacy of each should be documented and kept on file.
  • Test knowledge of the position itself: A potential employee should have a detailed understanding of what the position involves, from responsibilities to hours required. Assuring that the position is completely understood during the hiring process can help avoid any misunderstandings later and potential loss of employee.
  • Test personality and work ethic: Many businesses are now implementing a different kind of testing that includes assessing a candidate’s personality, manner of thinking, outlook and work ethic. Several studies have shown the value in this type of testing, allowing employers to determine how a candidate would best fit in on a personal level into an organization, or how he or she would contribute creatively to a team. It’s important to consult standard regulations to know what type of questions can and cannot be asked.
  • Check references: Following up with a candidate’s references can help to affirm his or her qualifications for the job. Asking questions about the knowledge and qualifications the candidate possesses, as well as work ethic, can provide respected insight into an individual’s ability to be hired.

When a business is looking for the most qualified candidate to bring into its organization, it’s critical to approach the hiring process incorporating personnel psychology. Industrial-organizational psychologists in an organization can help make this happen. I-O psychologists are prepared with a background in job analysis and personnel psychology, being able to design employee selection systems, performance appraisal instruments, 360 feedback, training and career development.

Thorough testing and confirmation of skills, as well as assuring a candidate could fit into the company’s day-to-day way of doing business, will save not only the organization money, but time and resources.

As hiring methods advance, many organizations are looking to incorporate personnel psychology professionals. Now is the perfect time to increase your value to an organization by earning your Master of Science in Applied Psychology with a specialization in Industrial-organizational psychology from Sacred Heart University. The MSAP I-O program at Sacred Heart helps its students apply cutting-edge psychological research and processes to real-world business situations, preparing them for successful careers in industrial-organizational psychology. Now is your chance to join one of the nation’s fastest-growing career fields, and all with the convenience and flexibility of online courses.

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