How Psychology Can Help You Hire the Best Employees

Every company wants to save time and hiring costs by easily identifying a quality employee. Quality employees ensure an organisation’s efficiency and help increase morale and productivity. Although it may seem arduous to develop a hiring strategy aimed toward the psychology of a candidate, hiring isn’t just about finding people with the specific desired experience. Embracing psychological practices can achieve more efficient hiring processes. Here’s why…

Structured interviews

Organisations can easily allow for natural, subconscious bias and personal preferences to guide their opinions during the hiring process. They may favour candidates who give the best first impression, match their personality, or not be able to see beyond how they present themselves in an interview. Recruitment psychology can help you see beyond the first impressions and help you avoid natural biases. A way to tackle this is to create a structured interview with pre-determined questions. This means you can avoid going on tangents about subjects that might be enjoyable to explore but lead to you forming an opinion of them on the wrong criteria. Creative questions like these inspire more judgment but provide less concrete data about whether they’re a good fit for the company. 

Structured interviews are considered more credible and reliable than other styles. You can include behavioural and situational questions that help you understand candidates’ traits based on what you require for the role. Behavioural questions will show you how a candidate can guarantee performance and productivity and situational questions allow you to test their problem-solving and decision-making skills. From this information, you can predict performance in the company. Structured interviews are also more time efficient, as you have a script to follow without pause for thought. Also, they’re more easily comparable between each candidate as the questions are the same.

It may be useful to include some questions that encourage candidates to highlight their strengths in your interview. According to Forbes, framing an interview with positive psychology gives allows interviewees to stand out rather than blend in with other candidates. And interviewers trained in using positive psychology may also have the chance to learn more about candidates’ resilience, work ethic, and sense of fulfillment than they could with any other method. 


Job Security

In order to attract candidates of the highest quality, it is important to ensure that the company is invested in the future of its role. Jobs significantly contribute to a person’s livelihood, as a source of income and often bring a sense of purpose to someone’s life. If their job is threatened, then it can lead to anxiety and stress. 

Candidates will look for job security aspects when applying for roles, and how they can assure their future in the company is secure. Mentioning the company’s values and beliefs can show the applicant the type of company it is entering. (Including an ‘About Us’ on your organisation’s website may also attract further potential applicants and impact applicant quality). Selecting questions that give an applicant reassurance that you require their services can provide them with confidence, even in times of economic hardship. You could do this by asking what they could do to help the company thrive in the future to show that you are in a mutually beneficial position.

Turn the tables

Rather than assuming it’s a one-way street and you need to fill a role, discuss how the candidate will benefit from choosing your company. How it will help them as an individual, and why they want this role. Often candidates are looking for a company that can help advance their careers and nurture them as individuals. The opportunity for advancement and career growth is one of the most important factors when considering a role: 87% of millennials say professional growth and career development are very important. In the interview, give them a sneak peek of what they’ve got to look forward to; perhaps in individual training, professional speakers, or educational courses that further their understanding of the role/industry. Not only will this show that your organisation is invested in their staff’s personal development but also that it recognises their efforts and career achievements. 

Use Psychological tests

Without sounding like a mad scientist, including psychological assessments as part of your hiring process can create a more in-depth method of evaluating the applicant. It provides concrete data and avoids bias. Psychological findings have shown that some of the world’s most successful companies, (i.e., Google) use interview techniques that test cognitive ability and assess candidate’s placement on a conscientiousness scale. 

There are various tests you could employ:

Personality tests help to determine each candidate’s traits, how they behave in certain scenarios, how they motivate themselves, and how they interact with people. They can also help predict applicants’ job performance based on their answers.

Intelligence aptitude tests are considered the most accurate test for predicting the success of candidates in a role.

Skills tests are particularly useful for tech roles that require a specific hard skill set. They determine a candidate’s intelligence and logical thinking ability. They can vary depending on the type of skills required.

Cognitive ability tests can measure reasoning, logic, comprehension, and other basic skills that may be required for the role.

The Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology says that these assessments are more effective when combined with and used in conjunction with structured interviews or other supplementary tools, such as cognitive tests. 

Try not to incorporate too many tests in your hiring process however, as this may deter a prospective candidate who is faced with hours of complex tests. Perhaps pick one and try and keep it as brief as possible.

To learn more about employment testing, take a look at SIOP’s guide here.

After using all of the above, you will be able to assess the applicant in great depth and decide if they’re right for your role. 

If you would like advice on your hiring process, get in touch with a member of our team on 020 3800 1234.