Building For The Future In Construction

July 14th 2021

How To Hire The Right Person, First Time

Companies typically hire candidates based on their skillsets. They go through interviewing and onboarding, only to lose what looked like a perfectly good placement on paper to a behavioural issue later down the line.

It’s a tedious, costly, counterproductive cycle to get into: recruit, hire, train, fire – try and hire again. How much longer before the talent pool runs dry in UK Construction and we’re faced with a talent crisis?

As we’ve already established, that time is already upon us. The good news is there’s a way to break this cycle.

Losing people often stems from a flaw in the screening method companies use during the initial recruitment process. Specifically, when companies fail to identify potential behavioural problems that might once the interview’s a distant memory.

While a good fit can be a great asset to your organisation, a bad hire can prove costly, impacting the productivity and morale of other employees. Not to mention, delays to projects and all the associated expense that goes with it.

So how do you predict a ‘good’ placement?

The answer may lie in psychometric testing. A way of evaluating behaviours so you can make a more holistic assessment about who to hire, ideally avoiding people leaving because they were a bad fit and having to start the recruitment process again.

It’s true what they say, we hire for skills and fire for behaviours.

Psychometric testing is commonplace in a number of industries, but virtually unheard of in UK Construction. But here’s why it could be the most valuable process improvement you implement this year.

What is psychometric testing?

A series of assessments based on scientific methods that offer insight into a candidate’s characteristics, interests and motivations, cognitive abilities, and potential in the workforce. They’re a way to predict potential conflict areas, maximise synergy and productivity, and allow you to hold on to high-calibre staff.

In a nutshell, they’re question-based behavioural assessments used during an interview process to gauge a person’s suitability for the role, at the same time as highlighting their specific personality traits that won’t always be picked up in a face-to-face interview.

Here are some of the more common psychometric tests used in an interview process:

Personality tests

These tests are used to measure a candidate’s behavioural style, their attitudes, and personality traits. Ordinarily presented as statements candidates have the option of agreeing or disagreeing to, they’re designed to unearth insights on a person’s project management style, their attitude to working with different stakeholders, their behavioural style towards co-workers and managers.

It can also provide a clear idea of how the candidate deals with stress, their ability to deal with change, their decision-making style, and their level of creative thinking.

Numerical reasoning tests

These aren’t maths exams, but tests are typically timed and you’re marked on your answers. Numerical reasoning tests are specifically designed to measure a candidate’s ability to quickly and accurately analyse numerical data, interpret graphs, identify critical issues and draw logically draw conclusions from numerical data.

This is a skillset you might ask about at interview, but struggle to properly grasp based on the candidate’s answers. Correctly applied, a numerical reasoning test is a great way to determine between Line Managers which has had functional control of a budget, and who has merely had operational oversight of one, for example.

Verbal reasoning tests

Testing a candidate’s oral and written skills gives an indication of their ability to grasp and efficiently convey new concepts and information quickly. Similar to the Personality Tests, candidates are presented with a short passage of information and asked to respond to a series of statements with either True, False, or Don’t Know.

Tests are again timed, so for candidates who need to be familiar with new products, equipment, or complex processes in their role, this is a reliable way to test how they process information in real-time.

Abstract reasoning tests

Or lateral thinking tests, they’re designed to measure a candidate’s ability to quickly digest new information, identify patterns, and think outside the box in order to solve problems. One example of a test might be a series of shapes, in which the candidate must identify the next in sequence.

To pass, candidates must demonstrate accurate decision making, as well as solid reasoning. Tests can be useful in revealing whether or not they can confidently solve problems in the workplace outside their usual scope of knowledge and experience.

Why now is the right time

The UK faces a talent shortage, and it’s fair to say Brexit has been a complicating factor. The industry has lost access to thousands of skilled professionals who appear unlikely to return.

Developing home-grown talent seems like the most logical next step for UK Construction to take, but it will take time. Meanwhile, as the country and the world at large gets back to something resembling normal, there’s a surge in demand for construction projects to kick off all at once.

Given the shortage of skilled talent available in the market right now, you might be looking at potential candidates who aren’t quite the full package, but appear to have an encouraging mix of attitude and experience that, with a bit of effort, could make them an asset.

How do you determine who is worth the risk and expense of onboarding, training, and then hoping and praying they don’t leave?

Psychometric tests can take a lot of the guesswork away. By drilling down into an individual’s suitability, we can look at how they might gel with your workplace culture, and even give a potential indication as to who’s more likely to work out in the long term.

Make psychometric testing work for you

Psychometric testing should form a crucial stage of your recruitment process. It offers an unbiased, scientific, reliable way of screening candidates for qualities you simply wouldn’t find if you weren’t looking.

Implementing psychometric testing means what might have taken months to reveal about a candidate could take a matter of hours, reducing the chances of a bad someone joining only to leave unhappily shortly after – the fallout of which could take months to rectify.

Psychometric assessments are a good indicator of future potential, empowering HR to make important workforce decisions in the long term.

If you want someone to show you how to implement it, this is what we do.

Get in touch with us to talk through how psychometric testing can drastically improve retention, ultimately saving you time, money, and perhaps most importantly of all, hassle.