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The Science Behind Selecting Top Talent

The Science Behind Selecting Top Talent

Effective recruitment and selection is a science that many organisations find challenging to get right. Both The Occupational Psychology Group (OPG) and our executive search sister practice, Ramsey Hall, regularly see the benefits in terms of higher work and organisational performance when selective recruitment and selection techniques are deployed.

‘Gut feel’ and hiring only on ‘craft skills’ is not likely to lead to an effective hire who adds value. This is because team, organisational and where applicable, leadership fit, is essential as well as having the cognitive abilities to be successful.

Research has identified a four-pronged approach to effective assessment and selection.

Our approach is to measure:

  • Cognitive skills – This includes problem-solving, strategic skills and numeracy amongst other skills.
  • Behavioural fit – This might include leadership skills, leader behaviours and team working abilities.
  • Motivational and values fit – Is the candidate aligned with the values of the business and motivated to succeed in the new role?
  • Craft skills – technical competencies and skills

Each of these elements adds data and insight for the selection decision, but it is the combination of all four elements that enable us to get a full picture of the individual’s skills and personality, and their suitability for the role.

Assessing Candidates

Interviews alone are shown to be unreliable and open to bias. They rarely identify the drivers to success or delve into the core personality traits needed for an organisational fit. Moreover, cognitive abilities are not tested or easily understood.

Whilst every hire needs a bespoke approach to selection, Ramsey Hall and The OPG recommend a mix of assessments which usually includes:

  • Ability and attainment tests – to assess cognitive ability and potential.
  • Personality profiling – using psychometric assessment to help determine the role and organisational fit.
  • STAR based competency interviews – these test the assessment data and delve deeper into a candidate’s personality, attainment and importantly, potential.

We recommend that the psychometric assessment is validated during the competency interviews as the assessment data acts as a catalyst for in-depth feedback and discussion.

No one selection process is foolproof but by deploying a combination of methods, hiring decisions become more accurate with long-lasting benefits in terms of future job and organisational performance. Moreover, such approaches are more objective and scientific than traditional approaches to hiring because they provide measurable data which can be consistently and fairly obtained for consistency and accuracy.

Thinking Towards the Longer Term

Most selection projects we undertake are for career roles where future potential is as important as past and current ability and fit. Using selective recruitment and selection techniques means that you enhance the chances candidates will be promotable and have the potential to adapt and thrive in the future. Cany organisations have foresight and desire to meet future as well as current resourcing and succession planning needs early in a candidate’s employee life cycle, with all the benefits associated with high potential hiring.

Our Experience

We have over 30 years experience of working with clients to identify and develop talent. Typical projects include assessment at recruitment stage or as part of senior leadership development activities.

Click here to find out more about our approach and arrange an obligation-free chat.

Matthew Davis

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