Ask The Expert


by Amanda McCulloch

16th April 2014

Extract from Business Women Scotland (BWS) Magazine Apr / May 2014 edition. Amanda McCulloch answers BWS reader questions on recruitment.

Q1 I recently applied for a new job and have been advised part of the recruitment process involves psychometric testing. I'm not sure what this means.

Hiring the wrong person can be costly for businesses so many now use psychometric assessment as a component of the recruitment process because there's overwhelming evidence that it offers insights into how personal traits impact performance at work. Combining this with interview feedback can significantly improve the selection outcome - which is good news for you and the employer.

There's a wide range of tools on the market, but we use Thomas International Personal Profile Analysis for our internal hiring. Candidates highlight words which most and least describe their behaviour, taking only 6 - 8 minutes to complete.

Candidates often view the assessment process as a fair method of measuring individual behaviour while highlighting strengths and needs.

Like all good interview processes, communication is vital. It is essential that you understand why you are being asked to undertake psychometric assessment and how the results are relevant to the role. Whether you are successful or not you should expect to receive feedback of the analysis.

Q2 I'm a qualified accountant and would like to return to work after 5 years out of the employment market raising my young children. I'm a bit daunted by the prospect, any advice you can share to boost my confidence?

I can understand why you may feel daunted, but I know from personal experience that being a mum will have added to your skill set, you probably have greater stamina, are better organised (through necessity!), have greater empathy and an enhanced ability to work under pressure.

As a qualified accountant your professional skills remain very relevant. There's likely to be a number of options available to you with employers ranging from practice firms, small businesses where you may be the sole accountant to larger firms where you're a member of a team. Perhaps there's also not a necessity to return to work on a permanent basis, temporary assignments provide flexibility and an opportunity to experience different working environments, taking the pressure off you to make a decision on a permanent position until you find a job which you know is ideally suited to you.

Best of luck, I'm sure you have a lot to offer a prospective employer.

Q3 I've developed my career through internal promotions and being directly approached, but I'm now ready to be more proactive. What are the ways I can manage my own job search?

Advances in technology have greatly increased the options available for job seekers to manage their own search. Professional networks such as Linkedin provide a platform for showcasing your expertise and knowledge interactively; on-line job boards allow you to search by employer, location, salary banding and job search engines scour the internet for roles which meet your personal criteria. However, don't underestimate how much effort managing your own search will require. By placing your CV on-line be prepared to manage unsolicited approaches. It's important that your profile remains active, with regular updates and once you've made an application you may feel detached from the process if you don't receive prompt feedback.

I'd encourage you to find a trusted recruitment specialist who will spend time getting to know you and what you are searching for in your next role. You'll benefit from their market knowledge, extensive network and career advice without being distracted by the application process. They will also be able to share comprehensive information on prospective employers, sharing insights that you won't find in a job specification.

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