With personality tests playing an ever more central role in the job application process we look at some of the more popular psychological tests on the market and what they involve.

What are they?
As the name suggest honesty assessments (also known an integrity tests) are used by employers to assess the honest and integrity of individuals applying for roles by gauging how they respond to a set of questions or imagined scenarios. They can appear in different guises – openly labelled as honesty tests, for example, or as questions hidden within a broader job assessment or general interview questions.

What does the test look at?
These tests are designed to evaluate the honesty and dependability of a candidate by looking at personality aspects linked to these positive traits – e.g. an applicant’s maturity, altruism or social conscientiousness. While some tests may present the applicant with questions related to involvement in illegal behaviour or past transgressions, the questions are typically of a hypothetical nature.

What does the test actually look like?
Integrity tests take many forms. They can be given orally, with employers asking the candidate questions about past experiences; or they can be administered via paper or electronic examination. These questions come in a variety of formats, from comprehensive questions (where the candidate might react to a picture or a scenario) to scaled-response questions.

An example of a question may look like this:
• How would you react if your manager asked you to do something that violated company policy?
Or
• Indicate the degree to which you consider the following action acceptable or unacceptable on a scale of 1 to 5:
“A customer at a store receives an extra £5 in change and decides to keep it rather than inform the cashier of the error.”

What does the assessor get out of it?
Each employer will have their own reasons for administering a test; however, they will usually be looking to form a picture of how the candidate is likely to behave in the workplace. Testing for honesty or integrity is especially important in roles where employees are handling money or sensitive information, for example. In some cases they may be looking for potential red flags by exposing candidates who are liable to engage in damaging behaviour such as theft, absenteeism or workplace altercations.

Performing in the test
To be clear, employers aren’t necessarily looking for the perfect, whiter than white employee. In fact, purposely not admitting to minor indiscretions from your past is likely to arouse suspicions about your integrity. Rather than trying to give the answers you think they want to hear, spend time before the test thinking about where you actually stand on integrity or moral issues. Do your own assessment using sample questions available online – would you cover for a colleague who’d broken the rules, for example?

While you need to keep your wits about you and understand what you’re facing, remember that the aim of these types of tests is not to put you on trial. Assuming you don’t have any major skeletons lurking in your closet, approach them honest intentions and you should have nothing to worry amount.

Reference: Houston Chronicle; Test Yourself; MSN; Abintegro
20 Apr 2017

While you may not have come across them yet, digital interviews are a rapidly growing trend in the world of recruiting.

Not to be confused with the live, Skype-based version, a digital interview requires candidates to field pre-recorded questions from prospective employers, recording answers at their own leisure and then emailing these back to the firm.

There are a number of companies turning to digital interview software throughout the world. One of the leading providers, HireVue counts multinationals Rio Tinto and Red Bull among its customers.

As with most innovations, the key selling point to subscribers is efficiency. Time-pressured managers and senior employees can record their part of the interview during a break in their busy schedules. Candidates too are given the freedom to prepare and record their answers in their own time and in a relatively pressure-free setting.

There are downsides, however, particularly from an interviewee perspective. The one-way nature of digital interviews makes it extremely hard, if not impossible, to build a rapport with your interviewer and to find common ground over current events, favourite holiday destinations, or other shared interests.

It’s worth bearing in mind, especially if you’re someone who relies heavily on personality or charisma to sway things in their favour.

While the protocol for approaching digital interviews doesn’t differ hugely from the traditional face-to-face variety, there are a certain number of dangers to be aware of.

Web cam etiquette doesn’t always come naturally, so:
1. Make sure to look directly into the camera, not your own face on the monitor.
2. Double check for possible interruptions
3. Test the lighting and acoustics in the room
before you hit ‘record’.

Remember that the general essentials of interview technique still apply:
4. Dress smartly
5. Pay attention to posture and body language
6. Keep your tone professional at all times.

Digital interviews are unlikely to be everyone’s idea of fun. However, the fact that their close relative, Skype, is so routinely used in business nowadays over suggests that the use of this software is more than just a passing fad. It may be time for you to get acquainted.

Reference: Jobs.net; Forbes; United Health Group; Abintegro
13 Apr 2017

Hiring by video game? It sounds rather like another recruiter gimmick; however, there’s actually a strong scientific basis to support the use of gaming in assessing potential hires. As well as provide an accurate and objective representation of the candidate’s skill set and personality, the anonymity of video game-based assessments have proven useful in helping recruiters to overcome unconscious bias, that is our unwitting tendency to show favour to certain individuals based on their race, nationality, gender, educational background or other factors.

By making the process more objective and boiling it down purely to thinking styles and different cognitive abilities, employers are able to create a level playing field and avoid missing out on high-quality candidates who mightn’t otherwise make it through the opening selection rounds.

This video-game approach is proving increasingly popular in the graduate and school leaver recruitment market in particular, where employers are able to count on most candidates having a relatively high level of technological know-how. In 2009, the British Army introduced the Start Thinking Soldier campaign for young recruits. The strategy included an online game that tested for attributes such as teamwork, decision-making and mental sharpness.

Things have kicked on considerably since then: founded by two Oxford University graduates, Arctic Shores is one of a handful of companies leading the game-based assessment charge. The UK-based developer now has a number of games on the market. One of the more successful, Firefly Freedom, has recently been picked up by professional services giant, Deloitte, to help select 200 candidates for the company’s UK apprenticeship programme. If successful, the firm plans to expand use to its graduate recruitment campaign.

The game, which is hosted on smartphone devices, requires players to help collect fireflies to help light up the village of Lightopia, which has been plunged into darkness. Despite a seemingly simple premise, the way in which candidates approach the game is remarkably telling: players are rated according to a range of factors, including consistency, diligence and situational awareness, as well as their ability to manage and evade risks. Skyrise City, another successful game in the Arctic Shores portfolio, ranks applicants based on their emotional awareness, aptitude, cognition and thinking style.

With several other employers, including the NHS, HSBC, the BBC and the Civil Service, rumoured to be following suit, the use of video and games-based recruitment looks set to grow and grow. While offering clear benefits to recruiters, it may also turn out to be a good thing from the candidate’s perspective, with those from non-traditional backgrounds given a fairer platform to showcase their talents.

It seems there really is everything to play for.

Reference: Arctic Shores; Game Skinny; The Guardian; Abintegro
06 Apr 2017

Snapchat and work – two words you don’t hear uttered together in the same sentence too often. Yet, like tweeting before it, ‘snapping’ is slowly creeping its way into working life.

For those who aren’t already familiar, Snapchat is a smartphone app that allows users to quickly share ‘snaps’ containing photos and videos with friends and followers in their network. The USP is that, once opened, the snaps, only stay on the recipient’s feed for around 10 seconds before vanishing without a trace. However, creating Snapchat stories allows you to create and keep adding to something that will be available for 24 hours.

While many associate the app with a younger, social crowd, Snapchat’s user base is actually quite diverse: of the 100 million estimated daily users, 39% are aged 25 to 44.

Here are just some of its potential workplace uses:

1. Applying for a job
Believe it or not, we have entered the age of the Snap-CV, where job-seekers are starting to send out video resumes to potential employers over the Platform. As well as standing out from the crowd, this is a clever way to alert recruiters to your technical/ social media skills. Although, most of the people who have done this have been applying to Snapchat.

2. Researching a company
For the less direct amongst us, following your favourite brands on Snapchat is a great way to get the inside track on the companies you’d like to work for. Employers often let their guard down a little when snapping, and may offer up interesting tidbits about what they’re up to – potentially great material for your interview or covering letter.

3. Building your personal brand
Whether you’re looking for a role or about to start work, having a visible social media presence helps to build your brand and Snapchat is a useful platform for getting your work out there. Bite-sized videos are perfect for bringing your work to the attention of your network, new colleagues and clients.

4. Team building
If carefully managed, Snapchat can be a great workplace messaging tool, allowing colleagues to share ideas and information in a fun way. Snaps are also a handy communication tool for managers – because they disappear after a few seconds they are a good way of grabbing people’s attention and cutting through the rest of the noise.

5. Sharing info with clients
Some businesses are even using Snapchat to share mini tutorials, product demos, inspiring or funny quotes, offers and vouchers.

While Snapchat has a long way to go before it becomes a staple part of working life, as we’ve seen, it certainly has its uses. Whether looking to boost your job prospects or add something a little bit different to your new team’s work dynamic, it might just be worth giving it a try.

 

Reference: The Muse; Boston College
09 Mar 2017

When you want to invite someone to connect with you on LinkedIn you may be stumped as to what you should say or you may just send a standard generic invite. Here are some tips to prevent your invitation from falling on deaf ears or being deleted in irritation:

1. Explain why you want to connect with them.

2. Tell them how you found them.

3. Mention articles or blogs they’ve written that you enjoyed.

4. Talk about careers, interests, connections or groups you have in common.

5. Be passionate and enthusiastic about what they do.

6. Refer to something on their profile.

7. Highlight a personal connection such as similar backgrounds or experience.

8. Add a personal note about what you hope you’ll both gain from the connection.

9. Offer to help them in any way you can.

10. Thank them in advance for connecting with you.

You don’t have to use all these points in your invitation, but remember that this is more about them than about you. So be polite and enthusiastic and show them why a connection with them would be valuable to you.

Reference: Abintegro; LinkedIn
01 Mar 2017

Hiring managers and recruiters are rapidly waking up to the value of intrapreneurship and the value that entrepreneurially-minded employees can bring to their organisation.

This is clearly great news for job seekers of the entrepreneurial persuasion; however, it’s incumbent on you to make sure these talents shine through during the application process.

Here are the kinds of qualities you should be looking to demonstrate and how to go about it:

1. Be passionate
What sets intrapreneurs apart from other employees is their deep regard for the organisation they work for. They want to help drive the company forward and view their own success and that of their organisation as one and the same.

Identify what you are passionate about (be it a hobby or specific aspects of your work or studies) and show how you’ve channelled this for the greater good of others – this could be an example of where you’ve taken charge of a project and made it a success by galvanising those around you.

2…. But commercially aware
Your passion needs to be shown to be being channelled in the right way, however. At their core, intrapreneurs possess a high level of commercial awareness – they understand what makes businesses tick and therefore know where they can add value.

As a job seeker, you need to demonstrate a deep interest in the organisation you are applying to. Research them thoroughly; show that you recognise their strengths and weaknesses and that you understand the market place in which they are operating. Don’t be afraid to articulate your ideas about where you think the market is going and where new opportunities may lie.

3. Making good use of resources
Resourcefulness is another key ingredient in intrapreneurs – it’s about having the ability to solve problems and find new solutions through good sense and intuition.

During your interview outline ways in which you’ve drawn on your available resources in order to achieve positive outcomes. This could include effective time management, the organisation of a successful event, solving a problem that flummoxed others, identifying and utilising the skills of the people at your disposal more effectively, or a process you tweaked that made a whole system run more efficiently.

4. Show a capacity for developing ideas
Ideas are an intrapreneur’s bread and butter. They instinctively look for a better way of doing things, knowing that this has the potential to make a positive difference to those around them. Highlight original ideas you’ve come up with that have brought about positive changes or led to something new and successful being introduced.

Your creativity needs to be supported by an ability to think critically about your decisions. Do your best to explain the ‘journey’ of how your idea came together and the reasons for the choices you’ve made.

Before starting any new job application it’s crucial that you consider the key qualities of an intrapreneur as well as clear examples of how you yourself embody these traits. Offering hard evidence to support your talents in this area will help show how you plan to add value to your potential employers.

Reference: Forbes; Enterprise Garage; Centre for Enterprise; Abintegro
23 Feb 2017

Compact, pocket, bite-sized, mini: today’s time-conscious society likes its information to be well packaged and easily digestible. Hiring managers are no different, with the average recruiter reportedly taking all of six seconds to decide whether a candidate’s application is worth pursuing.

The way you present your CV or resume is therefore as important as the information it contains, with a clean, clearly laid-out structure usually afforded greater consideration than something that falls badly on the page. This is particularly true in the case of a resume, which, strictly speaking, shouldn’t extend beyond a single page.

Here is our fittingly compact guide to structuring your CV or resume:

Title/header
Besides your name, the top of your CV/resume is also a neat place to include contact details, namely a single phone number and email address. This information shouldn’t take up more than a couple of lines on the page with a centred alignment generally advised.

It’s now also common practice to include URLs to your professional profile on LinkedIn and other sites. Your employer will almost certainly consult these, so you may as well put the information where they can see it.

Personal statement
An executive summary is still an essential component of a CV or resume, so long as it truly adds value. This should contain three to five lines that summarise your strengths and what you’re looking for. Treat it as a sales pitch and keep it professional.

Work experience
Unless you’re a recent graduate, professional experience should be listed before education and qualifications on the page.

Use reverse chronological order to detail your most recent positions first, starting with the company name and a one-line description of what it does. Your job title should be followed by clearly bullet-point key responsibilities and achievements (between two and five for each role). While a resume can afford to be vaguer around dates, a CV should account for any significant gaps in employment.

Education and qualifications
List vocational qualifications before academic ones and start with the highest qualification first. You should include relevant courses and training you have undertaken even if they didn’t result in a formal qualification. As a rule only include the two highest level qualifications you have.

Further information
Including any additional information is rarely a pre-requisite, so only include things like IT skills or professional memberships if they really add value. Interests, however, can give you a surprising edge if your interests are interesting! Avoid the superfluous ‘references on request’ at all costs.

Having restructured your CV, it’s always worth having a friend or ideally a professional recruiter check it over to see what they think. Try out the rule on them: would a six-second glance leave them wanting more?

 

Reference: Businessinsider.com; BCS; Abintegro
15 Feb 2017