Archive for the ‘Zircon’ category

The Apprentice: proving enthusiasm is no match for competence

October 29th, 2015

zircon apprentice cat

Last night’s episode of the BBC show illustrated why it is critical to assess candidates, and not simply trust their enthusiasm.

Spoiler warning: if you don’t want to know who was fired from The Apprentice last night, look away now.

Comedian W.C. Fields famously said: “Never work with animals or children.”

In last night’s episode of The Apprentice, the challenge of selling products at a pet show proved to be the undoing of candidate Ruth Whiteley.

Despite working in sales training, Ruth failed to sell a single cat tower during a whole day of exhibiting at ExCel in London.

Ruth was fired because she confused Enthusiasm for Competence. She confidently engaged potential customers and chatted to them enthusiastically about the cat towers but was unable to convert a single discussion into a sale.

In interviews, very often we select the extrovert who is confident and enthusiastic because we confuse enthusiasm for competence.

This is why, like Alan Sugar, you should use exercises rather than interviews to assess candidates. In interviews it is difficult to differentiate between the two.

In an exercise, the evidence is clear to observe and record and therefore assess.

There are four types of evidence that can be gained from assessment exercises. In order of validity (the highest is first and is the preferred approach), they are:

  • Observed – exercises (roleplays, presentations, tasks)
  • Tests (online tests)
  • Reported (interviews – where a person reports who they are and how they interact)
  • Inferred (questionnaires – where you infer from the questionnaire how a person will be)

The lesson is to always make sure you include observed exercises as part of your assessment process e.g. a sales task, role play or presentation.

Just make sure it is not a group exercise. As I have written before, this is the main area where The Apprentice’s selection process falls down.

  • Dr Amanda Potter is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist, and the CEO of Zircon Management Consulting and Talent Gene.

The Three Predictors of Employability

October 22nd, 2015

More than 950,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 24 are unemployed in the UK today and the jobless rate is 3.74 times the adult rate (IPPR, 2014). Psychological research often focuses on young people’s lack of motivation and preparation and the long transitions between education and work as the cause for this however what the research fails to consider is how few entry-level jobs are offered to young people. » Read more: The Three Predictors of Employability

High Potential Identification and Strategic Talent Planning

October 14th, 2015

The Zircon and Talent Gene® team are pleased to announce that we will be attending the 2015 Annual Association of Business Psychology (ABP) Conference in Wokefield, Reading on the 26th to the 28th of November. » Read more: High Potential Identification and Strategic Talent Planning

Is Coaching Self-Disclosure Important for Coaching Success?

October 8th, 2015

As Coaching Psychologists, we are increasingly encouraged to work as equal partners with people to overcome problems or facilitate success. When we are working with clients to solve problems, help them recover from failure, or cope with difficult circumstances, should we be behaving differently with them? » Read more: Is Coaching Self-Disclosure Important for Coaching Success?

Why you should want to hire a ‘Spiky’ Leader

October 1st, 2015

Strengths, also known as energisers, are the things that we do well and find motivating and energising. We use our strengths to achieve our objectives, sometimes without even realising that we are using them.

This blog challenges the traditional “vanilla” method of assessment that requires leaders to be good at everything and promotes the “spiky” leader profile where leaders excel in their strengths but have allowable weaknesses. » Read more: Why you should want to hire a ‘Spiky’ Leader

It is never too early to get Work Experience

September 28th, 2015

I am seventeen and I am currently half way through my A-levels. I’m in the same position as a lot of people my age – trying to figure what to study and what career to go into. I have always had an interest in Psychology as my dad – Alan Beggs often talks to me about his experiences as a Psychologist. I always knew it was a diverse subject but I wanted to understand how could be applied to the world of business. Zircon gave me the ideal insight. » Read more: It is never too early to get Work Experience

Strategic Recruitment Summit (SRS) Europe 2015 Conference with Dr Amanda Potter

September 23rd, 2015

The Zircon and Talent Gene® Team are pleased to announce that we will be attending the 2015 Strategic Recruitment European Summit at The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, London Victoria, on the 29th September. » Read more: Strategic Recruitment Summit (SRS) Europe 2015 Conference with Dr Amanda Potter

Strengths and Engagement?

September 18th, 2015

Is there relationship between using your Strengths at work and how engaged you are?

It is likely that you will have different preferred strengths to your friends and team. Whilst you might have a preference for environments where you can be meticulous, your friend might prefer an environment where they can be a risk taker. » Read more: Strengths and Engagement?

What are your Core Personal Values?

September 14th, 2015

Within Zircon we agreed that Tenets, also known as personal values, are a set of broad preferences reflecting a person’s sense of what is “right or wrong” or what “ought to be”. Tenets (or values) are inherent to how an individual behaves, how they are guided and how they interact with others. Values are something that a person has, believes in, or owns. Tenets influence both attitude and behaviour. » Read more: What are your Core Personal Values?

Do Values have a place in Talent Assessment?

September 11th, 2015

Increasingly we talk about the importance of values in assessment and they are regarded by many to be a critical part of the assessment process. Values are our core and pertaining beliefs that influence our personal and career decisions, behaviour and impact our level of potential to succeed. They can however vary widely depending on the circumstance. Research has demonstrated that if the values of an individual are congruent with organisational values, the individual is likely to be motivated to stay with the company, perform and deliver. » Read more: Do Values have a place in Talent Assessment?