Informed by the latest research in recruitment and psychology, our unique methodology provides additional insights into the attitude and approach of the people we are introducing to our clients.

Attitude and Approach: Our 16-Point Appraisal Process

How would you describe feeling cold to someone who had never experienced it before? It may sound like a trick question, but answering it reveals a massive amount about how we communicate and how creatively and spontaneously we can express ourselves. It challenges us to think about something we take for granted differently and articulate that.

This question forms part of Saragossa’s innovative 16-point appraisal process.

Informed by the latest research in recruitment and psychology, our unique methodology provides additional insights into the attitude and approach of the people we are introducing to our clients.

After our comprehensive assessment, paired with a CV, the appraisal method provides our clients with critical information to make the selection, shortlisting, interviewing, and appointing process faster and more efficient. This is validated by the data showing improvement in our service value ratios.

Fact v fiction

When considering and marketing yourself to a specific job, there’s a tendency (sometimes subconscious) to align our professional experiences and characteristics to what the job needs in order to present the best possible impression of ourselves to a potential employer. The technical term for how we curate every aspect of our identity is called impression management (IM), and it’s something we all do in certain situations.

When applying for a job, many of us have created an identity, through our CVs and application forms, that we believe the recruiter will want to see. Then, during interviews, we often adapt and shape our behaviour and answers in the hope that we will elicit a positive response.

“Most applicants fake at least to some degree,” says the authors of the most extensive evidence review on the subject. It’s because the interview situation lacks what psychologists call ecological validity. The artificial situation elicits “behaviour that does not reflect reliably, real-world behaviour,” explains Noam Shpancer, PhD in Psychology Today.

Interviews are sometimes contrived and can be manipulated. As you’d expect, Executives are highly successful at this, using verbal and physical cues to create a rapport with the interviewer.

Competency-based interviews specifically make it hard for interviewers to see behind the façade. “Self-promotion and defensive IM tactics are more often used with past behaviour description interview (PBDI) questions,” say researchers. After navigating several professional interviews, specialists can prepare cookie-cutter responses they know will work.

This doesn’t mean that the traditional CV review process or competency-based interview isn’t valuable. Still, the approach can have its limitations and perhaps lacks that level of insight and evidence required to aid better decision making to pick the right person for the job.

Logic v intuition

As you’d expect, researchers found that trainee engineers preferred to use logic and reasoning when answering technical questions. But, when faced with unfamiliar problems, they resorted to intuition. Without theoretical knowledge to call upon, they used their experiences, opinion, and personal insights to answer questions.

For example, another question we ask is for candidates to write a sentence regarding the following statement:

“Agile is the most effective way to deliver modern technology projects.”

The skill we are trying to uncover here is awareness, flexibility, and pragmatism when it comes to industry methodology and process. How they choose to respond to the question will hint at that. Agile is indeed a preferred methodology, but a great answer would be to highlight its validity while reasoning that it may need to be adapted to achieve the best outcomes in some circumstances.

The beauty of these unexpected or challenging questions is that there is no right or wrong answer. The process is as important as the outcome, which in some cases can offer a more rounded and authentic picture of a person.

Psychology shows us that when answering questions, sometimes related or unrelated to the job itself, applicants unknowingly elicit powerful truths that demonstrate who they are and how they work – this is incredibly valuable.  

Culture v competence

On paper, the applicant may have the skills and experience to succeed. Still, before sending CVs, we need to know whether they have the creativity, the communication skills and the capability to succeed in your organisation? More importantly, we need to understand whether they will fit into your culture.

Cultural fit is a critical part of modern recruitment. Organisations that select only using competencies are at-risk of missing out on talent from other industries that could be highly successful.

We know that there’s a difference between someone being able to do a job and being motivated to do so. Applicants with a long history in a role may not have the hunger for taking on a new challenge. Is it experience you need from a new hire or an entrepreneurial mindset in a difficult situation? Do you want calmness under pressure or creativity?

Hiring people is an investment, so understanding a new employee’s hidden motivators and management style is critical for finding a successful long-term match.