Assessing rail professionals to keep appointments on track

Simply uttering the phrase ‘behavioural assessment or psychometric test’ is enough to make any seasoned Railway professional shudder or let out a derogatory chuckle. The fact is, of all the industries within which Collingwood operate, Rail is the sector which gives little time to behavioural assessments of the candidates that we source.

Yes, the industry is still rather old-fashioned in many ways. But at all the industry events we attend, and from all our reading on the sector, we know industry leaders are screaming the same message, ‘we need to modernise and innovate the way we do things!

So why should this be any different when it comes to assessing candidates as part of a recruitment process? Don’t think of these assessments as a definitive decision making tool, but instead an additional benefit to give you an objective viewpoint which sits alongside your subjective opinion. We all know the cost of getting recruitment wrong, so surely as much information as you can gather about candidates the better?

Whether you’re new to your recruitment process or a seasoned recruiter, we all come out of interviews wishing we had asked a particular question, or delved a little deeper for a key piece of information from a particularly interesting candidate.  Testing is a great way to ensure all of the bases are covered, avoiding further delays due to the need for further information or procrastination because of uncertainty.

Let’s face it, everyone can perform well (or not) in an hour interview. Think about the people you have interviewed who seemed fantastic, but unfortunately didn’t perform well in the actual job. Or the guy who’s CV was perfect but he fell apart during the interview. Testing allows you to see beyond the snap shot of an interview and will give you more detail about how this person will behave in a working environment.

Collingwood offer a selection of assessments, either as part of our recruitment process or as stand-alone service, the aim is to identify the following:

  • Is this the right person for the job?
  • Can this person think on their feet?
  • How adaptable is this person to change?
  • Can they cope with the mental demands of the job?
  • Could this person be a high flyer?
  • Is this person a problem solver?
  • To what extent can we develop this person using training?  
  • Is this person sufficiently challenged?
  • Do they have the capacity to handle greater mental demands in their role?
  • Could this person drive change in the organisation?

In addition to the recruitment process, testing can also help when motivating your current teams. Thomas International claim that “Employee engagement is at an all-time low and 1 in 4 high potential employees are planning to leave their employer in the next twelve months.” Can you really afford to lose your best people? Do you think that your team is truly happy? When was the last time you conducted employee engagement surveys to test this? No, behavioural testing cannot wave a magic wand and make your teams stay with you, however it can help you to address issues within the teams and raise general morale, simply by understanding the drivers within your team more effectively. Collingwood has worked with a number of clients to assess existing teams and help Managers/Directors to lead their people in a more effective way:

  • Identify people for promotion
  • Put teams together
  • Gauge motivation and morale to pre-empt staff turnover
  • Identify precisely the areas for development that will have the maximum impact on your business
  • Manage performance
  • Resolve team issues
  • Boost motivation

Ultimately, whether it is used to recruit top talent, or as a means to assess current teams, behavioural assessment is an effective part of modern, innovative recruitment. If the Rail sector wants to progress and ‘catch-up’ with aligned industries, this isn’t a nice-to-have it is an absolute must for any organisation. We've put together an aid to help you understand how assessments can help your business - view it here.

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Comments (2)

  • Patrick Henry Avatar

    Patrick Henry

    Totally agree and would support any programme or company that takes the subject of behaviour into consideration with any recruitment process, after all we are not the same physically and we don't unfortunately wear labels to describe our likes, dislikes and even personality but if we did what would anybody's say about themselves? Identifying what may lie beneath the outward exterior of an excellent CV or interview can be so valuable.

  • Sandra Norval Avatar

    Sandra Norval

    I am a great believer in this approach and have benefitted from it in my development. The issue is the word behaviour, people tend to think it's about catching bad behaviour. In reality, when used well it can make the relationship between manager and candidate more of a partnership as they both know what the individual can deliver. Every team needs a blend of change makers and consistency developers. I know I'm at the change maker end of the spectrum but to achieve that need to work with people who have different skill sets. Knowing who they are through profiling accelerates the team development process and sets up the space for change and that is when things get really exciting!

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