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How Organisational Psychology Can Improve Your Hiring Skills

An organisation is nothing without its people. The health, happiness and wellbeing of a workforce impacts the success or failure of a company.

Hiring is where it all begins, and so there’s a lot of pressure on HR departments to attract, recruit, and select  the right employees. 

Organisational Psychology plays an important role in this vital function. That’s why our MSc Occupational and Organisational Psychology specifically includes a module on employee selection.

Let's take a look at how taking a psychological approach to the hiring process can benefit HR teams, employees, and organisations as a whole.

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Scientifically crafted job adverts

In order to recruit strong talent, you first have to attract them. A Chartered Occupational Psychologist or someone with organisational psychology training should be involved well before you sit down to interview your first candidate, helping hiring teams determine the nature of the role.

First and foremost, hiring for a position should have a clear benefit for the business. Psychologists with a firm understanding of systems and design will be well placed to advise on the hiring needs of the company. 

Once the type of required role is determined, an effective and appealing job specification is essential. Just listing job functions isn’t going to have much impact if you’re looking to attract the best candidates. Those with a knowledge of business psychology can draw on their selection expertise and understanding of human behaviour in the employment market to conduct a comprehensive job analysis. This allows you to create a job advert that is precise, inclusive, and stands out to the kinds of people you want to hire.


Psychological candidate screening

Our Occupational and Organisational Psychology course aims to teach hiring managers and recruiters how to effectively whittle down applications to only those that are relevant and eligible. 

Part of that process is down to the job advert, but there are other methods that occupational psychologists can help implement, so that precious time and resources are best utilised.  

Psychometric tests

Most people who have applied for a job have probably taken a psychometric test at some point. Cognitive ability and personality tests are accurate psychological tools for determining if a person has the right abilities and suitable traits for a particular role. They are also important in assessing how well a candidate might fit into the organisation’s culture.

Occupational and organisational psychologists are trained to devise, administer and analyse the results of psychometric tests to ensure only the highest performing candidates are put through to interview. 

Effective interviews

There is plenty of anecdotal and research-based evidence to suggest that badly designed interview processes are inefficient and prone to bias.  

The interview stage is the most important part of hiring new employees. In most cases it’s the final hurdle for candidates before a job is offered. It’s when the HR team and hiring managers have a chance to really get to know who they’ll potentially be working with. 

As such, there’s a lot of pressure to make the right choice. Misjudge a candidate and you could miss out on the best candidate for the job – or worse, bring someone into the company who’s not suitable.

Psychologists with a specialism in business can help organisations formulate interview structures that produce the best results. They ensure that interviews are:

  1. Fair
  2. Efficient
  3. Inclusive 
  4. Accurate (in terms of assessing character and ability)

Research suggests that even very experienced interviewers may not be as good as they think at detecting deception or being impartial. That’s where psychology can help; it applies rigorous scientific methods to remove personal bias and ensure accurate selection decisions. 

Designing the interview process

A good interview process needs to bring out the best in all candidates. It should put them at ease, while asking questions that allow them to demonstrate accurately how they’ll perform in the specific demands of the job. This can be achieved through designing interview processes based on comprehensive job analysis. These processes are continually evaluated to ensure consistent performance and effective selection outcomes – all of which is easy to roll-out with the help of a psychologist. 

A fair and accurate process will not only identify the best person for each role; it will also identify the candidates who’ll fit in with the team and organisational culture and values. 

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Psychologically healthy workplaces

Mental health is something all employers need to take seriously. A psychologically healthy workforce is just as (if not more) important as one that is physically fit.

Mental health applies to employers and recruitment teams, as well as the wellbeing of the candidates you’re hiring. We’ve discussed the pressure on recruiters, who can sometimes feel the strain of being asked to bring in new personalities – and this can increase significantly in companies or departments where turnover is high. If hirers are also the same people who will be managing these new employees, there can be even more responsibility on their shoulders as they look to build and maintain a team that works effectively and harmoniously together. 

A psychologist equipped with a strong knowledge of workplace wellbeing and occupational stress will have a firm understanding of these complex organisational relationships. They will be able to advise on how to ensure new hires have an effective induction or onboarding into the organisation, are provided with support in their role, and have opportunities to thrive within a new work team. Ensuring wellbeing is a priority issue for new hires can reduce the impact of stress and other mental health implications that individuals involved could face. 


Study Occupational and Organisational Psychology at Northumbria

Our online MSc is focused on producing psychologists who are experts in all areas of business and workforce psychology, including hiring processes. Through online discussion, theoretical study and applied examples, students will learn to identify and implement good employee selection methods in organisations - making graduates very useful advisors to hiring teams.

If you’re interested in improving the validity, fairness, and reliability of recruitment in businesses, our distance learning course in Occupational Psychology could be for you.

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