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Personal Profiling

Tony Jacobsen explains the advantages of psychometric testing and how it can prevent the problem of stress at work.

The value of psychometric profiling is not always appreciated by the individual who has to submit the tests, and it often perceived as a threatening process which may reduce the candidate's chance of getting the job. In fact, the reverse is true. The tests ensure that the individual with the right characteristics will be short-listed.

One of the advantages of psychometric testing is the reduction of the possibility that an individual will be placed in a job with which they cannot cope, or in which they cope, but have to adopt a pattern of behaviour which is not natural to them. This results in a situation, where the individual works under stress for the duration of the job. Wrong placement is a primary cause of stress in the work-place. Candidates can be protected from this by the use of an efficient profiling system.

Psychometric testing provides everyone within the company, from the top to the bottom, with a language for discussing and analysing the demands of tasks and projects, and the strength and capacities of individuals and teams concerned with their management.

In the main, psychometric tests are concerned with the behavioral pattern, that is, how an individual carries out a task. Other considerations are, most significantly, the accumulated skills which a person brings to the task, and these are based on their education, training and experience.

In some cases, the profile can carry an intelligence rating. Although only relevant in a small number of cases, the level of intelligence of an applicant is normally rated during an interview.

In addition to knowing how a person will behave, it is important to understand, as far as possible, what controls their motivation:

  • Why has the individual chosen this career?
  • Why has the individual applied for this particular job?
  • How will the individual be motivated when in that particular job?

All these will be controlled by their 'value system'.

Spranger, an early worker in this field, pointed out that men gravitated, when they could, into six major groups, according to their personal 'values'. These groups can loosely be described as:

  • Where religion and ethics are important
  • Where aesthetic considerations are important
  • Where knowledge and scholarship are important
  • Where the possession of power is important
  • Where wealth is highly important
  • Where social and perceived status is important

Clearly this is a highly interesting area and, with this 'analysis' completed, an individual can set down his profile in a satisfactory manner.

Tony Jacobsen is a Chartered Engineer with many years experience in setting up, staffing and operating factories. He was the founder Director of the British Franchise Association, and has used profiling techniques for most of his working life.