Accessability Links
Cookies on our website
By continuing to use this website we will assume you are happy to receive cookies as outlined in our cookie policy
Accept Policy

Scroll down


CategoryTitleText * DEFAULT * en-GB

Is recruitment a science or an art?


As a psychology graduate and someone who’s been working in recruitment for many years, I’ve always been interested in what drives the success behind finding the right person for the right job.

In a world full of 'high-potentials', so many people, companies, and recruiters fail to connect the right dots. This is demonstrated by most employee engagement surveys making grim reading with 25% of staff ‘activity disengaged’, showing that many people are simply not happy and companies are not getting the best out of their employees. What can we do to improve this?

Some people say recruitment is about gut feel and common commonalities but this is not very scientific. A candidate may have gone to the same school as you, or perhaps be a season ticket holder at the same football club, but does that really mean that they will be they right person for the job? Others focus on skills, experience and the competency based interview, which eight years ago was cutting edge but now part of the furniture. Research done by the Chemistry Group has shown that these factors may have an effect, but are not robust or scientific.

They use the “five box” model with skills and experience being one measure; and this has proved to be a very robust system that they tailor for each and every client they work with.

Chemistry Group have a tool ‘what good looks like’ which maps what success looks like on a role-by-role and department-by-department basis. They then develop customised assessments and tools using the five box model that measures potential hires and performance in the most and robust (valid and reliable) way.

But I am most interested in an instrument used in Europe called Odin, which looks at what one’s strengths are based on the Jungian theory that underlies many psychometrics. This categorises your profile into four groups:


  • Natural Strengths - areas that you are good at and you probably know it (and do it)
  • Potential Strengths - areas that you could be good at and you probably don’t know it or do it
  • Fragile Strengths - areas that you may or may not do and you can do, but they could cause stress
  • Resistant Limitations - areas of weakness

This model allows people to understand the following: what they are naturally are good at; what they could be good at; what is allowed and developed; and what might cause stress or hold them back.

This tool allows you to assess your workforce both from a hiring and organisational development perspective to truly get the best out of your people.

This assessment measures lots of factors, including motivation, but it’s also an area that I think is highly complex. This is where culture, alignment, and team-fit come into play. Ray Krok (somebody I admire for more than bringing the Big Mac to the world) said:-

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

To stay motivated you have to be persistent; but is this innate or is it a skill? Is it nature or nurture, and how do you measure it? I think you can have innate qualities that will help, but the environmental factors such as health, network and support, belief in a goal, are all significant in staying motivated and doing what you need to do to achieve.

So what do I think? I think science gives lots of supporting data to enable better judgement when hiring. I am an avid fan of testing (and personally I have taken many of the tests in the market to understand my own strengths) but, at the end of day, there are factors that are unpredictable because the science of understanding human behaviour is still so premature.

Ultimately, one must take a holistic approach when hiring or choosing your next job in a manner that is as consistent and robust as it can be. That said, I do believe we’re on the tip of a brave new world of science driving better performance and happiness!

Chemistry Group
Odin Company
Ray Kroc - Wikipedia

Quick link to Accountancy jobs or Legal jobs
Add new comment

Back to Top