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Job Applicants Put To The Test

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Job applicants put to the test

Business Psychologists QED Services Limited uses a strikingly different method of assessing potential job candidates - and it's getting great results for its clients.

Using a technique known as the assessment centre method, QED can provide detailed assessments of a job applicant's ability to respond to real-life problems likely to be encountered in the course of their job. It's a method that is increasingly striking some notes with employers.

QED founder Jean de Bruyne says the assessment centre method is markedly different from standard assessments in that it requires potential employees to complete tasks relevant to the role they are seeking.

"It's no longer good enough for recruitment consultants or employers to interview an applicant and rely on the information candidates provide in curriculum vitae. Standard assessments may also be inadequate."

QED's team of registered organisation psychologists determines an applicant's ability to handle the demands of the position they are seeking. The method uses multiple assessment techniques, including psychometric tests and interactive sessions such as interviews and group exercises.

An applicant for a marketing position, for example, might be given information about a yet-to-be-launched product and be required to prepare a marketing plan in a set time along with a presentation, then present it to a panel including a QED psychologist and the employer.

QED's psychologists use the assessment centre method to provide independent and unbiased information about a candidate's suitability for a job. Such techniques are also used by organisations to identify staff they are looking to promote.

One of QED's clients, MasterFoods Australia New Zealand, uses assessment centres for all roles, across all levels. The company's Personnel Manager NZ Sales, Brenda Milbank, says they provide a holistic approach that enables the company to consider variables such as job related competencies and 'fit' with the culture when assessing a candidate's suitability.

"Assessment centres also portray a professional approach to candidates so that they come away from the process with a positive impression of our company."

She says that as QED understands MasterFoods' requirements, challenges, culture and market, it has been able to provide the most relevant assessment tools for roles at all levels within MasterFoods.

Recruiting a new employee can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the nature of the position. If that new staff member turns out to be a mistake, the costs rapidly multiply.

"Almost every business has a bad luck story about the person who looked great and performed well in the interview, but who didn't work out. We've found businesses incur huge costs in terms of time working with that person and employing a replacement," Ms de Bruyne says.

The assessment centre method is appropriate for a range of appointments and can be used by companies employing a chief executive, sales people, marketing managers, analysts, factory workers, financial planners, managers or administration staff.

Auckland-based QED operates assessment centres throughout Auckland, and has sites throughout New Zealand and overseas.


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