Past Holds the key to future in recruitment

Print Week

It amused me to read your article on graphology (PrintWeek, 5 September). If the decision to offer me a job was going to depend on someone analyzing my handwriting, I wouldn’t even apply. My hand writing is comparable to a child’s.

I am sure that if an applicant thought a company used graphology to assess a person’s suitability to a job, they might unconsciously alter their handwriting. Similarly, if someone is going through a psychometric test, they might answer the questions in the way that they think they should be answered, rather than giving their true opinion.

Earlier in my career, when I recruited for some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, it was not uncommon for a candidate to produce two conflicting profiles when tested by two separate graphologists. The decision by one printing firm boss to reject a potentially excellent candidate based on psychometric testing cost his company dearly. The candidate went on to join a company in North London and achieved £450k in his first year. In the first six months of the current financial year, he has achieved just over £300k and, so far, has not slept with the boss’s wife, been found drunk in charge of a vehicle or been treated for manic depression.

Graphology and psychometric testing are very subjective. Many managing directors in printing have worked hard at the ‘University of Life’, rather than attaining pages of academic qualifications. They would rather use a lifetime’s experience than a scientific method to judge a person’s qualities.

Recruitment agency Harrison Scott Associates uses the trademarked Veriqual® system. This uses network verification to gather references from print buyers, past employers and so on, to provide an insight into a candidate’s true strengths and weaknesses. After all- the best guide to future performance is, past behaviour.

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