The hiring process for modern organizations is a far cry from the days of scanning paper resumes by hand. Even the interview and onboarding processes look completely different than they did just ten or twenty years ago, thanks to rapid advancements in the algorithm—and AI-driven technology that is improving workflows across many industries.
All of this recent focus on tech, important though it may be, can unfortunately draw attention away from a key, fundamental fact: at its core, hiring is still a matter of real-world human connections. Viewed through that lens, it would be absurd and impossible to totally dehumanize the hiring process—nor should we want to!
Hiring, by its very nature, is a sort of crash course in practical, hands-on psychology. This brings to light a concern: we’re not psychologists; we’re hiring professionals! Thankfully, it does not take years of rigorous medical training to effectively leverage some well-established psychological insights at the office. In fact, by doing so, HR teams can build stronger, more cohesive staff that drive morale, efficiency, customer satisfaction, and overall business success.
Let’s dive into five key psychology concepts that you can apply to your hiring processes, onboarding policies, and day-to-day workflows to make them more effective:
- The Power of Personality – Respected tools like the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator or the SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire can help you understand whether a candidate will be a fit for the role and/or for your existing staff. While they certainly don’t tell you everything about a candidate or their on-the-job capabilities, personality tests can do a good job of predicting how well an individual might integrate with your existing team, their likely response to workplace challenges, or even their potential in leadership roles.
- Understanding Emotional Intelligence – Today’s successful businesses understand that attempting to quantify an applicant’s emotional intelligence, or EI, can be just as important for long-term success as other tests. EI is a measurement of an individual’s ability to recognize, interpret, and respond to emotions—both their own and of others. High EI scores often correlate with better teamwork, leadership qualities, and conflict resolution.
- Minimize Bias With Structured Interviews – Psychology in hiring isn’t just something to apply to your applicants; you can also use it to improve your own processes. We all have biases, and that’s okay to admit. While some old-school “firm handshake” business types love to conduct interviews on the fly to “get a real feel” for a candidate, this decision is often driven by ego rather than by someone considering what’s best for the organization. Standardizing your interview questions and delivering them in a consistent way ensures that all candidates are evaluated on a level playing field. This applies not just to asking questions but also to evaluating your candidates’ answers afterward.
- The Self-Awareness Quotient – The self-aware candidate is one who understands their own strengths and weaknesses and can articulate a clear picture of how they feel they would benefit your operation and fit into your team. Self-aware candidates who also have solid skills tend to drive rapid organizational growth because they understand how their individual actions can impact the company’s overall operations. This one also goes both ways, so make sure you’re being a self-aware interviewer.
- Stay Positive and Celebrate Every Victory – By focusing on a candidate’s strengths and positive attributes rather than obsessing over skills gaps, you give quality people a chance to shine in unexpected ways, as well as allow yourself greater insight into what really motivates and drives today’s professionals. This dedication to positivity needs to remain in place post-hiring. Hiring the right people won’t mean much if you can’t effectively nurture those relationships over the long term to build a cohesive team.
In conclusion, psychology can play an indispensable role in the hiring process across all industries. By tapping into psychological insights, hiring managers and HR professionals can make informed and unbiased decisions that drive organizational success and staff contentment.
If you’re ready to elevate your own hiring processes with cutting-edge insights, learn more about what the HireScore platform can do to improve your hiring workflows.