“Ideal Profiling” for recruitment purposes

We’ve recently had a range of clients ask us to develop an ideal profile to assist with the recruitment of key roles. Although this appears to be a growing trend, in our experience, it is still relatively uncommon. As such, we thought that we would share a short blog to get our clients and readers thinking about it.

An ideal profile is a combination of psychological parameters that identifies the most common profile of employees that tend to succeed in a specific role. Having an ideal profile prepared can help simplify the interpretation of testing results and remove some of the guess work out of the recruitment process. It can also ensure that hiring managers do not unwittingly eliminate good candidates due to traits that are shown to be irrelevant.

The best ideal profiles for recruitment purposes are based on psychological assessment data although they can also be constructed in other ways. In order to develop such a profile, the psychological testing results of high performing existing staff are collected and analysed. A significant number of incumbent employees should normally be tested in order to ensure that results are reliable and valid. Even if sample sizes are restricted at first, new data can be integrated at a later date to increase the accuracy of the tool over time.

The recent trend towards online testing and automated reporting, has been a wonderful source of quick, high quality information. However, it has also made some recruitment practitioners a bit lazy. You see, on face value, an automated report can look great! They are often very long and detailed (they have to be to account for every possible role) and they normally have attractive graphs and formatting. Unfortunately, it is a bit too easy to put a candidate through a standard suite of assessments, then onforward a detailed automated report without really thinking about how the results of the assessment should be interpreted for that unique job. This can often result in hiring managers focussing on the wrong sections of the report and in the worst cases can result in Psychological Assessment doing more harm than good.

That’s where development of an ideal profile can be invaluable! A well-trained Organisational Psychologist can identify the likely strengths and weaknesses of a candidate relative to the requirements of any role. However, utilisation of an ideal profile usually gives both the Psychologist and hiring manager a common language and increased confidence in the process. It also eliminates the risk that hiring managers will focus on irrelevant or peripheral aspects of testing results. As a bonus, the development process also gives a company’s best employees a valuable additional development opportunity to find out about themselves during the process.

If this blog has heightened your interest in developing an “ideal profile” for any of your key roles then why not drop us a line and have a confidential discussion about your needs?

For Further Reading:


Schmidt & Hunter. (1998). The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology: Practical and Theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin, 124(2), 262-274

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