The role of psychology in HR

Today's human resource manager is a factotum. They recruit, select, train and develop staff. But they also promote safety, administer wages and salaries, collective bargain and handle a veritable litany. There are two sides to the job: management and psychology. To be an effective human resource professional, marrying the two is a requirement.

The inclusion of psychology into the management strategy requires a strategy in itself, according to "The Role of Psychology in Human Resources Management," a study published in Europe's Journal of Psychology. The report's author, Talibova Rasim, a professor of psychology at Azerbaijan University of Languages, explains an HRM's relationship with psychology in four fundamental questions: motivation, leadership, interpersonal relations and the selection of personnel. However, they admit that the latter is where "management and psychology most closely intertwine."

In the study, Rasim details several techniques in which human resource professionals can leverage an understanding of psychology to identify more qualified job candidates. Interviews was the first technique discussed.

Interviews
"The face-to-face selection interview is the traditional method," the report reads. "Yet it is fraught with problems of subjectivity, interpersonal judgment, interpretation and misinterpretation." Still, despite the logical problems, interviews are a dominant form of candidate selection. Why? Rasim points out that courts are increasingly scrutinizing interviews in external inspections to determine incompetent hiring, which may be deter employers from relying on them so much. However, the interview process does allow for some intangible inspections. For instance, the report states that interviews help differentiate between candidates, evaluate sociability and team compatibility, and allow candidates a chance to present themselves rather than be "judged mechanically." A point Rasim was quick to drive home is that interviews remain subjective. As such, they need to be supplemented with more quantitative tests.

Psychometric Tests
Through purchased or proprietary tests, HRMs can more extensively evaluate a candidate's cognitive and self-reporting abilities, such as communication and numerical and logical ability. By acquiring referenceable data on various abilities, HRMs can more easily determine how aligned a person's skill set is with the one the available position requires.

Simulations
By creating fictional but plausible workplace scenarios (that could range from making presentations to problem solving) HRMs are allowed to observe applicants in action. From these observations, the professional can better assess the viability of any particular candidate.

Biographical Analysis
There are certainly ranges of biographical inspection, Rasim explained, which could be as severe as a background check or as casual as an extended questionnaire. But the point of the analysis remains the same: to better understand the candidate and where they came from.

< return to previous page