[button link=”#” size=”small” target=”self”]Source: Shiksha[/button]
“I invariably become inflexible during the course of an interview and I can sense that I am sounding stubborn. The interviewer probably sees through my weakness,” says a dejected Kunal to Prof Renu Misra after failing to cross yet again a job interview in a reputed FMCG company. Prof Misra, the faculty in-charge of placements in a prominent leadership school, is at her wits end as to how to encourage students to identify and develop desirable skills which can help them not only crack interviews but also perform better after getting selected.
The story is more or less the same – be it before joining a b-school, during campus placement interviews, job interviews or appraisal interactions in organisations. Candidates have their own preferences and prejudices regarding what they are good at and what they are not good at.
A major challenge faced by most of the management schools is that every student who does a post-graduation in management wants to be a manager, or to be precise, wants a leadership role in the corporate. There are very few management schools that teach career charting to their students and invariably the students have their own wish-list of profiles which they feel they are competent in. Their dreams often get shattered after the first professional interview.
They often fail to realise the real reason of their failure in an interview and end up cursing their weaknesses. The real question is, are they aware of their strengths and areas of improvement, which will help them perform in a role. Do they know what they are good at?
Rationally speaking, being unsuccessful in an interview is not necessarily a reflection of one’s incompetence; most likely it is a case of mismatch of skills possessed by a candidate and those required for a particular job. Applying for a position without evaluating and mapping skill sets can surely lead to failures. So the moot question is how to know what skills we have.
Behavioural scientists have done extensive studies to track human behaviour. The inherent trait of an individual manifests itself in a particular demonstrated behaviour which is also called the ‘default behaviour’ of an individual under given circumstances. The ease with which one person picks up a skill as compared to another greatly depends on these inherent traits. Psychological counseling seeks to correct errant behaviour in children. The immense success of such psychological tools, referred to as Psychometric Tests, have prompted many organisations including schools and colleges, to use this effectively to map the default behaviour of students. One such powerful psychometric tool is the ‘Caliper Test’ which is extensively used by global corporate to ‘select’ suitable candidates and ‘assign’ them profiles which require the use of their default behaviour. With the help of an elaborate and exhaustive questionnaire, the test maps the default behaviour of an individual under different circumstances and with the help of these the related traits are identified. For example one of the traits essential for a typical role of ‘business development’ is the ‘influencing skills’ of an individual. The key behavioural elements that are necessary for displaying influencing skills are – assertiveness, aggressiveness and ego-drive. If a candidate is high on these then it can be safely inferred that he or she would have great influencing skills, therefore the profile of Business Development would suit him or her. Similarly if a person is high on abstract reasoning, idea orientation and flexibility, the role best suited for such a person would be one where strategy formulation is required. Abstract Reasoning gives the power to handle complex situations with ease and Idea Orientation provides the power of lateral thinking. And strategy is all about planning for unknown situations. Similarly, it is not surprising to see that most successful Investigating Officers are very high on skepticism and successful researchers are very high on thoroughness.
Each role in an organisation entails functions which can be categorised into three buckets – executive function, team function and critical thinking function. Every role requires varying proportions of these functions. The default behaviour of an individual, measured through a Caliper Test, can help gauge one’s potential to perform the desired function.
Many progressive management schools are using such psychometric tools to screen their candidates. It would be worthwhile for candidates to take such a test to understand their default behaviour and embark on a career profile best suited for them.
For students, choosing the stream of engineering, medical, management or liberal arts can be a much easier task with the help of a psychometric test. With competition increasing in almost every walk of life, the need to be focused is of utmost importance. Pursuing a career which does not give you ‘real’ satisfaction often leads to unnecessary and premature ‘burn-out’ and psychometric tests can help alleviate the problem of ‘mid-career blues’.
About the author:
Prof. A N Bhattacharya is professor of marketing and Chair of the Marketing Leadership Programme at School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL).