How to get the best out of Psychometrics in HR

19 October 2016

Caroline Ward, HR Services Manager, Collins McNicholas (Sponsor); Ronan Emmett, Talent Acquisition, Boston Scientific; Margaret Collins, Chartered MCIPD, Chair, CIPD Ireland Southern Region Committee; Mari Manning, Chartered MCIPD, Hon Secretary, CIPPhoto shows: Caroline Ward, HR Services Manager, Collins McNicholas (Sponsor); Ronan Emmett, Talent Acquisition, Boston Scientific; Margaret Collins Chartered MCIPD, Chair, CIPD Ireland Southern Region Committee; Mari Manning Chartered MCIPD, Hon Secretary, CIPD Ireland Southern Region Committee; Rory Walsh, HR Manager, Collins McNicholas

CIPD Ireland Southern Region was delighted to welcome Caroline Ward, HR Services Manager, Collins McNicholas, and Ronan Emmett, Talent Acquisition, Boston Scientific, to speak at an event held at The Maryborough House Hotel, Cork on Wednesday 19 October. Subsequent to Margaret Collins, Chairperson, CIPD Ireland Southern Region, opening the event, Rory Walsh, HR Manager, Collins McNicholas, welcomed all to the The Maryborough, also providing a quick overview of Collins McNicholas’ operations in Ireland.

To a large attendance of engaged HR leaders, Caroline Ward described psychometric assessments as 'looking under the bonnets' of both external candidates (for recruitment) and internal employees (for development) to compare strengths and weaknesses, and assess cultural/job fits.

Utilising the Johari Window of Known Self, Blind Self, Hidden Self, Unknown Self for visualisation, assessments should ideally occur after first round recruitment interviews to provide information for further probing but also ensure standard process and increase candidate satisfaction. With successful candidates, the manager is also being provided with information on how to successfully manage and develop the new hire. According to Caroline, from a recruitment perspective, it is vital to be clear as to why the assessment is being utilised as part of the overall process, setting the correct tone and providing verbal versus written feedback. With development, you should also be careful with the language utilised and be future focused when discussing relevant needs.

Caroline subsequently provided an overview of the various assessment solutions available, for example, MBTI for development and 16PF for recruitment, and the criticality of using measures that are objective, standardised, reliable and non-discriminatory. Caroline also presented a medical device start-up case study describing the types of measures utilised. She concluded this first section by reiterating the key psychometric assessment considerations: purpose, time frames/budget, tool, ethics and context.

Next up, Ronan Emmett opened his presentation by highlighting that Boston Scientific will be 20 years in Cork in 2017. It was back in 2014 the plant commenced on its talent acquisition transformation. At that point, open positions took an average of 89 days to fill, and there was a 95% fallout rate of candidates. Utilising lean tools, too generic job descriptions and the need for a more scientific psychometric assessment were identified as key contributors. According to Ronan, what followed was a transformational journey with the overall process ultimately becoming much more of a partnership through the introduction of sourcing strategy meetings, signed service level agreements and other measures.

Regarding job descriptions, the company conducted a significant voice of the customer (VoC) survey of individuals in roles regularly recruited for, asking questions like 'describe what you actually do?' and 'who do you interact with?'. The outputs of this VoC survey led to a one day workshop with engineering management, during which competencies were not only identified, but categorised as must-haves versus nice-to-haves. Technical capability, which would previously have been ranked as number one, was overtaken by other critical skills.

Collins McNicholas was selected as the preferred vendor for psychometric assessments in 2015. According to Ronan, the online assessment tool contains 160 statements covering 'People & Relationships', 'Technical' and 'Drives & Emotions', and the company uses terms like 'personality profile' to describe them. The assessment is not utilised as a yes/no but rather as a tool in the kit. This is particularly useful when Collins McNicholas provide a ‘Probe More’ section suggesting very specific questions. Ronan also praised the assessment process’ fast turnaround and value add to managers and internal candidates, before concluding with an inspiring patient story. Ultimately, Boston Scientific is continually striving to recruit candidates and develop employees who will keep helping good guys.

You can listen to a podcast of Caroline and Ronan's talks and download their presentations below.

Southern-Region-How-to-Get-the-Best-Out-of-Psychometrics-in-HR-19-October-2016-2.pdf (2 MB) How to get the best out of Psychometrics in HR, 19 October 2016, Cork - Caroline Ward Presentation
Southern-Region-How-to-Get-the-Best-Out-of-Psychometrics-in-HR-19-October-2016.pdf (2 MB) How to get the best out of Psychometrics in HR, 19 October 2016, Cork - Ronan Emmett Presentation

To bring the event to a close, Margaret Collins thanked Caroline and Ronan for their engaging talks and presented both with a gift to mark the occasion, kindly sponsored by The Irish Examiner. Sincere thanks were also extended to Collins McNicholas for their sponsorship and support in organising this event and to The Maryborough House Hotel.


Caroline Ward

Caroline Ward is the HR Services Manager at Collins McNicholas Recruitment and HR Services. Having joined the team in 2011, Caroline is responsible for designing and providing assessment services, ranging from volume recruitment and selection to executive search support, to a wide range of clients. She is an occupational psychologist and a certified occupational test user for OPQ, Neo-PI- R, Dimensions and 16PF.

Ronan Emmett

Ronan is an HR professional with over 15 years’ experience working in senior global roles with Fortune 50 multinational companies. He currently works with Boston Scientific in Cork where he leads the talent acquisition and learning and development teams. Boston Scientific is on a journey to transform the way we source and hire people who are passionate about making the medical devices that are used to improve the lives of millions of people around the world. Ronan believes that brilliant people are the lifeblood of any successful business and is excited to share his experiences in evolving the recruitment practices at Boston Scientific.


Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Service Group

Collins McNicholas is an award winning recruitment and HR services company with 26 years’ experience in sourcing executive, professional and administrative personnel for its extensive client database. Collins McNicholas has five offices nationwide, located in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Sligo and Athlone. Collins McNicholas has a proven track record across a wide variety of sectors, including engineering, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, ICT, financial services, shared services, and customer service.

In recent years, Collins McNicholas has been instrumental in assisting many multinational companies establish facilities in Ireland. Collins McNicholas established its Cork office in 1995. Managed by Rory Walsh, Collins McNicholas has been able to support the recruitment efforts of many of Cork’s largest companies. Located in the Ballycurreen Industrial Estate on the Airport Road, Collins McNicholas is at the centre of Cork city’s recruitment industry.