Dentists! A quick online search of “most hated professions” reveals that a visit to the dentist is not most people’s idea of fun. Luckily enough to have been blessed with strong teeth and healthy gums, I have managed to avoid being a regular visitor to the dentist. Until, that is, a few weeks ago when a large chunk broke off my tooth during a very enjoyable meal.
Always one to consider all the options available, I contacted five dental practices within Dubai to ascertain the necessary treatment and availability of appointments. The general consensus within local dentistry circles was that a root canal treatment followed by fitting of a crown was the solution to this unwelcome problem. Appointments were readily available and I was reassured that these complex and reportedly painful procedures could start immediately.
In contrast to the others, one dental practice was not prepared to respond to my request for treatment details. Although initially a little disgruntled by this lack of cooperation, the explanation seemed quite rational. The dentist was simply unwilling to specify a course of treatment until he had been given the opportunity to perform a thorough examination. Rather than relying on my amateur self-diagnosis, he wanted the evidence of an x-ray to guide his professional recommendation for the best way forward. Reassured by his more thorough approach, I proceeded with his suggested course of action and was rewarded by the much-appreciated avoidance of an entirely unnecessary root canal treatment.
Reflecting upon this experience, I have realised that my initial strategy was consistent with some of the enquiries we at hfi Dubai receive on a regular basis from prospective clients seeking to undertake psychometric assessment within the Middle East. When speaking to these enquirers for the first time, there could well be some initial frustration arising from our stated inability to prepare and submit assessment proposals in response to requests as vague as, “We are recruiting for a senior manager. Can you send a proposal for personality testing?” or “Please let me have details of your charges to test six managers being considered for succession to more senior appointments”, and ‘”How much will it cost to assess the readiness of our employees for leadership roles?”.
Consistent with my recent preliminary encounters with dentists, perhaps there are business psychology practices within the Middle East willing to apply a “one size fits all” approach and propose immediate “off-the-shelf” solutions in response to these rather imprecise enquiries. However, in reality, I doubt that this is the case unless, of course, the firm in question has a single assessment instrument or very restricted range of psychometric testing offerings. In contrast, surely the typical response from fellow business psychology consultants faced with somewhat nebulous enquiries will be to arrange to undertake a thorough analysis of the requirement prior to making psychometric testing recommendations. When explaining the rationale for this approach, it is usually not too long before potential clients accept the necessity of securing a detailed foundation of understanding regarding the assessment scenario before being in a position to recommend a fit-for-purpose battery of psychometric tests.
At the subsequent briefing meeting, which is usually face-to-face but can be undertaken by teleconference or Skype, the emphasis is upon understanding the precise assessment requirement in addition to its broader context. Does the organisation already have an established competency framework which will form the backdrop to any assessment activities? What are the organisation’s mission, vision and values and how will these impact upon employee performance requirements? Who are the acknowledged organisational high performers and “stars” and what differentiates them from other employees? The answers to these and a host of other pertinent questions posed and topics covered during the course of this comprehensive briefing will contribute to determine the best psychometric testing strategy to secure data meaningful to the unique assessment needs identified. Only with the benefit of such bespoke assessment-based guidance can critical people decisions be made with confidence.
Over the last 35 years, hfi has rigorously developed a very wide portfolio of high-quality, reliable, valid and accredited psychometric instruments. We pride ourselves in an ability to select, from this comprehensive, diverse and state-of-the-art range of tests, the most appropriate combination of measures to ensure an offering customised to the precise assessment needs identified during the diagnostic phase. This tailored approach has been applied with success to the broad range of selection and development scenarios presented by longstanding clients, many of which are substantial “household name” global enterprises.
Our personality related offerings measure candidate characteristics including:-
Our ability testing instruments are:-
We have also developed a range of tests used to assess skills and knowledge including:-
Since last year’s establishment of hfi Middle East, all the benefits of our made-to-measure assessment solutions are readily available for the benefit of clients within the region. In customising our assessment solutions to precise client needs, we also offer our instruments in over 30 languages including, for the benefit of our Middle East clients, psychometric tests in Arabic. Thus, our materials are user friendly to test takers who are also likely to be suitably impressed by the relevance of the assessment to the circumstances in which it is being applied.
Even if a highly unusual and somewhat novel recruitment or developmental assessment requirement is presented by one of our clients, our psychologists, psychometricians and IT team members are able to collaborate quickly and effectively to produce a unique online assessment solution available in a multitude of languages. This was demonstrated recently to a very grateful client within the context of our contribution to the specialised assessment requirements of a major group of companies within Saudi Arabia.
Extending the theme of our bespoke approach, our IT professionals are very well-accustomed to establishing dedicated online portals, matching our clients’ branding specifications, which can be integrated with the client organisation’s specific HRM systems. After appropriate practitioner training, our clients can even benefit from “doing their own thing” via completely autonomous, online testing administration and delay-free generation of assessment reports.
Back to dentists! Another quick internet search has reassured me of the benefits of my dentist’s approach. By proceeding with a root canal treatment, I would have apparently run the risk of a repeat procedure, common in cases of infection; a weaker tooth; and having to endure a more complex, time-consuming and costly procedure. Further, according to pioneering dentist and researcher, Dr Weston Price, my general health may well have suffered. Yes, such inappropriate treatment could have produced some dire consequences. But let us put this into perspective. My potential hardships must be surely ranked as insignificant when compared with the truly enormous tangible and intangible repercussions, as well as huge costs, arising from a wrong senior level people decision being based upon the outcome of inappropriate assessment tools.