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I’ve been penning a blog about body superstitions and recruiters (eg. shivers down your spine means a back door placement has just happened), and I came across all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas about body features and what they tell you about a person.

I was having a chat recently with the lovely Stephen O’Donnell about this and he mentioned Phrenology.  Or otherwise known as Cranioscopy, was the pseudoscience popularised in Victorian times, where they believed a person’s character and mental capacity could be determined by the structure of their skull. Hence the term “You want to have your bumps felt”.  This absolutely tickled me!

Recruiter Intuition

I absolutely appreciate that as a recruiter you are often overwhelmed by “talent” who can’t read but they’re great at pressing apply (and stealing your time).  You may even use psychometric tests to help you spot stars.  But I also appreciate that if I spoke with 10 recruiters right now you would all have differing ways of assessing your candidates, and intuition would have a big part to play,

I want you for your Mind

Moving swiftly on over 100 years and we are now addicted to data: Tripadvisor, Glassdoor , LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and psychometrics. Even recruiters’ clients are addicted CVs, multiple interviews (which often turn off talent), check, check, check.

The science of psychometrics assessment is concerned with the objective measurement of skills and knowledge, abilities, attitudes, personality traits. Psychometrics are often confused with personality profiling, which in itself is just a part of the range of tests and assessments under that larger term. In the past 15 years the advancement of modern recruitment techniques has also advanced greatly the demand for assessments which can describe individual, in addition to their CV of work experience and achievements.

If I can quote the aforementioned Stephen

In a time when employers are hiring as much for cultural fit and potential, as for qualifications and hard skills, the prevalence of psychometrics is much more evident, especially in larger organisations.

A Better Way of Spotting Talent?

This theoretical #BigData approach to talent measurement is down right boring!  What can we learn from our ancestors and their bumps?

You may be lucky enough to have lots of face to face interviews.  Well if you do, how about these (clearly serious and factual) tips for spotting talent which means that you can bin the science and get back to feeling peoples’ bumps!

  1. If a candidate has eyebrows which meet in the middle, or fine hair, they will have a bad temper (likely to punch the hiring manager)
  2. Grey eyes means they are greedy (likely to be counter offered!)
  3. Check your candidates for white spots on the fingernails of their left hand – count them – this tells you the number of lies they have told
  4. Check their insteps.  Get them to take off their shoes and if you can stand them in a stream and water goes under their foot (ie. high instep) they come from a good family - #talent?
  5. Pull out one of their hairs (forcefully).  If it curls straight away, they are a too proud (difficult to manage)
  6. Check their hands – if they have a straight line running down the middle, it means an early death.  And check their nose – if there is a vein running across it – the same applies. (Check your terms.  Do you want to offer a free replacement?)
  7. Get them to clasp their hands together.  If their right hand goes on top, they are a ruler, if left, they are likely to yield (manager or subordinate?).
  8. If their front teeth overlap, they are likely to be trustworthy (tick that box!)
  9. If they have large ears (a liar) and long slim ears (a thief) – may work for certain roles, so don’t discount.  We all love a competency-based question at the interview!
  10. And finally… a dimple on the chin – devil within (need I say more!)

So, who needs CRB checks and references?  Psychometric profiles – meh! Yes, perhaps global organisations like Penguin, Random House, American Express, Hilton Hotels, Coca Cola etc are using Stephen’s psychometrics in the process, but surely you want to get bump feeling?

Get your rubber gloves on and start examining your candidates’ bodily features – surely that’s more fun! (And we all want to raise our profiles don’t we!)

On the other hand, being called out as a pervert on Twitter, having your Glassdoor company profile full of offended bump-felt talent and spending a fortune on equal opportunities lawyers may not be on your agenda!

 (Lisa is known for being sarcastic – if you can spot the irony in this blog, you win a pair of rubber gloves.)

Thanks to Recruiting Daily for Publishing this blog.


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  1. omg, I am laughing hysterically right now! According to this, I may punch somebody... but at least I come from a good family and I'm a ruler (wait, was that last one good or bad?!). hehe. Fun post!

    Jen Dewar

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