Stress is something we have all heard of and may have also experienced at home or at work. We assume that stress is a bad thing but it can also be an important factor in driving us forward.
What is stress?
Without stress, humankind would not have survived. Cavemen and women needed stress to alert them to possible danger.
Stress is a physical response. When the body is under attack it switches to fight or flight mode. This causes a mixture of hormones and chemicals to be released, preparing the body for physical action. This causes several reactions, including blood being diverted to muscles and shutting down unnecessary bodily functions, such as digestion.
In other words, we gain a rush of energy, preparing us to either fight the danger or run from it. The heart pounds, breathing quickens and we focus our immediate attention on the situation.
In the modern world, we may no longer be pursued by predators like our cave-dwelling ancestors but there are still plenty of times when a stressful situation needs dealing with, such as a pedestrian stepping out in front of your car.
The challenge with stress is when our body goes into stress at inappropriate times. When blood surges to our muscles preparing for fight or flight, brain function is minimised, leading to the inability to ‘think straight’.
This hinders us at work and at home. If we stay in this stressed state for long periods, it will eventually be detrimental to our health. And this is when stress turns bad.
What causes stress?
Triggers differ from one person to another, although there are commonalities. Many people name money – usually lack of – as the main source of stress in their lives, followed by worries over health and relationships.
For many people, stress is linked closely with work, with the feeling of being overloaded and overburdened as being the main source of their stress.
How many people suffer from stress?
It is difficult to get a complete and accurate picture of how many people in the UK suffer from long-term, negative stress.
This is because there is still a stigma attached to stress. At one time, it was commonplace that anyone seen to be suffering from stress was perceived as weak. Slowly, attitudes are changing but many employees are still not ‘admitting’ to their employers when they take time off due to stress, telling them that it was a physical illness instead.
Surveys and research findings however, all point to long term stress as having a significant impact. 1 in 4 people admit to feeling stressed, with a quarter of those surveyed admitting that they had been feeling this way for a year or more.
What effects does stress have on your health?
Long-term, negative stress can impact on your health in many ways;
Raised blood pressure, sometimes to dangerous levels
What is the impact of stress on personal and work life?
Stress doesn’t only affect someone physically and emotionally – it affects personal relationships too.
Many people who are stressed present a negative attitude. They can be irritable which places relationships under stress. Many people take time off work, unable to face another day of stress at work.
How does stress affect business?
For employers, stress is a hidden issue and one that they are concerned to deal with. This includes ensuring that employees have opportunities to discuss issues that may be causing them concern or stress at work.
Stress is the cause of millions of lost working days every year which has a detrimental effect on a business. Many employers are keen to take steps to reduce the impact of stress on their staff and thus their business.
What are the techniques to relieve stress?
There are many techniques that you can use to release stress at work and at home. As stress is a very personal issue, the methods and techniques that work for one person, may not work for another.
However, experts agree that the first step is identify what stress is that person, and to identify the cause or triggers to a stress reaction.
The ‘Managing Stress Programme’ from NCC Home Learning is for those students who wish to understand the principles of stress management and how to include these at work, or any situation that causes stress.
Like all our courses, this can be studied from home or at work, giving you the freedom to complete your studies in your own time and at your own pace.
Experience is generally good. Employers love job candidates with impressive track records. But when we on the hiring decision-making side start gaining experience in recruiting, there is a dark side that we need to be aware of if we still want to be effective.
The problem with growing experience in recruiting positions is that you start to gain confidence in your judgement. And that gut feeling about job candidates clouds the decision-making of even the best of us.
The essence of evidence-based recruiting is that you build your recruiting practice on the best available scientific evidence. What is scientific evidence? It is not expert opinions, TED Talks or blog posts. Why not? Because they are opinions without rigorous methodology backing them up. Sure, there is often wisdom in the words of HR influencers, but in order to be effective, basic evidence-based guidelines should be in place.
In the core of evidence-based recruiting should be a hiring algorithm. Algorithm is simply a formula that calculates the score of each of your job candidates. Algorithmic decision-making is simple – you hire the candidate with the highest score. But an algorithm won’t work without variables. It is the recruiter’s responsibility to build the formula – decide what kind of data to gather from the candidates and which factors matter the most. But where to start?
Screening methods – the fairest of them all
I/O psychologists have been studying selection methods with meta-analytic methods for around a 100 years, and there is a clear consensus that General Cognitive Ability (GCA) – also known as General Mental Ability (GMA) or Intelligence Quotient (IQ) – is the most versatile and powerful of the methods commonly in use. Considering how simple-to-use and cheap methods there are available, it is a mystery why these tests are not more widely adopted in practice.
Especially as a screening method, GCA measure is powerful for a couple of reasons. First, for most jobs, the job requirements aren’t set in stone. Especially in startups or companies working in dynamic markets, the contents of employees’ jobs tends to change a lot. GCA is a measure that indicates how well the candidate would be able to learn new things. Second, and related, when the job requirements are complex or new, higher information processing capacity, which is what GCA essentially measures, helps candidates perform better.
Research suggests, that the best predictive validity is achieved when GCA is coupled with other methods that preferably are “MECE” – mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. This means that the other methods used should be strong as well, but they should measure different constructs that GCA tests measure. Famous companies such as Google measure GCA together with other variables – namely, “Googleyness” – that they have internally found predictive for future performance. Some evidence-based factors found in I/O psychology are conscientiousness and integrity, and most companies would actually get better results with these methods than with using classic unstructured job interviews as a go-to method. But I bet that…
You are going to interview anyway, so here is how to do it right
One common mistake that many recruiters make is not structuring their job interviews.
How do you expect to compare the candidates if you ask each of them different questions? And how do you expect to hire actual talent if you let human error come in between? If you use the so called “free talk” method (the losing method) to interview candidates, you are bound to simply get along better with some candidates than with others. If the recruiter was changed, the result would most likely be different too, and this is not a good indicator of the reliableness of the interview.
Structuring interviews takes some work, but it’s principles are fairly simple. Essentially, structured interview is an employment interview where
the same questions are asked of each candidate in the same order
free talk is minimised
the evaluation criteria for each question are determined beforehand
The two best types of questions are behavioral and situational. Behavioral questions ask about candidates’ past performance in order to predict how the candidate is likely to perform in the future. Situational questions present hypothetical situations and ask how the candidate would proceed in a given situation.
The outcome of designing the structured interview should be an “interview booklet”. This guide provides a set of predetermined questions (based on variables you have deemed to be necessary for success in the job), room for note-taking and a guide for evaluation. It should be written in a way that anyone even without recruiting experience would be able to run the interview.
If you want to be really professional, have interviewers write down the answers of each candidate, and let someone else evaluate the answers. This obviously takes time, and you need to make the call whether the added value is worth it.
Decision time? Enter Excel
So. You have built your hiring algorithm (hopefully based on GCA and other reliable variables) and collected data to measure those variables using tests and structured interviews. Now it is time to be humble, and let your new best friend Excel make the decision for you.
When you let an algorithm decide for you, you are going to get an improvement of about 50% in predicting work performance. And the interesting fact is that even the most experienced recruiters with years of experience fail more often than algorithms.
Let’s go one step further than that. Even when there is a group of experts, and when they have more data available than your excel table (the algorithmic decision-maker), their decisions are worse. Why is this and what can you do to improve?
A likely reason, as mentioned, is that these bad choices arise from various psychological biases. We as humans are overly influenced by first impressions, personalities and our own values, among other things. Because hiring decisions are essentially prediction problems – ”which candidate would perform the best in the job?” – we should use statistical algorithms which are tools originally built for prediction problems.
This does not mean that experts are unimportant. They are a great source of insight in building the algorithm in the first place. But it does mean that HR professionals need to be humble and understand their limitations. Hiring managers need to be aware and continuously measure the success factors for each job in their company, but they need to restrain themselves when the decision-time comes.
Evidence-based decision-making is the first step towards next-generation recruiting. Most of the algorithmic methods discussed here are going to be adopted to various HR tech applications in the future, but by knowing the basics, you can already start making better decisions while waiting for Big Data and AI to become mainstream in the industry.
Further reading:Danieli, O., Hillis, A., & Luca, M. (2016). How to Hire with Algorithms. Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2016/10/how-to-hire-with-algorithmsKuncel, N. R., Klieger, D. M., Connelly, B. S., & Ones, D. S. (2013). Mechanical versus clinical data combination in selection and admissions decisions: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(6), 1060.Levashina, J., Hartwell, C. J., Morgeson, F. P., & Campion, M. A. (2014). The structured employment interview: Narrative and quantitative review of the research literature. Personnel Psychology, 67(1), 241-293.Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological bulletin, 124(2), 262.Schmidt, F. L. (2002). The role of general cognitive ability and job performance: Why there cannot be a debate. Human performance, 15(1-2), 187-210.
Can a single thought for the day inspire you and change your life? Open Colleges has spoken to 25 of the web’s top counsellors to hear their thoughts for better living. What inspires you?
Paul has been a relationship and marriage counsellor and therapist in private practice in the suburb of Macleod, Melbourne for over 20 years. He uses a range of approaches in his work, including emotion focused therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy and other couple therapies. He is a certified psychological type practitioner and uses voice dialogue in coaching clients in business and personal issues.
He also works with issues of chronic illnesses, as it affects both the sufferer and their carers, especially relationships partners. Paul has professional counseling and personal experience of motor neurone disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and sleep disorders and the ways in which they affect relationships.
Lisa is an experienced and certified life and confidence coach with over 14 years’ experience. Lisa appears regularly on television, print and media and has her own coaching column in the UK press.
Lisa works with her clients to become their authentic selves, be true to themselves and free themselves from negative programming and beliefs. Her formal training both in neurolinguistic programming and life coaching have enabled her to develop a holistic approach that is tailored to individuals allowing them to make an effortless transformation to their lives.
Marian is the principal of Career Avenues, a practice which offers individual career counselling for school students as well as young and older adults in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Career Avenues was established in 1991 and aims to help people find career directions that match their aptitude, personality, values and interests.
Marian has specialised in careers psychology since the 1970s and worked for the coonselling centre at the University of Queensland, was coordinator of counselling and careers at the Queensland University of Technology, and director of the career development office at Macquarie University. She has Bachelor and PhD from the University of Queensland.
Susie is a sex and relationship therapist in private practice in Sidney. In the communication field all her working life, including lecturing in communication at university, she specialises in helping people as individuals and in relationships with a wide range of issues, including intimacy and sexual problems, communication and gender. She supervises other therapists, consults to industry on improving communications in the workplace, and gives workshops on counselling and communication to a wide range of organisations. She regularly appears in media.
Karen is a family psychotherapist with nearly two decades of experience working with diverse family situations. She has a PhD in Sociology in Parenting; she often works with couples experiencing relationship and communication problems with their young children. She has worked as the family therapist on the Today Show on Channel 9 and regularly appears on the Nine Network. She conducts presentations to parent groups and speaks regularly on many radio networks throughout the country. Karen is currently working with high profile business and celebrity clients assisting them to balance their family and work life more productively.
Desiree is the director of Sexual Health Australia and is a qualified and experienced sex therapist and relationship counsellor. Desiree was the co-host on the ABC1 television series ‘Making Couples Happy’, where she was the relationship counsellor and sex therapist of the four couples on the show. She makes regular appearances on television programmes or radio shows as an expert in relationships and sex.
She is a Bachelor in Psychology from Macquarie University, a postgraduate diploma in Psychology from Macquarie University and a Master of Health Sciences and Sexual Health from the University of Sydney. Her postgraduate diploma research was on rejection and she is currently conducting a literature review on infidelity for her PhD.
Dan is a psychotherapist and relationship counsellor with Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney. He works with individual and couple to help them improve their sense of wellbeing and their relationships with others. His focus is on providing treatment for psychological issues including depression, anxiety, panic, addiction, sexuality issues, relationship difficulties, eating disorders, trauma, abuse and other issues. He works closely with clients to explore their lives and help them safely develop the capacity to reflect on and deal with their emotions. This enable them relief from inner turbulence or self-limiting experience.
Leslee is one of the most senior members of Core Energetics in Australia and an experienced body-mind psychotherapist with a private practice in Sydney and the Central Coast. Leslee is a passionate therapist wishing to inspire others to wholeness. She has extensive experience having studied a wide range of modalities over the years such as systematic or family constellation, trauma resolution and relationship counselling. Leslee brings a blend of modalities to enrich her clients’ lives. She works one on one with individuals, couples, families and groups and is able to do phone or Skype sessions.
Denise is a moderator and counsellor with over 30 years of experience in legal practice, mediation, arbitration and counselling. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Laws and a Master of Counselling degree and is a nationally accredited mediator. Denise is well known for the professional and expert quality service she has provided to her clients over many years. She is highly experienced in mediation and dispute resolution and has assisted many clients clients to achieve workable solutions to their problems.
Jacqueline is a qualified psychotherapist based in Brisbane providing mindfulness-based cognitive behavioural therapy and life coaching for people Australia-wide, whether in person, phone or online. She has completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University os Southern Queensland and done postgraduate studies in domestic violence counselling and neuroplasticity. Jacqueline’s practice, The Avidity Association came about through a passion to help people believe in themselves and their worth. Jacqueline herself struggled with poor self-image and anxiety for years, and so provides help not just from a theoretical perspective but a true passion for ensuring people find their own resilience, happiness and motivation.
Joan has worked with individuals and couples for over twenty years and has experience in private enterprise, non-profits, community, hospital, government and tertiary organisations. Her areas of specialty include anxiety, depression, loss and grief, illness, life transition, identity, relationship issues, sexuality, post-traumatic stress disorder, childhood trauma including sexual abuse for both men and women. She offers consultation and supervision and runs groups.
Joan is a registered counselling psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, a member of the Australian Psychological Society and an accredited psychodramatist with the Australian Aotearoa and New Zealand Psychodrama Association.
Tina has 26 years’ experience in transformational leadership and as an executive coach and group facilitator. Her focus is on leadership and executive development, often using 360-degree assessments to provide clients with valuable feedback. Tina coaches emerging leaders and develops current executives and leaders, coaching them in strategic leadership and people management skills. She is widely featured across popular publications including the Sydney Morning Herald, Cleo, Women’s Agenda and more.
Tina guides her clients to higher levels of awareness and performance. They report improved relationships, increased productivity and an enhanced ability to deal with rapid change and increasing complexity and ambiguity.
Jacqueline specialises in helping people to master stress. She completed the Graduate Diploma in Counselling at the Australian College of Applied Psychology and worked as a counsellor for a community counselling service and a health service. Jacqueline gained clinical membership with the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Association of New South Wales and became registered with the Psychotherapists and Counsellors Federation of Australia.
Jacqueline is founder of Wise Stress Mastery where you can find her blog and other resources. She also writes, facilitates and speaks about stress mastery for other blogs and organisations. Jacqueline’s private counselling and therapy practice of 12 years is based in the Sydney CBD.
Jill works as a counsellor and psychotherapist in her private practice in Bondi Junction and Lane Cove. She does volunteer counselling, training, and supervision in a non-profit organisation called the Mandala Community Counselling Service. She is also the vice-president of Cult Information and Family Support.
Jill is a member of the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Association of New South Wales as well as a on the National Register of the Psychotherapists and Counselling Federation of Australia.
Sherry has worked as a relationship and family counsellor for over 22 years with Relationships Australia Queensland. She also worked as a relationship educator, trainer and advanced clinical leader during that time. Currently, Sherry works with high conflict parents after separation with Uniting Care Community Queensland.
She is a clinical member of the Australian Association of Relationship Counsellors, the Marriage Educators Association of Australia and the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia.
Jane is a listener and makes no judgements and ascertains where you will need support in your life by guiding, supporting and building self-esteem. She treats each person as an individual and tailors sessions to suit personal needs.
Jane has worked in case management, business management, team supervision, corporate, government and private sectors with experience in all areas. She specialises in workplace issues, abuse, relationship and conflict resolution, grief and loss, mediation and sandplay therapy. Jane has been specialising in grief and loss and psychological abuse for many years.
Margie is a relationship counsellor, collaborative family lawyer and writer. She has been working helping people for many years and brings a wealth of experience to support those on their journey for greater happiness and wellbeing in their lives and relationships.
She has qualifications in family therapy at post graduate level as well as in somatic psychotherapy. She has also done training in various models of therapy and counselling including but not limited to psychodynamic therapy, solutions therapy, narrative therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy.
Gia is an experienced and qualified counsellor, therapeutic and remedial massage therapist, and educator. For the first fifteen years of working life she was a primary school teacher and language teacher in South Australia.
Prior to working as a therapist, at the age of 33, Gia experienced breast cancer. This urged her on a journey of self-discovery, studying more about the mind, body and spirit, which lead her to complete a Masters in Social Science (Counselling Studies) and a Diploma of Remedial Massage. She then started her own business as a therapist to help and support others with their health and wellbeing. She is now studying nutritional medicine part time.
Amanda is a leading expert in the area of grief and loss. She is the executive director of Grief Recovery Method Australia and New Zealand, with more than a decade of experience working in the counselling, education and training fields. Amanda assists people to positively action their losses and help grievers heal their broken hearts. The Grief Recovery Method is a seven step evidence-based process that helps people understand loss. It aims to help them apply the principles in their lives and allows the participants to start moving through their losses so that the memories remain but the pain of the losses is reduced.
Kati is a registered counsellor and a registered art and play clinician working with children, adolescents and adults who are experiencing anxiety, anger, depression, self-esteem and behavioural issues. Kati has previously worked with youth at Point Zero Youth Services, as well as becoming an educational group facilitator in interactive workshops throughout Sydney’s metropolitan high schools. Kati has also previously worked at South Pacific Private hospital in their intake and client care departments. Kati believes that children as young as age four will benefit from art and play therapy techniques that are used to achieve specific treatment and assessment goals, alongside theoretical models of therapeutic interventions for best practice.
Talia started out as a doctor, commencing psychiatry training before shifting to counselling. She is also a Gestalt therapist in training, due to her fascination with the human mind and view of learning as a lifelong pursuit. She also volunteers as a speaker for Beyond Blue, and is a passionate advocate for raising awareness and eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health. Talia is dedicated to assisting clients to enrich their lives. She provides the support and guidance to allow her clients to develop a greater awareness of themselves and to discover how to live in a more authentic and meaningful way.
Cait’s passion is to help people who have suffered loss. As a leading specialist in her field she has helped people move through their unresolved grief, to feel less isolated and alone. Using her training Cait seeks to empower her clients to breakthrough and rediscover the joys of a full and rewarding life. She offers grief, loss and bereavement counselling for adults, adolescents, children and families in the Penrith CBD. Her first-hand experience with grief and loss has given her the tools to help others in similar situations.
Colleen Morris is a clinical family therapist and counsellor in Geelong, Victoria. With over 30 years of experience, Colleen works with individuals, couples and families, to promote growth, wellness and potential. Her greatest achievement is a strong and happy marriage relationship to her best friend and her two beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and joy. Colleen has extensive training and certification across a wide range of areas including family therapy, mental health and relationships.
Gabrielle is a psychotherapist and writer who focuses on the very heart of living – life, death, love and loss. She works with clients all over the world via email. She is also a writer for Psych Central’s The Therapist Within. She is fully qualified in psychotherapy with accredited counselling experience. She is a member of The Australian Counselling Association and the International Society for Mental Health Online. She has been published in the Sydney Morning Herald and among other major publications.
Kim Bailey is the director and founder of All Relationship Matters. She is also a lead counsellor and psychotherapist. Kim is a warm, personable and understanding therapist. She has a unique ability to quickly identify the issues behind a person’s struggle. She is deeply passionate about her work with couples, individuals and families. Kim is also trained as a specialist couples therapist and has additional postgraduate qualifications in family therapy. Comprehensive training in these different counselling frameworks sets Kim apart from other counsellors and psychotherapists.
Identifying if the applicant has the skills to perform the specific job is a well-known key factor to analyze during the recruitment process. However, the procedure should also importantly focus on recognizing whether we are dealing with the right type of person who will conduct the activities required.
Personality tests play a crucial role when measuring whether the person’s work style and predictive behavior match the job at stake. It is clear that the 2000’s have seen the rise of personality assessments in recruitment, however, the industry is constantly proposing hundred of tests all claiming to be the most effective, while the reality still shows clear shortcomings on the way companies use them.
Here at skeeled, we encourage you to understand and become aware of the main aspects to take into account when processing personality tests and give you recommendation on how our software (incorporating Wonderlic’s assessment) will help you get rid of the costs and inefficiencies that a wrong use may bring.
Any common personality test may tell you relevant aspects about the personality traits of the candidate or display easy-to-read graphics pointing out how the applicant matches the personality required for the job. Nevertheless, sector criticism suggests that these tests do not always imply accurate prediction on job performance, unless you have the most competent one in the market. In any case, you should as well make effective use of interviews and group dynamics to understand how the candidate reacts to certain situations.
Also, even though choosing an assessment (requesting participants to make choice from a fixed number of options) may decrease number of faked responses, it does not allow to compare your candidates with others. A normative test based on a ranking scale (i.e. from 1 to 10) will let the recruiter compare different personality traits with the other applicants. At the end of the day, faking respondents trying to look suitable for the job can easily be under-covered during interview day when analyzing their face-to-face reaction.
The costs attached can also be a huge burden for the company. It’s a simple factor that’s often ignored but indeed the more candidates applying the higher the cost arising from each test provided. In order to save money, big companies tend to apply personality tests at the end of the selection process to those who have passed the recruitment phase. By doing this, they do not realize that they have excluded a great amount of qualified participants who were not able to take the test and whose personality could have high correlation with the job vacancy.
What can we offer you?
At skeeled, our personality test by Wonderlic is completed by every applicant during the recruitment process making sure that all the candidates are fully screened. It incorporates the Big Five Model (openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion and neuroticism) being the most robust and scientifically proved method of modern personality research.
Our software also incorporates a system of pre-recorded interviews in which our clients have the chance to check for personality results, analyze skills and watch candidates’ reactions all-in-one already from the office, reducing the time and cost of hiring. What’s more, the algorithm will give you the list of the best candidates based on the highest matching scores.
Do not wait more and reinvent the future of recruitment with us. Please do not hesitate to follow us on LinkedIn and contact us if you have any questions. Thank you very much for reading and see you soon at our blog.