After analysing the already very strange procedure of graphology for personnel selection, we are now approaching one of the most dubious selection methods. Please welcome “Astrology – a look into the stars.” In other words, “tell me your zodiac sign and I tell you if you ‘ll be a top performer!”… Please forgive me and my ironic style of writing. I just love this topic. So, here we go.
Anyone who has ever worked in personnel selection, knows that the basis of finding the ideal candidate for a vacancy is to create a clear and precise competency profile according to the question, what skills does the candidate need to fulfill the job at its best? The next question would then be how to best check these requirements choosing a suitable selection method. However, regardless of all diagnostic research, and ignoring all scientifically proven selection methods, there still are people who prefer to give this important evaluation to the stars.
We have found an Austrian website (just to give one example) that offers “business astrology” by analysing people’s personality and enabling recruiters to ask the right questions according to the respective personality profile. “This is how you can narrow down the field of qualified applicants.” Great!
Personnel selection can be so easy 🙂
Business Astrology for Dummies
To fully understand the relationship between stars and personality, a candidate’s suitability or the expected super powers of a candidate, we did an extensive research. Here is what we learned:
Zodiac signs can be divided into positive and negative ones. The positive ones include, for example, Aries and Libra. Among the negative ones (one could also say that these reside on the dark side of the force) are, for example, Taurus or Cancer. There is an additional modality (cardinal, fixed and mobile) and an element of fire, earth, air and water factored in.
Ok, now we’re getting to the nitty-gritty: Each of these combinations are – according to the zodiac sign – associated with personality traits, competencies, skills – or whatever you want to associate them with.
From theory to practice – Aries or Cancer? Which candidate is better?
Let’s take a common job advert from a common job board. Wanted: Sales Director with not only professional skills but also leadership and management abilities, a strong “hands-on” mentality, team working skills, well organized and result-oriented. Now, there are 2 candidates, one of them a cancer, the other one an aries.
Let’s take into practice what we just learnt:The Cancer Candidate –> This zodiac sign has a negative polarity, which stands for introversion, subjectivity and receptivity. Its modality is cardinal = venturous, and its element is water, which stands for emotion and intuition. If we translate this into personality traits, we would probably be working with an introverted, easy to influence loner who is venturous and and very emotional. Do you really want to meet up with someone like this?
The Aries Candidate –> This sign has a positive polarity, so they are extroverted, objective and self-confident. Again, the modality is cardinal which stands for being venturous. The element of Aries is fire. The fire represents vitality and enthusiasm. That sounds more like how we would like the new sales director to be. Diagnostic assessment has never been so easy! So, let’s take the aries candidate then!
Why Horoscopes are more resistant than weeds
Named after the ringmaster Barnum, the so-called Barnum effect is based on the principle of “we’ve got something for everyone.” Forer, a well-known psychologist, had his students take a personality test, and then handed them the manipulated result. The students did not know the “results” were taken out of a random horoscope in a random magazine. Anyone could get the exact same “result”. And guess what happened: The overwhelming majority thought their personality analysis was true!
This experiment was repeated many times and always came to the same conclusion.
Scandalous: horoscopes are not a credible source!
Why is that? As a matter of fact, everyone can find something “true” in Barnum statements. The given information is not falsifiable as long as a few rules are observed
- The statements must contain vague fears and desires which are as imprecise as possible
- The statements should include very common behaviour and restrict this to occasional use (“You sometimes tend to be impatient”)
- Last, but not least – use the Subjunctive, e.g. “You could now meet an interesting person …. “
You want to learn more on dubious personnel selection? No worries. There’s more than enough trash out there. For instance, have you heard about the theory that names can tell you something about the personality of a person?
However, should you want to learn more about serious and effective selection methods, then check our video interviewing solution 😉