Software can help firms understand how a candidate will perform It has become common practice for corporations to use simple and scientific tools, or 'psychometric solutions', in the human resources field, whether for recruitment purposes, assessments for internal promotions, career development planning, team-building or performance management. One such method is the Personality and Preference Inventory (PAPI), a Web-based assessment tool developed by human resources consultancy Cubiks. The tool can help corporations understand how a candidate will perform at work and how staff need to develop before they can be promoted. 'The key objective in recruiting staff is to find the right person for the right job. And it is vital for [HR managers] to identify and define the competencies required for each job opening,' said Cubiks Hong Kong country manager Virginia Choi Wai-kam. But it may be difficult to identify the required competencies. To start with, human resources professionals need to have a clear understanding of their company's corporate vision, values, business strategies and competencies. They must then discuss and work with the line managers to determine and confirm the competencies required for a particular opening. More scientifically, they can utilise the PAPI software to identify particular personality traits required for a certain job before the selection process begins. 'It is very important to define the key competencies of both corporations and individuals,' said Ms Choi. 'Our clients Ocean Park and Sun Hung Kai Properties, for instance, have different corporate competencies. An education ambassador in Ocean Park also has a completely different set of core competencies to an accountant at Sun Hung Kai.' When the selection process begins, corporations can use psychometric tests to assess potential candidates' personalities at work. 'The prospective candidates can answer the 20-minute questionnaire on the Web,' Ms Choi said. The test saves time and money. 'One of our clients used the test when recruiting its general manager in Spain. The shortlisted candidates did the test and the results were delivered online easily to the company's headquarters in Hong Kong.' Once the findings of the report are generated, employers can start reviewing the personal profiles of potential candidates. The software can also help develop a set of questions the interviewer can use to further evaluate the candidates. The test and its findings are only a step towards evaluating the candidates; an interview is vital to verify the results. 'We cannot rely on a single tool in the recruitment process. Line managers and human resources professionals are encouraged to ask the same set of questions to evaluate the candidates. By standardising the questions, they can identify the right candidates more easily according to the consistent measurement.' Of late, more corporations are using this methodology to enhance accuracy and efficiency in their recruitment process. 'Besides multinationals, we have as clients many small and medium-sized enterprises which may not have a full human resources system,' said Ms Choi. These companies wish to adopt a systematic, efficient and vigorous selection approach which will, in turn, build up an employer brand and attract top-notch candidates. At the same time, the methodology can be used for a range of recruitment purposes, from selecting a batch of graduate trainees to hiring chief executives.