The debate around psychology as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) discipline is ongoing. However, Psychology is a key contributor to other STEM disciplines and a science in its own right.

    If we focus on the application of psychology to the world of work, we start to hone in on the specific area of Business/Industrial/Organisational psychology, which has only just become recognised as a STEM subject in the US. With this recognition starting to come to the forefront, albeit only in the US, it’s a good time to reflect on how Business Psychologists are bringing the science of psychology to the world of work.


    Psychology In Recruitment


    According to the Association for Business Psychology (ABP), business psychology is “the study and practice of improving working life. It combines an understanding of the science of human behaviour with experience of the world of work to attain effective and sustainable performance for both individuals and organisations.”

    Business Psychologists can help with areas that span across nearly all aspects of the workplace and the people that work within it. Within the world of recruitment, they can specifically help with aspects such as job analysis and competency framework design, psychometric test design, bespoke assessment design and best practice training.

    If we focus on the recruitment world, we create assessment processes that are robust, grounded in academic research and reflect best practice principles.

    When we have assessment methods that are grounded in science, it leads to solutions that are valid, predictive of success, and bring real world benefits to organisations (i.e. investing time and effort in hiring the right people who will succeed in the role). Regarding the scientific rigour in our assessments, we are addressing this at key stages of the consultancy cycle:

    • Insights - Detailed conversations with client stakeholders to capture what good looks like in the role, so that the behaviours underpinning the process are legitimate and linked to success in the role.
    • Design – Creating exercises that allow assessment of the core behaviours of the role and thereby allow candidates to demonstrate their potential in these areas.
    • Trialling – e.g. validation standards that psychometric items must meet to ensure appropriate levels of difficulty, individual differences are accounted for, and we can be confident they are measuring the behaviours they are supposed to.
    • Training & rollout – Delivering rich content covering topics such as unconscious bias, objective scoring, and diversity and inclusion.


    Technology and Psychology Collide


    The world of work is changing and in order to bridge the gap between today and tomorrow, the approach to assessment needs to leverage technology like never before.

    In this way, the worlds of tech and psychology are colliding, to create assessments that are not only scientifically robust but offer the engagement and interactivity that candidates are looking for, as well as the automation and efficiency that recruiters need. It is in this specific example that you can see one way in which psychology can, and does, have a direct impact on the STEM discipline of technology.

    When blending this scientific rigour with technology, it is about ensuring our systems are effective at incorporating best practice principles and leveraging their functionalities to drive efficiency and engagement. For example:

    • Reducing bias at assessment centres. building in rules whereby an assessor can’t see a candidate more than once, which can be accounted for when scheduling assessment centres within the technology, rather than through a manual process.
    • Reducing assessor bias in scoring. ability to have behaviourally anchored rating scales (BARs) to ensure more objectivity, and note sections in the system before recording and evaluating evidence in line with ORCE best practice.
    • Creating immersive and realistic experiences. realistic job previews are important and feed into candidate expectations as well as job satisfaction once in the role.
    • Creating seamless experiences that tell a story. through storytelling certain reactions in the brain take place, making the content even more compelling and together these activities lead to a more meaningful, memorable and moving experience.
    • Creating blended assessments. assess the whole person, so that different qualities are measured at the same time and reduce false negatives in the process.

    As I sit here and reflect on all of these aspects, it reminds me of why I pursued Business Psychology in the first place; I loved the clear applicability that the field had to offer, and the chance to apply a vast range of skills to my work. If I think of my own role in particular, I get to leverage my creativity to drive engagement, draw upon academic research and scientific principles to ensure best practice, use statistical analysis skills to drive rigour, and pursue a passion for technology to implement solutions. All of this whilst knowing the solutions I put in place can have a direct impact on the world of work, which makes it a really rewarding career choice that I would wholeheartedly encourage others to pursue.


    Amberjack's Psychology Expertise


    Our expert teams utilise psychology to bring our model for potential to organisations across sectors. Psychology is the foundation for our model, identifying key traits indicative of success; Grit, Digital Intelligence, Applied Intellect and Creative Force. We measure the whole person against these elements through an engaging, interactive, face-valid, blended assessment.

    To enquire about our Assessment for Potential and how it can work for you, use the contact form above. A member of our team can answer your questions and provide further details.