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The Use of Dark-Side” Personality Assessment in the Selection Process for Corporate Strategy Graduate Trainees, Swan Housing Association, Essex, Summer 2014

Posted by: Steven Annison

Swah Housing Association Logo



DWHRC was contacted by Swan in July 2014 to assist them with their recruitment process for Corporate Strategy Graduate Trainees. DWHRC were specifically asked to provide an assessment of the “dark-side” of personality, i.e. to ascertain to what extent applicants might be pre-disposed to behave less-constructively towards other people, and how, this information to sit alongside other facets of a multi-stage and multi-method assessment process for this role.

This “dark-side” analysis was to be done by the use of an appropriate psychometric assessment, namely the “Hogan Development Survey” (HDS). This was primarily due to Malcolm O’Brien, Swan’s Executive Director of People and Communications, having used the HDS successfully in similar circumstances previously.

Approach & Process

A “longlisting” process was carried out, with seven candidates being invited to an initial assessment day. Here, they were asked to complete the HDS on-line, in a supervised environment, thus ensuring that it was indeed the candidates completing the assessment. HDS profiles were obtained for all the candidates on this day.

The candidates were also asked to complete other assessment exercises, including a team-working exercise. A group of Swan managers and HR personnel observed and assessed this exercise.

At the end of this day, a wash-up discussion was held, which involved all the assessors. Each candidate was considered in turn, and a decision made about each of them, as to whether they would be invited to participate in the final stage of the assessment and selection process for this role, which would include a structured, panel-interview, together with a presentation. Five of the seven longlisted candidates were invited to this final stage.

In advance of the final assessment day, DWHRC were asked to carry out a telephone-based interview with each of the five shortlisted candidates, based on each person’s HDS profile and the application which they had submitted for the role in the first place. This was to:

Explore the HDS profiles and applications in more detail.Compile a summative report on each candidate for the interviewing panel, including some “suggested interview questions” and “lines of enquiry”.Explain each candidate’s HDS profile to them in more detail, in order to enhance their self-awareness, consider appropriate developmental actions and thus prepare them for their structured panel-interview.

DWHRC were also asked to carry out a similar telephone interview with the two longlisted candidates who didn’t make it through to the final stage of the process. Here, the emphasis was on helping these two people develop their knowledge of their dark-side tendencies and consider appropriate developmental strategies.


All five shortlisted candidates took part in the final assessment and selection day, with two being offered, and accepting, a position.

The report that DWHRC provided for the interviewing panel, based on the candidates’ HDS profiles and their applications, was considered to have been insightful and helpful, assisting the appointing managers to make more informed decisions than would otherwise have been the case. It is now hoped that the two appointees will perform well in this role, and go on to bigger and better things with Swan in the future.

Informal feedback obtained from the candidates suggested that whilst they had found the process to be exacting, it had also been a valuable learning and development experience for them.

All this suggests that:

Using the HDS carefully, in this way, can provide real benefit to both the appointing managers and the candidates.Well-informed appointment decisions have been made, with both Swan and the appointees being more aware of the appointees’ developmental needs, from the outset.Swan’s reputation with the group of longlisted candidates has been enhanced by how this recruitment and selection process has been designed and carried out.

Filed Under: All Categories / DWHR News / HR Projects

Successful Conclusion of a Management & Leadership Development Programme for Outlook Care, Essex, October 2014

Posted by: David Woollard

DWHRC, in collaboration with Amanda Cowan Consulting, recently concluded a Management & Leadership Development Programme for Outlook Care in Essex.  The Programme had run over eight months and was rounded-out with a celebratory follow-up session at Outlook Care's flagship establishment, Foxburrow Grange, in Colchester.  The photograph below shows the programme participants with their certificates, together with Amanda Cowan, David Woollard and Penny Taylor, CEO of Outlook Care:


 Some feedback from the participants includes:

"A really big thank-you for putting this valuable course together and investing your time and knowledge in me.  It has made a positive difference and I have very much enjoyed it...a programme I will easily recommend to anyone to complete".

"I feel I have really grown in confidence throughout the past few months. The course came at a good time in my career and having been in this particular post since July 2013, I now feel I own it rather than perhaps playing at it. I feel I need to repeat that actually - I have definitely grown in confidence and am much more self-assured.   I appreciate the way the course has made me self-reflect. This is uncomfortable at times, but it enables you to have a good understanding of what works for you and for others".

"It has been a pleasure to attend the course and I found that all participants were open and honest and extremely helpful to each other. The trainers were knowledgeable and presented well.  I have overcome the fall out of prior dark-side behaviour and encouraged the confidence of one of my team-members... I have engaged with others to understand joint needs and looked at ways to improve processes to assist the end users of my service".

From the outset, it was decided that a key element of the design of the programme should facilitate the “transfer of learning” to the real world, i.e. it should not be a purely classroom-based programme.  The final design of the programme therefore featured a number of different elements:

  1. A multi-directional feedback process at the start of programme to help each participant identify and prioritise their management and leadership development needs.
  2. A variety of self-assessment questionnaires, e.g. on leadership and communication style preferences and the dark-side of personality.
  3. Four taught classroom sessions on:
    1. Developing positive management and leadership skills.
    2. Managing, monitoring and reviewing performance.
    3. The manager’s role as coach.
    4. Managing change.
  4. Participation in an Action Learning Set, to address work-related or organisational development issues.
  5. Participation in a series of three telephone-based coaching sessions with a programme facilitator, carried out at different stages of the programme, i.e. one towards the start of the programme, one in the middle and one towards the end, primarily intended to address personal development issues.
  6. “Kick-off” and “follow-up” sessions, designed as “book-ends” to properly initiate and conclude the Programme. 

The kick-off session took place in February, which included a scene-setting session by Penny Taylor, Outlook Care’s CEO, with the four classroom sessions taking place from March until June.  The follow-up event took place in October, with the supporting Action Learning Sets and telephone-based coaching sessions happening at appropriate points along the way.

Feedback from all stakeholders was extremely positive - please follow this link to view a case-study of this project.



Filed Under: All Categories / DWHR News / HR Projects

Dark-Side of Personality Workshop for the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, 28th March 2014

Posted by: David Woollard

DWHR have been asked to run another short workshop for the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce on the dark-side of personality.  This will be taking place on the morning of Friday 28th March 2014 at Felaw Maltings in Ipswich, and follows on from a similar event which was run last year.  To book your place, please go to the  Suffolk Chamber Website.

Filed Under: All Categories / DWHR News

Helping HR Managers at GallifordTry Partnerships, Chelmsford, Develop Their Training Skills

Posted by: David Woollard

DWHR recently carried out a project to help some HR Managers at GallifordTry Partnerships, in Chelmsford, develop their training skills.  This was to assist them with the design and delivery of workshops to be carried out with GTP managers around performanace management and development issues.

Filed Under: All Categories / DWHR News

Provision of Outplacement Support, Off-Shore Energy Sector Company, Norfolk

Posted by: David Woollard

DWHR have recently been confirmed as the preferred supplier of outplacement support for a Norfolk-based, off-shore energy company.

Filed Under: All Categories / DWHR News

Leadership Development Programme, Essex

Posted by: David Woollard

We have been commissioned to design and deliver a leadership development programme for a major health and social care provider in Essex. 

Filed Under: All Categories / DWHR News

Workshop on the Dark-Side of Personality for the Suffolk Chamber 27 Sept 2013

Posted by: David Woollard

On Friday 27th September, David delivered a short workshop on the dark-side of personality for the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.   The picture below shows David with Amanda Ankin, Customer Services Manager at the Suffolk Chamber.

David with Amanda Ankin of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce

In essence, the dark-side of personality is how we behave less-constructively towards other people, thereby making them experience negative emotions such as fear, anger, irritation etc.

The session covered the importance of dark-side issues in people-management processes, such as recruitment,  leadership development, personal development and team-working. 

The session also explained the research of Robert Hogan and his associates in the USA on the development of probably the best-known dark-side psychometric assessment - the Hogan Development Survey (HDS). 

Perhaps the key message from the session was that successful organisations and individuals learn to manage their dark-side tendencies, before they become problematic.  This obviously starts with an appreciation of what the dark-side is, and how to recognise when someone may be exhibiting dark-side behaviours.

Feedback from the attendees was very positive, with everyone rating it as "excellent".  Some additional comments made included:

"Excellent, relevant and well-presented".

"Very thought-provoking".

"Very interesting and thought-provoking...plenty of information for self-reflection".

More specifically, one of the participants observed that:

David's workshop on the "Dark Side of Personality" was well presented, illustrated and most importantly relevant. He cleverly demonstrated the serious detrimental effect that these behaviours, if not properly understood and controlled, can have in the workplace and on the 'bottom line'. A most informative and thought provoking morning. Thank you! 

David Bredin, Director at 4Sight Communications

And another:

This was a really useful introduction to a fascinating area which is integral to both personal and professional management.  David is an effective and enthusiastic trainer.

Tom McGarry, Communications Manager - Sizewell C, EDF Energy - Nuclear New Build

Please click here to view a PDF of the presentation used in the session.

Filed Under: All Categories / DWHR News

London PPMA Dark-Side Session 11th March 2011

Posted by: David Woollard

David has been invited to deliver a session on the Dark-Side of Personality at the next meeting of the London PPMA Group on Friday 11th March 2011.

This session is being delivered in the context of the theme of this meeting which is "ResilienceThrough Change" in the UK public sector. Specifically, it will attempt to highlight how the dark-side of personality may manifest itself, i.e. how we may be pre-disposed to behave "less-constructively" towards others, especailly when we are stressed, such as in the current climate that pervades the UK public-sector. The session will also seek to describe how we can recognise these less constructive behaviours in ourselves and others, and what, as HR professionals, we might be able to do to help both the individuals concerned and the wider organisation. Finally, the session will provide an overview of some recent research which elucidates some pronounced dark-side differences between the UK public and private sectors.

Please click here for more information.

Please click here for David's biog.

Filed Under: All Categories / DWHR News

actso dark-side session

Posted by: David Woollard

David delivered a session on the dark-side of personality and its importance in the leadership development context for the Association of Chief Trading Standards Association (ACTSO) on 1st February 2010, at City of London Trading Standards.

The following downloads are available to accompany this presentation.

Dark Side Self Analysis Sheet.

Copy of the presentation.

Definitions of the 11 scales in the Hogan Development Survey (HDS).

"Have You Crossed the Line".

What We Know About Leadership

Business psychcology & specialist HR services offered by DWHR to the regulatory services sector.

Filed Under: All Categories / DWHR News / HR Projects

rst presentation

Posted by: David Woollard

On Thursday 28th January 2010, David delivered a presentation about the Regulatory Services Test (RST) and the related RS Structured Interview to the South West Region Heads of Regulatory Services Group at Somerset County Council, Taunton.

If you'd like to download the presentation, please click here .

Filed Under: All Categories / Regulatory Services Test

outplacement support

Posted by: David Woollard

DWHRC have provided outplacement support to a Graphic Designer from Essex.  Over a series of interviews and meeting DWHRC were able to provide lots of practical advice and recruitment tips from preparing the right CV and application letter though to developing interview skills - the hard work paid off nearly instantly!

We were delighted to receive the following feedback.

"Thanks again for your help. I can't begin to show how appreciative I am. You have changed the way I go about everything and how I think. When anything good happens I am keeping records for my next interview whenever that time may be! And in general I am far more confident in my approach and have a lot more confidence in my ability. I wouldn't have the job I have without you and I won't be forgetting that!"

JS, Graphic Designer, Essex

Filed Under: All Categories / HR Projects

anniversary of rst

Posted by: David Woollard

It is the two year anniversary of the Regulatory Services Test (RST) and over this time the test has been adopted by over 30 organisations across the UK.  Used as both a recruitment and developmental tool we are looking forward to another successful year in 2010.

Filed Under: All Categories / Regulatory Services Test

trading standards recruitment

Posted by: David Woollard

DWHRC have helped Suffolk Trading Standards recruit a further two Principal Trading Standards Officers this month following a successful recruitment campaign.  The recruitment process again used the Regulatory Services Test (RST) to good effect combined with practical testing and panel interviews.

Filed Under: All Categories / HR Projects

suffolk trading standards project

Posted by: David Woollard

DWHRC have just completed the successful recruitment of an Assistant County Trading Standards Officer for Suffolk Trading Standards.  DWHRC designed and implemented a robust recruitment and selection process and the new appointment starts this month.

Filed Under: All Categories / HR Projects

essex trading standards project

Posted by: David Woollard

DWHRC have just successfully completed the recruitment programme for Essex Trading Standards 'Major Investigations Team" resulting in four appointments.

DWHRC designed, managed and played an active part in the entire recruitment lifecycle contributing to the advert design, providing shortlisting assistance, designing the selection and interview process and making up one of the interview panel.

The Regulatory Services Test (RST) was used effectively as part of the recruitment process and we look forward to tracking the progress of the new team throughout the autumn.

Filed Under: All Categories / HR Projects

keynote speech at cipd agm

Posted by: David Woollard

DWHR was the after dinner speaker at the AGM of the Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire Branch of the CIPD and provided an insight into the characteristics of the "Dark Side of Personality" and investigated ways to control these negative impacts.

Filed Under: All Categories / DWHR News

training programme launched

Posted by: David Woollard

GallifordTry Parterships LogoDWHRC has recently successfully completed a project at GallifordTry Partnerships to design and deliver a two-day training programme in performance appraisal skills for all appraising managers.

The training programme has received excellent feedback and helps Managers with practical advice and guidance on undertaking effective performance appraisals.

Filed Under: All Categories / HR Projects

the dark side of personality

Posted by: David Woollard

Cover of the CIPD InTouch Magazine March April 2008 David Woollard outlines the steps that can be taken to identify and learn to manage the dark side of our personalities within this article for the March edition of the CIPD "Insight" Magazine.

Part of the article examines the use that the Hogan Development Survey (HDS) can play to tap into the dark side characteristics.

"A Trip to the Dark Side" article PDF.

Filed Under: All Categories

overview of the regulatory services test

Posted by: David Woollard

Presentation provided to the Environmental Health and Trading Standards Managers Event - 9th November 2007.

Regulatory Services Test - Discovering the core DNA To raise awareness of the Regulatory Services Test (RST) David Woollard was asked to present an overview of the testing mechanism, focusing on the science behind the test and how it can help managers to recruit and develop the best staff.

Together with identifying the key characteristics of top performers to aid recruitment, the RST provides an insight into how the testing can be applied to improve performance of existing staff.

You can read the full presentation by downloading the Regulatory Services Test Presentation PDF.

Filed Under: All Categories / Regulatory Services Test

regulatory services test launch

Posted by: David Woollard

Working in partnership with the East of England Trading Standards Association (EETSA) and Blue Edge Consulting, DWHRC has recently completed the design and launch of a psychometric assessment, to be used as part of selection and development processes for regulatory service professions such as trading standards, environmental health and building control. This project has culminated in the creation of the Regulatory Services Test, the RST.

Please see for more information and to take part.

Filed Under: All Categories / Regulatory Services Test

ehn article portrait of success

Posted by: David Woollard

David Woollard, Paul Brewerton and Steve Greenfield contributed an article to the October 2007 edition of Environmental Health News (EHN) which summarised the work into the development of the Regulatory Services Test by outlining the key charcteristics of a good "Regulatory Services Field Officer".

The full article is available to download.

Filed Under: All Categories / Regulatory Services Test

ts today article

Posted by: David Woollard

David Woollard, together with Steve Greenfield and Paul Brewerton have contributed to the June issue of Trading Standard Today to investigate the DNA of a good Trading Standards officer. 

The full article is available for download.


Filed Under: All Categories / Regulatory Services Test

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