HR Projects

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: HR Projects / All Categories / DWHR News

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: HR Projects / All Categories / DWHR News

Recruitment of Training Standards Officers for Suffolk Trading Standards, Spring 2013

Posted by: David Woollard


DWHRC were asked by Suffolk County Council Trading Standards to assist with the design and implementation of an assessment process for the recruitment of two Trading Standards Officers (TSO) in the Spring of 2013. This followed on from similar recruitment, assessment and selection projects that DWHRC had carried out with Suffolk Trading Standards, over the course of the preceding year or so. These included Assistant Chief Trading Standards Officer, Principal Trading Standards Officer and Import Surveillance Officer.

DWHRC were chosen to assist with this project, due to significant experience and expertise in the Trading Standards and wider Regulatory Services professions, due to the previous construction of the “Regulatory Services Test” (RST), an online psychometric test to assess potential to carry our regulatory work. This had been constructed in partnership with the East of England Trading Standards Association (EETTSA) and Blue Edge Consulting, a specialist occupational psychology and psychometric assessment firm.


A “multi-method, multi-rater” process was designed, which featured a panel interview, a bespoke-designed practical/role-play exercise and appropriate psychometric assessment – the RST ( Initially, a comprehensive competency framework was designed to assess the candidates against. This was based on the in-depth Job Profile that had been created for the role, together with the research that underpinned the development of the RST. Behavioural indicators were then developed to describe the required evidence in more detail. Interview questions were then developed around some of them.

The role play exercise was developed around a typical scenario the appointees would face in their work – an interaction with a market trader, following a complaint from a member of the public. This exercise was developed in conjunction with a number of Suffolk TS staff, especially one who was to be the role-player. This person had no previous experience of role-playing but proved to be a real star. The design process included drafting and re-drafting the exercise, trial-running and then subsequent fine-tuning of the exercise, before it was used on the day.


At the end of the day, a “wash-up” discussion was held between all 5 assessors who had been involved in the assessment process. This facilitated each candidate being rated against each competency or “key selection criterion”. Candidates were then rank-ordered and their “appointability” considered. This resulted in a clear stratification of the candidates and the identification of the two preferred candidates, who were then each offered a position.

Other benefits which accrued to Suffolk TS as a product of this process included:

• The development of a robust assessment process that can be used in subsequent recruitment processes, including the competency framework, behavioural indicators, interview questions and the role-play exercise.

• The development of the TSO who was chosen to be the role-player for the practical exercise, who is now looking forward to his next opportunity to demonstrate his acting and assessment skills.

• The enhancement of the Services’ reputation with the short-listed candidates, via the implementation of a comprehensive and fair assessment process.

Feedback from the Appointing Manager

At the conclusion of the process, Graham Crisp, Assistant County Trading Standards Officer for Suffolk said:

“Asking DWHRC to help us with this assessment process helped immensely. It took away a lot of the hard work that line-managers often have to do when recruiting and added greatly to its objectivity. David has unparalled knowledge of Trading Standards and this comes across in his assessment expertise and his judgement”.

Filed Under: HR Projects

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: HR Projects / All Categories / DWHR News

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: HR Projects / All Categories

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: HR Projects / All Categories

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: HR Projects / All Categories

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: HR Projects / All Categories

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: HR Projects / All Categories

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