Introduction to Psychological Suitability Screening
Psychological suitability is the exploration of the risk factors and mitigating factors of a candidate and their appropriateness to work with vulnerable people.
Psychometric testing reviewed by a Registered Psychologist and Psychological interview exploring personal history and background is the best way to effectively determine a candidates’ psychological suitability.
What are the objectives of Psychological suitability screening?
Safeguarding Vulnerable Individuals: Inappropriate behaviours can cause serious ramifications for those in the employees’ care and for other work colleagues. Minimising this risk will ensure the safeguarding of those requiring care, and protective practices that create a stronger, safer work place.
Ensuring that candidates are prepared for the roles for which they are applying, and ensuring their mental health is stable can protect against workplace mental stress injuries – for the individual, the other staff and the organisation. Also, mentally healthy staff are better placed to create positive change in the vulnerable clients for whom they care.
How do we psychologically screen for suitability?
Using internationally researched and recognised psychometric tests, a pre-interview assessment can be gathered on the candidate applying for the role. These factors are followed up at a one to one interview with a psychologist where any previous mental health or life difficulties can be explored, thus ensuring candidates are not eliminated on cultural, life experience or mental health difficulties encountered in the past. No single test can ever completely eliminate risk - particularly in the field of risk of abusing vulnerable individuals. Forensic psychological experience has assisted in the development of profile factors that best indicate the likelihood of risk in any candidate. The psychological suitability process is a complex interlay of clinical/forensic interview and psychometric testing that deliver for the organisation a clear decision on the candidate's current psychological suitability for working with vulnerable people.
In Australia and internationally, it is recognised that Psychologists are the professionals with the skills and training necessary to design and interpret the sensitive details explored in psychometric testing and mental health factors including personality, violence, substance abuse and risk of abuse. Most psychometric tests require a Registered Psychologist to purchase, read or interpret these tests. Similar tests in the HR arena are not specifically designed to explore these risks and are not appropriate topics for panel or recruitment personnel to probe at job interview. Psychologists have the skills to interpret, contextualise, and potentially manage the aspects of psychological suitability – both the highly sensitive psychometric tests used and the complex factors at determining risks confidently.
What about confidentiality & feedback?
Candidates are asked to sign a confidentiality agreement and agreement to release summary information. No feedback is provided to the candidate related to the results of Psychological suitability screening. However, where critical issues (such as clear suicidal ideation) are found, a PsychCheck Psychologist will follow up with the candidate to ensure their wellbeing and safety.
What if candidates come from difficult life circumstances, culturally and linguistically diverse or identify with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background?
The benefit of using Psychologists to screen for suitability means that candidates are not screened out unnecessarily on the basis of cultural or life circumstances. Due to their training and psychological interviewing skills, Psychologists can explore the factors that add resilience to a candidates' profile - thus making sure that every candidate is fairly assessed. Often in care roles, the life experiences of candidates is what can create an exceptional carer - these factors are valued by employers and Psychologists are best placed to interpret when life experiences improve a candidates' performance, and can advise when their life experiences puts them at risk.