Non-traditional Psychological Methods of Personnel Selection

Standard methods of personnel selection through exchanges or recruitment agencies do not always yield positive results, and the personnel department of the company is not always able to cope with the task of finding particularly important specialists. Therefore, companies start searching for employees using other, non-traditional psychological methods, which help to achieve the desired result in a short time and at optimal cost. These methods are based on psychological theories.

The stress interview is one of the popular traditional HR methods. The HR managers try to create negative working conditions for a job applicant and test his or her reaction on them. However, participants in such interviews feel insulted and offended.

There are also special recruitment methods. In today’s evolving economy, there are an increasing number of organisations that are trying to employ more effective methods of personnel selection. For this reason, the individual characteristics of an employee of an organisation should not be considered separately from the position he/she holds and the social role in the team. Consequently, in the selection of personnel in the company, modern managers resort not only to traditional methods of selection but also to non-traditional.

Brainteaser Interview

So, sometimes, secretaries are offered to take off their shoes to test cleanliness. Another method of recruitment with unusual techniques is the Brainteaser interview. In translation, it means an interview that tickles the brain. The basis of the method is the posing of an intricate question or logical problem to the candidate, the answer to which must be given during the interview. In this way, the analytical thinking of the applicant and his or her creative abilities are tested.

One of the well-known companies adhering to this method is Microsoft. Personnel specialists constantly use this method in their work and even create several questions that are already widely known to the public. For example, such questions can test analytical skills or the ability to solve mathematical tasks.


This science determines a person’s character by his or her appearance. The use of physiognomics is justified only if there is much practical experience in its use, but even in this case recommendations should be given with great caution. Physiognomics should not be the only method of selecting candidates, it is rather an auxiliary method, allowing to support the conclusions of traditional interviewing techniques.


This theory studies the way of processing information by the human psyche. According to the Socionic concept, people’s psyche can be represented in the form of 16 possible variants of perception and processing the information, which corresponds to a certain type of information metabolism (abbreviated – TIM), or socionics type. In socionics, all human sociotypes have names based on which some famous persons most resembled in their behaviour.

So, they are for example types of Maximilian Robespierre and Honore de Balzac. People belonging to the same socionics type show quite typical behaviour in certain conditions and are guided by the same motives in making decisions when implementing certain tasks. The methods of socionics, which emerged at the junction of psychology and computer science, make it possible to get predictions about the behaviour of this or that person and his interaction with certain representatives of other types. The main selection procedure based on socionics is Socionic typing, or, in other words, determination of an employee’s Socionic type. There are several ways to type people including testing and interviewing.


This theory is about a relation between handwriting and individual personality traits. To speak of graphology as a non-traditional method of personnel selection is probably not quite fair, since in France, for example, graphology is quite an official tool for selecting candidates. However, the effectiveness of the conclusions based on graphology is still questionable.


Among the reviewed methods, there is not a single one that guarantees a one hundred per cent “hit” in the selection of a candidate. However, conventional recruitment techniques do not have such accuracy either. Perhaps this explains the growing popularity of the considered unconventional methods, and if there is no one correct way, then maybe it is worth trying all of them… What if it works?