New computer test weeds out potential troublemakers


01-12-1999

A revolutionary new test which can weed out bad workers before they're taken on is to become the next big thing in helping bosses recruit the right staff.

The unique test can tell employers who to steer clear of in the staff selection process by weeding out malingerers and potential trouble makers.



'We will be able to spot a Nick Leeson before you hire him,' boasts Dr Paul Fray, chief executive of the firm behind the computer test.



It works by a touch screen which Cambridge University psychology graduate Dr Fray says cannot be tricked because those being tested don't know what they are being tested for.



The results reveal startling amounts of information about subjects' abilities and personalities - and is set to make a massive fortune for the company behind it, Cambridge-based .



'It's about core cognitive processes,' said Dr Fray, who is also developing tests used to detect early signs of Alzheimer's disease.



His company expects to sell the test to firms recruiting top-level staff who don't want to make expensive mistakes by picking the wrong people.



But it can also be used by individuals who simply want to gain a better understanding of themselves.



'It measures how the brain is performing, capacity for original thinking, flexibility, risk-taking skills, coolness under fire, how good you are at socialising,' said Human-IT's finance director Roland Rivington.



'It will also spot malingering from impairment,' he added, so bosses can distinguish between idleness and illness.



'Some people will see what we are doing as Big Brother,' said Mr Rivington.



'But we have set it up for the evolution of the human being, decentralisation and taking individual responsibility.



'This is the decade of the brain.'



The test can also be used to tell whether a student is suited to a particular course, or if job applicants, such as airline pilots, will be able to cope under stress.



And one of the biggest chunks of the market - which Human-It calculates as being worth 700 million - is likely to be home testing, with applicants able to send and receive tests via the Internet.