The Latvian airline airBaltic has been using Tripod’s tests for assessing hundreds of pilots, also during the assessment for new cadets in airBaltic Pilot Academy.
„For flying a plane, spatial ability is very important, but also general mental ability which reflects the general learning capability. Therefore we are using Tripod’s Mental Ability Scale VVS/4 for assessing pilots“, says Madara Zile, Personnel Recruitment Specialist at airBaltic. „Tripod’s Mental Ability Scale’s results are clearly correlated to the candidate’s performance in flying simulation test or flying test.“
airBaltic is also training new pilots in airBaltic Pilot Academy. As the responsibility of a pilot is very high, the candidates need to attend a very thorough assessment including psychological tests, interviews and physical tests. „One has to have strong English skills for studying in the academy, therefore we are using Tripod’s English Reading Test ENG-READ to assess the candidates’ language skills. We have noticed that the test confirms successfully any doubts that we’ve had during the interview about the candidate’s English language competence.“
Tripod has more than 20 years of experience with developing and offering professional psychological tests and language skills tests, also developing tailor-made tests for companies.
It has been debated for centuries if an individual is born as tabula rasa or he/she already has something with him/her. For example, behaviourists (in 1920s) and social learning theorists (in 1960s) supported the hypothesis that everyone could be taught to become a doctor or a lawyer, without natural predispositions having any role in it.
However, it has become clear that an individual is not born as tabula rasa but the colour of their hair and yes, height and jaw shape, as well as a number of traits are largely genetically predetermined. The expression of genes depends on the environment, though.
When is personality coined?
Although traits are heritable to an extent, it takes time for the personality to evolve. Some traits are expressed rather early in childhood (such as Extraversion/Introversion), yet behaviour and emotional response change several times while a child and a young individual develops.
Pullmann et al (Pullmann, Raudsepp and Allik, 2006) examined the stability of personality traits in adolescence. Their study was based on a pool of data from 876 Estonian pupils who completed a questionnaire examining five core personality traits twice, over a period of several years. The analysis revealed that traits became more stable both on the level of population and individual at the age 12–18, while the five traits were quite established starting from the age of 16. The study has been cited over 100 times.
Can we assess the stability of traits across lifetime?
Yes, the last issue of a leading scientific periodical Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (journal rank 7.3 over 5 years) featured an exceptional study (Damian et al, 2019), measuring personality traits in a large sample across 50 years. It was the first study to assess the personality traits of the same people and using the same test over such a long time span – tests were administered to pupils at the age of 16 and then after the individuals retired.
The results revealed that personality traits remain quite stable. For example, if a pupil was timid and reserved in high school, showed little initiative and was anxious about performing in front of others, they were likely to retain the characteristics also when adult. A shy pupil is unlikely to evolve into an executive because they do not enjoy lots of attention, interaction or self-assertion.
However, it is possible to train and practise these skills. In recruitment, the central question is to what extent the natural predispositions overlap with those required for the duties. If the most important traits are there and there is little difference between the desires and actual levels, development strategies can be used to support the necessary competencies. Yet when there are marked discrepancies between the desirable and actual profile, the investments made in development need not pay off as it is very difficult, sometimes impossible to induce major change.
The test training offered by Tripod provides the knowledge and skills required for independent administration of Tripod’s tests.
Senior Consultant and Coach Liisa Raudsepp shares Tripod’s experience.
What is the difference between career counselling and outplacement? A client usually seeks career counselling at their own initiative (paying for it himself/herself), while outplacement is an extra offered by the organisation to employees whom they have laid off. Outplacement has a number of benefits both for the individuals and the employer.
The first topic that comes up in outplacement is the thoughts and feelings concerning lay-off. If an individual has been released suddenly, the decision may come unexpected and be quite shocking. Even if there is information available about the upcoming downsizing, it can still be hard to take in that you have been laid off.
The predominant feeling that comes with lay-off is disappointment. It is common to feel that the organisation did not really value you and how this overrides all previous positive experience. That is why it is important to have an opportunity to discuss these feelings on neutral grounds, to overcome the associated loss and proceed to action. Examining the emotions that come up helps make peace with the lay-off and maintain a positive attitude to the employer. For some people the lay-off can be a welcome change because they have thought about moving on for a long time but have not had a proper impulse.
Another psychological issue that can surface is self-confidence. Being laid off can feel as if being dumped by one’s partner, and make the ‘dumpee’ doubt his/her values, skills and strengths — would they be enough to succeed in the future? Again, this does not apply to everyone, as there are also people who will immediately start looking for new employment opportunities. If necessary, it is possible to focus on strengths and vision regarding future employment at outplacement sessions. It can be a perfect moment to take your time and think about what you really want. What are your expectations for life in general and for work and career? This is a chance to think big and find a more satisfying job.
Apart from that, the process is similar to career counselling (setting goals, plans, drafting a CV and LinkedIn profile, job interview role play, coaching to achieve goals).
Clients may expect that the counsellor will look up suitable vacancies for them during outplacement to find a new job for them. In Tripod, we still proceed from the main definition of counselling, i.e. to focus on supporting the client in their search for a job. As a Chinese saying goes: Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, and you feed him for life.
Tripod has several years of experience in career counselling and outplacement. When interested, please contact