Recruitment secret weapon

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Researchers have discovered a sneaky new recruitment tool: ascertain if the candidate has a sweet tooth to unlock their true personality.

A team from North Dakota State University and Gettysburg College say they have discovered a link between having a preference for sweet foods and desirable personality traits, such as being kind and helpful to others.

In one part of the five-part study, researchers found that the people randomly assigned to eat chocolate helped another person more than those randomly assigned to the control group who ate savoury crackers or nothing.

Professor of psychology at North Dakota State University, Michael D. Robinson, said “Our results suggest there is a strong relationship between [a preference for] sweetness and helpful behaviour.”

Dr Brian Meier from Gettysburg College added “Taste is something we experience every day. Our research examined whether metaphors that link taste preferences with pro-social experiences (eg, "she's a sweetheart") can be used to shed light on actual personality traits and behaviour.”

So, does loving chocolate make a “sweetheart” of a person? Based on the studies, the authors claim that sweets eaters are both more agreeable and more likely to volunteer, and concluded that one “can predict how helpful or nice someone is, based on the extent to which whether he or she prefers eating sweet foods”.Top of Form

So, how can these findings be incorporated into HR practice? HC found a few ideas from blog writer Suzanne Lucas, aka, ‘Evil HR Lady’.

Step 1. Fill a bowl with M&Ms. Count them so you know how many there are.

Step 2. Set them on the edge of your desk during a job interview. Offer some to your candidate.

Step 3. Excuse yourself for 10 minutes.

Step 4. After the candidate leaves, count the M&Ms. Whichever candidate ate the most will be your most agreeable candidate.

But, then again, HC wonders if being agreeable is really desirable quality in a candidate. Tell us your thoughts.


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  • Janine on 4/11/2011 4:28:54 PM

    thats not going to be a good indicator. Keep in mind women tend to get chocolate cravings... and many people are conscious of their weight so may choose not to eat for that reason alone. Not to mention if you are serious about the job, protocol is not to accept or eat food during an interview. Its not a good thing to choke on food, be chewing something or have sticky fingers as you shake the interviewers hand.

    I'd suggest you stick to behavioural interviewing questions to determine if the person is more likely to be agreeable. If thats what you need for that position.

  • k on 7/11/2011 9:09:56 AM

    Greedy candidates will eat more m&ms

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