‘It is setting a marker for the new boss’

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Many people with first-hand experience of psychometric testing will be sceptical about its value in job interviews.

Asking someone what their favourite vegetable is, or how they stack a dishwasher, in order to elicit key personality traits has a strong element of randomness about it.

Some of these tests are certainly off-the-wall and can seem more like a tarot card reading than a sensible selection process.

The idea that a short character test like this can help tackle the management bullying culture which has blighted the health board may seem fanciful, the test on its own no more than a box-ticking exercise.

But the fact everyone from top international sports teams to successful global corporations have embraced them suggests there is more to it all than meets the eye. We should not dismiss them too quickly as a tool that can help build an in-depth picture of a candidate.

Its use by NHS Lothian to help choose its new £170,000-a-year chief executive is symbolic of an organisation that wants to be seen to change.

It signals the serious intent of the board when it comes to tackling the abuse of its own staff by its own management.

By making “good character” an important strand of the interview process, as opposed to simply focusing on the ruthless pursuit and delivery of targets, it is setting down a marker for the new boss.

The interim chief executive Tim Davison, or whoever else takes on the mantle, will know from day one in the permanent post that treating all people decently is what the health board is about.

That is a point that is very worthwhile underlining to the public and the organisation’s 28,000 loyal and hard-working staff.

Good luck Freya

The eyes of the world will be on Freya Murray at the weekend – and if that’s not enough pressure, she’s carrying the hopes and dreams of a certain Paula Radcliffe as well.

Filling the shoes of the marathon world record holder is a daunting task for the 28-year-old and it means to some extent the eyes of Britain and the wider world will be on 
her as she pounds the streets of ­London.

The Midlothian runner has been training as a reserve for the Olympics without ever seriously expecting that she would get the call. But now that call has come she insists she is “fit and healthy” for the biggest race of her career.

Good luck Freya, we are all right behind you – and hopefully the rest of the field will be too.