Konnekt, the San Ġwann-based recruitment firm, has partnered organisation development solutions provider Omnicor to offer employers a range of candidate assessment options.

Potential is essentially a person’s ability to handle increasing levels of complexity

Established in South Africa in 1998 by husband and wife James Ashton and Catherine Farlam Ashton, Omnicor has set up a base in Malta as it seeks to tap business potential in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

Konnekt managing director Josef Said explained the two companies will introduce a co-branded collection of solutions to Konnekt’s client base in a bid to deliver high end candidate assessment options.

“In all markets where organisations are recruiting internationally, clients are seeking assessments which determine how candidates can be compared fairly and the levels of potential they bring to firms,” Mr Ashton told Times of Malta.

“Assessment is the most powerful way of unlocking potential competence. Some managers interview poorly, and our solutions can help them avoid mistakes as they select candidates.”

Omnicor has developed a platform called Role Fit, which includes around 90 assessments, some of which are the Ashtons’ own intellectual property. The company holds licences for more than 500 assessments from providers around the world.

Omnicor provides a blend of face-to-face and on-line assessments, some of which are delivered through Role Fit. Clients may also be trained on the Role Fit tools and platforms to administer the assessment process themselves.

“Potential is essentially a person’s ability to handle increasing levels of complexity, by applying higher levels of judgment to guide decision-making,” Ms Farlam Ashton explained. “We use a model of organisational decision-making called Stratified Systems Theory developed by Canadian psychoanalyst Elliot Jacques. We like to define it as ‘levels of work complexity’ as it assesses thought abilities at different levels and provides a valuable insight into candidates’ future potential.”

The couple, who currently own a majority shareholding of Omnicor in South Africa, came to Malta after buying a boat in the UK and sailing to Malta last year with their teenage daughter. They have established an office in St Julian’s and intend to introduce a range of online products and services to international clients from the island.

Both studied at universities in Cape Town and Johannesburg and established Omnicor just after Apartheid ended. They explained how psychometric tests were tainted in the Apartheid era.

“Many were administered incorrectly and used pseudo-scientifically to prove that black people were less intelligent,” Ms Farlam Ashton said. “Psychometric testing became a very disputed area in South Africa and is still prohibited unless assessments can be proven to be culturally fair. South Africa became a world leader in the development of culture-fair assessments as a result.

“The market there offers a variety of cognitive and other assessments which are now used around the world. We apply that experience ourselves as well to deliver solutions that allow for culturally fair assessments.”