When astrology interferes in the recruitment process

“I was skeptical about hiring a Scorpion. We already had two Lions in the team, it would have been a lot of strong characters for it to get along well, “says Elodie*, HR admitting to not being able to stop staring the astrological sign of a candidate when reading a CV. “If the candidate details his date of birth, that will inevitably influence me. I know it’s not well seen, but it’s stronger than me. With confinements, digitization and videos, there are few ways to really know a candidate. Astrology remains a trail like any other…”.

“A track like any other”, but strongly discouraged by the labor code. In particular since circular DRT 93-10 of March 15, 1993, indicating that it is “inadvisable to resort to methods with random results, such as astrology, numerology, or even graphology, whose predictive validity from the of fitness for use is in no way established”. That same year, a study of Bordeaux-II University Psychology Laboratory indicated that a recruitment out of ten is decided after the arbitration of astrologers, graphologists, numerologists, gestuologists. Then in 2007, a study conducted by the firm Oasys showed that 5% of recruiters recognized – anonymously – that the candidate’s astrological sign weighed in the balance (no pun intended). And if 5% admit it, how many do it without admitting it?

An expansion of astrology

“There is a lack of data since these studies, confesses management professor Jean-François Amadieu, author of HRD: The black book (The Threshold edition, 2013). What is certain is that the human resources environment is extremely permeable to this type of belief. Beliefs that have developed in the population for decades”.

According to an Ifop survey conducted with the Jean Jaurès Foundation, in 2020, 41% of French people believed in astrology, i.e. 8 points more than in 2000. The higher professional categories are not spared by the phenomenon (38%), no more than holders of higher education (38 % of Bac + 3 or more). “It’s a phenomenon that has infiltrated the entire population, of course HR are also affected,” adds Jean-François Amadieu.

“The stars lie less than people”

“Personality matters as much as skills in teamwork. Capricorn and their loyalty, Virgo and their loyalty, Aquarius and their dedication… These are qualities that can weigh to determine a candidate”, claims Sophie *, HR in a large company. For her, “the stars do not lie more than a person in interview who plays a position, they lie even less”. She stretches the argument even further: “Faced with candidates who are now over-prepared, who have learned all the codes and phrases to say at their fingertips, astrology sometimes makes it possible to sort them out”.

“I know that many think it’s nonsense, abounds Martin *. You can tell me what you want, the profile of the candidates often corresponds perfectly to their astrological sign. The HR then wants to be reassuring: “Of course, we don’t select anyone just on their astro sign. It is the icing on the cake to determine a recruitment, not the decisive element. I’m not going to exclude anyone because they’re Gemini. I would just pay attention to certain answers during the interview. »

The idea of ​​the lesser evil

All mention the same difficulty in being able to identify people and a desire to supplement with other information, regardless of the scientific validity of their source. It’s pretty much the same logic with graphologya technique supposed to make it possible to deduce the psychological characteristics of an individual from his handwriting, “and massively used in the recruitment process until the 2000s”, supports Jean-François Amadieu.

A practice made obsolete by the development of letters typed on a computer. “What harm are we doing with astrology? Asks Sophie. We just gather a maximum of elements in our possession, without making one prevail. You have to know this candidate well, right? A brief reminder from Frédérik Cousin, founder of the recruitment agency Refea: “We judge a candidate on the personality-skills-motivation triptych. It is easy to make an objective assessment for skills, but personality must also be studied rationally, not with pseudoscience. »

A subject that has become taboo

Jean-François Amadieu notes however an evolution: “compared to the 1980s, the subject of the use of astrology in recruitment has become taboo and is no longer shown in broad daylight”. Same observation with Frédérik Cousin: “In fifteen years of career, no HR has openly spoken to me about astrology. The only cases of stars that I have seen are candidates who asked for the sign of their potential future manager.

“Astrology, you shouldn’t talk about it, at the risk of sounding like a non-professional,” continues Elodie. We know that it is used in recruitment, but it is not said. ” Same analysis with Martin: “Whatever our recruitment successes, we can never say that we had them thanks to astrology. We keep it to ourselves. Anyway, it’s a job where you have to be modest. No doubt his Aries side that makes him say that.

*Names have been changed

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When astrology interferes in the recruitment process

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