Should Your Organization Use Personality Assessments for Hiring

I see some of our clients utilizing personality assessments in their hiring and employee development practices. According to Psychology Today, about 80% of Fortune 500 companies use personality tests to assess potential and current employees to make hiring, team building, and developmental decisions. Some of the most common and widely used personality tests that we see include Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Caliper Profile, Hogan Assessments, StrengthsFinder, CultureIndex and DiSC. In recent years, psychologists and human resources practitioners have suggested the use of personality testing as a tool to assist in making better and more informed hiring and developmental decisions. However, before deciding to use personality assessments in your organization, there are some pros and cons to consider.

Pros of Using Personality Assessments:

  • Strengthening the interview: A good personality assessment can help hiring managers to know which soft skills and behavioral interview questions they should pay attention to during the interview.
  • Gaining a deeper insight into candidates: Employees and job candidates have a broad range of skills, abilities, and work styles. These differences are not always apparent on a resume or during an interview, so personality assessments can give you another tool for understanding what the candidate has to offer and how they will fit into your work culture.
  • Development and recognition tools: Personality assessments help you to understand the values, motives, and preferences of employees and will help you know what they need from you as an employer to stay engaged.
  • Team building: Employees are increasingly working in a team environment. When building and managing teams, understanding the personalities of team members is critical for success.
  • Improving the culture: Personality tests can be used to enhance your organization’s culture by understanding each employee’s communication styles, leadership styles, learning styles, and level of introversion or extroversion.

Cons of Personality Assessments:

  • Tests take time: Testing and obtaining the results from a professional can take time, which can result in losing a candidate to another company.       In this tight job market you may lose good candidates by stringing out the process.
  • Tests cost money: Personality assessments can be costly. Cost estimates range between $100 and $5,000 per candidate.
  • Rules and regulations: The personality testing market isn’t subject to government regulation. Technically, anyone can design and administer tests. To increase the probability of accurate interpretations, and to avoid any unintentional discrimination, it is important that you find a fair and consistent test, and you use only trained professionals to administer and evaluate the assessments.
  • They aren’t the final answer: Although personality assessments can help to provide a deeper insight into a candidate’s motives, values, and work styles, they do not give the final verdict on which candidate is the right one for the job. Personality assessments are not prediction tools. They simply provide you with indicators for success.

Overall, the right personality fit is critical for good performance. However, it is important to keep in mind that personality assessments are not a stand-alone tool. They should be used only in conjunction with other employee screening techniques such as behavioral interviews and references to reflect all of an applicant’s characteristics. Some tests are better predictors than others, so it is important to do your research. All tests should be job-related, consistent with business necessity, and compliant with any federal and state regulations pertaining to pre-employment testing.

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