Advantages of Using Personality Tests in the Hiring Process


The hiring process and personality testing

The right hiring decisions can truly define a company. Finding the right people for the workforce to be productive and cohesive is a difficult assignment, it is however necessary for the smooth and effective operation of any company. Employees make or break business success.

The scope of the recruitment process and the individual components it consists of are entirely up to the employer and the hiring managers. They try to arrange the process to gather as much information about the candidates as efficiently as possible. Beside traditional background checks of education and employment history, face-to-face interviews, or skill tests, pre-employment personality assessment tests are another addition to the hiring process that has been gaining popularity in the past years. Currently, up to 70% of U.S. employers use personality testing to assess and vet candidates. The most used types of tests are tests based on the Big Five Theory (personality tests offered at Test Center have a basis in this highly reliable theory), the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Hogan’s Assessments, or The Caliper Profile.

Personality assessment provides the human resources department with valuable insight into what kind of people the candidates are in relation to the type of job they are applying to or the company climate they would become a part of. It can help uncover applicants’ values, motivation, creativity, cognitive abilities, ability to lead or be a part of a team, and other job-relevant aspects of personality. Personality assessment is also often used to help predict job performance of applicants. But what makes employers and their recruitment team choose this particular type of assessment in their hiring process? Why is it so popular? The following are the main advantages of incorporating pre-employment personality screening.


Benefits of using personality testing

Pre-employment personality assessment can narrow down the candidate pool. The recruitment process can get very time-consuming and costly for companies. Advertising the position, calling the applicants, inviting them for (sometimes) several in-person interviews, spending hours talking to them and assessing them cost not only money but also the time and the effort of the HR team. After the first basic screening phone call, often too many applicants seem suitable for the position and it becomes tough to pick the right candidates for the in-person meeting. If, however, personality assessment tests in the hiring process are incorporated after the initial call but before extensive in-person interview and evaluation, they can significantly narrow down the candidate selection. The recruitment team can assess the fit of the candidates more accurately based on the phone screening together with the results from personality assessment than just on the basis of the initial call and thus will choose only the most suitable candidates for the more time- and money-consuming in-person evaluation.


The second advantage ties perfectly with the first one because personality assessment can also steer the in-person interviewing process in the right direction to find all the relevant answers the employer needs to make an informed decision on whether to hire an applicant or not. Personality tests can uncover candidates’ strong sides as well as areas that they might need to work on, and the assessors can use these personality test results to base their questions on during the interview. They might ask the candidates to explain how they can use their particular strengths in a scenario related to the exact job they are applying to. They can also confront the candidates and make them think about how they can compensate for their weaker traits, or how they plan to learn and improve to overcome them. The personality test reports from Test Center, for instance, come with a separate section dedicated to suggested interview questions. These questions reflect the areas of concern raised by the assessment results and are tailored to prompt the candidate to think about a time when they have already managed to overcome one of their weaknesses in the workplace or how they would do so in a hypothetical situation.

Standardized personality tests may also serve as a form of legal defense in case any applicant wants to raise a concern that the hiring process was biased or discriminatory. Standardized methods ensure that the procedure, in this case, the personality assessment, follows a set of rigid rules that apply to all of the applicants in the same manner. This makes such assessment fairer and more resilient against situational factors or factors associated with any biases the person conducting the evaluation might hold. For this advantage to apply, however, the assessment needs to fulfill three conditions. It, of course, needs to be standardized. Then it also needs to be well-designed (and well-chosen by the employer) so that it does not discriminate against any minority (i.e. gender or race) or illness. The assessment, for instance, should not include questions on whether the applicant experiences mood swings throughout the day, as this might discriminate against people suffering from bipolar disorder or depression. Thirdly, the assessment needs to be well conducted by trained assessors that know what standardized procedures apply to them.

Personality tests can also weaken or remove biases and first impressions. Some candidates make better first impressions than others. They always maintain eye contact, have confident posture, firm handshake, and inviting smile which can make any employer automatically think that they know what they are doing and would be a great addition to the team. Other candidates might be a bit shyer at the beginning. They might speak a bit too quietly or avoid eye contact at first, which might make the hiring managers think that they maybe do not have the relevant skills or lack confidence in dealing with people. While sometimes the first impressions might be accurate, it is not so in all the cases. A candidate that made a phenomenal first impression might possess a quality detrimental to the position, like being unreliable or irresponsible, which a personality test could detect. A well-designed standardized personality test that has been developed by a reputable company is also normed against thousands of applicants for the same or similar position, so the hiring managers know that the results are truly objective and without any bias. Assessment tools offered by Test Center have not only been validated over a large sample from various industries, disciplines, and regions, but they have been made further accurate with proprietary artificial intelligence methods applied to adjust scoring coefficients. This guarantees to the employer that they are obtaining the most accurate and detailed information about the applicants to base decisions on.

Personality tests can not only help employers place the right person in the right position suitable for them, but they can also reduce the chance of hiring the wrong person for the wrong role. This is important to understand, as it is a mistake that can get very costly and stressful. Research has shown that if there is a mismatch between employee’s personality and the position they are in, it can lead to lower engagement. Low employee engagement or disengagement has been linked to lower productivity, bad quality of work, absenteeism, more safety incidents, and lower morale. Moreover, customers can usually sense unhappy employees. They respond to it and not in a positive way. Companies with disengaged employees have lower customer metrics and fewer sales which is also reflected in lower earnings and lower profitability. These unfavorable results can put both the employer and the employee under a lot of stress, which can make the situation even worse and can easily lead to burn out. If, however, the right person is hired for the right position, they can not only meet the job requirements, but also enhance the team and teamwork, bring in new ideas, and grow and prosper together with the company.

There is one advantage of using personality tests that could have been mentioned within the previous part but deserves a category on its own and that is lower turnover. Disengaged and unhappy employees can cost employers up to $550 billion each year in expenses related to staff turnover, absenteeism, and the re-hiring/training process. On the other hand, if employees are in a position that corresponds with their personality and the rest of the team they are a part of has similar traits and holds the same values as them, they do not usually want to change employers or miss out on workdays unnecessarily.

Assessing the personality of candidates is extremely important for building strong and productive teams. Some personalities can be detrimental for teamwork and bringing in someone with such damaging qualities can disrupt even a well-functioning team. It is, therefore, important to choose team members that will fit into the company culture but also can complement each other’s personalities and push each other to do better. After all, teams that consist of the right mix of personalities are always productive and not only meet their goals but exceed them as well.

Understanding the unique information provided by the personality test can help hiring managers assess the suitability of candidates for company culture. Due to the limited time for in-person interviews, candidates’ skills and abilities are often overlooked in resumes or during face-to-face conversation, but personality testing provides deeper insights into how the candidates might adapt to the company’s work culture. The importance of good company culture and employees that fit into it is linked to vital indicators of the company’s health and success like employee engagement, employee happiness and satisfaction with the workplace, productivity, retention rate, and positive recruitment efforts in attracting new talent and more. It is, therefore, crucial to choose new members of the company culture in a thoughtful and deliberate manner, so that they have a chance to enhance it.

Some types of jobs and specific positions require a particular set of interpersonal characteristics in order to fulfill the job demands and meet the goals. These can be, for instance, managerial positions as people in leading positions need to be able to gain respect from people under them, radiate authority and leadership in an assertive manner, and also be able to persuade their team about the validity of their managerial decisions. Types of jobs that might require specific interpersonal characteristics might also be jobs where employees are dealing with people all day, like customer care, healthcare, sales, education, or hospitality. Personality tests can detect such interpersonal characteristics vital for these types of jobs and thus help choose candidates that are not only qualified and skilled but possess also the necessary soft skills and characteristics that fit their role. At Test Center, we offer, among other personality tests, assessments that have been specifically developed for different types of managerial positions, or sales, healthcare, or customer care jobs. This is to be able to provide employers with exactly this type of closer look at interpersonal characteristics, like assertiveness, agreeableness, empathy, or extroversion, necessary for carrying out the tasks related to these specific job types and positions.

Each candidate is unique in terms of what makes them tick. What keeps them engaged? What motivates them? And on the other hand, what kind of approach or incentive does not do anything for them or, even worse, discourages them? Some employees may respond to positive reinforcement, others might need to divide work into smaller goals that are continuously tracked. Some people need constant feedback, other employees might feel criticized with constant comments and will ask for the opinions of others when they feel like they need it. Pre-employment personality assessment tests can allow hiring managers to understand how to keep individual employees motivated. This is especially important for creating long-term and prosperous professional relationships with employees. It can, of course, become demanding if an employer or a manager tries to fulfill the need of every employee, especially if they all respond to something completely different to keep them engaged. In that case, it is on the manager to find an approach that works for most of the team members and at the same time does not discourage any of them. From that, he can work individually with employees in case they express the need for some additional reinforcements.

Probably the biggest benefit of the pre-employment personality assessment is that it enables recruiters to attain a deeper understanding of individual applicants. With a more comprehensive understanding of their personalities, motivations, and goals, it is possible to understand more broadly whether an individual is suitable for a team or not. This holistic insight into what type of person the candidate is will help the hiring managers anticipate their functioning within the team and the coworkers and also foresee possible problematic situations to either prepare better for them or completely avoid them by implementing preventive measures. This also goes the other way, as when the chosen candidates are hired, they usually realize and appreciate that the company has been trying to deeply understand them as a person and that they did not hire just anyone for the position, but want the employee to feel good and succeed in the position.


Summary

Building a cohesive, productive, and efficient team of employees is not an easy task, however, it is a crucial part of any company. Employers can choose from a vast array of methods commonly used in the hiring process and combine them to create the selection procedure most suitable for their needs and for the position they are trying to fill. Pre-employment personality assessment tests, a method used by most employers, can help employers and hiring managers to make objective decisions by providing them information about candidates in relation to such job-relevant personality constructs as honesty, integrity, persistence, motivation, teamwork, social skills, or discipline.

Incorporating personality tests into the recruitment process has many advantages for the employer as well as for the candidates. It can save the company a lot of money, stress and time, as weighing personality assessment results in the hiring decision can help ensure that the candidate fits the role not only with their knowledge and skills but also with possessing the individual characteristics necessary to be successful in the position. Moreover, the candidate chosen with the emphasis on personality testing will also match the company culture and the structure of the work team better than if these features were not taken into consideration. Such a selection process, thus, results in teams working more efficiently, employees being more motivated, engaged, and generally happy in their work life. Their quality of work is also higher and their demeanor at work more positive than if they were in a position or company culture that did not match their personality. Such a workforce has been linked to lower turnover and higher profitability. Personality testing can also help streamline the hiring process making it easier for the hiring managers to concentrate on choosing the most suitable applicant.

Test Center can help employers by providing highly reliable personality tests based on the highly reliable Big Five theory, which were developed by psychologists with a minimum of 30 years of industrial psychological assessment experience. We provide over 120 personality assessment tests across 13 different job industries or job types. This platform also offers other valuable assessment tools for businesses.


Last Updated on October 21, 2020