Using Personality Tools to Find Better Candidates

E.C. Power
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Our workforce, particularly the older members, are no strangers to professional assessment. Typing speed tests, math tests, critical thinking assessments, and grammar tests were once commonplace in the hiring process. Managers learned whether or not the candidate could communicate professionally, type quickly, do ten-key by touch—but knowing whether a new hire would be a self-starter, a team-player, or work well under pressure was a matter of trial and error. In an attempt to reduce unnecessary turnover, employers today are relying increasingly on the use of personality assessments to help predict which candidates have all of the qualities needed to succeed in a given position.


Everybody’s Doing It

At this point, more than one-fifth of companies use some form of personality assessment tool; a practice that is increasing by roughly 10% each year. As advances in technology shift the scope of many positions and create a host of unique new positions, hiring managers have discovered the benefits of matching employees’ skills to job roles.  The main benefits of utilizing skill-matching tools like personality assessments during the hiring process include: decreased turnover rates, billions in recruitment savings and additional revenue, and streamlined hiring processes.


Popular Assessments

  1.  California Psychological Inventory. This assessment analyzes personality traits that contribute to on-the-job success such as independence, conceptual understanding, and sociability. Its goal is to predict how well a candidate will interact with co-workers and clients, as well as how he or she will react under specific circumstances.
  2. Gallup’s CliftonStrengths is another popular assessment which aims to highlight a candidate's top 5 out of 34 attributes including such characteristics as positivity, achievement, and helpfulness.
  3.  16 Personality Factor (16pf) questionnaire, developed by Raymond Chattel in the 1940’s, creates an overview of more general personality factors (i.e. extroversion, self-control) that predicts behavior. The SHL organization offers a number of different assessments including two different job-related questionnaires - Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) and Motivation Questionnaire (MQ). These tests show how behavioral style affects performance and a profile of motivational factors, respectively.

Eliminating Bias
There is an ongoing debate regarding the effectiveness of personality assessment tests in the workplace. Proponents of such tools insist that they eliminate bias and find the best candidates for available positions. They have found that by conducting personality assessments early in the hiring process, they are able to prioritize their pipeline. Opponents suggest that bias is already embedded in the code and cannot be relied on automatically. 

A Tool Not the Toolbox
Though personality tests are a great tool to have in the HR toolbox, they are most effective when they are a part of a multi-measure assessment. Due diligence is still required. Managers using these tools should take steps to verify results by calling references and comparing test results with in-person interviews. Even bringing in a third-party with expertise in effectively evaluating both your corporate culture as well as the results of candidate assessments can help eliminate any conscious, unconscious, or technological bias.

By using personality assessments, employers can dramatically reduce employee turnover, increase productivity, and reduce costs.




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