How can companies recruit more effectively and accurately? Today, an increasing number of companies require a personality assessment as part of their recruitment process. What is their purpose and how can recruiters benefit from them? This article aims to debunk preconceptions about personality assessments and share advice on how to implement personality tests for hiring in their recruitment strategy.
What is a pre-employment personality test?
It is a questionnaire completed by prospective employees to help recruiters identify relevant and useful personality traits. The questionnaire measures various aspects of a candidate’s character and abilities, such as their communication, social skills and the way they handle stress.
When did companies start using personality tests for hiring?
Effective recruitment practices directly contribute to company performance, and we now know that personality traits play an important part in an employee’s performance.
With companies increasingly valuing ROI, it is now fundamental to back all decisions with tangible information. Within a non-structured recruitment process, this can prove tricky. Personality tests for hiring help make more measured decisions.
Why use recruitment tests?
Personality tests for hiring improve an ambiguous aspect of the recruitment process. Many employers have admitted to mistakenly hiring candidates based on their gut feeling. While intuition may be irreplaceable, a pre-employment assessment for hiring adds consistency and reliability to recruitment decisions.
In addition, this type of evaluation can help objectively vet candidates very early on, saving recruiters precious time and money. Personality tests for hiring offer many benefits, which we discuss in the following section.
The benefits of personality tests for hiring
Why do companies use pre-employment psychological assessments? Because making sure the candidate has the hard skills to do the job no longer suffices.
Employers are now interested in accurately measuring what doesn’t show up in a CV, a Linkedin profile or a portfolio.
This type of pre-employment assessment delves into the psychological part of professional interactions and presents many benefits for recruiters.
Identifying a Candidate’s Potential for High Performance
Companies want to know that candidates can handle the job, and a personality test for hiring contributes to determining that.
Assessments with a psychological component can paint a more multidimensional picture. By creating multi-measure pre-employment tests, employers can identify unseen potential, and predict how a candidate is likely to perform in a given environment.
Personality Tests for Hiring promote Diversity
A report published by hiring platform Headstart, revealed that a majority of candidates have had to face frequent discrimination. Companies that integrate empirical and objective pre-employment tests can foster greater diversity in the workplace.
By subjecting all candidates to the same personality assessment as part of a structured recruitment process, employers can lessen the effects of cognitive bias.
Making sure the Candidate is a “Good Fit”
This is the most common reason companies give personality tests. It is often believed that the best employees are the ones that happily take part in the company’s culture. But what is a good fit exactly?
The key lies in determining how well the candidate will take on company values and corporate working style. Also, while a behavioral pattern can shift over time, personality, which is based on more deeply rooted values and mechanisms, is less likely to change.
In short, companies use personality tests to help them choose the best candidates, not just for the job, but also to ensure a positive working environment for all employees.
How can companies effectively use personality tests for hiring?
Companies are continuously looking for different ways to hire employees with a high potential, and they expect pre-employment assessments to help them make better decisions. Here are the golden rules of personality tests for hiring.
Finding the right test for the job
To accurately determine whether an employee will thrive and become a valuable asset, the personality assessment and its questions must be relevant to both the company and the job itself.
Identifying desired values and behavioral patterns give an indication of which personality assessment is best suited for you:
- Analyzing key personality traits within the team.
- Listing desired soft skills that would best complete the team.
- Defining specific one or two specific skills every single team member should have, like being comfortable with ambiguous outcomes or a test-and-learn mindset.
- Making a wishlist of the ideal candidate’s personality profile.
Timing is everything
When is a good time to use a personality test for hiring? This answer may vary:
- During the screening phase, in complement with other tests.
- After CV selection, but before the interview. Why? Because personality test results make for insightful interviews with the candidates.
- Once there is a shortlist of candidates to determine compatibility with the company culture.
Be conscious of the candidate’s time. A succession of pre-employment assessments may prove time consuming and drive applicants to seek opportunities elsewhere.
Analyze rather than assume
Personality tests for hiring provide employers with data, analyzing it might show how the recruitment strategy can be improved.
- Contextualize the results. A personality test does not paint a comprehensive picture of how the candidate will perform in the job itself, rather, it indicates favorable working environments in which he or she will thrive.
- Don’t put people in boxes, leave room for nuance and keep an open mind.
- Look back and assess whether the chosen personality test for hiring has rendered the anticipated results.
- There are many personality tests for hiring so don’t despair if the first one proves inconclusive!
Can we trust personality tests for hiring?
Yes, but only if they are tailored to the scope of the job and the recruiter’s targets. When it comes to personality tests for hiring: there are no wrong answers. Candidates know this and are more likely to answer honestly. However, it is tempting to paint a picture to best match the job. This is why recruiters must corroborate a candidate’s test answers with the more spontaneous reactions in the context of an interview.
Personality tests for hiring reinforce and speed up recruitment. They also help promote diversity in the workplace by lowering bias. However, we must remember that personality tests cannot function alone and must be integrated into a wider recruitment strategy. When used wisely, pre-employment assessments enable companies to strengthen their teams, drive performance and maintain positive working environments.
4 personality tests for your hiring process
As 45% of American companies are choosing to include personality assessments in their recruitment process, this trend is rapidly growing. In this article, we explore five different types of personality tests for hiring, made to cater to different working structures, daily duties and environments.
1. The Big 5 test
Also called the Five Factor Model (FFM), the Big Five personality test for hiring exists in several iterations and aims to conceptualize human personalities.
How does it work?
A pre-employment assessment that is easy to get through in little time, the Big 5 test uses a scale system, rather than a right or wrong logic. The 60 questions are designed to measure a candidate’s personality in five different psychological aspects that come into play in working environments. Rather than placing the candidate in one single personality category, this personality assessment seeks to show a percentage for each category below:
- Extraversion: the degree to which a person is outgoing and open to experience new things.
- Agreeableness: the degree to which a person is compassionate and cooperative versus antagonistic and cold.
- Conscientiousness: the degree to which a person is careful, responsible, and organized versus disorganized and lax.
- Neuroticism: the degree to which a person is vulnerable versus stable and secure.
- Openness: the degree to which a person is imaginative and curious versus routine-bound and narrow.
Who is it for?
This pre-employment assessment suits most companies looking to recruit effectively. The Big 5 personality test for hiring is most useful when determining whether a prospective recruit, the manager and the rest of the team are compatible. By exploring the Big 5 traits, we predict job performance and anticipate whether coworkers will get along or encounter numerous conflicts, often otherwise unexplained. In addition, this personality assessment is not time consuming and easily carried out online. A popular personality test for hiring, the Big 5 can help determine a candidate’s mental stability and his or her ability to manage stress.
2. The Dark Side test
Ambiguity can bring out the best or the worst in us! The Dark Side test for hiring preempts candidates’ reaction in situations where it's not quite clear what they should be doing.
How does it work?
Based on a situational personality assessment, the test puts the candidate in a position where there are obvious positive and virtuous outcomes, and harmful or detrimental consequences. Even though the candidate’s response may be neither bad nor good, the test will reveal the extent of their moral compass. It is then up to the employer to determine whether their handling of the simulated situation is in tune with the company’s values and practices.
Who is it for?
Considered a variable amongst other types of pre-employment assessments, personality tests often tend to want to take an aerial view of a candidate’s mental dispositions. This personality test is suited to specifically assess decision and problem solving skills in situations of high stress where many moving pieces are at play. Well suited for jobs with complex working environments, the method is most appropriate for jobs where tough decisions will have to be made.
3. The DISC test
The DISC test seeks to determine where a candidate places on a scale of personality traits, rather than neatly putting each person in a box.
How does it work?
As the name of the test indicates, the four components are represented by the following letters: D, I, S, and C. Each letter represents a different personality trait:
- D for Dominance. Candidates with a high D score prefer leadership positions and to be involved in decision making. They are the doers and will strive to push projects forward.
- I for Influence. Candidates with a high I score are good at convincing others but will also want to make others happy to win their favor. This trait can be relevant in sales work environments for example.
- S for Steadiness. Candidates with a high S score are good organizers and contribute greatly to the stability of a team, especially if other team mates are more spontaneous and like to take risks.
- C for Compliance. Those with a high C score are detail oriented and seek to do their best to meet company expectations.
Who is it for?
A personality assessment helps check whether a candidate’s preferred working style suits the job’s daily activities. Because an individual is more likely to perform better on a routine task that suits them, this personality test for hiring is very relevant in terms of long term recruitment. We know that a candidate hired for a set of duties he or she isn’t entirely content carrying out might eventually seek a more fitting opportunity elsewhere, so this test really helps increase the longevity of hiring decisions. Recruiters who have very clear job descriptions, and that require a great deal of collaborative work, will gain many insights from this format.
4. The 16 Personality types test
As its name suggests, the method of profiling revolves around 16 different personality types. We have added a description of the 16PT in this as a fourth test for historical reasons.
How does it work?
The test reveals how an individual relates to others and what they seek in relation to their environment. There are four basic dimensions to the 16 Personality Types Test:
- Extroversion (E) or Introversion (I)
- Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)
- Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
- Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)
Who is it for?
This personality assessment helps identify which working style and relations will enable the candidate to perform to the best of their abilities. It is not only designed to give an indication on the work environment an individual prefers, but it is also used to limit conflictual interactions in the workplace by ensuring coworkers’ working preferences are compatible. Whilst personality type tests were popular decades ago, their usage for recruitment has slowly decreased in recent years because of the lack of sufficient science behind such tests. Nonetheless, understanding and having knowledge of personality types may help people recognise reasons of job (dis)satisfaction and will help improve communication between teams and colleagues. The 16 Personality types test provides employers with useful indications on each candidate’s preferred ways of working. Companies with a strong collaborative culture will draw useful insights from this personality assessment which will help them foster productive and pleasant professional relationships amongst coworkers.
Candidates may be nailing pre-employment assessments that focus on hard skills, but they may fall short in behavioral requirements. Personality tests for hiring help stabilize recruitment decisions by ensuring a better cultural fit, and appropriate personality traits for the job’s daily requirements. This is precisely why personality tests for hiring complement role-specific evaluations.
By adding a personality test to the recruitment process, employers delve deeper into another layer of the candidate’s profile. Pre-employment personality assessments help decide with longevity in mind by making sure a candidate is a good fit, not just on paper but in the way they see and move through professional situations. To put it simply, the more someone enjoys their job, the longer they are likely to stay engaged.