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April 15, 2022 | Klein Consultants
The use of personality tests during the interview process is a typical employment practice that has recently come under fire. Many analysts say it should not be utilized in hiring, but rather for non-selective reasons such as team building, conflict management, leadership development, and so on.
So, is it time to cease utilizing personality tests in the employment process altogether? Simply put, no. The use of personality assessments in the hiring process can be useful and objective if the right exam is used, insights are effectively applied, and personality tests aren’t the only way to hire.
When used correctly, personality assessments in the employment process can help eliminate bias based on a person’s gender, race, or ethnicity. Personality assessments, on the other hand, don’t appear to bias against members of protected groups, unlike cognitive ability exams. Furthermore, they can help employers identify candidates likely to perform well — and stick around.
Is it possible to use one’s personality to anticipate one’s chances of being successful on the job? Psychological preferences, temperaments, and predispositions make form an individual’s personality. Though we are affected by a variety of things (such as the norms of our families, communities, and cultures), our unique character traits are at the root of most of our daily routine. That some personality tests can be a strong predictor of job performance is not a big surprise.
Accounting and sales are both well-known professions. Most people automatically assume that the various professions require workers with a wide range of personality traits. This has been the case in both my own and others’ observations.
What is it about salespeople and accountants that makes them so different? Think about their responsibilities, which need certain actions. Personality plays a significant role in establishing a person’s preferences and behavior, which in turn has an impact on their ability to accomplish their job responsibilities effectively and efficiently. Additionally, employees are more productive when their interests and characteristics match those of the position they hold.
With similar cognitive capacity, education and experience, how might two candidates differ along the California Psychological Inventory personality model’s scales? (Disclosure: My company publishes the CPI assessment). The more flexible a person is, the more likely they are to be able to handle the responsibilities of a sales position. Accounting, on the other hand, requires a high degree of organization and discipline and a lower degree of uncertainty in decision-making.
Overall, we perform better when our work is in line with our natural tendencies to think and act, making assessments that forecast this alignment extremely valuable in the selection of candidates.
Hiring is more than just looking at a candidate’s resume or prior work experience. A person’s longevity and level of commitment at your organization are important factors to consider when interviewing for a position. It all comes down to one thing: how much individuals enjoy their jobs. Personality also has an effect on whether or not you are happy in your professional life.
People appreciate working in places where they can be themselves because it gives them a sense of fulfillment to be able to do so. Workplace engagement has a direct correlate with earnings, as well as a correlation with employee performance.
People with less flexibility, like the one in my last example, might succeed in sales, but they may not enjoy it as much. As a result, they’re more likely to depart for a job that better suits their personality. Assessments can aid in the selection of the right employee for a certain workplace.
Personality tests should be used with extreme caution by employers. Making bad recruiting and selecting decisions or getting into legal difficulties is possible if your assessment is not psychometrically verified. It is immoral to use a personality assessment for recruiting when it was not created for that purpose (like using the MBTI assessment for hiring).
An assessment must be reliable and valid before you can talk about its suitability. When the same person takes a test numerous times under the same conditions, the results are likely to be the same each time. To measure what it professes to measure, however, it must be valid.
Many assessments on the market lack the necessary reliability or validity to be considered reliable or valid. Not even for hiring purposes should such technologies be employed. Don’t utilize an assessment until you have proof that it has appropriate reliability and validity data.
Consider also whether the test has been appropriately validated for hiring and selecting use cases. Here’s where I believe some HR departments find themselves into trouble: It is possible to have a psychometrically validated assessment for one use case, but a completely different evaluation for another.
However, it has not been verified for use in hiring and selection. Take the MBTI instrument as an example. You can learn a lot from the evaluation, but it wasn’t designed to predict how well an individual will perform on the job.
There are a number of other tools that have been tested and shown to predict job success. Consider these considerations when considering the usage of personality tests in the employment process:
• In general, personality tests that evaluate characteristics are useful for selection (psychological type measures are not designed for selection).
• A psychometric assessment is considered trustworthy if the scores are constant over time — the common benchmark for a psychometric assessment is an internal consistency reliability of.70 or above.
• A reliable evaluation is one that accurately measures what it claims to measure. Using a test as a selection criterion for new employees requires thorough research into the test’s predictive power.
Last but not least, combine personality assessments with other methods. In closing, we’d like to underline the importance of not relying just on personality assessments to make recruiting decisions. As part of a well-rounded hiring process, they can supply crucial information that could lead to a successful hire.