Employment personality tests are a great way to assess how someone might handle a situation within the workplace.
It can also give information on how this person will work with the team, solve problems, apply practical knowledge, lead others, deal with stress, handle pressure, follow the rules and regulations, and more.
In 1919, The U.S. Army used the first personality test to help screen recruits. They were looking for recruits that might be susceptible to shell shock.
Now, recruiters all overuse personality tests to determine whether candidates are suitable for an available position. They’re a great way to narrow down choices when multiple applicants are qualified for the job.
The latest research shows that 82% of companies use pre-employment personality tests, while 80% of Fortune 500 do the same.
Other researchers have found that 36% of best-in-class organizations are more likely to use pre-employment candidate assessments and that this percentage rises with each passing year.
Employment tests are used to measure many job-related traits that can be grouped as:
- Personality – Personality traits can tell us how the candidate may act and feel in various situations. Personality traits that are most often measured in job-related assessments are extraversion and introversion, stress tolerance, proactivity, openness, adaptability, optimism, and emotional stability.
- Aptitude – This tells us more about a candidate’s intelligence and cognitive skills. It is crucial since it directly correlates with their ability to solve job-related problems and learn new things.
Below, you will find several reasons why companies choose to use personality tests when seeking top talent.
Employment personality tests can help you understand key traits of your successful employees and then hire people with the same or similar traits to minimize turnover.
It is no surprise that hiring a new employee is expensive, so matching candidates that have the right innate traits that job requires can significantly cut down on your recruiting expenses.
Being consistent is vital in hiring, just like in any other thing you do. Personality assessments help recruiters match the suitable candidates with the right job openings over and over again.
This doesn’t just help recruiters, hiring managers, and the overall HR team look professional but also helps the company be more productive and have better and consistent culture.
Sometimes, job titles require certain characteristics, and in these cases, knowing what type of personality a person has can be beneficial.
Using the test results to determine which position a candidate might fit best in can be very helpful. Test results can also help us understand the individual’s preferred communication style, how they think and deal with problems, and what motivates them.
Pre-employment assessments can help a lot in high volume hiring, mass, or bulk-hiring. By implementing these assessments in the early stages of the applicant journey, you can quickly eliminate all the candidates that do not fit the role based on their innate traits.
Fighting hiring biases can be easier with the results of personality assessments. You can quickly get the wrong picture from the CV or interview and only realize that once the candidate is hired.
At the same time, you could’ve eliminated the ideal candidate simply because they got anxious for the interview and didn’t show themself in their best light.
However, with personality tests, you can ensure that candidate has the right personality traits for the job and overall company culture, not just skills.
Matching the right employee for the job can do wonders. Giving the candidate the job role that is tailored to their traits and helps them express themselves and show off their skills and passions in the right way is a win-win situation for everyone.
With the help of tests, the HR team can easily understand in which areas the candidate will naturally do well and in which they might need some help or won’t do well.
Personality testing is also a great way to see how candidates might interact with existing employees.
Sometimes, those with strong leadership skills might come in and step on the toes of those who’ve been working for you for years. While strong leadership is needed, there are ways to compromise in these types of situations.
But, if the personality test shows strong leadership in a negative way, you might be better suited with a different candidate.
Personality tests can also help candidates, whether they get the job or not.
Understanding their personality traits and characteristics is a great way to promote self-awareness. Sometimes, our weaknesses hold us back. However, if we understand that it is due to our personality, we can learn to cope with these weaknesses and turn them into strengths.
Realizing that your personality is a big part of who you are and how you interact is critical in the workforce setting.
According to Berke, a pre-hire assessment, seven personality traits affect job performance:
- Adaptability – Adaptability is people’s natural tendency to adapt to the feelings of others when communicating with them. Those with lower adaptability make decisions without caring about their impact on others’ thoughts and feelings. On the other hand, people with higher adaptability tend to be more diplomatic, thoughtful, and tactful.
- Assertiveness – This tells us how inclined people are to take action. Depending on their level of assertiveness, people can be either decisive and direct or wish to follow someone’s lead.
- Intensity – Intensity tells us how people deal with emotions when facing obstacles. The lower the intensity, the more relaxed they will be.
- Optimism – People with high scores in optimism have a positive outlook on their and other people’s futures. The opposite are skeptics.
- Responsiveness – Responsiveness is the ability and tendency to express feelings and opinions openly. Those that are more responsive will prefer a high activity work environment, while the less responsive people will choose a predictable and calm environment.
- Sociability – This tells us how people feel when interacting with others and whether it brings them any satisfaction. Employees with high scores in sociability are more driven to interact with other people.
- Structure – This tells us how individuals perceive orders, rules, and correctness. Candidates with higher results in structure value order and precision, while those with lower scores tend to be more flexible and prone to trial and error approaches.
Testing current employees is vital if you have just decided to use pre-employment personality testing. It can help you understand what type of people are working for you and look for the complementary personality traits in new employees.
The other reason you may want to test your current employees is to determine whether they are the right fit for the role they have been assigned to. Maybe they could be more productive in some other department or the other position but neither you nor them are aware of it.
They are great tools when it comes to assessing one’s personality, behavior, and other characteristics.
However, it should be used only as a supplement. One should never hire or decline an applicant based on personality test results only.
When this is the case, skills, experience, and other important factors are overlooked. Of course, it is essential to find someone that fits well within the company culture and works well with the team, but failing to recognize work history, experience, and skills can be detrimental to the overall hiring process.
For this reason, it is recommended to test the candidate’s skills and knowledge alongside personality in order to get the full image and remain objective.
Compared to the costs of a new hire, costs of a bad hire, and overall costs of hiring, we have discussed in “Costs of hiring a new employee,” the cost of the personality assessment is minimal.
Sometimes it is even non-existent. Some personality tests are free, and you don’t have to pay for them or for experts to execute and analyze them. And even if you have decided to go for a paid option, your costs of hire and replacing a candidate can significantly go down thanks to the assessments.
In the next section, we will discuss various employment personality tests and their benefits.
Different tests can offer different results. For this reason, we will present you with various assessment methods often used by employers.
Which one you should choose depends on various factors, and we will discuss that in one of the following sections.
This is probably the most popular and best known when it comes to personality tests.
Many people use this variation for many reasons, not just in the workforce.
The Myers-Briggs offers a series of questions that have two choice answers. The 93 question platform helps individuals better understand how they interact with others, how they make decisions, how they deal with the world, in general, and how they access information.
The four categories are named in the following way:
- Extrovert or introvert
- Thinking or feeling
- Judging or perceiving
- Sensing or intuition
Each person who takes the test ends up with one of the 16 personality types possible. These personality types can help recruiters find top talent that is best suited for a specific role.
However, keep in mind that MBTI hasn’t been proven valid for recruiting purposes, and it is challenging to prepare for. Mayer-Briggs has also stated that it is not suitable for hiring decisions.
The Caliper Profile works to reveal skills individuals have within the workforce. Based upon four different categories, this test includes groups of skills such as empathy, thoroughness, assertiveness, etc. This test will help recruiters determine what drives people in their careers. It will also help in finding the best roles for specific skills.
DISC has four categories:
And results in 12 different personality types. Each personality type describes which roles fit them the best and why.
Even though DISC is very popular among employers, it is not an excellent pre-employment personality assessment but a temperament test. Also, the test scores aren’t compared among the candidates, so the employer can only see the relative strengths and weaknesses of a single candidate.
Many experts also claim that DISC is not suitable for predicting job success.
PI measures and analyzes 4 dimensions of a candidate’s personality:
The test also takes into account decision-making and response levels. It evaluates the cognitive abilities and behavioral tendencies of employees and is also popular among employers and leaders.
The SHL or OPQ32 is created to give employers an idea of how employee’s traits can influence the company through 104 questions.
The test measures 32 different characteristics while evaluating employees in 3 key areas:
- Relationships with people,
- Thinking style and feelings.
The test reports come with descriptions of both pros and cons of personality, and a graphical summary, which can be directly compared to the visual summary of another candidate.
Also referred to as the 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire test, 170 questions are asked to decide what type of personality a person has.
This test relies on 16 different personality identities. This test is great for the workforce as it focuses on how people interact and react to certain situations on the job. It’s a great way to assess whether or not the applicant can be trusted and relied on.
HEXACO measures 6 personality dimensions:
- Emotional stability
- Openness to experience
There are three different versions of the test, the full version (200 questions), half (100 questions), and Hexaco (60 questions).
There is an option that isn’t a test that requires a membership or a paid subscription.
Sometimes, constructing your own type of personality test according to the candidate’s location or resume may better suit your needs. You can ask open-ended questions as well as multiple-choice questions.
Some examples of questions are as follows:
- What are your hobbies?
- What word would your friends use to describe you?
- When there is conflict on the job, how do you deal with it?
- Name two things you’re most passionate about.
- Do you prefer to socialize regularly outside of work?
This is a great way to get to know a person, based on who they are outside of the job and what other people think of them. This will also help them think about themselves and further assess who they are and what type of employee they may be.
This is probably one of the main reasons you are reading this post. Most of the time, the qualities and characteristics you want to measure in candidates and employees are:
- Soft skills,
- Emotional inteligence,
- Cultural fit,
- Work ethics,
- Extroversion and introversion,
- Adaptability, and
Therefore, you need a personality test that covers all those areas.
The test needs to allow you to compare candidates, so scoring the candidates against each other is important to look for in the tests.
Personality tests like SHL, Caliper, Berke, and PI are all professionally designed for recruiting, and if you have the budget to afford them, you won’t make a mistake.
If you are on a budget and decide to go for the free tests like 16 personalities, keep in mind that they are not 100% precise and can’t help you make the best decision.
Before deciding to test candidates, make sure to do the test yourself and see if it is easy to game and how correct the results were.
This is probably a question that creates headaches among recruiters and employers since most of the tests can be gamed and faked. It is important to alert the candidates that they need to give honest answers since lying can only set them for long-term failure.
U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission covers the area of employment tests and selection procedures, according to which the use of discriminatory employment tests and selection procedures is prohibited.
We advise you to read the whole piece on employment tests and selection procedures since it covers important topics like:
- Employer Best Practices for Testing and Selection
- Governing EEO Laws
- Types of Employment Tests and Selection Procedures
You can inform yourself about the legal aspects of employment personality tests here.
Technology can help you keep track of everything and store candidate data in a searchable and scannable way.
- Reformat candidate resumes to fit industry standards.
- Keep track of all the communications.
- Create career pages.
- Share job postings to numerous sites with one click.
- Be more time-efficient.
- Be objective when hiring.
- Easily manage your team and candidates.
- And much more.