personality test

Using Personality Tests for Recruitment

May 10, 2018 By: Dave Rietsema
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Pretty much everyone involved in hiring understands that a person’s character and personality will have at least as much bearing on their success in a new role as their qualifications. For this reason, many recruiters and hiring managers use personality tests to identify characteristics that may make one candidate more successful than another, especially when their qualifications are equal.

Personality tests can help you to get a feel for a candidate’s interests and perspectives. However, the tests fall short of actually predicting a person’s behavior or preferences under different circumstances. While personality tests can be a valuable part of recruitment, the results should play a limited role in the overall hiring process.

Types of Personality Tests

A few of the personality tests that are often used in recruitment are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Gallup StrengthsFinder, and the IPEP-NEO Personality Test.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Myers-Briggs organizes personality according to four categories that each contain two contrasting types. Individuals may be rated as operating more on intuition or sensing, introversion or extroversion, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving. Based on answers to a number of questions, everyone that takes the test is grouped into one of 16 personality types that are identified using initials such as INTJ.

Gallup StrengthsFinder

Gallup StrengthsFinder uses questions posed to the participant to identify five strengths that the test taker possesses and exercises most out of 34 possible strengths. Some of the possible strengths that participants may have include individualization, achievement, competitiveness, and connectedness, which may help to identify the positions that these candidates will thrive in.

IPEP-NEO Personality Test

The International Personality Item Pool Test estimates where participants stand on five broad personality categories and 30 subcategories. The test is often used when employees will be exposed to multiple cultures and helps employers to determine whether candidates are agreeable, open to social engagement, cautious, self-conscious or possessed of other traits that may impact engagement.

Personality Test Weaknesses

Personality tests aren’t perfect in predicting success in a role. Candidates may not be completely honest in their answers, tending toward what they view as an ideal or desirable answer rather than an honest one. Candidates may also be influenced to answer in certain ways based on current circumstances, which may change over time and with context.

Personality Test Benefits

While personality tests may not always be a faultless tool for predicting a candidate’s preferences and behaviors, they may give employers an inside look at how best to motivate an individual or a general overview of their values. For example, an employee that is competitive may thrive when given specific numerical goals, whereas an employee that favors connectedness may prosper when assigned the task of making the company more environmentally friendly.

Optimizing the Use of Personality Tests in Hiring

Personality tests shouldn’t be dismissed altogether from the recruitment process, but should be used in conjunction with other tools. When considered alongside cognitive ability tests, scored interviews, qualification and reference checks, personality tests can be helpful in selecting candidates and can even assist with future succession planning. Personality tests have their place in recruitment, but shouldn’t be the final word when it comes to hiring.

Applicant tracking system (ATS) software can make it easy for you to administer personality tests as part of your hiring process. If you wish to implement new software that offers a range of recruitment tools, we can help you select your perfect solution. Visit our vendor match page to get started.

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  • Anushkha Trivedi

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