- Is Personality Testing Actually Useful in the Workplace?
- What the Assessments Are Really After
- Another Tool in the Hiring Toolbox
- What Is a Personality Test?
- What Do Personality Tests Measure?
- What to Expect in a Personality Test?
- Types of Personality Tests
- Why Do Some Organizations Use a Personality Test?
- How can Assessment-Training.com help you ace your job interview, assessment and aptitude test?
Is Personality Testing Actually Useful in the Workplace?
Tamara Sykes first took a personality test two years ago, when she was applying for a digital marketing role at a national organization. Sykes had gone through the first interview, and was told she was one of the top five candidates for the position.
The interviewer positioned the personality test as “the last step of the process,” said Sykes, now in public relations at Postali, a digital marketing firm based in Columbus, Ohio.
“I thought it would be a chance to show my strengths and why I was the best fit for the role,” Sykes said.
She took the test, and waited for the results. And then waited some more. Two weeks later, the company called not with the results, but to tell Sykes that someone else had landed the job. She has no idea how, or even if, the test results affected her candidacy.
“They never said, ‘this is what we’re looking for, this is why we’re having you take a personality test,’” she said. Sykes, who was heavily searching for a job at the time, at first took the rejection personally, but no longer does.
“Maybe something in there made them think I wasn’t the best fit for the role,” she said.
Employers use personality assessments, for instance WonScore, Culture Index, the Enneagram, and StrengthsFinder to discern candidates’ suitability for a position, and how well they might perform in the role. Experts said the assessments, which at the end of the day predict how personality traits will manifest in workplace behavior, should be used in conjunction with interviews, resumes, and other selection factors, and that candidates should never be judged on the merits of the personality assessment alone.
Her experience encompasses a bunch of what’s true about workplace personality tests. Employers administer them frequently, whether it’s during the interview process or after someone’s been hired. Many times, candidates or even employees never see the results of the test. And many times, that void of information leaves job candidates feeling a bit confused: Was it something they said?
What the Assessments Are Really After
Personality assessments enjoy a long history, from astrology to phrenology (the reading of bumps on the head) to present-day tools such as the Enneagram, WonScore, Culture Index, and StrengthsFinder.
“The name is a bit misleading, as, at their core, these tests aim to identify how personality traits, be they assertiveness, optimism, extroversion or introversion, and the , will manifest in workplace behavior,” said Laura Crandall, an executive coach and management consultant based in the Boston area.
“That’s really what companies are looking for — how you are ly to behave,” Crandall said. “When we think about personality, we think about personality traits, and the tests try to indicate the traits will show up in your behavior,” she said.
The tricky thing about personality tests? They’re not crystal balls. “They’re just lenses,” Crandall said. “If you’re going to use them, they need to be reliable and valid.”
Reliable and valid tests can help predict job fit as well as job success. A profile, for instance, can predict whether a job candidate is an extrovert or introvert. An introvert might do well initially in a high-touch sales job, but, over time, the stress of working in a job that doesn’t take advantage of one’s natural inclinations could lead to stress and job burnout.
“We do know that stress over time yields poor performance,” Crandall said. The best personality assessments, she added, “help see how good of a match you are for a job and how good a match it is for you.
” They can also help balance teams, for instance one heavily weighted to a single personality characteristic. Adding someone with a different set of traits could very well complement the team, bust it a rut, and result in better work, Crandall said.
Overall, she’s a fan of the instruments: “I love a good assessment,” she said.
Not Michele Olivier. Earlier in her career, Olivier worked for a global recruitment company that believed strongly in the power of personality assessments, especially as a tool to bulk-screen candidates. At one point, Olivier was instructed to supply return-on-investment figures for tests the company had been using.
“I thought that was a really good question,” said Olivier, now a management consultant based in Ohio. She and her team started looking, but found nothing. “There was no perceivable ROI,” she recalled, “and we fed that back up the food chain.” She was then asked to find a test that would deliver quantifiable return on investment.
Once again, “we could not find anything that was actually genuinely scientifically sustainable,” Olivier said.
That’s one reason why Olivier is not a fan of personality assessments. Another is that the person is evaluating themself. “It’s self-reported data, which is always exceedingly problematic,” Olivier said.
Olivier understands why firms want to use assessments — to try to perfect hiring, a process that remains as much of an art as a science. “I desperately want to love these tests because I personally think that resumes and interviews are terrible,” she said. “I applaud any organization trying to find a better plan.”
Further ReadingEverything You Need to Know About Pre-Employment Tests
Another Tool in the Hiring Toolbox
Serial entrepreneur Rob Nickell began using Culture Index, a personality assessment used to recruit, hire, and manage people, precisely to become better at hiring.
“Staffing and getting the right people in place has been a focus of mine ever since I’ve been trying to grow and build the first company I ever started,” said Nickell, co-founder and CEO at Rocket Station, a Dallas-based virtual business-services firm with 800 employees. “ most people, I failed miserably at that process for a really long time.”
When he was first starting companies — Rocket Station is his fourth — Nickell used an array of tests sporadically, “mostly just to confirm and justify my thought process,” he said. In 2017, after Nickell saw a presentation from Culture Index, Rocket Station began using the assessment to sort through job candidates and efficiently manage people once they’re hired.
The assessment displays columns of qualities (“resolute,” “determined,” “anxious,” “careful,” “adventurous,” to list a few). Candidates are told to select the adjectives that best describe them, and then select those that describe the qualities they must possess to do their jobs. The test takes about 10 minutes, and job applicants complete it before the job interview.
Nickell and his management team took the assessment; the results, along with some coaching from the Culture Index consultant, help Nickell manage more effectively and help the team work together more efficiently.
“By having everyone understand the process and each other’s profiles, you have more empathy and better communication,” he said.
The empathy, he added, helped him manage the company better through the pandemic, as he understood how to manage the different reactions (fear from some, excitement from others) among his employees.
Rocket Station gets 4,000 job applications a month. Nickell said the test helps narrow to 1,000 the number of people who will move on through the application process. (Two percent of applicants are eventually hired.) Because it works as a screening tool, the assessment helps Rocket Station hire better and also saves money.
Nickell said the cost to use Culture Index runs in the five figures, and the savings run into the millions. Its efficacy, he added, lies not only in the test but the support surrounding the test. Rocket Station’s Culture Index consultant helps HR write job descriptions and helps customize the assessment according to job function.
“I wouldn’t get rid of the program for anything,” Nickell said.
What does all of this add up to? Personality assessments are a tool, and their value lies in how they are used.
“When we’re hiring someone, we’re trying to get a sense of whether this person will be a good employee and if they’ll fit the culture of the organization,” said Ann Marie Ryan, a professor of organizational psychology at Michigan State University. “The more aspects of a person we can look at that are job-relevant, the more ly it is we’ll do a little better in job screening,” she said. “Personality assessments can be another piece in that toolkit.”
Further Reading There Are 5 Basic Types of Entrepreneurs. Which 1 Are You?
What Is a Personality Test?
Excelling at a challenging job often requires skills that go beyond the knowledge and intelligence of a person.
The personality traits of an individual, including their ideologies, morals and principles, the motivation driving them and the temperament they possess usually play a significant role in their performance at the job.
Personality tests are generally designed to measure these characteristic traits of the candidates applied for a certain job role.
Personality tests may be a part of the assessment centers undertaken by some business organizations wherein candidates are evaluated to determine if their skills and capabilities are suitable for the job specifications. In the assessment centers, aptitude and reasoning tests may help measure the knowledge and intelligence of the candidates while personality tests may help analyze their behaviors.
If you have applied for a job and are going to appear in an assessment center soon, you may be asked to take part in a personality test if the job specifications require it. There are a few aspects of personality tests that you should know about.
What Do Personality Tests Measure?
Personality tests usually help measure how well you will perform at the organization your interpersonal skills, the motivation and inspiration that drive you, and the role that you can excel in due to your behavioral traits. The organization’s structure may be divided into teams and the members of a team may be impacted by their co-workers and peers.
The team leader may guide and mentor the whole team, motivate the members, and encourage them to interact and respond so as to bring the best them. One with a personality characterized by negative traits, such as pessimism may have a detrimental effect on the team and its performance.
Thus, personality tests usually help in analyzing if you are a good fit for a certain company and its work environment.
What to Expect in a Personality Test?
The type of questions in a personality test may depend on the roles that you will be required to perform at the job position. The design and structure of the test may be dependent on the work domain of the company and the characteristics and skills they appreciate in their potential employees.
For every question in the test, usually multiple answer choices are given and you have to select the appropriate one these. The questions in a personality test usually do not have correct and wrong answers.
Some of the answers may be more appropriate for a given situation while others may be less suitable.
You also may be asked if you agree or disagree with a given statement or to rank the given answer choices in an order that you consider appropriate after judging the nature of the question.
Moreover, personality tests may have a specified time limit within which you will have to respond to the questions. The number of questions in a personality test may differ depending on the publisher of the test and preference of the test-takers.
Types of Personality Tests
There are different types of personality tests designed by distinct publishers and a company may choose any according to their needs.
- SHL Occupation Personality Questionnaire (OPQ)
The OPQ test usually helps predict your ability to perform the required job roles your behavior. The test may be administered for recruiting fresh graduates and individuals for various management roles.
OPQ is usually designed to evaluate 32 personality traits of a person pertinent to performance. Reports are generated for analysis and evaluation of the candidates, thus making the selection process easier.
You will have to answer the test online, as it is administered in digital format only.
The Caliper Profile is a type of personality tests that may be used for assessing the potential of individuals appearing in an assessment center. It usually measures the ambition the candidates have and factors inspiring them. However, the Caliper Profile test is available in online format only.
- Saville Wave Personality Assessments
Wave personality tests, designed by Saville Assessment, are used to evaluate different capabilities of a candidate and the work environment ideal for getting the best them.
You are ususally required to answer the test online if it is a part of the assessment center that you will be undergoing.
There are two variants of the Saville Wave, one is a 13-minute test and the other is a 40-minute test.
Dimensions is a personality test type provided by the publisher Talent Q. The test usually helps measure one’s interpersonal skills, thought process and their emotional capabilities. These traits may be used to evaluate if you are right fit for a certain job position. Dimensions is administered online and consists of 160 statements that you will have to respond to in 25 minutes.
StrengthsFinder personality test usually helps evaluate the candidates for their areas of strength. The questions in the test may be related to 34 desirable characteristics that an individual might possess. One’s best traits are highlighted in the results and the best role for them may be assigned these. The test is usually administered online and requires you to respond to 177 statements.
Besides these, there are multiple other personality tests which are published by different organizations.
Why Do Some Organizations Use a Personality Test?
Different motivating factors usually drive different individuals. One may be good at some traits but weak at others. Some people may be naturally outgoing and best fit for a consumer representation or sales role. Similarly, some may handle pressure better while others may perform well in a relaxed environment.
Personality tests usually help a business organization find out the strong and weak characteristics of each candidate, and determine if they are best suited for the role of the available job position in the company.
Personality tests may be used as a prescreening tool to sift through the candidates and shortlist the suitable ones.
How can Assessment-Training.com help you ace your job interview, assessment and aptitude test?
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