Are You Using Personality Tests Wisely?

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Are you using Personality Tests to screen candidates or identify the best individual(s) for promotion?  Are you considering it?  Here is some practical information about using these types of tests that will help you get the most out of them while limiting your exposure to risk.

See also: How Leaders Can Discover Their Personality Strengths and Weaknesses

Employee personalities can have a tremendous impact on the overall success of a business. Personality tests are somewhat controversial; however, many businesses and HR professionals rely on these tests to ascertain an individual’s potential occupational success.

Many personality tests are based on two major approaches: The Five Factor Model and Carl Jung’s personality test theory.  Without getting into too much of the psychology, these tests are designed to address the following:

  • Predict tendencies and behaviors to determine if an individual is a good fit for your organization
  • Identify the best individual(s) for a position, thus reducing business costs
  • Predict job satisfaction and employee effectiveness
  • Detect areas of strength and weakness

Personality Test Cautions

The tests can be falsified – There are many online sites that can assist a candidate in beating certain types of tests.  These sites provide ways of determining the answers employers are looking for.  This type of “gaming” or cheating is well-known and, therefore, may not provide you with an accurate profile.

See also: Interview Questions for Employers

The tests might screen out the wrong people – It can also be difficult to guess what kind of personality would ultimately be the best for a certain position. Candidates who fall into the think-outside-the-box way of thinking might be weeded out in lieu of “mainstream thinkers”. These creative people could become leaders and produce outside-of-the-box results for you.

Results are often flawed – Personality profiles may also leave out two very important characteristics you would look for in an employee:  honesty and integrity.   The results won’t necessarily reflect whether the individual possesses these qualities. Potential employees will often respond to these tests according to what they think the employer wants to see. This skews the results and gives the employer a misrepresentation of the employee. Different environments may produce different answers that are atypical for the employee.

Risk of discrimination allegations – In some cases, Personality Tests can be deemed discriminatory.  It’s been shown that some tests can violate Title VII and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). If you choose to use a test, do your research and get help from HR compliance experts to ensure that you’re protected from these claims.

Personality Test Best Practices

If you are going to use personality tests in the hiring or promotion process, here are some helpful tips to ensure they are used properly:

  • Be certain that you are able to show how a Personality Test would be job-related to avoid discrimination claims.
  • Personality Tests should only be used as one piece in the whole hiring process and should not be given significant weight.
  • Have a strict policy for how these tests are implemented and used and allow people to decline the test with no penalties.

See also: 10 Tips for a Successful New Hire Training Plan

A bad hire has a very high cost to the business. Many employers believe the benefits to using these tools outweigh the potential risks of being challenged in court. Just remember to use purposeful, valid, and legally sustainable tests to protect yourself. Keep these things in mind to be sure your Personality Tests are effective and safe. Don’t hesitate to contact our team of HR experts for more tools and tips when hiring.

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