The Lowdown on Personality Tests in Recruitment5 min read

Ali Neill / April 4, 2019
Category : Job board information, Recruitment, Recruitment advice
Caption: The Lowdown on Personality Tests in Recruitment5 min read

The recruitment process has changed rather drastically over the past few years. These days, candidates looking for the most elementary position are often required to jump through several selection hoops just to be granted an interview. An increasing number of individuals are now required to take personality tests at some point during their potential employment period.

While they are becoming more commonplace, it remains difficult to determine how accurate such personality tests are. If we could predict their accuracy and feed the questions into a machine, then AI and personality tests could very well take over the recruitment industry. Let’s start by getting to know more about personality tests though.

Why hiring managers use personality tests

Selecting the right candidate for a specific role within a company is more important than ever. Practically all over the world, unemployment is dropping, but vacancies continue to pop up on job boards in the tens of thousands. This has created the candidate short market and it’s scary for companies and recruiters alike. To reduce the risk of turnover and to actually find the ideal candidate, recruiters will stop at nothing to ensure they are selecting the right person. In addition to skills tests and other competency tests, recruiters are now turning to employment personality testing.

Not only does it force them to define the candidate persona beforehand, but it also provides recruiters with more insight into less obvious traits of the potential hires. It helps determine whether the candidates will be a good match for certain responsibilities. Such assessments usually follow a fixed set of questions and pre-defined results, making them easy to grade.

There is also the fact that the results are difficult to fake compared to other types of assessments. With a written exam or an essay writing exercise, candidates can sometimes find loopholes or turn to UK essay writing services. Since it’s difficult to know what qualifies as a right or wrong answer in a personality test, candidates are more likely to tell the truth. In this sense, they do appear to be more reliable than some of the other recruitment tools available to managers.

The Importance of personality for job performance

Before you can determine the effectiveness of such examinations, you have to first consider how important personality traits are to job performance. In theory, personality tests can help recruiters know if you are the right fit for a job, to ensure you and your future employer have a long and happy partnership. Some personalities naturally gravitate to certain positions. One test, which is arguably the most renowned and popular among personality tests, is the Myer-Briggs one. It defines 16 different personalities and they each correspond to rather specific strengths. These strengths are needed in some jobs more than in others.

Many different versions of the test (and the Keirsey temperaments) can be found online. This is probably not enough to go on when it comes to keeping or rejecting a candidate, but it can give insight into the assets a candidate can bring to certain roles.

How reliable are these assessments?

If the tests are not reliable, then they have no merit and clearly, recruiters shouldn’t be using them. In a recent article, we mentioned that the Royal Air Force shies away from using such tests because they are limiting. Indeed, a number of experts reject such assessments, including psychologists, who once relied heavily on personality test results. Many professionals say the wording is confusing and misleading, for example. The fact that the military should refrain from using personality tests is actually rather ironic though, considering that is what they were first used for: in 1917, the Woodworth’s Personal Data Sheet was used to assess soldiers.

Another issue is that it can be difficult for hiring managers to narrow down which characteristics are most useful for a particular job. For instance, imagine the role of a salesperson. Which personality corresponds best to the role: A promoter? A provider? A performer? A counsellor? Each recruiter will think differently.

Can you prepare for a personality test?

As we said before, there are no right or wrong answers on a personality test. However, you might want specific results to ensure you get a job, which requires certain skills. In that case, practise makes perfect. By taking many different online tests, you can indeed learn to manipulate the results. Thus, there is a possibility for candidates to fool recruiters. Obviously though, honesty is the best policy because the recruitment process is there to help candidates, not trip them up. If you’re hired for a position, which you aren’t right for, you’ll be back on the job boards sooner rather than later.

To finish up, here are some job boards and other sites to visit for recruiters looking to find new types of candidate and employee tests.

Job boards

Other websites

  • Cute-e: Specialists in assessment solutions.
  • Centraltest: International specialists in psychometric solutions in the workplace.
  • The Predictive Index: Specialists in psychometric tests.
  • Workday: Human analytics, it predicts who will leave work first.
  • Humanyze: Science-backed analytics, which measures workplace engagement.

This is a collaborative piece. Thank you to Sandra Larson, who is a digital marketing expert. Sandra advises blogs and sites about educating young people in skills essential for today’s market.Photography, marketing and writing are the best choices for education in her professional opinion. When she’s not working, Sandra enjoys playing beach volleyball, listening to records and mastering French cuisine.

Author: Ali Neill

As the job board tester and blog editor for the Jobboard Finder, Ali works on job boards from all around the world and keeps a close eye on the recruitment trends thanks to a number of sources, including the website’s social media pages.

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