We’ve all seen situations in which candidates are nailing every single step of the interview process and the job seems at hand until some form of testing is requested. A lot of candidates are caught off-guard by this addition, but the only unsettling factor happens to be the choice of the word “test”.
However, professional testing is a valid and fair practice that allows employers to further vet their candidates before employment. And although role-specific tests tend to be an expected part of any interview these days, personality tests are the new addition to the process, providing employers with more targeted insights into the candidate’s behavior, skills, and personality.
It is a fairly efficient approach for employers or recruiters to double screen the candidates and make sure the people they hire are the ones that fit their organizations perfectly. Therefore, personality tests have become widely embraced by companies across the globe as one of their staff screening processes.
‘What are the tests?’ ‘How do they work?’ ‘What can these tests tell you about candidates?’ We’ll take our time to guide you through all these questions and learn a bit more about personality tests in recruitment.
What Is a Personality Test for Recruitment?
A personality test is a form of assessment that employers or recruiters utilize as a tool to help them screen candidates and find individuals with character traits that perfectly fit into their companies. It is designed to unveil certain aspects of candidates' personalities and estimate the likelihood that they will become successful in specific positions or not.
In recruitment, specialized positions such as computer engineers or data analysts, role-specific tests tend to be an expected part of the interview. However, personality tests have become the new addition to the process for candidates in mid-level and above, as they provide employers with more targeted insights into the candidates’ behaviors, skills, and characteristics.
A survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) pointed out that ⅓ of HR specialists are relying on personality tests during the recruiting and interview process for executive positions.
Personality test as the latest recruitment trend
Data sourced from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology reveals that 13% of US employers include personality tests in the interview process, and 68% of employers utilize job/role-specific skill testing. As companies around the globe are evolving along with the market and catching up with new recruitment practices, these numbers are constantly rising.
It is apparent that personality tests are now a crucial part of the hiring process. Research from leading institutes shows that an employee who is placed in a role that does not fit his/her character traits could lead to lower engagement. Consequently, a low employee engagement results in over 20% lower productivity and roughly 40% higher turnover.
Hiring new employees is quite an expensive and time-consuming activity. Just think about what has to be done and how much money has to be spent to make an individual a new addition to the company. From interviewing, processing him/her into the system, going through the training period. These processes are repeating in an endless loop.
Therefore, to save time, effort, money, and to prevent the drop in productivity, employers find it in their best interest to vet candidates for long-term employment beforehand. This began their search for a recruitment tool that offers a predictive index that allows them to make better decisions.
Advantages of Personality Test
It Provides Essential Information
As mentioned above, adding individuals to companies as new employees takes a lot of decisions. Being able to obtain more information and insights from candidates is the main factor in making better decisions regarding hiring. Personality Tests were specifically made to help you set your mind straight when it comes to selecting the right candidates.
Personality tests are able to reveal important qualities of candidates which directly impact the culture fit, the suitability for specific positions, and team performance such as what motivates them, their thinking process, their communication preferences, and their attitudes.
In a world where most people are still working from home and unable to make close contact with each other, personality tests can be done via online channels and be processed instantaneously. You will be able to get the test results within a few blinks in your comfort at home. This will certainly help you speed up the recruiting process and make sure that the candidates who are going forward with the process are definitely the right pieces that fit perfectly in the company.
Types of Hiring Personality Tests You Should Know
There are many types of personality tests that you can use in hiring. However, some of them are more popular and widely used than others. Here are four types of personality tests that you should know:
The Big Five Personality Test
This is one of the most scientific and research-based personality tests available. It measures five broad dimensions of personality: openness to experience (how curious and creative you are), conscientiousness (how organized and reliable you are), extraversion (how outgoing and sociable you are), agreeableness (how cooperative and friendly you are), and neuroticism (how emotionally stable and calm you are). Each dimension has six facets that further describe your personality traits. For example, some of the facets of openness are imagination, intellect, and adventurousness.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
MBTI is one of the most popular and widely used personality tests in the world. It is based on the theory of psychological types by Carl Jung. It measures four dichotomies of personality: extraversion vs. introversion (how you get energy), sensing vs. intuition (how you perceive information), thinking vs. feeling (how you make decisions), and judging vs. perceiving (how you organize your life). Each dichotomy has two opposite preferences that result in 16 possible personality types. For example, some of the types are ENFP (extraverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiving), ISTJ (introverted, sensing, thinking, judging), and INTP (introverted, intuitive, thinking, perceiving.)
The DISC Personality Test
This is a simple and practical personality test for hiring that measures four behavioral styles:
- Dominance (how you deal with problems and challenges)
- Influence (how you influence and persuade others)
- Steadiness (how you deal with change and pace)
- Compliance (how you deal with rules and procedures.)
Each style has its own strengths and weaknesses, as well as preferred work environments and communication styles. For example, some of the styles are D (direct, decisive, driven), I (influential, inspiring, interactive), S (steady, supportive, stable), and C (conscientious, careful, compliant.)
The Enneagram Personality Test
The Enneagram Personality Test is a complex and dynamic personality test for job that measures nine personality types based on their core motivations, fears, and desires. Each type has its own patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving, as well as its own growth and stress points. The types are also connected to each other through wings (adjacent types that influence your personality) and arrows (opposite types that show your direction of integration or disintegration). For example, some of the types are:
- Type 1 (the reformer, motivated by the desire to be good and right)
- Type 4 (the individualist, motivated by the desire to be unique and authentic)
- Type 7 (the enthusiast, motivated by the desire to be happy and free.)
Personality Tests That Are Suitable for Recruitment
Not all personality tests were made for recruitment. Companies are recommended to proceed with caution when utilizing personality tests for a candidate screening. Should you use a test that is not psychometrically for employee hiring, you might end up making even worse decisions.
In search of a suitable personality test for recruitment, you must consider its reliability and validity. If an individual takes the test multiple times under similar conditions, the test result should be the same.
Many tests on the market are unable to provide acceptable and reliable results. If a test does not come with certification for its reliability and validity data, we recommend you to run away from it.
At this point you might wonder ‘then what kind of tests should I be looking for?’ We have an answer to your question. Below is the list of recommended personality tests for recruitment, based on their reliability and results.
The Caliper Profile
The Caliper Profile measures candidates’ characteristics and motivations in order to forecast their behaviors on the job as well as their potential to excel.
Its efficiency is guaranteed by over sixty years of research, the Caliper Profile is able to assess 22 strong traits of candidates and reveal their motivations that relate to the job positions.
Test results of the Caliper Profile can be used throughout employees’ lifecycle from selection, development, promotion, team building to replacement planning.
Hogan Personality Inventory
The Hogan Personality Inventory or HPI provides data regarding an individual's normal or positive personality. This will allow employers to see how candidates would interact with others when they are at their best selves.
This test provides you with an insight into how candidates handle their tasks, how they lead their team, and how successful they can be.
HEXACO Personality Inventory
HEXACO Personality Inventory is a tool that estimates six crucial aspects of personality: H- honesty-humility, E-emotionality, X-Extraversion, A-agreeableness (versus anger), C-conscientiousness, and O-openness to experience.
Like some other tests on this list, this personality test helps recruiters identify the right candidates who can perfectly fit into an organization.
The Berke Assessment is a simple questionnaire that estimates an individual's traits and abilities in problem-solving. This personality test is quite a hit amongst recruiters as it helps over 700 organizations accomplish their hires.
SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ)
SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire or OPQ was established over three decades ago. It is utilized for hiring across the globe.
The OPQ test determines an individual job performance and suitability for certain job positions based on his/her routine behavior. This personality test can be used for all levels of candidates from entry, to management and up to executives.
The Predictive Index
The Predictive Index is another popular personality test that leading companies such as Subway and Autonation rely on when it comes to their recruitment. This personality test is powered by behavioral science.
It is a short personality test that lasts only 10 minutes. The Predictive Index asks candidates to choose the words that describe the way other people would expect them to act, and words that they think would best describe themselves. Employers would quickly know how candidates think as well as how they work.
If you are looking for a personality test that is able to quickly reveal candidates’ motivation, the Predictive Index is your answer.
Why Employers Are Using Personality Tests?
The addition of personality tests gives employers a sense of their employee’s capacity to fit into the organization. The better a fit they are, the more likely they would be to remain part of the company for a long time, completely eradicating the time and effort needed to fill the position.
A 40-minute interview reveals superficial details about the candidate. It skims the surface and outlines the capability, experience, and knowledge they have. It’s difficult to discern whether the candidate would make a great fit. As such, the addition of personality tests allows hiring managers and employers to make informed hiring decisions.
1- Cultural Fit
Determining whether a candidate would fit the company’s culture can give employers a general idea of what they have to look forward to down the line. A good cultural fit translates to a compatible workforce that gets along, operates well as a unit, and displays increased productivity levels.
The point of utilizing personality tests is to determine the optimal working environment for the candidate. While some employers believe in the importance of cultural fit, this isn’t a point that a good interview would be thrown out the window for.
For example, candidates who thrive in a corporate environment would not do well in a fast-paced startup setting and vice versa. These insights allow employers to set the tone for the onboarding process and employment beyond it.
2- Role & Team fit
So your digital marketing candidate has an impressive resume and considerable experience. But are they team players or solo go-getters? Do they fit the social requirements for the role? Can they lead when an important deadline looms over the entire team?
Personality tests can reveal whether or not the candidate fits the position and the team in more than just capability and skills. It displays whether they are capable of thinking on their feet, how they approach problem-solving, and whether they display leadership skills when necessary or under pressure.
These are all details that are usually revealed over the first few months of employment. However, introducing an in-depth personality test can provide these insights early on in the process.
3- Communication style & preference
Communication is perhaps the most important point to consider for new hires. People work in different ways and we all have a process, a recipe for productivity. And it’s important that the environment does not disturb it.
Communication in terms of style and preference needs to be specific to each individual, catering to the most efficient manner for them to absorb information and relay it.
What Can Personality Tell About Candidates?
Information acquisition (How the candidate absorbs information)
In a simple word, it is ‘learning.’ Knowing candidates’ process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, attitudes, and preferences, would employers make better decisions in selecting new additions to their company.
The ability to learn and the eagerness to acquire new knowledge of employees is very important to every business and organization around the world. Should an individual not have the willingness to learn new knowledge, that person might fail to further develop as an employee. The result? Your company’s productivity would not be as good as you expected.
Decision-making skills (Leadership under pressure)
Decision-making skills are one of the crucial traits that all employees should possess. In business, sooner or later, employees must face challenges and be forced to make tough decisions in a heartbeat. This will put them under a lot of pressure. Most people tend to lose control of their emotions when things go south or when forced into a corner.
An individual who can control themselves while analyzing the pros and cons of each decision will certainly be able to drive a company towards its goal. By knowing how candidates would make decisions under hard circumstances, employers would be able to pick the best talents for their companies.
Process & Rational Thought (Problem-solving skills)
Just like decision-making, problem-solving is the skill that employees should have. Employees will certainly have to exercise their problem-solving skills along their career paths.
It is possible to run away from a problem, when it arrives employees must be able to efficiently navigate themselves towards a solution. Personality tests are able to identify candidates who possess the ability to utilize generic or ad hoc methods to find the best approach to resolve difficulties.
Organizational skills & Time management (Productivity)
Should staff be able to organize their tasks and efficiently manage time, results will be shown in the form of better performance and increased productivity for a company overall.
Personality tests are able to reveal which candidate has the ability to set clear goals while maintaining focus on their tasks, as well as manage their time on a daily basis. Employers will be able to make better decisions on choosing the right candidate, while the selected talents with organizational skills and time management will help companies increase their productivity.
As we’ve seen, there are a variety of options available to choose from. It’s important to choose a personality test that fits your company culture, workplace preferences and provides the questions that matter to your organization the most.
To make recruitment a seamless process, Manatal’s applicant tracking system allows you to integrate the test of your choice into its platform via open API. This feature allows users to connect different software for different functions into one local ecosystem for the company or department’s operations. It also makes importing and exporting data from one software to another a seamless and secure process. Moreover, users can utilize the Manatal-hosted career page and its customizable fields and forms to create their own questionnaires.