Personality assessment – It’s what, why, and how…
What is a personality assessment?
As the term implies, personality assessment evaluates one’s personality traits, traits that differentiate one person from another. However, in the business world, target traits to be assessed involve those personality characteristics that would make a job candidate perform desirably in a given business situation.
Who conducts these assessments and why?
Personality assessments are generally conducted when you apply for a job. A job seeker/company conducts such inspections, alongside other types of assessments such as interviews and resume analyses, to identify whether you’ve got what it takes to thrive and succeed in a given work environment.
However, personality assessments serve other essential purposes, too, as we shall see below.
How is this assessment conducted?
Regarding the ‘how’ of a personality assessment, it’s carried out using one of the tools already invented by psychologists, researchers, etc. There are various types of personality assessments in use today, the most common ones being:
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
- Five-Factor Model (aka the Big Five personality Test)
- Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
- Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire
There are, of course, other modes of assessment, too. They’re based on self-reporting scores on certain given items (e.g. ‘how likely are you to…in a given context’), rating scales, interviews, projective assessments (where you project a part of your personality onto a given visual to interpret it) and the like. Even AI software is being used today to predict job success by conduction certain types of personality assessments.
Importance of personality and its assessments
Firstly, a personality assessment can bring to light characteristics in a job candidate that might otherwise go unnoticed. Secondly, it can explain how a candidate is likely to react to a particularly problematic situation. Third, it can help learn how to interact better with others in a workgroup.
The importance of a personality assessment stems from the fact that personality, in itself, is a significant predictor for future job success because:
- A blend of different personality types—some with leadership qualities and some with time-management as their best suit—makes for a perfect team.
- People mostly prefer buying from and/or working with companies with people-friendly staff and good customer service (especially for sales’ jobs). And through a personality assessment, you can judge how people-friendly a potential employee is.
- Employers get to know about how driven an employee will be to learn, grow and work in a given work environment, all thanks to data received from personality assessments.
Now that we have some idea of the what, why, and how of a personality assessment in the job environment, let’s look at the main five reasons why personality assessments are essential. Remember, there are many purposes behind conducting and using a personality assessment for today’s competitive job market.
However, we have listed here the five most common reasons job seekers and companies conduct personality assessments for.
Five reasons why personality assessments are important
Reason # 1 – Thorough hiring process
Reports claim that almost 75% of all hiring decisions eventually lead to mis-hires in companies. In fact, in many instances, making an ill-informed hiring decision can cost a company roughly up to 3.5 times the employee’s yearly salary…a loss no employer anywhere wants to bear on his/her shoulders.
The data obtained from personality assessment is beneficial to an employer. It allows them to make thorough, objective hiring decisions; it shows them the extent to which you’re a fit for the company. This also reduces turnover and retains talented workers in a company.
In today’s competitive and unpredictable job market, standards like a resume, interviews, and past experiences are neither enough nor completely reliable. Someone might have lied on their resume or forged a fake experience letter. Would you take the risk of hiring someone based on such limited tools?
This is where personality assessments come in. They show an employer, right there and then, how suitable a candidate is for a role by providing scores on traits like agreeableness, conscientiousness, stability, confidence, creative thinking, leadership, dependability, work-under-pressure attitude, any other feature (s) an employer requires a high score on for the given job.
Reason # 2 – Checking compatibility for various job categories
Imagine all the time it would take for a company to conduct individual screening tests for every single type of job category. A candidate applying for a sales position would be given a different kind of test than that given to a brand manager. Lots of assessments, lots of time needed.
To hit all birds with one stone, a personality assessment is conducted, which gives an employer an idea of fitting a candidate for multiple job categories. That way, a single evaluation is conducted to check compatibility for various fields.
Let’s say a candidate has applied for an HR position but gets a high score on items related to sales, such as people-friendliness, sociability, etc. The assessment sheds light on fields candidates are compatible for, other than fields they’ve applied for.
This is why a personality assessment is a highly reliable tool for job placement. Furthermore, if an employer uses a normative-based review (where one candidate’s traits are compared to others), he/she can quickly gauge how is best suited for a given position from among a pool of candidates.
Reason # 3 – Employee Retention
As mentioned above, companies suffer a significant loss when they make half-hearted hiring decisions that lead to mis-hires. To retain suitable, talented employees, employers use data analyzed from personality assessments to identify how likely a candidate is to fit in well with the company culture, aptitude, general disposition, and many other traits.
This is a fundamental reason employers conduct personality tests. Candidates that don’t fit the job description well are likely to underperform. This would ultimately lead to bad performance reports until the candidate resigns or is fired. As we all might be aware of, it’s costly and time-consuming to train and replace a bad hire.
Furthermore, as far as aptitude and personality types go, and employers need to know from the start whether a candidate will perform well under the kind of situations he/she is most likely to face in that company.
For instance, if a candidate has applied for a sales position, but after the assessment, it turns out he/she isn’t as people-friendly, adaptable, and pleasant as is needed for this specific post, the employer will probably look towards hiring someone else.
Therefore, using personality assessments helps reduce hiring and training costs by letting employers hire the right fit for the correct position.
Reason # 4 – Legality
There’s always talk of legal matters bombarding a company’s setup from here and there. Would you be surprised to know that half of those legal problems have something to do with hiring?
A wrong candidate hired here; a right one fired there…it all leads to chaos everywhere in a company. When things are so interconnected in a given organization, one person’s decision will affect other departments, too.
When there’s trouble in the corner at work due to the hiring process, employers prefer to have something solid at their disposal, such as personality assessments, for legal defensibility.
It’s worth mentioning here that data obtained from candidates’ personality assessments are considered legal for use in a court of law if the need be. It serves as a reliable defence.
Reason # 5 – Self-awareness
Reasons for conducting personality assessments are two-fold: they help employers, but they also help employees. You can even complete your personality assessment online before applying for a chosen job position.
Maybe you’ve applied for a sales position, but the assessment shows that you’re better suited for a managerial position. Sometimes what you learn about yourself can surprise you, too.
Personality assessments can help you identify your weaknesses, strengths, passions, and goals. You’d not just be doing your future employer a favour by checking your compatibility through this assessment. Still, you’d also be helping yourself by learning more about yourself, which kind of work you should be applying for, and so on.
As Mitch Prinstein—a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—rightly stated to NBC News in 2014, “Ultimately, they give you some feedback on whether your behaviour is similar to others, what your niche is, and how similar you are to a sub-group of people… That is inherently very rewarding to people.”
Personality assessments are becoming more and more practical than resumes and interviews in today’s expanding job market. They’re an effective and reliable tool for job placement and compatibility. Not just employers but employees themselves can also benefit from personality assessments.