There was an interesting article in the NY Times about the use of personality tests in the workplace. At Workzinga, we see the value of utilizing personality assessments within the recruiting process and the challenges it represents. As with most things, we believe a balanced approach to incorporating any assessment, especially personality assessments, into your hiring channel is best. If handled well, there are ways to overcome the pitfalls and maximize their value in hiring.
Challenges that personality testing presents:
Interpreting the results of a personality assessment to determine if the candidate is a good fit for a job or the company’s culture opens the door to a tremendous amount of bias. Who in an organization is truly qualified to say that a Myers-Briggs result of INTJ is not suited for a position or a DISC result of “Influence” is the right person to hire? Where is the comparison against another data set which shows you in an OBJECTIVE way that the results are a good fit?
The article mentions, and I firmly agree, that many tools companies use today have little or no scientific validation, so the reliability is in question. How accurate are the results, and how reliant are a company’s hiring decisions on these questionable results? Some testing models available have a strong reliability factor, but do companies know which ones those are, and do they know how to perform the necessary due diligence to understand the validity of the tools they’re using? How much risk is the company encountering by relying on tests which lack a scientific foundation?
Using a personality test as a de facto decision-maker is also problematic. While the content and learnings from personality assessments are valuable and informative, they should not and cannot replace the work of the company in analyzing everything available about their candidates. This includes responses during interviews, references, feedback from other interviewers, skill assessments as well as personality assessments. All of these, and other sources of information, should be used to make the final decision about extending an offer.
Advantages that personality testing offers:
Utilizing a personality assessment as part of the candidate application process can add to your candidate pool’s diversity. The article referenced these “diamonds in the rough” who may not meet all the technical requirements or preferences of your job posting but are strongly aligned with the desired traits and characteristics for the position. At Workzinga, we talk about shifting the focus from the resume to these culture-focused traits to create a stronger and more diversified workforce. The path to a genuinely diversified workforce begins with the diversity of your candidate pool; placing greater emphasis on a personality assessment than a resume is one way to increase your odds of finding those future rockstars.
Personality assessments can also reveal elements of a candidate that they would not otherwise discuss. In many cases, candidates often lack the self-awareness to accurately describe their workplace personality traits. We’ve all heard the same generalities…how candidates are team players and like a challenge, but is superficial commentary sufficient for understanding how well a person would fit within an organization? An assessment can help build a shared vocabulary for the interviewer and candidate to discuss how well the company or the position would suit the applicant.
Lastly, using a personality assessment during the recruiting process allows the company and the candidate to start their eventual working relationship in a much better-informed manner. Knowing communication style preferences or anticipating the team dynamics when a new person joins can help set the stage for a more effective relationship. Imagine how much stronger and more effective a candidate’s first 90 days would be if you could know substantially more about a person on Day 1.
The Workzinga Culture Fit Assessment is the solution needed to hire for a strong culture fit. It reduces bias in the interview process by building an objective comparison between the candidate and the company, offering a valuable tool for improving the interviewing process and ultimately making better hiring decisions. Designed by psychologists and psychometricians, this scientifically validated tool looks beyond personality traits and dives into other key factors, such as preferences for leadership style and culture, workplace values, and much more. Want to learn more? Check out www.workzinga.com.