The Use of Personality Assessments in Hiring

Hiring the right person for a position is always challenging. That said, having the right tools in place reduces the risk of a poor fit and helps narrow the search to candidates who will thrive in your organization.

Resumes (of course) are important, and certain proven interview techniques get better results than others. But one key element of the recruiting process often gets overlooked: personality assessments.

Hire With 3 Legs to Stand On

Every hiring process needs three key elements in order to reliably select the best long-term fit candidates:

  1. Resumes, which show you the candidate’s experience through their outlined job history and skills
  2. Interviews, which give you first-hand experience of how the candidate engages and communicates
  3. Personality assessments, which provide insight into the candidate’s behavior, motivations, and natural proclivities

Using all three gives you a well-rounded view, with each tool providing a unique perspective you can’t get from the others. They form a three-legged stool, which topples if you remove any single leg.

So, though personality tests can be dangerous if considered in a vacuum, they provide extremely valuable input in balance with the two other legs.
Infographic: The Use of Personality Assessments in Hiring

How Are Personality Assessments Used in Recruiting?

What really motivates a candidate? What satisfies them? What environment best suits them? These questions are the domain of personality tests.

Personality tests help you understand who a person really is. They provide an idea of how your department’s structure, culture, and workflows match up with the candidate at a deeper level than resumes and interviews can tell you.

Many personality assessments exist, including:

  • Myers Briggs
  • DISC
  • Enneagram
  • StrengthsFinder
  • HPI
  • Caliper Profile
  • 7 Working Geniuses
  • Predictive Index
  • APQ (by Asher)

Every one of these tests is interesting and useful. The catch is that they don’t all serve the same purpose.

Which personality assessment tool you use comes down to the goal you’re trying to accomplish. For example, are you trying to build a dream team from scratch or find better ways for your existing team to work together? Deciding on the goal first ensures you choose the most effective tool to get there.

Our Preferred Personality Test for Recruiting

At BVOH Search & Consulting, we’ve found the highest value in the Predictive Index. In our experience, it’s the quickest, simplest, cheapest, and most scalable option for personality tests for any type of position.

Here are just a few of this test’s benefits:

  • You can use it across your entire organization, whether you’re hiring a receptionist or a CEO.
  • It only takes a few minutes to complete, so it’s easy for candidates to complete early in the hiring process.
  • It’s great for both hiring individuals and building teams.
  • The subscription model means you can use it as much as necessary without paying “by the drink.”

What Personality Tests Tell You

While a resume tells you about a candidate’s experience and an interview gives you the candidate’s experience, neither paints a full picture. Personality assessments can give you insights into how someone will fit into a role, team, department, or organization at a deeper level.

For example, the Predictive Index measures four areas of personality to determine a candidate’s workplace behavioral style:

You may get an idea of the first two characteristics from the interview process, but you can’t tell whether someone craves stability or thrives in a fast-paced environment in an interview. You also can’t easily assess their inclination for accuracy and structure vs. a more flexible and casual environment.

Traits like these are almost impossible to spot in interviews, but they’re critical for finding the right candidates. For instance, sales roles typically require a more independent, extroverted person who falls on the flexible end of the spectrum. Interviews and resumes can’t provide all that information.

Tips for Using Personality Tests in Recruiting

Personality assessments are great tools for getting more out of the hiring process. But, as with any tool, they can be dangerous if you misuse them. Keep these tips in mind to get started with personality tests in recruiting:

  • Time it right: There’s no one-size-fits-all timing for implementing personality tests in recruiting; the timing depends on your goal for the assessment, the test you choose, and how much effort it takes for candidates to complete it. Implementing too early in the application process could put off great candidates who aren’t ready to commit to an assessment. Implementation too late in the process could waste time and resources. Your unique factors and some experimentation will determine the best timing for your process.
  • Know the limits: The candidate’s level of self-awareness limits personality tests. Test creators are aware of this and try to compensate for it, but it’s still a factor. This is one important reason not to rely on personality assessments alone.
  • Know the restrictions: There are legal implications to consider when implementing personality assessments. Be sure to discuss these with your legal or HR team to avoid any potential issues.

Get Started

Personality assessments are just one tool in your recruiting toolbox — but an effective tool if you know how to use them. By using the right test for your needs, you’ll see a significant improvement in your ability to hire the best person for a role each time.

Ready to take your hiring process to the next level? BVOH can help you find the talent you’re looking for. Start your search with us today!

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