Recruitment is a crucial process for any organization. Selecting the right employees can influence the team’s atmosphere, the effectiveness of actions, and the company’s development. In this context, personality tests are one of the tools that can bring many benefits. What are they? Let us explain!
There are many myths surrounding personality tests. Misunderstanding their role, the effects they should produce, and when and how to use them can lead to more problems than benefits. So, before we answer the titular question, let’s take a closer look at personality tests.
For personality tests to be effective, they should be based on psychometric assumptions. Psychometrics is often called an attempt to measure the soul. However, if we were to describe it in a more business-oriented way, we could say it’s an attempt to objectify the description of human behavior and hypotheses related to causality. To maintain this objectivity, psychometric tests must adhere to a set of principles.
What does this mean in practice?
Firstly, psychometric research must always refer to a documented theory and measure that theory. If there is no confirmation that the tool assesses a specific theory, then it is not a psychometric assessment. Such assessments also exist in the market; they can be internal company assessments based on internal competency models. While these assessments can be useful in specific situations, it’s important to be able to distinguish and use them correctly.
However, that’s not the end of it. An important factor affecting the effectiveness of psychometric tests is that you cannot alter the tool’s construction, such as changing the wording of questions or adding your own. The tool is meticulously developed to provide tangible results. Any interference with it can affect its effectiveness.
Another crucial factor affecting the effectiveness of assessments is the ability to interpret the questionnaire results correctly. This requires knowledge of the theory. Therefore, to obtain certification for using a specific tool, it is necessary to acquire knowledge and familiarize oneself with extensive materials.
Meeting all of the above conditions is not enough to fully determine whether a person is suitable for a specific position. Why?
Personality vs. competencies
Personality tests only assess predispositions for a specific role in the organization, individual competencies, including social ones, or the intellectual capabilities of a candidate. However, whether these competencies are used to perform a particular job depends on the candidate’s attitude, willingness, and motivation. Therefore, personality tests should always be supplemented with other assessments, such as interviews, which can also take the form of questionnaires.
Furthermore, when interpreting tests, it’s important to remember that you cannot categorize a person completely. Even individuals who exhibit certain personality traits can behave differently in various situations. Additionally, personality is challenging to modify because it develops during our fetal life, and our behaviors are linked to the central nervous system. However, this doesn’t mean that individuals with specific personalities cannot develop competencies required for their work tasks.
For example, an introverted person can manage a team or perform public speaking tasks if provided with the right development tools. Therefore, personality tests can be guidelines, valuable information, but they should never completely determine your decisions, especially during the recruitment process.
Profiling is an important element that helps minimize the risk of unsuccessful recruitment and efficiently develop employees. Good psychometric tools provide objective information, but their results must be interpreted skillfully. The profiling process should consider both theoretical foundations and individual employee characteristics to align potential with talent.
Choosing the Right Tools
A significant challenge for HR departments wanting to use personality tests is selecting the right tools. As mentioned earlier, it’s advisable to use psychometric tests, but there are many on the market.
The most well-known ones include:
- Gallup Test – a tool focused on identifying an individual’s strengths and talents. It helps discover key areas where a person has a natural advantage and potential for success. The test provides results in the form of the five most important “strengths” of an individual, which can help understand the characteristics and skills most characteristic of that person.
- DISC – the DISC model assumes the existence of four basic personality types: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. DISC allows for the discovery of 160 different combinations of these types, enabling better understanding of how we communicate with others and react to our surroundings. This tool is often used in team management and the development of interpersonal skills.
- MBTI – a popular psychometric tool that helps classify personality according to four opposing dimensions: Extraversion vs. Introversion, Sensing vs. Intuition, Thinking vs. Feeling, and Judging vs. Perceiving. Based on these four dimensions, MBTI determines 16 possible personality types. This tool is often used in personal development, interpersonal communication, and team building.
- Ostendi Talent Hunter – a tool that analyzes eight main dimensions of personality, helping understand how a person perceives themselves, reacts to challenges, communicates, makes decisions, what matters to them, and more. Each of these dimensions is assessed as a scale of preferred behaviors, allowing for a comprehensive personality profile.
When choosing a specific tool, consider several factors: the type of position for which you are recruiting, the industry’s specifics in which the company operates, and the recruitment goals.
Therefore, when deciding to choose a specific questionnaire, it’s worth paying attention to several elements:
- Is the test reliable? Does it accurately measure what it’s supposed to measure?
- Has it undergone normalization trials? Was cultural adaptation considered—meaning, was it tailored to the market where you will conduct the assessment? Was the normalization trial conducted on a sample size that is at least ten times the number of questions in the questionnaire? Was the normalization trial conducted on a diverse age group?
- Is it valid? Does it relate to a specific theory and specific criteria?
- Should the test be administered on paper, a computer, or mobile devices? It’s crucial not to simply transfer the same norms from paper to a computer because the eye-hand coordination has a different reaction time than clicking a mouse or responding to a touch screen. In personality tests, this can have a significant impact, as responses can vary depending on reaction time.
If the questionnaire meets all of the above points, and you are confident in its effectiveness, you can confidently incorporate it into your recruitment process.
Benefits of personality tests
Psychometrics adds a scientific dimension to the recruitment process, enabling more precise and objective assessments of candidates. While it cannot completely replace intuition and human judgment, it serves as a valuable tool in every recruiter’s arsenal, aiming to find the best candidate for their company.
If you choose and use psychometric tools correctly, you can achieve several benefits:
- Objectivity and standardization: Tests allow for objective comparisons between candidates and prevent subjective judgments through standardization.
- Predictive effectiveness: Studies show that cognitive tests are highly effective in predicting the performance of candidates in future roles.
- Reducing recruitment errors: Tests help avoid errors such as selection based solely on personal preferences or similarity to the recruiter.
- Recruitment process efficiency: They facilitate the quick identification of candidates’ strengths and weaknesses.
- Uncovering hidden traits: Tests can reveal traits that candidates would not disclose themselves, sometimes leading to redirecting them to more suitable positions.
So, answering the titular question: it is worth using personality tests during recruitment. They can be highly valuable in this process, but only when they are properly selected and used. It is essential for HR departments to undergo appropriate training to increase their awareness of both the strengths of specific tools and the potential pitfalls associated with their use.
A careful approach to the selection and interpretation of tests is the key to effectively utilizing them in the recruitment practice. Personality tests should not be the sole tool used in the recruitment process but can serve as an important supplement to traditional methods of candidate assessment.
Learn more about Ostendi Talent Hunter and incorporate it into your recruitment process.