Personality assessment is a commonly used recruitment tool, and it may be a stage gate for the recruitment process. Research has shown that personality tests are highly robust predictors of job performance, and are used for candidate screening and selection. Candidates will be likely to encounter personality questionnaires in all industries and all sectors, however candidates are most likely to undertake these tests in recruitment for larger companies and companies with high recruitment volumes. These tests may be online and unsupervised, they may be online and supervised and they may be pencil and paper tests at an assessment centre. Post pandemic however, the trend is moving towards a fully developed online assessment model.
Personality assessment questionnaires have questions based on workplace related traits and they are in multiple choice format. They do not have a time limit, allowing candidates to decide on their responses in their own time. An example personality/competency question would be “I like to identify new business opportunities” or “I am likely to made decisions based on facts and figures alone”, requiring the candidate to rate on a given scale (often 1-7) how much they agree or disagree with the statement.
Once the candidate’s results are collected, they are compared to a norm group, and subsequently organization are informed on how, for example, analytical, influential and adaptive you may be in the workplace. Similarly the test may assess values, which can be useful in identifying if the candidate fits well with the organisation and its culture. There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to personality tests, however there are good and bad reports, and recruiters will be looking for specific competencies and traits in candidates.
As with all recruitment tools, recruiters in the assessment stage of recruitment are unlikely to base their recruitment decision purely on one tool. Instead the decision will be made based on the mixture of results based on numerous tools, such as competency interviews, aptitude tests and situational judgement exercises. However if a personality test is used at the start of the recruitment process, it is likely to be used as a screening tool, screening out candidates who do not express the key competencies of the role. In this case, an unsuitable report may cause a candidate to be screened out at an early stage, regardless of performance on other measures. Although there are no right and wrong answers, there are good and bad profiles for a particular position/ organisation. While answering personality assessment tests, one needs to be absolutely calm and honest failing which, there is a risk of bad hiring, both from the candidates and the organizational perspective.