Despite the many recruiting tools available, choosing the right candidate to fill a key position out of a sea of qualified professionals can feel like playing the lottery and hoping the numbers you picked are winners. Screening tools such as resumes, interviews, and skills tests can only tell you so much about the people on your shortlist. Knowing how they will perform on their first day on the job and whether they will engage well with the rest of the team can feel impossible to predict.
A single poor hiring decision may seem like an isolated mistake. However, just as the ripples from a pebble tossed in the lake radiate out, disturbing the water’s surface, an employee that is a poor fit affects everyone they interact with. Whether they are a cultural mismatch or fail to connect with their coworkers, their inability to mesh well with the team will lead them to disengage from their work. Their lack of engagement leads to lower personal and team productivity and, ultimately, a higher turnover rate.
Because the cost of a poor hiring decision is high, many HR specialists and recruiting firms have added another tool to their belt – the personality test. Unlike the tests circulating online and popping up on social media, recruiting personality tests are not designed to tell you what type of person you are or with whom you are most compatible. These tests are designed to screen candidates for traits that indicate they would fit your organization well and demonstrate their ability to succeed in a specific position and within the organization as a whole.
Gathering Information From Personality Tests
Implemented and interpreted in the right context, personality tests can inform hiring and recruitment decisions by providing valuable information about candidates in several categories.
1. Do they fit?
Your company culture is the basis for interactions between employees within the organization and with clients. Team members who share the same values, beliefs, and goals work well with one another as they strive to achieve these goals. A strong share culture creates an environment of high employee engagement, job satisfaction, and productivity.
A personality test can help you determine whether a candidate shares this same vision and goals. Would this environment inspire them to innovate and move projects forward, or would it stifle their motivation to work hard? Keep in mind that cultural fit is never a perfect match. A homogenous group of individuals leaves very little room for creative ideas and problem-solving. Some diversity in ideas and beliefs is beneficial and contributes to the growth and progress of the organization.
2. Do they have the essential skills?
Interviews with team members and skills testing can quickly reveal whether or not a candidate has the technical skills to do the job. However, every position requires proficiency in a unique set of soft skills, which are more challenging to discover during the recruitment process. Personality testing can uncover strengths or weaknesses in key areas such as problem-solving, leadership skills, conflict resolution, and decision-making, allowing decision-makers to narrow the candidate pool to those who already possess these essential skills.
3. How and how well do they learn?
Regardless of the industry, technology and best practices are constantly changing. Employees who readily learn new processes and willingly adopt new tools and technologies are an asset. Their growth helps propel the company forward and keep your organization competitive. Information from a personality test can reveal whether a candidate is likely to be a self-starter or a slow adopter. It can also help you offer training in the most helpful form to your employees.
4. Can they communicate effectively?
A candidate’s performance during job interviews can be a good indicator of their ability to communicate clearly and effectively. Daily communication with coworkers, supervisors, and clients will require a greater mastery of interpersonal interactions. Personality tests can inform you about their preferred method of communication and how proficiently they use it. A candidate who shies away from face-to-face conversations or avoids confrontation may not be your best option for a high-profile leadership position, regardless of their glowing resume and stellar recommendations.
5. Are they a productive contributor?
We all have the same number of hours in the day. Yet, what we achieve in that time varies from person to person. Highly-productive individuals share some common personality traits, which tests can reveal, including:
- Managing their time effectively
- Focusing on tasks
- Setting and working toward goals
- Prioritizing projects and tasks
- Staying well-organized
- Structuring their time
Individuals with these traits will likely be top performers that boost productivity on their team and throughout the organization.
Another Tool for Recruiting
While personality tests are a valuable tool for recruiting candidates that will excel in their position and contribute to the company’s overall success, they do have limitations. As with many other multiple-choice tests, they are not perfect. If a candidate believes an honest answer will lose them the job opportunity, they may choose an alternate answer, giving you misleading results. Leaning too heavily on the results of the personality test could result in a hiring decision that is not a good fit. Likewise, using a personality test to categorize employees does not take into account the complexity of each individual’s personality, including their strengths and weaknesses.
Personality testing can be an outstanding tool for streamlining recruiting efforts. It can assist recruitment companies with the arduous task of weeding through candidates to determine which are the most likely to thrive in the position. It can also help employers understand their team’s needs and provide the training and support necessary to achieve company goals and objectives. When used and interpreted correctly, it is an excellent tool.