How accurate are personality tests for hiring

Some feel that personality tests should be used for self-development and not for hiring.

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The traditional ways of hiring were very different from the tools that we have today. Earlier, the HR depended on their intuitions and sense of judgement while hiring a candidate. But now they have the power of data and analytics based on which they can make their decisions. But still, in this advanced world, it gets very difficult to depend and rely entirely on such tools for hiring.

Let us take a look at one such tool, the personality test.

What is a personality test? It is a tool using which we can analyse the traits and personality of a candidate and then match them with the required traits and personality types that are fit for the job or the organisation.

This tool helps the individual and the organisation get to know the kind of traits a person has. For instance, a person may be an introvert or an extrovert.

But how does a personality test help hiring managers?

With the help of some internal analyses and certain experts, organisations come up with certain types of personalities and traits that are required for a particular role. After performing a personality test, the hiring managers match the data with their requirements and make a decision.

“These tools can be very helpful if the organisation has critically analysed the key traits it expects in a person and which make a candidate a great fit for the job,” says Rattan Chugh, chief people officer, Times Internet.

Sharad Sharma, CHRO, DHFL Pramerica Life Insurance, adds, “The organisation should know what its requirements are. It should know what kind of competencies it is looking for. Otherwise, whatever technology you are using, will not yield any positive results.”

Rattan Chugh

“Personality test tools can be very helpful if the organisation has critically analysed the key traits it expects in a person and which make a candidate a great fit for the job”

While most of the HR leaders admitted to using personality tests for hiring leaders and senior-level employees, these tools are not used to hire at the entry level.

No method is perfect. When we talk about personality tests in hiring, a lot of doubts cross our minds. First is, bias. There is no study that confirms that a particular trait ensures better performance at work. This can prove to be challenging for hiring managers as they may lose out on one of the best talents.

Second is the diversity issue. Using personality tests can also hamper diversity at the workplace as the organisation may end up hiring the same kind of personalities.

“Personality tests must not be used for hiring. Hiring should be based on skills and competencies, and ideally, the tests should check for these too, and not for personality. Personality is more of a trait of a person and it does not really throw any light on aptitude. Also, there is a school of thought which suggests that using personality tests violates a person’s privacy as it delves into a personal mental trait,” shares Ramedrajit Sen, VP & head-HR, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

After all, it is a tool. The effectiveness of the tool purely depends on how the organisation uses it. “To be effective and to ensure that you do not end up hiring the same kind of people, it is important to consider your team dynamics while hiring. The organisation may have seven traits that you need to fit in. You may not find all seven, but you may certainly find some mixed traits while hiring,” mentions Chugh.

Ramendrajit Sen

“Personality tests must not be used for hiring. Hiring should be based on skills and competencies, and ideally, the tests should check for these too, and not for personality. Personality is more of a trait of a person and it does not really throw any light on aptitude”

But at the end, as Sharma suggests, “You cannot really depend solely on personality tests while hiring. These can only act as a guide for you.” The final decision should not be made only on the basis of a personality test.

Sen believes, “Personality tests can be used by individuals to focus on their development needs and areas. MBIT, which is one of the leading personality testing tools, says that this test must not be used for hiring and instead should be used for self-development.”

Sharad Sharma

“You cannot really depend solely on personality tests while hiring. These can only act as a guide for you”

 

While a number of tools are used in hiring, every technology will have some shortcoming. It is up to the HR departments to use these tools and technologies to get the best insights, which can help them in hiring.

1 COMMENT

  1. Some of the views mentioned in the article are based on half truths. Hence it is important that these corrections be published soon so that readers do not carry wrong inferences. Before going into the details some corrections:
    1. There is no “MBIT”: it is MBTI

    2. Personality Tests are part of Psychometric Tests used for both hiring and development.
    3. Ability/ Aptitude tests (primarily Verbal, Numerical and Abstract reasoning) have been in use since WWll days across the globe and regarded as a good predictor of performance on the job. British Psychological Society (BPS) recommends that the Reliability of ability/reasoning tests should be r= >0.80 if they are to be used for hiring
    4. BPS also recommends that personality tests used for hiring should have a reliability of r= 0.70 or more.
    Mostly personality tests used for hiring are TRAIT based tests that meet these reliability requirements. Examples of these tools include MAPP, Big 5, Personality Profile-2, 16PF, 15FQ+, Genos EI, OPQ32,Saville Wave etc. Type based personality tests like MBTI, JTI are not suitable for hiring.
    5. Good trait based personality tests will have fake indicators or Social desirability scales to find out it the candidate is faking the tests. These are available in TRAIT based tests mentioned above.
    Inorder to get an all round view of the potential of the candidate, the best practices i hiring include Ability Tests, Personality tests ( Traits and Values aka motivation), competency based interviews (CBI/BEI) and some simulations).
    Using a combination of tools have been found to increase the predictive validity in selection to as high as r=>0.65
    Regards,

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