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The rise of the workplace personality test

Let’s be honest, recruiting can be an expensive and time consuming activity and with the risk of hiring the wrong candidate it’s no wonder recruiters welcome any opportunity to make it more of an exact science.

It is no surprise therefore that the likes of Barclays and KPMG have utilised personality tests and assessment tools in recent years to aid the recruitment and hiring process. Indeed, over 80% of US Fortune 500 and 75% of UK Times 100 companies are joining them in using personality testing to assist them in making better and more informed recruiting decisions.

However, the big increase in use has come about as these tools have become more accessible, as more affordable options have emerged, making it possible for any size of organisation to use them as part of the recruiting and selection process.

So why are they becoming so popular?

Beyond the cost factor of making a recruiting mistake, personality testing takes away some of the guess work of recruiting. Interviewers, no matter how experienced, have to take some things at face value, especially as people are moving jobs more frequently and as a result are getting better at interviews.  Candidates know they are going to be asked about ‘culture fit’, how they work as part of a team and how they handle conflict and even a crisis. The interviewer gains a ‘next level’ insight, backed by data, when they conduct a personality test.

Are personality tests a good thing?

Of course the tests have their limitations and they can be used incorrectly; however they can be a great asset, especially for candidates who lack the ‘tangible’ skills required, as they can highlight an abundance of ‘soft skills’ such as communication and listening skills or even creative thinking and emotional awareness.

Personality tests allow an organisation to build a team of like-minded people who have the same values and who will become part of a team culture built on similar personalities who are motivated and who will remain engaged.

So it’s all good then?

As we’ve already stated, the tests do have their limitations and can be used incorrectly, therefore it is essential to utilise an established and fair test and most importantly interpret the results effectively. Indeed they can’t be the ultimate answer, only a guide to success.

There is still a cost implication to consider, especially if you are fortunate to have several candidates and most importantly they take time, which can lead to a poor candidate experience and the possibility of losing the best candidates.