The Problem With Basic Personality Tests

The Problem: Employee Oversimplification

Demand for pre-employment assessments is increasing every year, with over half of HR professionals having reported using one with a current or past employer. When the right tools are used properly, this method can drastically improve hiring outcomes. Unfortunately, the high demand has caused some organizations to incorporate a simple personality test without considering how this can create problems. 

Besides legal issues (covered in our article on Discrimination Lawsuits) employers often make the mistake of testing for characteristics that have no bearing on actual job success.

These personality tests focus on one aspect of an individual without considering other aspects or relating the results to a specific job. Many assessments also group applicants into personality categories with a number, letter or even an animal as a memorable way of presenting test results. These simplistic results do more to confuse a thorough and nuanced evaluations than they do to enhance it. This has led to the misconception, held by half of HR managers surveyed, that there are just four basic personality dimensions.

HR manager misconceptions chart

On the other hand, valid assessment tools explore the candidate’s suitability from multiple angles. These assessments, matched with the job requirements, are often highly predictive of success.

A recent study found that stand-alone personality tests don’t consistently identify good employees when compared with other types of assessments.

This graph clearly breaks down the most effective assessment hiring practices. CRI’s approach involves multi-measure assessments to give an accurate and detailed understanding of a candidate’s potential and relates it to a specific job.

Most Effective HR Practices chart

All assessment approaches are not created equal.

Considering the impact of a bad hiring process, very few tests are actually worth your investment. Get a hiring process grounded in modern science. Knowing which types of assessments will be most effective in accomplishing the objectives you have identified for your organization will enable you to select a tool with a measurable impact on the bottom line.

Tip for Hiring Managers

Bad hiring can have catastrophic effects on your business. The CRI blog and newsletter reveals insider tips on screening, assessing and interviewing job applicants to ensure that you don’t end up investing in the wrong candidate.

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