Using Workplace Personality Tests to Predict Job Success

When listing your company's most important resources, your people always come out on top. They are the secret to maintaining momentum and propelling your organization into the future. But if you don’t really know your team, you can’t help them achieve their full potential at your company.

Your workforce is composed of individuals, each with their own goals, priorities and quirks. Workplace personality tests enable employers to go much deeper in their workforce analysis.

For decades, employers have turned to personality assessments in the hiring process. For example, the U.S. Army started using them to screen recruits in 1919. And many people have taken a Myers Briggs type test for fun or at work.
The latest generation of tests use technology and industrial/organizational psychology to assess a candidate’s motivations, values and characteristics. Assessing these factors enables employers to evaluate the candidate’s odds of success in a specific role.
Not all assessments are created equal. There are tests on the market that simply aren’t up to scientific standards. These tests claim to be able to categorize people into neat little rows, but that simply isn’t possible.

In the face of these claims, many employers have written off the value of workplace personality tests. But when grounded in science and fact, personality assessments can be an extremely valuable part of workforce strategy and planning.

The right personality assessments evaluate motivations, values and behavioral factors to predict on-the-job success. Here’s how your company can benefit from implementing workplace personality tests.

Find the Right Long-Term Matches

The half-life of technical job skills is shrinking, which makes personality even more important for success at work. For the average worker, the half-life of learned skills at work has been estimated at about five years. That means modern workers and employers can’t really know what technical skills they’re going to need in the future.

But we do know which personality traits can help predict whether an employee will be able to keep pace with change. Traits like curiosity and an ability to learn will make it easier to adapt in a digital workplace.

Personality is distinct from — and largely unrelated to — cognitive ability. Cognitive ability has long been touted as a key predictor of an employee's job performance. Countless employers have made vastly important decisions based on that belief.

Cognitive ability is important, but that’s not all there is to understanding candidates and your workforce. The ability to measure other factors, such as personality, adds another layer of information as you assess someone's strengths and weaknesses.

Employers need to learn who has the interest, motivation and behaviors to learn and be flexible.

This helps employers map related jobs and lateral career paths, allowing organizations and people to grow and meet future requirements.
Coupled with cognitive ability, behavioral assessments seek to identify candidates who are the best fit for now and in the future. This helps you to make the best hiring, placement and promotion decisions.

We no longer have to rely entirely on skills and intellect. Now, goals and values count for something, too.

Learn What Success Really Looks Like

What behaviors does your organization want to cultivate? Every organization has its own core values and beliefs, which can be directly translated into behaviors. These behaviors ultimately make up your culture.
Translating your company's core values into behaviors makes it easier to measure value activation in your workforce. Doing so also gives employees a clear understanding of how they are expected to behave. Embracing corporate values is difficult for employees to do abstractly, but it becomes much easier when illustrated by concrete examples.
For example, certain behavioral qualities tend to make someone a good leader. These behaviors are linked to candidates' motivations and values, and they can be measured through workplace personality tests.

Instead of making assumptions about who has leadership potential in your organization, you can create a profile of the personality traits of your most successful leaders. You can then use that profile to identify other people in your workforce with similar traits.

What you look for in a leader can evolve over time. As work models evolve, how we define leadership will change along with them. In a digital environment, for example, leaders must be agile and lead change. Workplace personality tests can help you identify those traits and determine cultural fit in both external candidates and existing employees.

Counter Unfair Bias

Sophisticated assessment solutions, powered by algorithms, are driving the changes needed to transform talent selection and enable more diverse recruiting.

Without assessments, hiring decisions are often based on arbitrary requirements or unrelated factors. Assessments enable employers to compare job applicants’ personality profiles and competencies to job specifications and organizational demands.

Personality traits aren’t typically dictated by other identifying factors or subgroups. Requiring a four-year degree could eliminate candidates from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, for example.

Personality traits and behaviors provide more objective measures of success, and they don’t discriminate against particular groups. Using workplace personality tests as part of a candidate selection process can help achieve greater diversity.
By combining marketing principles with recruitment processes, organizations can achieve better diversity. Aon has taken a mobile-first approach, designing its personality assessments to be shorter and accessible via smartphone. Some are even designed to mimic social messaging apps.
Computerized, adaptive personality assessments can provide companies with the data-driven tools they need to recruit better, more diverse talent. These types of assessments empower employers to build better teams.

Accurately identifying intangible' traits through rigorous, reliable and valid assessment methods supports objective hiring decisions. Hiring managers can rely on data for making decisions rather than on intuition, which can lead to bias.

The Future of Workplace Personality Tests

Over the past two decades, advances in technology have transformed how we understand and assess personality. Those changes will only accelerate from here. Employers that want to stay ahead of the curve should stay alert to how technology will continue shaping workplace personality testing.

Responsive and adaptive workplace personality tests allow employers to customize the traits most closely associated with job success. Adaptive tests also decrease the amount of time candidates need to spend on them, improving the overall candidate experience.

In the past, employers may have needed to conduct 45- to 60-minute personality questionnaires during the recruitment process to get valid scores. Today’s assessments typically take only 25 to 30 minutes to achieve an equally valid test result.

Modern personality assessments rely on data science and psychometric techniques to ensure accurate predictions of on-the-job behavior.

They’re designed to mitigate opportunities for candidates to “game” the system by providing answers they believe you want to see. These assessments can help employers address a variety of human capital challenges, including identifying, promoting and developing high performers.
Common types of modern personality assessment tools help you do just that by using layered, forced-choice assessments. These require the test taker to choose between multiple-choice options or weight the described behaviors most relevant to how they view themselves.

This methodology leverages Al-enabled scoring models. Employers can create reliable, valid personality assessments modeled on the behaviors needed for a particular job. AI scores assessments in a more efficient and effective manner.

As the talent shortage continues, providing a top-notch candidate experience will be an even higher priority for employers. Advances in technology support a more people-centered assessment experience. Aon's vidAssess platform and other innovative approaches to displaying tests in an accessible way create a more personalized, faster assessment process.

Aon | Assessment Solutions

Aon's assessment solutions provides clients with powerful tools and insights to help them make better talent decisions at every stage of the employee lifecycle. This includes pre-hire assessments, identifying future leaders, screening for digital skills and agility, and AI-enabled solutions.

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