How to Use Personality Tests
in the Workplace

Predict who will be succesful in the role

The Right Behaviors for Success

There is a saying that goes: "We hire for skills, we fire for personality." However, what if we could reliably hire for personality at the start? And what if we could leverage personality in identifying and developing high-potential candidates in an existing workforce?

When you list your organization's most important resources, your people come out on top. They are the secret to maintaining momentum and propelling your organization into the future. But how much do you really know about the people on your team? Probably not much.

Your workforce is likely to be composed of a large number of individuals, each with their own goals, priorities and quirks. Getting to know your people puts you ahead, and personality assessments allow you to do just that.

Personality tests can be an extremely valuable part of workforce strategy and planning.

For decades, employers have turned to personality assessments in the hiring process. The US Army started using them to screen recruits in 1919. However, they have never been as effective as they are today. The latest generation of tests use technology and industrial-organizational psychology to assess candidates' motivations, values and characteristics, and evaluate their odds of success in a specific role.

lt is worth noting that not all assessments are created equal. There are tests on the market that simply are not up to scientific standards. Due to these tests — and their claims to be able to categorize individuals into neat little rows — many employers
have written off the value of personality assessments. However, when they are grounded in science and fact, personality assessments can be an extremely valuable part of workforce strategy and planning.

When given the right tools, employers can reliably predict who will be successful in a role based on their motivations, values and behavioral factors. Here is how.  

The Power of the Right Match

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 dropped to about five years.

That means modern workers — and their employers — can not really know what technical skills they will need in the future. Personality traits and behaviors increasingly matter for determining whether an employee will be able to keep pace with change and succeed in their role — or fall behind. Understanding who has the interest, motivation and behaviors to learn and be flexible and curious can help employees and employers map related jobs and lateral career paths. This allows both organizations and people to grow and meet future requirements.

Coupled with cognitive ability, behavioral assessments seek to find those candidates who are the best fit for now and in the future.

Personality is conceptually distinct from, and should be largely unrelated to, cognitive ability. Cognitive ability has long been touted as a key predictor of an individual's job performance. Countless employers have made vastly important decisions based on that belief. We would not argue that cognitive ability is not important, just that it is incomplete. The ability to measure other factors — such as personality — adds another layer of information.

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

Coupled with cognitive ability, behavioral assessments seek to find those 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 — goals and values now count for something.

Knowing What Success Looks Like

In order to make the best use of personality assessments, you have to know what you are looking for. What behaviors does your organization want to cultivate?

Every organization has its own core values and beliefs, but did you know that these values can be directly translated into behaviors? lt is time to dust of your old competency models and inject them with a behavioral blueprint. Translating your organization's core values into behaviors makes it easier to measure value activation in your workforce. lt also gives your employees a clear understanding of the types of behaviors they should cultivate. Embracing an organization's core values is difficult to do in the abstract, but it becomes much easier when supplemented by concrete behavioral examples.

Good Leadership Behavior

There are certain behavioral qualities that make someone a good leader. The saure logic applies to each individual position across your organization. These behaviors are linked to candidates' motivations and values, and can be measured through talent assessments. By setting up a 'success profile' — a description of the behaviors that a successful job incumbent shows — you can begin recognizing those people who will be good at the job and successful in your organization.

Showcasing Desirable Behaviors Pre-hire

Employee buy-in is important too. You have to be honest with applicants about what the day-to-day duties and behaviors entail. You can use a job preview with situational judgment to provide a candidate insight into what their work day at your organization will be like. This is a great way of letting applicants decide for themselves whether they want to behave in ways that align with the rote.

You have to be honest with applicants about what the day-to-day duties and behaviors entail.

Beginning an employee relationship with integrity increases its value — both to the employee and your organization.
 

How to Recognize a Good Assessment

There are a lot of behavioral assessments an the market, ranging from magazine pop quizzes to hours-long face-to-face assessments with several observers. So how do you differentiate the good from the bad from the ugly?

Reliable and Valid

Any assessment provider should be able to answer two main questions:

  • How reliable is the assessment?
    Reliability (also called accuracy) is the extent to which a psychometric tool measures the same aspect again and again, every time it is used. Are the results dependable?

  • How valid is the assessment?
    Validity is concerned with whether the test measures what it is designed to measure. Both reliability and validity are measured on a scale of 0 to 1, with 1 being a utopian value of perfect reliability or validity. A good diagnostic Instrument should have a value of at least 0.3 — the higher the better.

As Short as Possible, as Long as Necessary

Another recent advancement in personality assessments comes from leveraging technology to make assessments less repetitive, more personalized and more accurate. People often get frustrated with standard, flat-form personality assessments because their methodology relies on asking the same question many times. This can lead to a less-than-stellar experience and result in a boring process that frustrates candidates. However, the algorithms used in adaptive testing result in a more dynamic and variable experience for candidates. Candidate experience is improved as a result.

Understanding what makes people tick and how they are likely to behave helps employers make higher-quality selection decisions. However, what is on the surface is only half the picture. Employees and candidates bring more than just skills and experience with them to work; they bring their personalities, preferences, tendencies and styles also. But not all behaviors are relevant to all jobs. Knowing what is really important allows an assessment to be tailored to assess the relevant behaviors. Applicants understand and accept the need to create effective assessments with high job relevance.

Sleek User Experience

Behavioral assessments that have been designed specifically for use on mobile devices allow applicants the flexibility and autonomy to complete the assessment at their convenience, on the platform of their choosing.

The results of the assessment, presented in easily understandable language as an interactive HTML report, go a long way toward securing applicants' acceptance of the assessment. They also create a positive image of the hiring organization.

Curious about what personality assessment can do for your organization?

How Technology Helps Us Accurately and Reliably Assess Behavior

Responsive and adaptive personality questionnaires allow employers to customize those traits most closely associated with job success. This capability also allows for shorter assessments, decreasing the amount of time candidates need to spend on them and improving the overall candidate experience.

In the past, a 45 minute personality questionnaire may have been needed to get a valid score. Currently, the assessment may take only 25 to 30 minutes to achieve equally valid results.

Modern personality assessments rely on data science and psychometric techniques to ensure accurate predictions of on-the-job behavior and mitigate socially desirable responses and other attempts to 'game' the test. These assessments can help employers address a variety of human capital challenges, including identifying, promoting and developing high performers.

Different types of modern personality assessment tools can help you do just that by using multidimensional, forced-choice assessments. These require examinees to choose among two or more options or weight the described behaviors most relevant to how the examinee describes themselves.

This methodology, which leverages Al-enabled scoring models, lets employers create reliable, valid personality assessments modeled an the behaviors needed for a particular job in a more efficient and effective manner.

An Opportunity to Counter Unfair Bias

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

By using Al to compare candidates' personality profiles and competencies to job specifications and organizational demands, businesses can consider a much bigger Pool of candidates and make more objective decisions. In addition, personality in and of itself, unlike cognitive abilities, does not typically have naturally-occurring inherent subgroup differences. Due to this, using personality assessments as part of a candidate selection process can achieve greater diversity.

Aon works with a British engineering giant to help it build a more diverse workforce. By implementing Aon's reduced-biased methods and solutions, the company has achieved:

19%
Increase in female hires

200%
Participation by underrepresented groups

By combining marketing principles with talent acquisition, organizations can achieve a better diversity yield. Aon has taken a mobile-first approach, designing its personality assessments to be shorter and with a number designed as social messaging apps. On the desktop version, completions of assessments are typically 60-70%. Completion rates of Aon's mobile-optimized engaging assessments are approximately 95%, with the biggest increase in participation among under-represented groups.

Computerized, adaptive personality assessments can provide companies with the objectivity they need to recruit better, more diverse talent. These types of assessments can lead to better teams by accurately identifying hard-to-capture 'intangibles' through rigorous, fair and valid assessment methods. This helps hiring managers to rely on data for decision making rather than on gut feelings or intuition.

Adaptive Employee Personality Test

What is on the surface is only half the picture.

Employees and candidates bring more than just skills and experience with them to work — they bring their personality and all the preferences, tendencies, and styles that come with it.

ADEPT-15 is a scientifically based assessment designed to accurately uncover the unique aspects of an individual’s personality to help organizations hire, promote, and develop the very best talent. It has been proven by over 8 million global administrations, is backed by 50 years of research, and is built upon a database of 350,000 unique items.

Read more how ADEPT-15 can help you organization hire and develop the best talent.

Conclusion

Over the past two decades, advances in technology have transformed how we understand and assess personality.

However, employers that want to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to cutting-edge personality assessments should look to how technology will shape our understanding of personality, workplace dynamics and testing in the next decade and beyond.

As the talent shortage continues and demographics and workplace culture continue to shift, providing a top-notch candidate experience will be an even higher priority for employers.

Advances in technology — such as Aon's vidAssess and other innovative approaches to displaying assessments or questionnaires in an accessible, mobile-enabled way — will create a people-centered experience that candidates can undertake when and where they want. This will result in a more personalized, faster assessment process.

Building a responsive, agile 21st Century workforce is not just about the technical skills of the people you hire in the short term. lt is also about creating a strong, unique workplace culture that puts people at its center. Personality is at the core of that. Companies face challenges in making the transition to a more modern approach to talent assessment.

Ready to get started with personaliy assessment?