During the hiring process, managers face the dilemma of knowing nothing or very little about the personality of the candidates. They mostly gather information and build preliminary impressions about the candidates on the basis of their resumes, social media profiles, and interviews. However, that information acts just like the tip of the iceberg. The more detailed ‘persona’ of the candidates gets unearthed when they undergo relevant and valid personality and behavioral assessments. These assessments show candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, preferences, temperament, motivation level and their ability to get along with other team members. They also provide employers with credible data to make important work related decisions. By using a scientific approach in hiring, employers can increase their number of successful employees who stay productive and remain with the organization for a longer period of time.
Personality assessments can help identify if a particular individual is a ‘team player’ or not.
There are many approaches and tests that help define and measure personality and behaviors, like Big Five Factor, DISC Myers and Briggs, and simulations. These are said to be connected to job performance and are predictors of certain outcomes like, “avoiding counterproductive behavior, reducing turnover and absenteeism, exhibiting more teamwork and leadership, providing more effective customer service, contributing more citizenship behavior, influencing job satisfaction and commitment to the firm, and enhancing safety1 .” Let’s delve into some of the merits of administering personality assessments at the workplace.
Ascertaining ‘Job fit’: It will be every organization’s dream that the new hires quickly adapt to the new system, understand dynamics of the job and start contributing towards the organizational goals. However, not every individual has a natural inclination to enjoy certain jobs and work environment; their personality determines their preferences, temperament, and behavior. Use of personality assessments with high ‘predictive validity’ can help identify the right individual ‘fit’ for a certain job and work environment and will also indicate about their future performance on the job.
Identifying and Grooming High Potentials: Assessing new hires with the purpose of identifying high potentials will be advantageous for the organization as it will help create the pipeline of future leaders. The insights obtained from these assessments can be utilized to prepare them for challenging roles in the future through various training programs and work-related exposure.
Ensuring ‘Culture and Team Fit’: It is important that the new hires smoothly and effectively integrate into the existing team comprising of peers, managers, and subordinates – and also with the organizational culture which boasts of a certain value set. There are some assessments that can help organizations accomplish this goal -usually, the collective personality scores of the existing team are collected against which new hire’s personality scores are compared to check for its fit. For example, a certain task demands excellent ‘interpersonal skills and teamwork’ however, a newly hired individual’s orientation is more towards working alone and not in a team. Personality assessments can help identify if a particular individual is a ‘team player’ or not. Furthermore, there are some inventories which measure and compare individuals’ values and belief system with that of organizations’ to check for any outliers or possible conflicts.
Controlling Attrition: Bad hiring decisions are often cited as one of the top reasons for employees’ turnover. Making poor hiring decisions not only has the potential to create a toxic workplace environment, but it can get extremely expensive as well. Assessments can prove to be effective tools to understand different aspects of behavior and personality of the people who make up the workforce. Enhanced knowledge of people’s behavior and personality will help employers make intelligent choices which in return will also improve employees’ work-related experiences. Individuals who gel well the with organization’s way of working tend to be happier and stay longer.
Minimizing biases: Personality and behavioral assessments done in scientific and valid manner paint a relatively accurate and objective picture of the new hires vis a vis plain job interviews. This helps minimize subjectivity and recruiters’ personal biases during the hiring or interviews like, ‘confirmation bias (tendency for humans to seek out information that supports a pre-conceived belief about the applicant)’ and ‘affective heuristic (tendency where interviewer’s decisions are influenced by quick and superficial evaluations, such as the level of attractiveness of a candidate, race, gender, background, etc)’.
Unravelling the complete personality of new hires will always be an elusive task; however, by using appropriate and validated personality assessments, it is possible to create a detailed profile of the new hires – which will facilitate their smooth integration in the new set up. However, it is important to note that while the term personality and behavioral assessments are used generically, not all personality and behavioral assessments can be applied to every context. Managers administering the test should also be trained to analyze and interpret the results so that necessary measures can be taken to enhance overall work experience.
1. Robert D. Gatewood, Huberto S. Field, and Murray Barrick, Human Resource Selection, 507 (7th ed., 2011).
This article is written in partnership with MeritTrac, India’s premier pure play Testing & Assessment services company providing innovative assessment services to leading Educational Institutions, Government organizations and Corporate entities.