Wouldn’t it be great to peek into the mind of a prospective employee to learn whether he or she would be a good company fit? In a way, that’s what personality tests can do. More employers are using them, and with interesting results.
The most useful tests aren’t created in-house or relied on as the foundation of whether or not to hire. But there are a few that the HR community employs to add one more informative layer to the job candidate portrait.
Why They’re Such a Big Deal
Every reason to use a personality test distils down to one: turnover. Bad hires can make the company and the employee miserable, affect the bottom line and can even damage company reputation. That leads to employee turnover and the time and expense of filling the position once again.
These quantitative tools help you trim down your cost of hire because they give you “true insight” in a focused area, says Dice. Not all tests are the same. Some focus on work ethic and habits, some on cultural fit and some on emotional intelligence. And most tests blend those areas at least a bit. You might need more information about work ethic, so you’ll use a test that homes in on that information. But in those results, you’ll probably gain some insight into cultural fit and emotional intelligence.
Where to Find the Right Tests
Quantitative tools aren’t something you’ll draft on your own. Reliable ones that won’t risk an ethics complaint were created by professionals such as psychologists. And some of them have been around for a long time.
MSN Ranks three high:
- Caliper: Evaluates potential, personality characteristics, motivations, behaviors and job-related progress
- Gallup Strengths Finder: Uncovers top strengths and dominant talents
- Cattell’s 16PF: Identifies 16 personality traits such as the ability to handle stress and whether or not the candidate is prone to daydreaming.
Interestingly, the highly popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is not necessarily a great pre-employment test. Although the majority of major corporations use the MBTI test, Inc. magazine says that is a very bad idea. It could set you up for a discrimination complaint. Plus, it’s more for self-exploration than the understanding of others.
Should personality tests or quantitative tools be part of your hiring arsenal? Probably. Should you rely on them to reveal who a candidate really is? Probably not. Evaluation of test results takes a very light touch. Pay too close attention and you might hire a profile instead of a person.
By and large, these tools are great for gaining additional insight. They fill in a puzzle piece here or there, which gives you a better understanding of the person sitting on the opposite side of the desk. And that helps you make the elusive great hires.
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