The benefits of workplace personality assessments

While aptitude testing is a common practice, personality testing is now becoming just as important when deciding on a candidate for a job. Caroline McEnery of The HR Suite explains the benefits of personality tests but warns that it is still important to interview prospective employees to gain a rounded view of the individual



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13 August 2014

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Workplace personality assessments are designed to provide businesses with information on an employee’s behavioural style and how it is likely to impact their performance at work. The reports resulting from workplace personality assessments can benefit organisations in several ways and assist with:

  • Recruiting high calibre professionals
  • Identifying the best-fit candidates for a role
  • Identifying future leaders
  • Building and developing effective teams

Workplace personality assessments are mainly used to find employees whose personalities align with the workplace culture. The assessments generally measure personalities in line with the Big Five factor model – agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, emotional stability and openness. All five traits vary between two extremes with most people lying somewhere in the middle. Through evaluation employers will also gain an insight into who will be a good fit for the company, the team and the environment. Typically a positive level of conscientiousness and agreeableness are traits all employers will be looking out for in an ideal candidate.

Personality matters

Aptitude and practical skills testing are often common in assessing the suitability of a candidate for a particular role and now personality tests are becoming increasingly popular also. These assessments measure employee characteristics and dispositions and give employers an idea of probable attitudes and behaviours that the company may face if they are to hire that employee. Personality assessments will vary – depending on the industry you are in and the traits that are important in that industry. In the retail industry employers will be looking for extrovert candidates with integrity and the ability to remain calm under pressure.

Targeted training

The assessments can also be used with current staff and are an effective tool for improving the current work environment. Once a company discovers the differing traits and characteristics amongst employees they can put a plan in place to develop areas highlighted by the results. This can be done through targeted training and development or by consciously teaming up individuals with varying personalities, with the aim of employees learning from each other. Through personality testing the employer can determine the role each individual adopts in teams and can learn how their employees reason, reach outcomes and intermix. Personality tests will also identify the leaders in the workplace. Once the employer has gathered all of this information they will be able to create the most knowledgeable and multi-skilled teams. When creating these diverse teams be mindful of the different personalities and assign duties and responsibilities to the most appropriate person.

Carried out at interview stage

When choosing the most suitable personality test make sure it is relevant to the job specification and consider at what stage of the recruitment process the test will be incorporated. You may decide to carry it out before or after second interviews. This will depend on the numbers at each stage of the recruitment project. It is generally advisable not to carry it out at first round interviews as this could be costly for the company if there are a large number of candidates at this stage. The test should always be carried out in conjunction with an interview so you get a complete impression of the candidate. The interview will allow you an opportunity to assess the candidate’s manner, competencies and experience.

It is essential these assessments are administered by professionals who are trained to assess and interpret the results and that the tests are used in an appropriate professional and ethical manner. Tests should be designed by occupational psychologists and employers should ensure they source the test from a reliable source. The tests are usually presented in a multiple choice format and tests are now mainly done online although they can also be paper based. To assess the value of the testing it is advisable to assess employees on a regular basis. Through regular appraisals you will get an indication of how accurate and effective the testing is.

Feedback is important

It is also important to provide employees with feedback following completion of the test. Feedback will provide individuals with a better insight into their own behaviour and can improve their understanding of their traits and characteristics. With this insight and understanding, employees will be likely to take more responsibility towards developing themselves. With this in mind remember that the feedback proves as worthy as the results themselves so ensure you make the time with both new and current employees to discuss the outcomes of their personality tests.

Finally prior to choosing the assessment ensure it is developed with a clear understanding of the characteristics or personal traits you want to measure – to give your business clear results on the suitability of every candidate. Remember you cannot depend solely on tests as they may not measure a personal trait or ability accurately each time. It is important to interview and carry out any other relevant assessments to gain a rounded insight into the individual.

If you require further information on workplace personality assessments please do not hesitate to contact one of the HR advisors at The HR Suite on 0667102887 or email





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