How effective are personality tests for employment?

A study conducted in 2002 by Sara Rynes, Amy Colbert, and Kenneth Brown, to analyse that the beliefs of various HR professionals fell in line with the effectiveness of established traditional HR practices, revealed a shocking disconnect in the area of hiring employees, which is the most integral part of being an HR. More than 50% of the 1000 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) members with an average 14 years of experience was unfamiliar with existing practices.Personality tests are used to determine traits such as personality, cognitive abilities, and skills amongst suitable candidates according to the Wall St. Journal.

Research has revealed that 60-70% of prospective U.S. workers have to undergo personality assessment today as opposed to 30-40% of eligible candidates 5 years ago. This has rendered many businesses that didn’t have these assessment tests befuddled.

What HR managers usually get wrong about hiring research?

  • They believe that companies that hire employees with values produce weaker results and poorer outcomes than those who hire employees based on intelligence.
  • They believe that having a good conscience in an employee as opposed to possessing high intelligence does not stand a chance.
  • They think that integrity tests are a true measure of assessment although so many potential employees lie on those tests.
  • They believe that integrity tests are effective and that they do not have long run adverse impacts on the tenure of an employee in the company if he/she has lied on it.
  • They believe that the level of intelligence on every job is the same, hence it doesn’t matter if there is a very intelligent over-qualified person for a low-skill job, and it doesn’t matter if there is a person with average intelligence hired for a high-skilled job.
  • HR managers and professionals don’t have time to read and analyse the complex data, statistics, anddiagrams present in new research papers regarding new effective techniques for hiring processes.

What are the discrepancies in these well-designed tests?

  • These tests are notan exact science, and although there are many pros to integrating behavioural and personality assessments in an executive recruitment process, the proposed tests are not fool proof.
  • Different types of people can perform the same job efficiently; introverts may not be the first consideration for a sales job as opposed to extroverts, but they can use other assets such as good listening skills to their advantage while performing a task.
  • According to Harvard Business Review, businesses that rely primarily on personality tests, interviews, and reference checks, for potential employee screening, are using a hiring process that is very less effective than it could be if other measures were also included in the mix. They use the findings of researcher Frank Schmidt who performed a meta-analysis of productivity data and ranked various assessment tools according to their effectiveness on a scale from 0 to 1. That data reveals that multi-measure tests were the most effective in predicting job performance, earning a score of 0.71, and using only personality tests scored a 0.22, which does not stand a chance.

Thus, companies and their HR departments need to make prudent decisions when it comes to candidate screening using personality tests.

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