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Recruitment technology

The Benefits of Using Personality Tests for Selection

Clare Hopping

The Benefits of Using Personality Tests for Selection


Travis Wise/flickrAs U.S. companies rely more heavily on pre-screening tools like personality tests to select their candidates, the hiring process is becoming more efficient and successful.

Finding the Right Person

These days, job seekers need to do a lot more than just submit a CV to apply for a position – employers want to guarantee that any candidate they hire will be successful at the company, and a simple list of skills and qualifications can only say so much.

According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. companies are starting to go above and beyond the resume, implementing pre-hire assessments like personality tests to find out more about their candidates.

Better Candidates Take Longer to Hire

In 2013, 57% of large U.S. employers were using pre-hire assessments to find the right candidate. And this strategy seems to be working, according to Steven Davis, an economist at the University of Chicago: his research has found that labor market churn (the annual sum of hires and separations) has declined by more than 25% since 2000, meaning that companies are witnessing far less turnover.

“The incentives to screen before hiring have increased over time, while the costs have declined,” said Mr. Davis. “Both those things are encouraging employers to move away from what was essentially a trial employment situation to just screening people out in advance.” As employers get better at selecting candidates, employees become more successful and stay longer in their positions without getting fired or quitting.

The time that it takes to find, screen, and hire, however, is getting longer. In February 2015, it took 26.8 days on average to fill a position – an all-time high.

Do They Really Work?

Personality tests first gained popularity in the 1940s before falling out of favor two decades later, as mounting research exposed the tests as poor predictors of future success.

As Sharon Florentine wrote in CIO, it can be difficult, of course, for test results to capture all of the complexities of our personalities – some people may react one way in a social situation and react another way at work. She questions whether or not they can “account for human beings’ desire to pass the test, which can lead candidates to give the response they believe the hiring firm wants to hear.”

To combat these old flaws, tests currently being designed aim to keep even the cleverest job-seekers from knowing what the right answer should be, requiring applicants to honestly respond to statements like, “I dislike yelling, but sometimes a little yelling is necessary.”

The Benefits of Pre-Screening

With customised pre-screening, companies can determine the best qualities of their most successful employees and update their testing algorithm to favor candidates with those traits. The tests can be continually refined to help employers pinpoint the kinds of hires they want.

With most companies facing a high volume of applicants, personality tests can be used to simply sort hopeful candidates into yes, no, and maybe piles to help hiring managers streamline the process. Personality tests can also be used to build a detailed profile of each candidate, allowing the hiring manager to get up close and personal with each applicant ahead of time.

Using technology to power the process

LaunchPad Recruits understands that selecting the right candidate requires looking at a lot more than just a list of qualifications on a CV. LaunchPad’s video interviewing services allow hiring companies to pre-screen a huge number of people, simplifying and streamlining the review process for hiring managers and recruiters, who can set interview questions in advance, invite applicants to submit a video, and then review those videos at their convenience.

Paired with useful tools like personality tests, recruiters can now get a fully comprehensive view of who their candidates are, allowing them to make an informed decision about who to bring on board for the long haul.

(Main image credit: Travis Wise/flickr)

Clare Hopping

Clare Hopping has been involved in the recruitment of both full-time employees and freelance staff for ten years. She specialises in recruiting staff via social media and digital platforms.