Why You Should Include a Personality Test in Your Hiring Process

Posted by Juliet Badmos on

As an employer, your goal is probably to hire an employee for life. After all, the cost of employee turnover can be astounding. According to some studies, replacing an employee can cost tens of thousands of dollars, or up to twice their annual salary due to the cost of hiring, training, lost productivity, customer service errors, and more. One of the best ways to reduce employee turnover is investing more effort and time in the hiring process itself.

A personality test can be an effective tool to find long-term employees and avoid bad hires. Here's why you should include a personality test in the hiring process and what it can teach you.

The Benefits of a Personality Test in Hiring

The typical employer has many ways to screen candidates before making a hiring decision including education, criminal background checks, employment history, and drug tests. A personality test can become a similar screening tool. Personality tests can offer several benefits:

  • Narrow down your pool of candidates, especially when several have similar backgrounds.
  • Assists with the interview stage of the process to more effectively question candidates.
  • Offers a better understanding of candidates to help gauge whether someone will be a good fit for a team.
  • Helps eliminate bias that first impressions can create to give a better indication of someone's working style and personality.
  • Tests what candidates will do in a situation rather than what they say they have done. After all, experienced job applicants are likely prepared with anecdotes about how they have triumphed under pressure, but they may not offer the full story such as whether the candidate is quick to anger under stress.

Personality tests during the hiring phase aren't just for the benefit of the employer; they can also benefit the employee by ensuring the person hired is the best-fitting candidate who is likely to not only perform the job well but enjoy it.

Best Practices for Using Personality Tests

If you decide to use a personality test during your hiring process, remember that it doesn't give you the full story. These tests aren't designed to be your sole means of screening applicants, and you shouldn't make decisions based only on test results. Instead, they should be used with in-person interviews to give you a bigger picture of the applicant and choose someone who will be the best fit for the position.

Before administering a personality assessment, make sure you are legally protected and aren't asking questions that may be unethical or illegal. For example, some tests may include questions that can inadvertently and illegally prompt an applicant to reveal a mental illness. Don't change rules for some applicants; ensure that each applicant for every job type has the same checkpoints.

Finally, make sure you have a good understanding of your hiring priorities. You should have an ideal personality profile in mind when administering personality assessments including behaviors and attitudes that an ideal candidate will demonstrate. For example, if you want to promote a creative and unstructured work environment, you may want to choose a test screening for conformity and rigidity.

While personality tests aren't meant to stand alone when screening job candidates, they can be effective tools to find someone who will be a good fit for your team and more likely to stay with the business to avoid the high costs of employee turnover.

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