A Quick Guide to Using Personality ‘Tests’

By Cyndi Sax, senior vice president, Caliper

One of the toughest decisions an HR professional has to make is who to hire. You probably have at least one story of a candidate who aced the interview and had great credentials, but bombed in whatever job he or she was hired to perform. Hiring decisions can be stressful not just from an economics and resources standpoint, but also because, honestly, we don’t want to look bad to our peers by having advocated for the wrong applicant.

A bad hire is time and money wasted

If you’ve worked in HR long enough, you’ve probably encountered pre-employment personality assessments as well, or at least you’ve heard of them (or gotten a phone call from someone trying to sell you one).

It’s understandable to be skeptical. Human resources departments typically have limited budgets to start with, and now you’re being asked to shell out money so an applicant can take an anonymous questionnaire?

And you should be skeptical, until you can vet the assessment and make sure it is backed by real science. Once you do find a good pre-employment assessment, though, go for it, because in the long run, you are not only saving money by hiring the right person, but you are also opening yourself up to a world of data that can help with onboarding, team building, coaching, and succession planning.

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