Today’s Human Resources (HR) professionals know it’s not enough to hire people based only on the skills they have; these potential candidates also need personalities that align with the company culture and the nature of the work. Keeping that in mind, although there are thousands of assessments to choose from—some significantly more accurate than others and the most successful combining personality, cognitive, and integrity tests—it’s not surprising that the use of personality assessments in the workplace is growing as much as 10% per year, and more than one-fifth of companies use these tools to help predict if job candidates will fit in.
HR professionals may depend on personality assessments for training and onboarding. These tests are also useful in helping someone determine what kind of work to pursue. For example, resource pages for high school students are available for guidance in deciding what college programs they’d like to enter or what trade is the best for their personality.
Here is essential information about eight of the most commonly used personality measurements for both strategies. Knowing more about them should make it easier to decide which one is best for your company’s needs.
1. California Psychological Inventory (CPI)
Companies use the CPI to look for employees who are likely to interact well with others, and the results predict how an individual will react under specific circumstances. The inventory offers feedback on work-related characteristics such as sociability, conceptual understanding, and independence.
Administrators claim this assessment is extremely reliable. In this field, reliability is the level of consistency shown when using the evaluation several times, and valid assessments measure what they claim.
Also, the design of the CPI helps identify respondents who falsify answers to improve their results; these respondents are sometimes allowed to retake the test.
2. Caliper Profile
The Caliper Profile looks at more than 25 personality traits that correlate to on-the-job achievement. It identifies strengths, weaknesses, and potential while also providing information about motivators. Specific attributes covered include empathy, leadership, and time management.
One of the advantages of this assessment is that it examines both positive and negative features, as well as certain personality aspects that are considered in relation to each other, which is helpful because not all employees need to have the same qualities, and some traits are either beneficial or possibly detrimental depending on the position. For example, in some jobs, aggressiveness is a bonus, whereas other roles may call for a more sensitive approach.
3. DISC Assessment
In the DISC assessment, questions about behaviors and beliefs categorize individuals within four personality styles—dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness—and test takers indicate how they would react to certain situations.
The results communicate general expectations about potential behaviors. For instance, people highly rated for steadiness are typically considered to be skilled in interpersonal interactions. However, for specific individuals, these assumptions are inaccurate.
The DISC assessment is not norm-referenced. In normative tests, an individual’s score is compared to patterns of behavior found within large numbers of results, but DISC is ipsative, which means no comparisons are possible, and individual responses stand alone. Without the ability to contrast test takers’ scores, the test can’t predict future behavior but rather is more of a review of potential strengths and weaknesses.
4. Gallup StrengthsFinder
Instead of exploring a range of personality traits, this assessment focuses on strengths and highlights a person’s top 5 attributes out of 34 possibilities, which include characteristics such as positivity, achievement, and helpfulness.
This test came into existence following studies that found there are specific talents more likely to support success in the workplace. University of California, Los Angeles and Harvard psychology researchers refined these results.
The team that developed the test chose to focus on strengths to help people expand skills rather than self-correct faults, and it is a helpful employment assessment tool because it emphasizes traits that are important to workplace success but ignores unenlightening negatives, which reduces the chances an HR professional might fixate on a downside that doesn’t link to future job success.
5. Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
A psychologist must supervise the administration and evaluation of this assessment, which is generally used to assess candidates’ readiness for work settings where they might experience significant psychological stress, such as on the police force.
A participant usually completes the inventory on a computer, answering a large battery of true-or-false questions, and a psychologist then interprets the results.
However, this personality assessment is not appropriate for most businesses, as it covers too many areas unrelated to most work responsibilities.
6. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
This well-known personality assessment looks at several variables: world focus, information-gathering, decision-making, and interaction style. Each is on a continuum.
The extremes for these variables are, respectively, introversion or extroversion, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving. Participants are categorized according to how their strongest traits interrelate.
Although this assessment is popular in corporate America and the results could help people improve their interactions with others, there is little psychological evidence that indicates it is a reliable measurement.
7. 16 Personality Factor (pf) Questionnaire
The 16pf® Questionnaire is used in workplaces, academic settings, and counseling situations. It measures 16 personality dimensions, including warmth, social boldness, openness to change, self-reliance, and perfectionism.
Results are organized according to more general personality factors, such as extraversion, tough-mindedness, self-control, anxiety, and independence, which creates an overview that predicts behaviors.
Researchers have found the questionnaire to be valid when results are compared to similar assessments, and studies demonstrate the 16pf’s validity through the similar results participants get when retested weeks or months later.
8. The SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ)
HR professionals use this test to determine how a person’s behavioral style may affect how he or she will perform at work. This test measures 32 performance-relevant characteristics grouped into broad categories, such as relationships or sociability.
The questionnaire has 104 items arranged into blocks of 4 statements each. Test takers have to look at all the comments in a respective block and choose the one that is most true or typically true about themselves, as well as the statement that’s least applicable. There is also a built-in social desirability measure intended to indicate when people give false responses.
In 2007, the British Psychological Society (BPS) evaluated the OPQ and gave it high marks—it received the highest-possible rating for quality, as well as high scores for validity and reliability.
The BPS also noted that the OPQ is well written and can be easily understood, which should help those taking the test to concentrate fully on each statement without feeling confused or overwhelmed. Even though the BPS evaluation happened a while ago, the clout of that organization helps give credibility to the results even today.
Personality Tests Could Help Companies Grow and Remain Competitive
Especially in tough economic times, companies need to address problems with strategic growth. Investing in talent is an important part of a company’s growth strategy, but it must be the right kind of talent. With this in mind, employers look for methods to improve their chances of hiring top performers.
Personality tests can certainly be used among the tools HR professionals use to find candidates, but they are most effective when they are a part of a multimeasure assessment and are not very predictive of future job success when used alone.
Within this framework, the best personality assessments look at traits that remain stable over time, let administrators compare scores among participants, and weed out candidates who do not answer honestly.
This overview should help HR experts understand the purpose of some of the most well-known personality tests, how they work, and whether it’s time to use them within a hiring plan.
Some of the assessment tools covered work well for most businesses, while others are so specific in what they measure that HR workers should think carefully before choosing them to assess candidates.
Kayla Matthews, a technology journalist and human resources writer, has written for TalentCulture, The Muse, HR Technologist, Inc.com and more. For more by Kayla, follow @KaylaEMatthews on Twitter or visit her blog, Productivity Bytes.