Benefits of Workplace Personality Assessments

Posted in : HR Updates ROI on 5 June 2014
Caroline Reidy
The HR Suite
Issues covered:

Caroline McEnery writes:

Workplace personality assessments are designed to provide businesses with information on an employee’s behavioural style and how it is likely to impact their performance at work. The reports produced from the workplace personality assessment results can benefit organisations in several
ways and assist with:

  • Recruiting high calibre professionals
  • Identifying the best-fit candidates for a role
  • Identifying future leaders
  • Building and developing effective teams

Workplace personality assessments are mainly used to find employees whose personalities align with the workplace culture. The assessments generally measure personalities in line with the Big Five factor model – agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, emotional stability and openness. All five traits vary between two extremes with most people lying somewhere in the middle. Through evaluation employers will also gain an insight into whom will be a good fit for the company, the team and the environment. Typically a positive level of conscientiousness and agreeableness are traits all employers will be looking out for in an ideal candidate.

Aptitude and practical skills testing are often common in assessing the suitability of a candidate for a particular role and now personality tests are becoming increasingly popular also. The assessments measure employee characteristics and dispositions and give employers an idea of probable attitudes and behaviours that the company may face if they are to hire that employee. Personality assessments will vary depending on the industry you are in and the traits that are most important in that industry. For example a company hiring for sales staff will be seeking extrovert candidates.

The assessments can also be presented to current staff as an effective tool for improving the work environment. When a company discovers the differing traits and characteristics amongst employees they can put a plan in place to develop and deal with areas highlighted by the results. This can be done through targeted training and development or by consciously teaming up individuals with varying personalities allowing them to learn from each other. In doing this be mindful of diverse personalities clashing and assign duties and responsibilities to the most suitable person. Through personality testing the employer can determine the role individuals adopt in teams and discover how individuals intermix, reason and reach outcomes. Personality tests will also identify the leaders in the workplace. Once an employer has gathered this information effective teams can be created.

When choosing the test make sure it is relevant to the job specification and consider at what stage the test will be incorporated for potential employees.You may decide to carry it out before or after second interviews. This will depend on the numbers at each stage of the recruitment project. It is generally advisable to not carry it out at first round interviews as this could be costly for the company if there are a large number of candidates at this stage. The test should always be carried out in conjunction with an interview so you get a rounded impression of the candidate. The interview gives you an opportunity to assess the candidate’s manner, competencies and experience.

It is essential these assessments are administered by professionals who are trained to assess and interpret the results and that the tests are used in an appropriate professional and ethical manner. Employers should ensure they source the test from a reliable source. Tests should be designed by occupational psychologists. Tests are now mainly done online although they can also be paper based. The tests are usually presented in a multiple choice format. To assess the value of the testing it is advisable to assess employees on a regular basis. Through regular appraisals you will get an indication of how accurate and effective the testing is.

It is also important to provide employees with feedback following completion of the test. Feedback will provide individuals with a better insight into their own behaviour and can improve their understanding of their traits and characteristics. In turn employees may take more responsibility towards developing themselves.

Considering this the feedback proves as worthy as the results themselves. Finally prior to choosing the assessment ensure it is developed with a clear understanding of the characteristics or personal traits you want to measure to give the business clear results on the suitability of every candidate. Remember you cannot depend solely on tests as they may not measure a personal trait or ability perfectly accurately each time. It is important to interview and /or carry out any other relevant assessments to get gain a rounded insight into the individual.

This article is correct at 07/10/2015

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Caroline Reidy
The HR Suite

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