Management Matters

5 Tips to Using Personality Tests

Date Posted: 09/28/2015

Recruitment is a very expensive process which has the potential of wasting scarce resources by getting wrong candidates on board, if not handled correctly. There can be no ‘hit-or-miss’ in this area and employers must validate their recruitment decisions by all means possible. It is here that personality tests and behavioral assessments have become recognized in providing important cues on how a prospective employee may turn out and perform after being recruited. Personality Tests have therefore now become a crucial part of the current recruitment process that strives to ensure that the right candidate is picked for the right job. With proper tests, the qualified recruiter can better identify traits that suggest how the candidate might ‘fit in’, not just in the specific role, but also in the wider context. The recruiter can also spot potential for multi-functionality, interact-ability with superiors and peers, and the ability to easily blend into the corporate culture.

Testing personality regained popularity after a low period because of some perceived insensitivities to certain desired traits of enterprise and multi-functionality that were being allegedly ignored. The new revised testing methods incorporated these traits, making testing more suited to organizational needs. When the internet opened up, many testing choices became easily available, with access to software enabling customized testing and evaluation at nominal fees. Presently, going beyond just hunches, certain specialized techniques can confirm, to a great extent, the recruiters’ gut feelings about a candidate so that assessments turn out to be correct in the long run.

Industrial psychology suggests the following test protocol:

  • What is the specific test expected to achieve?
  • Does the test correlate with the job and its requirements?
  • Is it free of bias towards candidate’s age, gender, community/religion?
  • Is the test reliable in producing the same scores on repeats?
  • Is the assessment credible, correctly predicting professional behaviors?
  • How complex is the implementation regarding cost, time for assessment, applicability across organizational hierarchy, and future dependence on specialist vendors?

Here are aspects that recruiters may consider when applying personality tests:

Know what tests should reveal

  • Is the candidate organized?
  • Is the candidate willing to patiently listen and learn?
  • Is the candidate a team player?
  • Is the candidate willing to fit in with the organization’s culture?
  • Is the candidate willing to admit and learn from mistakes?
  • Is the candidate able to control emotions?
  • Is the candidate able to gracefully understand, or resent criticism?
  • Is the candidate likely to stay calm under pressure?
  • Can the candidate resolve conflict effectively?
  • Is the candidate empathetic to team members?
  • Can the candidate lead a group?
  • Does the candidate make considered or whimsical decisions? 

Ensure good hiring results

Is implementing personality testing a viable option for enterprises that would not normally commit to such expenditure? Every bad or wrong hire is a lost investment and the cost of employee replacement is high not only in the terms of money but also in terms of wasted time. Though the costs of personality tests are also expensive, it still offsets the coat of bad hires.

Use professional, not in-house testing for good hiring

When it comes to hiring correctly, it takes a particular kind of training that enables the assessor to make correct decisions. Thus, many efficient managers basking in the success in their respective jobs may not necessarily be equally good at intuitive judgments and interpretation of personality traits that could suggest the candidate’s future productivity. Smart hiring is another ball game altogether and depending on third party specialist like Ikon can save you much more than the money you waste on a bad hire. Organizations not using appropriately trained HR professionals can come to regret their bad hires. Avoiding hunches and gut feelings and implementing personality tests and behavioral assessments by professionals will definitely pay dividends in the long haul.

Make your hiring need specific, not candidate likeability

Pleasing personalities are immediately more appealing and therefore a threat to proper assessment. Smart candidates can charm their way into the minds of the recruiter with smooth talk which conceals their weaknesses. Only an appropriately trained recruiter experienced in identifying behavioral traits can match the candidate’s suitability to the wider job profile and ignore the distractions of superficial attractiveness.

Don’t go by tests alone

Tests can expose personality traits but can’t guarantee that the person will succeed. Human judgment alone has its obvious limitations and should not be expected to always throw up perfect solutions every time. There are too many variables that impact on the hiring process to let this happen, like resumes, interviews, team meetings, reference checks, income verifications, credential verifications, background checks, etc. But personality tests do enable better assessment of candidates and reduces the chance of bad hiring. It is advisable to start assessing from interview short-listing till final selection review for proper implementation of tests.


Employers should apply proven personality tests in their hiring decisions because that is the only scientific way to safely predict whether candidates will live up to their expectations and roles.

Need help in sourcing top quality staff? Ikon – a full service facility – is here for you!

You can trust Ikon to find the best people for you and be assured that every detail of the hiring process including personality tests and behavioral assessments will be maximized in finding your ideal candidates. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for future articles, please email us at [email protected]. We regret that replies cannot be addressed individually.

©2015 Ikon Solutions Asia, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of this article shall be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from Ikon. No patent liability is assumed with respect to the use of the information contained herein. Although every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this article, the publisher and author assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of information contained herein.

 Ikon specifically disclaims any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this article.