Are Personality Tests Accurate? | DiSC Profiles & Evaluations

      The Role of Personality in the Workplace: Are Personality Tests Accurate?

      Having the “right personality” might have a bigger impact on your value in the workplace than you think.

      According to a study published by Psychological Science, an Association for Psychological Science journal, job candidates whose personalities “aligned” with a company’s expectations and ideologies earned higher salaries than those who the organization felt did not align. 

      This disparity makes personality testing a hot topic, as the issue is split between those who believe personality is a vital part of any employee and those who think that a person’s skill set and ability to do the job should be the only factors in the hiring or compensation determination process. 

      Personality tests are very popular in today’s workplace. They’re used to weed out candidates who don’t fit into the corporate culture, determine whether you would make a good fit for a position, and even determine whether someone should be promoted. 

      While these tests can be helpful, they aren’t always accurate. Let’s take a look at how personality tests work and why they may not be as useful as you think.

      Personality Tests 101

      Personality tests measure what psychologists call “trait” personality characteristics — characteristics that are stable, enduring, and difficult to change. 

      These include things like (but not limited to):

      • Extroversion vs. introversion
      • Conscientiousness vs. nonconformity
      • Agreeableness vs. antagonism (or antagonistic traits)
      • Emotional stability vs. neuroticism

      The problem with many personality tests is that they do not take into account environmental factors such as culture or social class when measuring personality traits. 

      In other words, if you take the same test in two different countries or cultures with different values, there is no guarantee that it will give you the same results from one place to another.

      How Are Personality Tests Used?

      Personality tests can be used in a number of different ways.

      There are two major types of personality tests:

      1. Objective personality tests ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. They’re easy to administer and score, but they don’t give much insight into why people behave the way they do at work. 
      2. Projective personality tests ask people to interpret ambiguous situations and images, which allows the tests to provide a better idea of what motivates employees.

      The most common use of personality tests is to aid in the hiring process. You may consider using the results of these tests to determine which candidates would be best suited for a particular position within your company. 

      Pros & Cons of Personality Testing in the Workplace

      Personality testing has long been a staple of the hiring process. Proponents of personality testing argue that it can help companies recruit well-suited candidates for specific roles, but critics claim that these tests are flawed and should be avoided.

      Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of personality testing during the hiring process.

      Pros of Personality Tests

      There are many benefits to using personality tests in the workplace. For example, they can help employers identify candidates who are likely to succeed at different jobs within the company or find out whether employees have the right skills for a position before hiring them (or offering promotions).

      Personality testing can also help managers understand:

      • What motivates their employees
      • How they should manage staff on an individual basis, rather than relying on one-size-fits-all approaches, particularly when it comes to matters related to bonuses and promotions for rewarding good performance (or reprimands for poor performance).
      • An employee’s personality better and why they behave the way they do at work

      This insight will enable them to communicate more effectively with workers and find ways to motivate them and keep them happy at work.

      Personality testing can also impact training efficiency. Knowing what type of person they are working with makes it easier for managers to train workers properly because leadership understands exactly what challenges each employee faces at work and how best to overcome those challenges through training programs or mentoring sessions.

      Cons of Personality Tests

      While many companies use these assessments because they believe they will lead to better employee satisfaction and higher productivity, there are also some downsides to personality testing that employers need to consider before implementing this type of program. These can include (and are not necessarily limited to):

      • Subjectivity: Personality tests are often subjective and can’t be relied on as the sole indicator of an individual’s performance potential or job fit.
      • Open to interpretation: This unreliability is especially true when people take multiple tests that use similar scales but come from different companies or have different interpretations of what certain results mean.

      For example, sometimes, extremely detail-oriented and organized people may not be good candidates for jobs that require creativity and innovation. 

      If you’re hiring someone for a position that requires these skills, but you don’t have time to train them, then you may want to reconsider using personality tests because these tests may not be getting you the most qualified candidate.

      The results of these assessments aren’t always accurate or meaningful because they’re based on self-reporting rather than actual behavior patterns observed by multiple people over time (such as supervisors).

      An additional downside is that people may intentionally try to “game” the system by answering questions that lead employers to believe they’re more likely to be successful than they actually are — especially if they’ve seen other applicants do this before them. 

      This approach could mean that employers end up with employees who aren’t as good as they could have been had personality tests not been used at all.

      How Personality Impacts Employability

      Personality tests are a valuable tool for employers who want to hire an employee who is the best fit for their company. However, there are some limitations to these tests. 

      In fact, some personality traits are:

      • Difficult to measure, such as ambition or motivation
      • Subject to interpretation, especially when it comes to interpreting the results of some tests
      • Not the most accurate because they cannot account for changes in behavior over time or situational factors

      Consequently, it’s important for employers to know that there are many different types of personality tests available and that each has its own limitations and benefits. 

      For their part, employees need to understand that different companies may use different types of personality assessments and that these assessments should be taken with a grain of salt.

      Is One Workplace Personality Test Enough?

      This question comes up a lot, especially when HR departments are and hiring professionals are screening for mulitple factors, including personality, behavior, skills, company culture fit, and more.

      Coupled with our ability to source qualified candidates, Cowen Partners uses scientifically proven methods to test for personality, behavior, company objectives, and culture in order to find the best candidates for our clients. No more wasted time on subjective screening and inherent bias’, our screening process lets you focus on the best people for the job.

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