The Best Way to Use Personality Assessments at Work

The Best Way to Use Personality Assessments at Work
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When used properly, personality assessments at work can be a scalable and cost-effective tool in your hiring, coaching, development, and succession planning toolkit. There are pitfalls, however, that talent leaders should be aware of if they want to get fair, accurate, and meaningful talent data.

The Top Issues with Personality Assessments at Work
Not only are there good and bad personality assessments at work, but there are also effective and ineffective applications of the assessments themselves.

  • Varying Degrees of Reliability and Validity
    When it comes to good and bad personality assessments at work, we measure both reliability and validity. Reliability refers to an assessment’s accuracy and consistency. For example, if a someone takes the personality test twice, they should get the same results.

    Validity refers to whether the personality assessment measures what it is supposed to measure or if it predicts meaningful outcomes. For example, approximately 75% of Fortune 500 companies report using MBTI during the hiring process, but the MBTI has not been validated for use in hiring decisions. It can be a helpful tool for self-discovery and team dynamics, but MBTI is not designed to predict job performance and can create legal exposure.
  • Some Can Be Manipulated
    While some personality tests are designed better than others, candidates often try to answer personality-related questions in a way they think will help them get the job or promotion. If not accounted for in the test’s design, this conscious manipulation negatively influences the validity and accuracy of the test results.
  • Legal Exposure and Diversity Risk Increases
    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced settlements with CVS and Best Buy based on the companies’ use of personality assessments during the application process. The EEOC contended the personality tests at work had a disparate impact against applicants based on race and national origin. Both corporations agreed to cease using personality tests at work.

    Additionally, if organizations use personality results to match the personalities of current employees, a lack of diversity may inhibit innovation and constructive debate.
  • Aptitude Can Get Disproportionately Minimized
    When used on their own, personality assessments help to uncover motives, interests, and styles but do not provide important insights about a people’s aptitude, ability, or skill levels. To combat this, savvy talent leaders use behavioral interviewing and leadership simulation assessments in conjunction with validated personality assessments for hiring, development, and succession planning.

The Bottom Line
Strong hiring, development, and succession planning processes measure critical job-relevant factors using proven and multiple methods. While personality assessments at work provide useful context regarding one’s typical patterns of thinking and behavior, personality results don’t tell the whole story. To increase the accuracy and predictive ability for your talent decisions, combine behavioral observations, personality assessments, and learning capability assessments.

To learn more about how to hire, develop, and promote high quality employees, download 3 Surprising Ingredients for Talent Management Success

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