Nowadays, technical skills, the famous hard skills, are no longer considered the main skills to have while looking for candidates. Recruiters and companies prefer behavioural skills: soft skills.
However, during an interview, it is not always easy to evaluate these soft skills or to reveal the true nature of a candidate.
Many companies nowadays use recruitment personality tests as a complementary tool in the hiring process. This allows them to assess not only the know–how of candidates but also their interpersonal skills and their motivations.
However, opinions on these recruitment personality tests are mixed. Are they really effective? Or are they based on standard profiles that no longer reflect the current market?
In this article, we give you the point of view of a psychologist and Elaine W. Long’s recruitment consultant in Tax & Legal at LHC International.
What are recruitment personality tests?
Personality tests are based on work in psychology and appeared in the 20th century. The psychoanalyst Carl Jung published a theory that distinguished introversion and extroversion, and this changed many things. Since then, an industry of personality tests has developed, based on these concepts.
These concepts were originally used only by psychologists but are now widely used in the professional world. Many recruiters use them in their hiring process to make sure they choose the best possible candidate.
Recruitment personality tests are often used in conjunction with other assessment tools such as cognitive ability, intelligence tests, and personality questionnaires. They are not a new phenomenon; they have been used in the recruitment process for several decades now.
Why do companies use recruitment personality tests?
It is a common practice for employers to use personality tests in the recruitment process.
As an organisation grows, the need for effective hiring, promoting, and retaining employees becomes paramount. Personality testing is a popular way to help companies in their recruitment, promotion, and retention efforts.
A recruitment personality test is used to determine the type of personality a candidate has, which helps them to assess his effectiveness in a certain role within the organisation.
These tests are believed to be able to indicate how a candidate will behave in certain situations and what her/his strengths and weaknesses are.
A personality test is often built as a set of questions where a person has to choose between two or more options that describe her/his personality and behaviour.
Based on the results, you can decide if the candidate will fit into the corporate culture and if she/he will be effective in this role. This might be a test that the candidate has to take online, or it might be an interview question, but the idea behind these questions is to get to know more about the candidate’s personality, and not only focus on the hard skills.
Different types of tests measure different skills:
- Behavioural assessments, which help to measure the core behaviours that candidates will need for the job.
- Multitasking: this help to show that the candidate can manage several projects and tasks at the same time.
- A typical day in the company
If you wish to read more about recruitment personality tests and which types of tests exist, you can read our previous article “How to prepare for a recruitment personality test?”
What are the pros and cons of recruitment personality tests?
- To get a good grasp of the candidates‘ personalities.
- Save time in the recruitment process: they allow you to scrutinise and understand the candidate’s personality and behavioural skills more quickly.
- Reduce recruitment errors.
- Determine the compatibility between the candidate and your company.
- Prepare the onboarding of the employee: by knowing your future new employee better, you will be able to personalise his or her onboarding and favour his or her integration into your company.
- Results that are not always reliable.
- Answers are sometimes irrelevant.
- These tests should not replace interviews: if the results of the test differ from your judgment in the interview, who should you believe? A general test or your point of view during a face-to-face interview?
- Risk of lack of diversity of profiles: the tests and results are based on typical profiles, which do not take into account atypical profiles that could be an asset for your company.
- These tests should not become discriminating: can we refuse a profile because the results show a too-strong or too-weak character?
We asked a psychologist and a recruitment expert to give us their point of view.
Notes from an American psychologist:
Tests in the hiring process have some utility but also limitations.
Whether the utility outweighs the limitations, or the other way around depends in part on how they are used.
In general, assessments with a connection to the actual work someone will be doing have the most value. That means, of course, that standardised assessments generally have less value. This is actually true of standardised tests across the board, not just for hiring.
The SAT, for example, is losing popularity with major universities in the USA as it is realised that this kind of test is not the best indicator of success at university.
What is important, is to make sure not to put too much emphasis on tests alone. They can be useful as one piece of the puzzle when assessing candidates, but they don’t provide the whole picture on their own.
Recruitment expert Elaine W. Long’s perspective:
Including standardised tests in the hiring process opens the door for an overreliance on them. When test results are at the forefront of what is seen when a candidate is being evaluated for a position, it is easy for the rest of the package to be overlooked.
Standardised tests measure specific things in specific ways, but people aren’t standard and when we try to put them into boxes, we can miss important things that do add real value.
Are you looking for new members for your team? You don’t know how to find the best fit and if you should use recruitment personality tests. Our recruitment experts can help you define the candidate’s profile for your vacancies. They can also advise you on what is the best recruitment process for your company.