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Pre-Hire Personality Tests Help Make Better Hiring Decisions


Pre-employment personality tests are often utilized as one of many tools in the hiring process. While the use of the word test can strike anxiety into most applicants, personality tests are often examined in a completely different way than a skills test and are a part of the holistic approach to the application process.

According to the University of Pennsylvania’s Journal of Labor and Employment Law, the average cost of replacing a bad hire is 1.5 times the worker’s salary and benefits, so an employee making $30,000 dollars could cost $45,000 to replace. With those numbers in mind, it makes sense why hiring managers want to take as many precautions as possible to find the right candidate – and personality testing will allow them to get a sense of whether a candidate will fit in with the particular culture of their office. If you’re considering using a pre-employment personality test to assist in the hiring process, here’s an overall guide to using them for better hiring outcomes:

How personality tests can lead to better hiring decisions

Hiring can be a long, expensive process – naturally, an employer will want to vet applicants accordingly. The average amount of time an employee spends with a company is 4.2 years, the U.S. Department of Labor reports, so it’ll be beneficial to hire someone who is a good fit in all regards.

The interview process isn’t a natural setting to display your personality and may make it hard to catch red flags. A well-rounded personality test can provide more insight into whether an applicant will fit in, states Inc.

The value of a personality test for employers

Personality tests can be used to avoid inherent biases. It’s crucial for businesses to be diversity-minded, and many preach this- but how can they be sure that it’s being put into practice? Hiring managers are typically well-intentioned, but inherent biases aren’t made consciously. These biases can play a huge role in the overall structure of a team. However, a well-structured personality test, or cognitive ability test, can eliminate the flaws of human preconceived notions.

That’s why, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, it’s important to use a test that’s designed to measure specific traits that are important for your workplace. SHRM says that the strongest tests do the following:

  1. Measure stable traits that won’t change over time
  2. Are reliable, so candidates that retake the test will score similarly
  3. Have proven results at predicting job performance

However, it is important to remember that a personality test isn’t an overall judgment of who an applicant is, nor it is a reflection on your capabilities. It is a potential step in the hiring process.

Applicants can’t really fail a pre-employment personality test

Hiring managers know that human beings can’t be completely boiled down to the results of a personality test. They’re human, too – multi-faceted creatures that are more than the determinations of answers given on a personality test. Most great candidates for a job will not be overlooked because of what they score on a personality test or behavioral profile.  As tools in the process, they can give hiring managers or human resource employees a better, more well-rounded view into candidates. Hiring decisions typically don’t hinge on the success of this one tool, but it certainly won’t hurt an applicant’s chances if they score along the lines of what is being looked for in candidates.

Of course, it is easier in some professions than others to determine which personality traits are going to be the most beneficial. It’s intuitive to look for someone who is caring or patient when hiring nurses, but it may more difficult to determine exactly what characteristics serve an engineer or mechanic best – which of course is all things that should be considered before a personality test or behavioral profile is ever administered.

When to administer a personality test

Hiring managers may all have their own personal preferences when it comes to a time to administer a personality test, but every option has its perks. It may be best to wait until after an initial interview, this allows the opportunity to meet the candidate face-to-face first. However, if you want to be able to reflect on the results during the interview and use it to formulate potential questions, you could always give it to candidates first. There’s no hard rule on when they should be taken, although, a good practice is allowing applicants to take the tests online. This way, they can do it on their own time, without having to spend extra time in the office or being required to commute in to take it.

Finding a candidate that checks off the boxes for skill sets, as well as being a cultural fit can be a difficult task. Especially when considering the high cost of hiring the wrong candidate, it is crucial to be secure in your hiring decisions. Using EmployTest as a tool in the hiring process can ease worries and allow you to feel confident that applicants will succeed in your workplace.