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The Advantages and Disadvantages Of A Personality Test

Talent Assessment | 8 Min Read

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Personality Tests

Introduction

According to Forbes, 60-70% of employers use pre-employment personality testing to vet job applicants and recruit the right fit. 

Organizations are increasingly embracing advanced tools such as personality tests to make hiring decisions and build top-quality teams. One of the many benefits of personality tests is that they inform recruiters about an individual’s personality traits, motivation, values and work preferences for a specific job roleensuring they are the right fit. 

In today’s competitive landscape, where every employee and the time taken to hire them counts, it is important to select the right fit for the job. The advantages of using personality tests in the hiring process are that they not only prove to be a great way to filter candidates at the screening stage, but the same information can also be used throughout employees career trajectory to develop them for the right role.

I use a personality test during recruitment, but it mostly comes into play once someone is hired. Leadership ability, willingness to learn, introversion/extroversion, a personality test can really tell you a lot about someone. I have personally seen changes in how the groups within the company interact. If you put people in the right place, they will work better together.

Ethan Taub
CEO, Goalry Inc

 


Advantages & Disadvantages of Personality Test

 

Benefits of Personality Tests for Employment

 

The benefits of personality tests for employers are undeniable. They provide informative insights about how candidates’ personalities will impact their workplace behavior, enabling recruiters to understand how candidates coordinate with others, solve problems, and manage their emotions in the workplace.

The advantages of personality inventories include understanding the candidate better, an impartial recruitment process, reduced time-to-hire, improved ROI, identifying dark personality traits, and a greater probability of landing the best-fit candidate. Let us understand some of the benefits of personality assessments:

Understand Candidates Better:

Objective personality assessments help employers identify the required personality traits of potential candidates. The recruiter can filter candidates from a pool for a specific job role based on underlying personality traits. For example, if you seek to hire a business analyst, you will look for personality traits such as an analytical mind, curiosity, quick thinking, perseverance, excellent spoken English skills, empathy, and the ability to stay calm. Talent acquisition experts can leverage the advantages of using personality tests in the hiring process for smooth recruitment.

Faster Recruitment Process:

It lends speed and convenience to a recruitment processIt is an online mode of assessment, and the right candidates can be filtered out, reducing unwanted interviews. The time consumed in hiring candidates is saved as the personality test results can be achieved in real-time.

Eliminates Bias:

The benefits of personality tests also include a significant decrease in the chances of unconscious bias in selecting the candidates for the job role. Recruiters can make fair decisions by considering applicants based on their scores in the required personality competencies. A candidate possessing the requisite skill sets is considered the best fit for the job role. The personality assessment evaluates candidates on various parameters and provides transparent results to evaluate them on the same scale for recruitment.

Spot the Dark Personality Traits:

Employers can detect dark personality traits, such as opportunism, self-obsession, insensitivity, temperamental, and impulsiveness, from the personality test and make recruitment decisions accordingly. There are high-risk jobs where an employee may be responsible for a customer’s life or an asset’s safety; there are industries and sectors such as education and commerce that require utmost caution. There can be instances in cab services where a cab driver may behave inappropriately with a customer or over-speed the car.

Let us study one of the case studies where Mettl’s dark personality tool – MDPI – helped clients assess an individual’s dark personality traits:

One of the UAE’s biggest cab service providers used Mettl’s MDPI to streamline its talent pool and improve its service standards. Mettl’s Dark Personality Inventory (MDPI) contains six dark traits that identify dark personality constructs in potential hires and existing employees. The company employed MDPI to identify candidates with prominent levels of dark traits, which increased their propensity to display undesirable behavior toward the customer. The personality tool provided insights on how each dark trait would trigger different behavior by the cab driver toward the customer.

Cost-Effective:

Personality tests are cost-effective and can be implemented easily. A reliable personality test can provide information about a person within hours, which an organization may take several months to ascertain. These assessments reduce or diminish your chances of bad hires, providing a good ROI. A bad hire is not just a costly investment but can also significantly hamper the productivity and morale of your other employees.

 

Advantages of Personality Test for Employee Development

 

Gain Deep Insight into A Candidate’s Potential:

A personality test helps HRs gain deeper insight into how an employee can be groomed for future roles by highlighting their potential personality traits. For instance, if an individual shows high levels of presence of mind, critical thinking abilities, stress managing abilities, etc. She/he can be put in a strategic leadership role.

The advantages of personality tests don’t end here. In fact, they can also be used to gauge employee agility, their preferred mode of learning, and how they respond to change, etc. All these data insights can be effectively used to make the right people decisions in organizational planning, promotions and appraisals, leadership development, etc.

We use personality tests for our existing employees and those that have put their names up for promotion. We use this method to find what sort of leadership skills they hold and how we can get the best out of them. Personality traits then show us what motivates them and what drives them to do better. This is something we use to see how we can help the employees develop as a manager or a supervisor role.

Chans Weber
Founder & CEO, Leap Clixx

Disadvantages of Personality Tests


The world of personality assessment is crowded with tests and questionnaires, most of which are not valid. An organization must ensure it has trained professionals who are able to distinguish between authentic and incompetent tests. Some of the problems with personality tests are listed below:

Personality Tools Available on the Market:

There are several personality assessment tools on the marketplace that claim effective test results. However, such assertions may be a trifle far-fetched. An imperfect personality test may deliver misleading results, such as the wrong personality profiling of the candidate, hampering the employer’s hiring decision in recruiting the best fit for the job role.

Mercer | Mettl’s suite of personality assessment tools provides high reliability and validity of the assessment results. Mettl’s popular personality tools such as Mettl’s Personality Inventory (MPI), Mettl’s Personality Profiler(MPP), Mettl’s Motivation Inventory(MMI) and Mettl’s Personality Map(MPM) are some of the best data-backed, reliable and valid tools that evaluate critical work-relevant personality traits. They use scaling methodologies such as semantic differential item format to reduce the chances of respondents faking ‘good’ responses, improving the assessment’s usefulness. Likert scale is another rating scale that evaluates a candidate’s attitudes or opinions. The respondents are asked to rate items on a level of agreement with this scale.

Job-specific Customization:

Not every job profile requires similar personality traits. It is important for a personality test to be flexible enough while maintaining its reliability and validity to be customized to different job roles and requirements.

For instance, a candidate with a persuasive personality may be a good fit for a sales role. However, the same skill is not important for a digital marketing role. There is no one-personality-test-fits-all situation. Every organization has its own set of traits and competencies that they require its employees to have, and thus personality tests need to be customized accordingly.

Content Quality:

Many personality tests have substandard content, resulting in unclear questions. Ultimately, that affects the reliability of results attained. It is important to ensure and meet the experts who would be designing the content for your personality tests.  

Personality assessments require experienced content researchers to frame reliable personality tests. Hence, companies must select the right people and impart proper training to draft reliable personality tests. 

Response Styles:

Often, test-takers respond in a socially desirable manner rather than exhibiting their true personality traits. They can tweak their responses to score good results desired by the organization, misleading recruiters from making rational decisions. It is important for organizations to choose a personality test that considers these things and works around them.

Candidate Response:

Many job seekers fail to attempt the personality test because of nervousness, the lack of first-hand experience or undue pressure owing to the lack of time. Personality assessments often do not consider certain factors, such as the cultural background or the language barrier, leading to missing out on valuable talent.

A tool like Mettl’s Personality Inventory can be used to map the prescribed competency framework to the role in consideration to address the challenges of cultural and language barriers in personality tests. It allows organizations to customize their configuration and scoring to fit their specific needs and provide reports designed to facilitate data-backed talent decisions.

Listed above are all objective personality test advantages and disadvantages. Organizations and HRs should choose personality tests carefully as they would be relying on them for many significant decisions related to hiring and development.

 


Why Personality Assessment Is Important

Personality assessment is important because:

  • A personality assessment administered during screening helps recruiters identify personalities that can fit in the team perfectly and perform work effectively.
  • A personality test helps recruiters identify cultural and role-fit candidates who can adapt to the work environment easily and follow the company’s code of conduct judiciously.
  • The use and advantage of personality inventories are also that they help recruiters identify candidates who have dark personality traits, such as temperament, impulsiveness, insensitivity and self-obsession that can hamper the work culture and employee safety.
  • Personality assessments are important from the perspective of high-potential identification, leadership development, promotions, etc.

 


The Mercer | Mettl Way

While many organizations use different methods to conduct personality assessments, Mercer | Mettl evaluates four key aspects of human personality, including positive traits, dark personality traits, cognitive ability and preferences, motivation and values.

Mercer | Mettl offers valid and reliable assessment tools for personality assessments, customized to evaluate a candidate’s personality traits according to the organization and job requirements:

 

Mettl Personality Profiler/Mettl Personality Inventory is based on the ‘Big Five’ personality traits. These tools are innovative and data-backed personality assessments that evaluate critical work-relevant personality traits.

 

Mettl Dark Personality Inventory is based on six dark traits and aims to measure negative personality constructs in potential hires and existing employees.

 

Mettl Motivation Inventory is a comprehensive test of motivation that offers insights into a person’s drive and motivation to perform and excel at work effectively.

 

Mettl Personality Map is a comprehensive personality assessment, which measures 28 personality facets critical for workrelated outcomes. It has been standardized on the global population. 

 

Mettl Cognitive Ability Tests measure core brain function of memory, attention, speed and visualization.  

 


FAQs

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions:

Why do employers use personality tests for employment?

 

Employers use personality tests for employment because of the many advantages of personality tests, ranging from helping recruiters make effective hiring decisions to developing the right kind of people for future roles. The benefits of personality tests can be leveraged by recruiters at all stages of the employee cycle. Personality tests offer recruiters the confidence that the right person is being chosen to do the desired job.

 

What is the purpose of a personality assessment?


The purpose of a personality assessment is listed below:

  • Personality test helps the hiring managers to assess the suitable fit for the company based on personality assessment results. 
  • It helps recruiters decide which questions to ask when interviewing potential candidates.
  • It helps detect interpersonal characteristics required for specific job roles.

 

What are the advantages of personality inventory?

 

The advantages of personality inventory are: 

  • It helps people learn about their personality types and attributes.
  • It reveals the candidate’s personality traits, such as work preferences, motivation, strengths and weaknesses and attitudes.

 

What does the personality test reveal?


A personality test reveals core aspects of a human personality – the bright side, values, work preferences and style, and the dark side. It also reveals a candidate’s fitment in the company culture. The candidate possessing the required personality traits is suitable for the job role.

 

Why would someone use a personality assessment?


A recruiter uses a personality assessment to gauge useful insights into how candidates behave in a work environment and help predict job performance. The data gathered from the personality test helps them hire the right candidate and improves the teams’ coordination, work relationships, overall effectiveness and productivity.

 

What are the drawbacks of personality inventory?


Some of the problems with personality tests are unreliable personality tools on the market, inaccurate test results, nervous candidates due to language and cultural barriers, expensive personality tools and time-consuming assessments.

 

Why are personality tests bad?


While personality tests are effective pre-employment tools, they can also be bad. Some personality tests are not scientifically validated and reliable and claim to provide accurate descriptions of human personalities. However, they don’t. Therefore, it is best to opt for professionally experienced organizations to conduct personality tests.

 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of personality tests in psychology?


Some of the advantages and disadvantages of the personality test in psychology are listed below:

Advantages

  • Personality test enables recruiters to understand candidates and their fitment in the company culture better.
  • It negates the possibility of unconscious bias in selecting the candidates for the job role. The recruiters make fair decisions by considering applicants based on the required competencies. A candidate possessing the requisite skill sets is considered the best fit for the job role.

Disadvantages 

  • An imperfect personality test may deliver misleading results, such as the wrong personality profiling of the candidate, hampering the employer’s hiring decision in recruiting the best fit for the job role.
  • The results obtained from the personality test do not validate a good or bad personality. The assessment evaluates the personality traits required for the job role.

Originally published November 3 2020, Updated March 3 2021

Surbhi Sharma

Written by

Working in the content marketing industry for 6 years, Surbhi has written interesting and creative content pieces on Digital Marketing, Technology, Human resource, Accounting software, Home decor etc. She shares her knowledge on several web-platforms like Digital Vidya, Pulse, and Social Media platforms. A mother of one daughter, she loves to spend time with family and pursue her creative stints such as sketching and singing.

About This Topic

Personality assessments are a method of identifying candidates whose characteristics match the role and organization’s requirements. Personality assessments help HRs make effective people decisions by placing people in positions suited to their disposition.

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