According to research, the average time an employee stays with a company is 4.2 years. Onboarding is expensive and time-consuming, so taking the time to find the right person to fill job roles is important.
It is one of the reasons why employers will often ask job candidates to do a personality interview. As an employer, you might be searching for a person who can slot into the team with ease, complimenting the existing personalities, or you might be looking for someone who will bring new energy to the team.
Whatever it is that you are looking for, personality tests have become an accepted norm when it comes to interviewing. However, tests vary greatly in terms of quality and reliability. Many candidates skew results by studying the “right” answers instead of answering candidly.
For this reason, it is important to understand why you would administer a personal interview and what results are you ideally looking for? Is it to find a candidate who will fit with your company culture, or are you looking for a person who is out-of-the-box?
One thing you can garner from conducting such an interview is whether the person is invested in working for your company or if they are paying you lip service. Interviewing in front of a panel is confronting for most people, and you can usually get a sense of a person’s values and commitment from such interviews.
It is important to remember that the word ‘test’ can really throw some job candidates. If you ask them to do a personality test, they might approach it as an academic exam and panic, search for a ‘right’ answer. This anxiety could show in their results, which would perhaps not be an accurate reflection of who the candidate really is.
One of the most popular tests administered is also one of the most unreliable.
Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) was inspired by the work of analytical psychologist Carl Jung and designed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs to assign one of 16 possible personality types to the test taker.
The MBTI is intended to assess how you work, learn, and communicate by measuring preferences regarding four primary factors:
- How we receive energy
- How we take in information
- How we make decisions
- How we organize our world
Your type is determined by how you answer a series of questions, and your results will include an assignment of a four-letter type to describe your personality. The letters indicate personality traits in four different dichotomies:
While the test is interesting and can be revealing for the person who takes the test, it is unreliable as studies show that a person might answer questions differently on given days depending on various factors which then influence the results.
DiSC – The DiSC is another assessment that is widely used and particularly favored in corporate training programs.
Similar to the MBTI, the DiSC assigns a combination of dominant traits to the individual, operating on the assumption that everyone is made up of a blend of four primary qualities:
Typically, each individual favors one of these qualities over the others (though there are some people who score similarly in multiple categories). Broadly, the understanding of these traits can be broken down as follows:
It is important to remember that personality tests such as MBTI and DiSC are indicators only. They do not reveal the nuances of a person, they do not take into account the lifestyle, stressors, or immediate circumstances that could be facing a job candidate that day.
One person might have had a flat tire on the way to the interview, then hailed a taxi just in time to make the interview but spent their grocery money on the unexpected fare and is now preoccupied with concerns over how to pay for food, while another candidate might have had a smooth morning with a partner bringing them coffee as they calmly prepared for their interview.
Both people would be feeling very different as they take the personality test, one stressed and preoccupied, the other focused and relaxed. The tests do not take such circumstances into account, that is up to you as the interviewer to discover.
Personality tests are used by many companies during the hiring process. They are designed to help employers gain insights into each candidate’s work style and preferences. However, it is only part of the interview process. As an employer, these expensive tools might help you to narrow down your choices, but there are other factors that should be more important as the decider.
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