Jul 06

Importance of Personality Testing

by Gladys Ogallo

Filed in: Expert Perspective, GladysOgallo, Leaders

Tagged as: ,

Importance of Personality Testing

Personality and aptitude tests (psychometrics) are helpful for managing people and for understanding yourself. You should also consider using personality and aptitude tests if you are recruiting or developing people.

Even though the question types and personality categorization differ from test to test, they provide insight into the human psyche.

There is a general feeling that many employers are not making full use of the PAT (Personality Assessment Tests) when recruiting. The factors that have contributed to this include.

  1. Costs: Most employers feel the cost of administering these tests is way beyond their budget. Some are unaffordable to many hence limiting their use
  2. Knowledge on the benefits: Most employers are unaware of the benefits of PAT. This leads to the traditional interviews being in use
  3. Internet access: Most of these tests have to be administered online with the use of internet. Most potential employees may not have access to the internet or some employers do not have internet installed in their offices. this limits the number of employees with access to PAT
  4. Wrong hiring practices: Some organizations have not developed or adapted the best practices in hiring. The procedures used are ambiguous and this limits the use of PAT with many employers

What is the importance of Personality Testing?

A personality test can provide us with a way to categorized different characteristics or traits that we might otherwise not be aware of.

Additionally, this categorization will help us learn how others might react to something in their environment.

These tests can be used for self-reflection and understanding, for job placement, and for learning how to better interact with others in a team or work group.

a) Job Placement:

If a job requires specific characteristics and personality types, then a personality test can be used for placement purposes.  For example, if you are joining a company where you will be placed into one of several close knit teams, the company might use a personality test to determine which group of people you would work best with.

In addition, if the personality test is properly configured to identify people who will be highly satisfied with important aspects of a job, hiring such people will significantly reduce turnover. For example, if a large part of the job requires the daily performance of a series of highly routine tasks, then it behooves a supervisor to hire people who can not only perform the tasks, but will be very satisfied performing the tasks over an extended period of time. The personality test can provide just that type of information. In other words, organizations interested in hiring high quality employees and reducing turnover can achieve greater success in both areas by employing a well-developed personality test in the hiring process.

b) Group Interaction:

In addition to understanding your own personality type, it is often beneficial to understand the personalities of those around you.  For example, many work teams and even sports teams, use personality tests to help the team members learn more about each other.  Since the personality test indicates some of your innate preferences, it can be very useful for other team members to understand what makes you tick.

Personality tests can also be used as a tool to help dysfunctional teams learn more about each other and begin to work through some of their differences.  Each team member would take the same personality test and then would share their results with the other members of the team.  Then, as a team, they would discuss the results and how to function as a more cohesive team.

Increasing the teams’ awareness of the personality types of the other members can create a more functional and cohesive team atmosphere.  Once the team members realize that someone has a different personality type that might make them more suited to one type of communication than the other, they can adapt and work together to create the best team dynamics.  Personality tests can be a great tool to use to bring team members together and create more productive teams

c) Self – Reflection:

By taking a personality test, one can often learn about his/herself and encourage self awareness.  For example, if a job involves presenting speeches and mingling with large crowds of people, but you’ve always felt a little uncomfortable performing the job functions, knowing that you are naturally introverted can help you to better understand yourself.  You will realize that performing these social functions will drain you of your energy.  By making this realization, you will be better able to cope with your job and create happiness for yourself.  For example, you can learn that you might have a better evening if you spend some quiet time alone before the functions to gather your energy.

Personality tests and quizzes can also provide insight into how you react to other people. For example, certain personality types have a tendency to get along better, while other personality types often are prone to arguments and clashes of style and opinion.

Why is personality important when hiring?

Personality is one of the most important factors when considering an employee for hire. A prospective employee’s personality can influence how that employee may perform within the confines of the business and interact with the existing staff. A goal-driven, positive personality can also be contagious and may boost the morale of the entire staff, leading to increased productivity and success. The key to hiring is to select the candidate with the right attitude then train them for skills to do the job. By doing this, the organization will ensure it hires candidates who adapt well with the culture of its staff. Personality is also important for the following reasons

i.  Team spirit

When hiring, an employer must consider how a prospective employee’s personality may mesh with the existing staff. Too many strong personalities with leadership characteristics can lead to a lack of teamwork, whereas a staff composed primarily of conservative personalities may lack the initiative necessary to achieve the business’ goals. A knowledgeable employer who is aware of the personality needs of his staff can use this as an effective hiring criterion right along with job experience
ii.   Customers buy from nice people

An employee with a more “people friendly” personality is good for a business that depends on customer service to drive sales. Customers buy from people they like and who are nice to them, and they quickly leave establishments where customer service is inattentive or rude. This is seen most often in the service industry where an employee has the power to influence a customer experience simply with attitude. In return the business get referrals for more business
iii.   The drive to learn

A prospective employee’s personality can tell an employer a lot about the drive and performance potential of the employee. This is particularly important in competitive fields like marketing or in commission-based sales positions. An employee who lacks drive or who does not display the desire to close sales will not fare well in those industries and is therefore not an ideal candidate for hire
iv.   Hire whom you like

As an employer, you get to hire whomever you want within the limits of the law. Hiring an employee whose personality you enjoy and whom you could see yourself being able to stand seeing every workday is an important factor when considering anyone for hire. If you hire someone whose personality clashes with your own, it could lead to problems in the workplace that could bleed over onto the rest of the staff, causing a more stressful work environment. Stressed-out employees make bad decisions that could ultimately impact the performance of the business.

Gladys Ogallo is the Managing Director and founder of Virtual HR. She can be reached on gogallo@virtualhr.co.ke

Previous post:

Next post: