The Pros and Cons of Personality Tests for Employees

Finding the right employee for a job or determining how to coach an employee to help them become better employees can be a very difficult process. Personality tests are one of the tools human resource professionals can use to help them find the right candidates and select the right training for existing employees.

The two main personality tests used in employment settings are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the DISC assessment. Both purport to reveal a person’s underlying personality type and describe how a candidate’s personality will influence their behavior in the workplace, including how they might get along with existing team members.

Pros of Using Personality Tests

  1. Weeds out people who are not good fits for the job.
  2. Can help balance out team chemistry.
  3. Gives candidates insight into their personalities and their strengths and weaknesses for a particular job.
  4. Can help guide people to their best careers.
  5. Can make hiring and promoting decisions more objective, providing legal cover for organizations who have struggled with diversity in hiring or promoting.
  6. They can help HR and managers determine the best ways to coach, train, and motivate employees.
  7. They can help HR determine if a person is a good fit with the company’s culture.

Cons of Using Personality Tests

  1. Candidates can freeze up when taking personality tests.
  2. Candidates may answer how you they think employers want them to answer, instead of honest answers.
  3. If HR has guessed wrong about the type of person who is best for the job, personality assessments can actually weed out the best candidates.
  4. They are not always interpreted correctly.
  5. People can excel at jobs even if they are outside of their personality types.
  6. Personality tests can be time consuming, especially for candidates who are eliminated by the personality testing.
  7. Personality tests can be expensive.
  8. Not all personality tests can accurately predict whether someone is the right fit for a job.
  9. Employee assessment tests, which look at job skills rather than personality, may be better predictors of an employee’s potential job performance.

While personality tests can be very useful in an employment environment, some companies over rely on them. They are a great tool to use when making hiring and promoting decisions, but should only be one of the tools that hiring managers employ to make their decisions.

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