Saturday, 4 April 2015

A HR's guide to Personality Test

This article is adopted from

Personality Tests: A selection procedure measure the personality characteristics of applicants that are related to future job performance. Personality tests typically measure one or more of five personality dimensions: extroversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience.
  • can result in lower turnover due if applicants are selected for traits that are highly correlated with employees who have high longevity within the organization
  • can reveal more information about applicant's abilities and interests
  • can identify interpersonal traits that may be needed for certain jobs
  • difficult to measure personality traits that may not be well defined
  • applicant's training and experience may have greater impact on job performance than applicant's personality
  • responses by applicant may be altered by applicant's desire to respond in a way they feel would result in their selection
  • lack of diversity if all selected applicants have same personality traits
  • cost may be prohibitive for both the test and interpretation of results
  • lack of evidence to support validity of use of personality tests


Select traits carefully An employer that selects applicants with high degree of 'assertiveness', 'independence', and 'self-confidence' may end up excluding females significantly more than males which would result in adverse impact.Select tests carefully Any tests should have been analyzed for (high) reliability and (low) adverse impact.
Not used exclusively Personality tests should not be the sole instrument used for selecting applicants. Rather, they should be used in conjunction with other procedures as one element of the selection process. Applicants should not be selected on the basis of personality tests alone.

Summary of Personality Tests

  1. Since there is not a correct answer to personality tests, the scoring of the procedure could be questioned.
  2. Recent litigation has suggested that some items for these types of tests may be too intrusive (Soroka v. Dayton Hudson, 1991).
  3. This technique lacks face validity. In other words, it would be difficult to show how individual questions on certain personality measures are job related even if the overall personality scale is a valid predictor of job performance.
  4. Hooke and Krauss (1971) administered three (3) tests to sergeant candidates; the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, the Allport-Vemon-Lindzey Study of Values, and the Gough Adjective Check List. These tests did not differentiate candidates rated as good sergeant material from those rates as poorer candidates. The researchers concluded that the groups may have been so similar that these tests were not sensitive enough to differentiate them.

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