Hiring for personality – why you should include it when recruiting candidates

In recent times, a greater emphasis is being placed on personality assessments while hiring new employees. Apart from evaluating skill sets, recruiters are now also conducting detailed personality tests as part of the hiring process. These personality assessments help recruiters understand character traits that would determine how the person would perform on the job.

According to various studies, cognitive abilities predict job performance across tasks, while personality characteristics predict performance in specific tasks. Personality influences how you think, feel and behave in both personal and professional situations. In the hiring process, personality assessments evaluate professional characteristics which would influence job performance. Hiring decisions are never easy to make. By conducting a holistic assessment of the candidate for technical skills, knowledge and personality, and considering prior experience, recruiters can come to a data-driven decision for hiring. 

The importance of hiring for personality

Rather than recruiting for specific competencies, companies are now keen to hire people who are highly skilled, exhibit characteristics that are suitable for the role at hand, and are adaptable to multiple roles in the organisation. People form the core of the organisation, and hiring competent people with the right personality traits is paramount for sustained success.

Personality assessments help with finding candidates who fit into the company culture and have the same values as the brand. They help assess the candidate’s problem-solving abilities in real-life or near real-life situations, and identify the working style, thought process, conflict management abilities, strengths and weaknesses, to name a few. They can help determine the true nature of a person. Hiring is an expensive proposition, and the cost of bad hires can be huge. A study conducted by the US Department of Labour shows that the cost of bad hires can be up to 30 per cent of the employee’s wages for the first year of employment. Not just that, bad hiring decisions can lead to lost productivity, disgruntled co-workers and clients, and decreased efficiency. 

By using personality assessments, companies are more likely to find competent people who also fit well into the company culture. This in turn boosts employee engagement and co-worker morale, as such people are more likely to be satisfied with their job, happy to share ideas and knowledge, and have a good attitude towards work. Personality assessments are objective, and hence minimise bias during recruitment and selection, leading to a diverse and inclusive workforce. They help arrive at more accurate decisions. 

Hiring for personality – why you should include it when recruiting candidates

Prioritising personality in hiring

Besides technical skills and prior experience, the Big Five personality traits – openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism are important from the perspective of performance on the job. Personality assessments can evaluate candidates for these traits. 

There are several popular standardised personality tests that can help you find the best candidates. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MTBI) indicates a person’s psychological profile based on four categories: introversion or extraversion, thinking or feeling, judging or perceiving, and sensing or intuition. These 16 combinations of various personality types show how people respond to situations. There are several other personality tests such as DiSC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance) for teams, Hogan Personality Inventory and Keirsey Temperament Sorter, to name a few. HR and Recruitment Managers must identify the tests that are right for the company, as also the job role. To do so, it is important to identify and list the traits that you are looking for in the candidate, and also identify the characteristics that every team member should definitely possess. 

Personality assessments can be administered any time – during screening, just before the interview, or in the final round for shortlisted candidates. They can be used for elimination, understanding the candidate better before the interview, or taking a data-driven approach for the final selection of candidates. While personality tests are useful, it’s also important to use the results in context. Personality tests are just indicators of possible job performance. 

In this regard, customised personality tests are the most useful and relevant. HirePro’s AI-powered end-to-end platform for precise functional assessments enables customised personality testing. Automated proctoring and diverse assessment formats, automated notifications and alerts enable a superior candidate experience and improved candidate engagement. 

It’s important to use a platform that is secure and compliant with the law. With online testing, the integrity of the test and test results need to be maintained, which can be managed with live or automated proctoring. The testing platform should also integrate with the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to offer a seamless experience. The results of the personality tests should be corroborated during live or video interviews. The data gathered from hiring assessments is precious. It can be used to identify areas that the employee needs to improve and plan the onboarding process and new entrant training accordingly. 

Personality assessments can be used for recruitment of all levels of employees – right from interns to the CEO. A holistic recruitment strategy will have a mix of cognitive and personality assessments, while taking into account prior experience, to produce a dynamic and healthy workforce.