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FAQ: Personality Assessment Tools

FAQ: Personality Assessment Tools

1.  What are personality assessments?

A personality test is a questionnaire or other standardized instrument designed to reveal aspects of an individual’s character, traits and behaviors or psychological makeup.

2. Why should you use them?

In combination with other assessment tools, personality assessment testing can yield advantageous predictions regarding how a candidate will perform in a future role. The results of the Aberdeen study, “Human Capital Management Trends 2012: Managing Talent to Lead Organizational Growth” revealed that the top companies, the so-called “Best-in-Class organizations, were “79% more likely to use pre-hire assessments than their laggard counterparts (68% versus 38%) and nearly one and a half times more likely to use post-hire assessments (55% versus 24%).”

3. What are the specific applications that I can use personality assessments for?

This depends on which tool you are using. Many of the “workplace” designed tools have applications for:

  • Hiring & Selection
  • Leadership Development
  • Motivation and Communication
  • Team Building
  • Coaching
  • Conflict Management and Resolution
  • Training and Development Planning
  • Career Development and Succession Planning
  • Organizational Design

Be sure to check if the tool you are using meets the requirements of the application you are using it for. For example, some of the more popular tools are not recommended for hiring and selection, including the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

4. Does the EEOC “approve” personality tools for hiring & selection?

No, the EEOC does not “approve” any assessment tools. They do however publish a guide that states what requirements the tools must meet in order to be used for hiring and selection. This guide states:

“The use of tests and other selection procedures can be a very effective means of determining which applicants or employees are most qualified for a particular job. However, use of these tools can violate the federal anti-discrimination laws if an employer intentionally uses them to discriminate based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, or age (40 or older).”

To learn more, visit Employment Tests and Selection Procedures.

5. How do I know if these tools are valid instruments?

A test validation study, or test validity, for a pre-employment assessment instrument is only an objective measure that reveals if the personality assessment actually measures what it purports to measure. Validation is not a stamp of approval by any governmental agency but rather a study undertaken and directed by the test publisher in accordance with certain professional standards.

Construct validity Refers to the degree to which an assessment tool measures the construct that the assessment was designed to measure. For example, does the personality test actually measure personality?

Construct validity is then broken down into 5 different types:

  • Face validity:  Refers to the degree to which an assessment appears at “face” value to measure what it’s intended to measure. This is the weakest form of evidence, so don’t rely on it too much (think, never judge a book by its cover). However, the way an assessment seems to people is an important indicator of attitudes towards an assessment.
  • Content validity:  Refers to the extent to which a measure represents all facets of a given construct. For example, a final exam has good content validity if it covers all the material that students were supposed to learn over the course of the semester.
  • Criterion validity:  Refers to the extent to which assessment results are correlated with other variables that reflect the same construct. For example, high IQ should reflect good grades.

Criterion-related validity is then broken down into concurrent validity and predictive validity.

  • Concurrent validity:  Refers to when test results correlate with a separate test’s results taken at the same time.
  • Predictive validity:  Refers to when a criterion to be measured in the future correlates with results of a given assessment. For example, SAT scores should predict college grades.

Another example: when an employer hires people for a job based on normal hiring procedures (interviewing, reference checks, education/experience, etc.) and at the same time has them complete the pre-employment assessment, but does not utilize any data from it in the hiring decision. Later down the line, the pre-employment assessment is scored, and benchmarks are established of the people who were hired in the new jobs who are still with the employer and whom the employer consider successful. Job Benchmark Standards are thus established through the Predictive approach.

6. How much do personality assessments cost?

This depends on how you purchase them. On an individual basis, personality assessments typically range from about $30 to $1,000 each. Some companies (including the MPO we recommend) offer “unlimited” use for an annual fixed fee.

7. Do we need training on how to administer and utilize personality assessments?

Like most tools, personality assessments are only as good as the person using them! That means that the person administering them must understand two things:

1)      How human behavior truly works (for example, the difference between a Trait and Behavior)

2)      A basic understanding of how psychometric assessment tools (personality profiles) work.

With an understanding of those two things, you can then achieve your objective with most of the tools available, as long as they have been validated to do what they claim. Most of the better personality assessment tools on the market offer certification training and even insist on you having at least one person in your company trained in order to use it.

8. What should I look for when deciding which personality tool is best for my company?

The best personality assessment tools on the market should meet the following criteria:

1)      Documentation is available to prove that they are valid instruments.

2)      Training: The company providing the tool should provide a one or two day certification training for your staff that will administer and interpret the results.

3)      The tool should be easy to administer and take. This includes online administration and management. Tests shouldn’t take more than about 15 minutes to complete, and they should include a graph for quick interpretation of the results vs. having to read through a lengthy report.

4)      The personality report should include two result areas: One that tells you what the person’s hardwired personality traits are and another that tells you how they believe they must behave in their current role. This provides you a comparison between who they are and who they believe they need to be and the potential difficulty they may be having in modifying and sustaining that changed behavior.

5)      Job Profile: For hiring and selection, the assessment tool should also include a tool to help you benchmark the ideal and/or required traits of the job that you can then use to compare an individual’s results to. Otherwise you are just being subjective about the results of the applicant’s profile about the fit for the job.

6)      Cost Effective: The tool should provide you several purchase options to meet your specific needs and budget. They should not cost you more than about $30-$50 per assessment, depending on the quantity you purchase.

What personality assessment does Career Partners prefer to use?

The MPO (Management and Performance in Organizations) is our tool of choice and is the latest state of the art solution designed to assess and manage human capital in organizations. The MPO is based on the assessment of personality and perceived job performance. The tool assesses seven factors and their interactions to produce a graphical and written report that is one of the easiest to learn and apply. The MPO also has a tool called the Job Profiler that helps you establish the ideal or required traits of the job, which you can then use as a benchmark for a candidate’s or employee’s individual MPO profile. And the MPO also has a team-building tool called Interactive Dynamics at Work (IDW). People from any organization can be trained to become authorized analysts, or, if the business prefers, opt to utilize the service of MPO-certified partners located through- out the United States or Canada. 

Where can I learn more about Personality Assessment Tools?  FREE DEMO

To learn more contact:

Career Partners International KC

Office: 913.322.0618