Drop the Pre-Employment Personality Test

Currently, the personality testing market is estimated to be worth $2 Billion.  Nearly 62% of American companies use some form of a personality or psychological test as a part of their pre-employment screening.  However, this may be $2 Billion in wasteful spending for companies.  An article that was published in the Consulting Psychology Journal in 2006, stated a 5-week retest found that over 50% of the participants of a Myer-Briggs test received different personality classifications.  Additionally, these tests fail to predict employee success in various jobs.  With poor results and zero predictability of job performance, why do so many companies use personality tests as a pre-employment tool?

Many Personality Tests may be Pseudoscientific

Personality tests generally are questionnaires and self-assessments about personal traits.  The issue is personality or preferences are not stagnant and change over time.  Secondly, these tests fail to have any predictive insight about job performance.  Some of the methodologies that go into these tests are little better than using astrology, or a Facebook quiz that determines which Jedi personality you have.  Yet companies use these tests to determine which candidate would be the best fit for a role.  

Unfortunately, the personality tests also attempt to put people into 5-16 tidy categories, like an extrovert, introvert, etc., which is akin to astrological signs.  It would be strange to only give offer letters to Taurus Engineers, why would selecting an INTI or Enneagram indicator, or whatever indicator a particular test kicks out, be an improvement over selecting a Taurus for the role.  Most of these systems are not backed by robust scientific research, rather they are merely hugely popular tests that are not highly informative or useful for businesses.  

The Big 5 Personality Test

It is important to mention there is one personality test that seems to be a bit more scientific, but it too fails to be reliable.  The Big 5 personality trait test basically uses the acronym OCEAN where O is openness, C is conscientiousness, E is extroversion, A is Agreeableness, and N is Neuroticism.  The issue with the BIG 5 personality test is the test itself.  It might not be measuring personality at all, but rather it might be measuring cultural norms or sub-cultural norms.  

In “Challenges to capture the big five personality traits in non-WEIRD populations”, a study was produced that questions the validity and reliability of the Big 5 Personality test.  They found that cultural norms, education levels, etc., affected the results of the Big 5 personality tests and retests.  The Big 5 personality test might be capturing thoughts about cultural norms rather than personality traits.  This begs the question about how cultural and organizational structures affect personality test results and behaviors in general. Bringing even the Big 5 reliability into question.  

Instead, Focus on Reliable Data

Spending upwards of $20,000 on personality test software to prescreen candidates fails to provide an adequate return on investment. Rather it wastes candidate and HR professionals’ time and effort at the cost of the candidate’s experience, and lack of reliable data or predictive insights. Human resource professionals, leaders, and hiring managers should rather gather evidence of actual previous job performance, or test actual skills, and abilities.  Unfortunately, previous performance data is not always available, but some testing of skills or knowledge is possible.  Investing in software that collects objective data, which is measurable, objective, and reliable, will provide better results than relying on personality tests with zero predictability or reliability.  Secondly, invest in improving inclusion, diversity, and developing a strong and productive organizational culture.  These investments demonstrate a strong return on investment and drive innovation and performance.  Making a move away from pseudoscientific personality tests will save both time and money and will produce actual results.

beepHR can collect the actual performance data candidates have worked in their careers with the blockchain technologies. The data beepHR provides will work better than the Pre-Employment Personality Test.

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