Why Employers Value Personality Tests

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Quantitative tools—also known as “personality tests” by many candidates—are an increasingly ubiquitous aspect of the modern hiring process. Employers appreciate these tests because they provide insight into how well a candidate will slot into a particular role (at least in theory).

Tech giants such as IBM rely extensively on quantitative tools in hiring. But the tests aren’t deployed for every candidate. Instead, HR managers generally save them for those roles that demand a fair amount of interaction with other people, including manager and analyst positions. If the job opening is for a developer who’s expected to work alone much of the time, chances are good that a personality test won’t play a role in the hiring process.

Despite the possible benefits, many employers and hiring managers are unsure whether to deploy quantitative tools. That ambivalence aside, there are some very good reasons to rely on these measures, including:

Avoiding the Cost of Re-Hire: Choosing the wrong person for a role can cost a business a lot of money and time. Rather than fire and re-hire, it’s almost always easier to get the right candidate the first time around. Quantitative tools can help with that goal by providing information not necessarily discoverable via the job interview and résumé.

True Insight: Some of these tests focus on emotional intelligence or cultural fit; others may give insight into work habits. No matter what an employer’s needs, chances are good that a personality test will shed some light on whether a candidate will work well within the organizational structure.

Employee Awareness: Personality tests aren’t just good for employers—they can also provide candidates and employees with valuable information about themselves. A worker who realizes they’re actually an introvert, or that they do better in large teams than in small groups, can tailor their work performance accordingly. That benefits everybody in the long run.

One Piece of the Puzzle

Quantitative tools are just one piece of the hiring puzzle, but they’re a powerful resource if utilized correctly. While employers should be aware of the tests’ potential benefits, they must also be cautious to not over-emphasize their role in sourcing top talent.

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