Personality tests are nothing new in the world of recruitment. With the means at our disposal today, they have multiplied and there are now so many solutions that it’s easy to lose one’s way! From the “classic” style of test that determines major personality traits to those designed to determine an employee’s integrity, it would appear that everything can now be measured.
According to fundamental HR principles, the role of the test was to serve as a last resort when a recruiter could not make up his or her mind between two candidates competing for the same position. Later, it gained importance, validating the match between an individual and the culture of a given company. Nowadays, the norm is to use it for everything, and sometimes to excess.
To reassure oneself is, of course, the first reason given. We live in a period in which everyone doubts everything. In the job-seeking jungle, some people have no hesitation passing themselves off for what they are not and these tests appear to offer a safety net to those recruiters who fail to see through them. Indeed, getting candidates to take tests also allows recruiters to offload some of the responsibility involved. If the person selected is later guilty of misconduct, the fact that this was not detected during the recruitment process can always be invoked. And not forgetting that there are also those who like getting people to take tests… for the sake of taking tests. Sometimes this is because it’s just part of the process and sometimes for no good reason at all.
As the market grows, new solutions thrive with some verging on the ridiculous. Integrity tests, the legality of which has been put into question in the US in recent days, ask future employees, for example, if they might steal company equipment and/or supplies from their employer if they are of the opinion that the latter is not treating them fairly. It is interesting to conclude that if the future employee ticks the “yes” box, at least he/she is a person who is honest about his/her dishonesty!
Some companies have managed to make good use of these personality tests, integrating them into their recruitment and staff evaluation process as a whole. These assessment centres test the knowledge, know-how and transferable skills of candidates with an intelligent mix of personality tests, role plays and case studies.
In view of the fact that such procedures require a certain investment, what solutions remain for a disarmed recruiter? Quite a few in fact, and they are often cheaper and simpler too. Use your tests to find out about precise things. Adapt them to target profiles and try to keep your mind as open as possible: the objectives of these tests should be to open a discussion in the course of the interview on something identified beforehand. Alongside these tests, if you have any doubts about your future employee, start by interviewing him/her again in the presence of a person of trust. Ask for references from people he or she has worked with (with the candidate’s prior agreement of course). Test the person in a real environment. Trust human contact and your instinct.
Trust human contact and your instinct.
The dangers of personality tests come from their systematic use in the recruitment process and their overuse. In addition to orienting recruiters towards what are sometimes questionable criteria, they will also give your future employees the impression that you do not trust them or, even worse, that you are incapable of making a decision by yourself. And although some tests are very enticing, remember that it is impossible to measure everything. The immeasurable is what makes our profession meaningful. At the same time, these tests are a very important tool for getting some information we couldn’t have normally, and to open discussions: a test debrief during an interview is an excellent way to meet people deeply and gather their point of view on the only subject that should interest you: themselves, and their match with a position in your company.
And you, how will you test your future employees?