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Personality Testing for Recruitment and Selection

Personality testing in recruitment has been around for decades, yet few recruiters and organisations use it as part of their selection process.  With investment banking giant, Goldman Sachs announcing that from 2018 they will be using personality tests to recruit for their banking, trading, finance and risk divisions, we take a look at the good the bad and the ugly of personality tests.

When trying to find the ideal candidate for a role, there are only really three questions that an employer needs answering. Do you have the correct skill set for the job? Do you have the motivation to do the job? Will you fit in with the team and culture already in the company?

Whilst skill sets are important, most managers will attest to the fact that it’s people’s personalities and ability to work together that makes the day to day successes or failures of an organisation.


Why use personality testing?
The personality testing industry has grown 10% year on year since 2008 proving that more and more companies are seeing some benefit to their recruitment and selection process. One of the most popular reasons to use this form of selection is to ensure a fair and ethical recruitment process that can, if needed to, stand up under legal scrutiny.

Nowadays, personality tests are easily accessible on line and can take a matter of minutes to complete.  Thanks to their online availability there is very little administration costs to a company wanting to use the method. Results from each test are available in a matter of minutes if not seconds, and often come in the form of reports that can be broken down and analysed further.

There are literally hundreds of tests available, many of which come at a small price. Organisations can tailor the tests to their specific needs for that job role. Therefore, personality test software can be programmed to find a candidate’s suitability to a specific role, or programmed to highlight specific personality traits. With so many tests now available and candidates filling in these online tests on social media for fun, there are few candidates who object to this form of selection being part of the recruitment process, and many even find it interesting.


The Cons
Other than a candidate’s negative perception of this type of selection process, the main con when using personality tests for recruitment is the legitimacy of the test itself.  Personality tests are widely available to the consumer market and there are very few barriers to entry.  Whilst many companies are ethical with the way they produce their tests, in such a high growth industry it is inevitable that there are less educated tests also available.  As an employer it is difficult to know which ones are credible and therefore useful and which ones have little scientific evidence to their benefit and accuracy.  If looking for a personality test to use in your recruitment process the most widely used and well recognised is the The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.



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