Are Personality Tests Keeping You From Making The Right Hire?


I don’t know about you, but I love a good assessment and quiz. I cannot tell you how many serious and silly quizzes I’ve taken over the course of my life. One of the most fun assessments I took recently was which character I would be on the cast of the show Parks and Recreation. According to BuzzFeed, I would be Donna. Funny, huh?

On a serious note, I think wanting to understand our purpose and have a sense of belonging is normal and a part of human nature.

Whether it is the ability to “officially” identify with a character in a favorite TV show or know more about your decision tendencies in the workplace, there can be great reward and enjoyment from these personality assessment profiles.

We had a blast as a company during one of our company retreats taking a more in-depth assessment called Insights, which is kind of like a hybrid test between the DISC and the Myers Briggs. It’s helpful because it lets you know how you operate on a team.

We laughed at how spot on much of the assessment was and how, in some places, it was a little odd. For example, on my Insights Profile, it said, “Try to avoid touching Caroline.” I had a good chuckle, and while it’s partially true, I don’t mind a hug every now and then or a literal pat on the back (figurative works great too). 

However, while that was a great experience, sometimes the weight on which we allow these impartial assessments to shape our decisions might go a little too far.

Here are few guidelines to check and see if you’re “Personality Assessment” dependence is in check:

1. First, it’s illegal to solely disqualify someone from hire based off of a personality assessment.

According to the Insights company, it’s illegal to base more than 25-30% of a hiring decision on a candidate’s personality assessment. It can be used, however as a “decision support tool.” A personality assessment can highlight amiable qualities that support a candidate’s hire, but it can never be the sole disqualifier. Check out this helpful article for more information on the legality of personality tests

2. Whether you’re an ESTJ, SI, an Otter, or whatever, be sure to always use Personality Assessments as an enhancement tool.

It should never be used as a crutch to justify behavior. I often hear the reason as to why a church lets go of an employee is because they didn’t own their mistakes. Missing the mark is all a part of our growing process, and the quickest way to move past it is to own it and learn from it. For example, justifying behavior or decisions because one is an “I” on the DISC and “doesn’t pay high attention to detail” is a poor excuse for the failure to plan.

3. When hiring, it’s easy to let a candidate go when you see that they don’t typically fit into the desired “type.” I get it.

We want people to fit in a box so that we can trace our decision making back to quantifiable details as opposed to an intangible decision. Allow your team to assess the candidate from a 360 point of view. I highly suggest looking into their track record of successes and failures to see how they lead as opposed to solely relying on their assessment report. Call their references and ask them questions about their work performance and leadership skills. Sometimes the most unique and effective members of your team might be completely different from what their assessment might suggest. Think about the team who will surround this candidate. I think a culture fit is often more crucial than skill set. You can hire administrative support to help the administratively challenged, but culture is an innate trait that cannot be taught or supported with strategic placements.

We are all aware of the fun and beneficial practices that can come for teams by taking these assessments together. Our Vanderbloemen team each has blocks around our office in order of our DISC letters. It helps us see how the other team member receives information and best processes it, so that we can serve our fellow team members well through our communication methods. We think they’re a great resource but certainly understand that there is much more that goes into the makeup of a candidate than a report will ever reveal.

Have you found these assessments to be beneficial for your team or yourself?

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