Using Personality Tests When Hiring

Using Personality Tests When Hiring

Should you use personality tests when hiring? The quick answer is sometimes. At Shine Talent, we absolutely see the value in certain leadership assessments, but we, at times, see them misused or given too much weight when hiring.

Recruiting, interviewing, and hiring elite executive talent is a dance that requires continuous recruiting in tandem with applying a scientific approach to interviewing and assessing. A talent assessment tool can be a good way to dive deep into the personality of your executive candidate and understand what triggers them when under pressure and the types of environments they perform best in. At Shine Talent, we are fans of these assessments when they are used in the right way, which means taking them for what they are and leveraging them as only a part of the interview process.

Here are some things to think about if you are considering using a leadership assessment tool during an executive search:

  • Price and efficacy: Before jumping into employing an assessment tool when hiring, consider the insights you are looking for and examine the various tools available. These tools can be pricey to use, and you want to make the right investment for your company that will deliver the desired outcomes. Each tool is different, so do your research before investing.
  • Define a consistent interview process: All of your candidates should be on an even playing field during the interview process. This means defining an interview process that incorporates the same steps for each candidate. The leadership assessment tool should be the last step in the process and should only be used for your top two candidates as you make your final decision.
  • Use a third-party facilitator: Using a third-party facilitator creates the best experience for your candidate and provides you with unbiased, detailed insights. At Shine Talent we often see executives leaning more toward one candidate for various reasons, and they may interpret the results in a way that favors that specific person. A third-party assessor will eliminate bias and bring expertise in understanding the results.
  • Be transparent: A great interview process incorporates transparency. This means the candidate knows the process, who they are meeting with, and the steps they will take, including taking the assessment. It is extremely valuable for the candidate to know the results of the assessment and to meet with the third-party facilitator to understand them. Regardless of the hiring outcome, it is a courtesy you should extend to your candidates as they reach the end of the process.
  • Listen to the red flags and consider what should carry the most weight: These assessments can be very deep and complex. Decide what matters most to you and focus on that data. Shine Talent primarily looks at how candidates perform under pressure and how their personalities may shift during these moments. Think about what matters most for you and spend time with the third-party assessor to understand these specific areas. Don't dismiss red flags and really delve into the yellow ones.
  • Behavioral interviewing should trump assessments: These assessments are a single tool in your hiring toolkit; they are not absolute, and they should not carry the bulk of the weight when assessing your candidate. More weight should be given to the specific interviews the candidate goes through, which should incorporate a series of behavioral interview questions to determine how the candidate thinks situationally and communicates their ideas.

Assessing talent is complex, and no company can afford a misstep when it comes to making an executive hire. The risk is far too high, and the damage can impact multiple parts of the business. Personality tests and leadership assessments have their place in the interview process but should not carry the bulk of the decision-making weight. Take them for what they are, and if you do choose to incorporate an assessment into your process, be thoughtful in your approach.