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Tips for Using Personality Assessments in the Hiring Process

Workforce Development

Hiring is a tricky thing. It is a mix of both art and science. Companies are looking to attract employees who have the requisite experience to fill a role and can propel an organization toward a specific vision. Identifying the right credentials on paper is easy, but critical factors such as culture fit, team fit and personality fit are often much more difficult to ascertain—and can make the difference between adequate and exemplary achievement by an employee.

A good hiring process starts with alignment (or misalignment) on the part of the hiring team. Business owners should be sure to engage in robust dialogue up front about what they’re looking for in the ideal candidate. Use common language, and be sure everyone is on the same page. Be specific, and avoid vague language such as “strategic” (we can all probably think of 100 different ways to describe strategic).

Once a business owner has developed a clear picture of who it is they’re looking for, including the skill sets, experience bases, and personality types to thrive in their organization’s culture, they should consider whether the use of personality assessments might be useful for creating a match between their needs and the candidate.

However, it’s important to determine whether the personality assessments used are reliable, valid, legal and effective. There are a host of different tools out there, including Meyers-Briggs (MBTI), DiSC and the Predictive Index, just to name a few.


Personality assessments are best used as a validation of impressions gleaned throughout a thorough interview process, rather than as a hire/don’t hire gate in the hiring process. A good personality assessment conducted with the chosen finalist for a job role can provide tremendous benefits for the incoming employee and the hiring company.

For the hiring company, the assessment will help serve as an “owner’s manual” on the new hire. This owner’s manual can facilitate (or expedite) integration and onboarding, because there is a clear picture of a person’s motivators and strengths. Long term, it can identify gap areas and blind spots in personality or leadership style that, with a little coaching, could empower that person to become an even more effective employee for the organization.

For the incoming employee, a good personality assessment simply helps that person understand himself better. We find that employees with humility, self-awareness and the desire to improve themselves end up succeeding more than those who are complacent or unaware of their own workplace shortcomings. Lack of self-awareness is one of the biggest reasons employees fail, so the personality assessment can help bring those issues to light.

A good personality assessment helps everyone come into the relationship with eyes wide open. While personality testing should not be a go/no-go decision tool, good assessments go a long way toward a nuanced selection practice and a smooth integration process. In turn, they offer better long-term effectiveness and success for the incoming employee and the organization.

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