A job interview offers a great depiction into a job candidate's surface personality, particularly if the employer is insightful regarding body language and verbiage. Employers often learn the hard way, however, that the person they met at the interview is not necessarily the same on the job. Personality tests offer a psychological analysis of a person's character prior to employment, but there are advantages and disadvantages in using such a test as the determining factor in employment.
Advantage: Narrowing The Selection Process
Personality profiling covers so many aspects of a potential employee's character that it is much easier to separate the possible candidates from the impossible applicants. An employer can decide which parts of the employment test are most important for success in the open position, and use applicants' scores as a guideline for hiring probability.
Disadvantage: Possible Inaccuracy of Analysis
Just because a person passes the job task portion of a personality test doesn't mean that they will carry through with the same efficiency once they are hired. In theory, the portion of most personality tests that cover work ethics should give the employer insight on the likelihood that the applicant will continue to do the assigned job well. There is no sure way to know what an employee's performance will be, however, until they have been hands-on with the company for at least several months.
Advantage: Reduces Business Expenses
Traditional resume reviews followed by in-person interviews takes a company's time, particularly if the company is interviewing multiple candidates. With personality profile testing, the employer can screen the resumes and then invite qualified applicants to take the employment test. The results of the test will narrow the number of candidates down to a select few, who then would be interviewed by the employer for a final decision. Rather than spending days or weeks on dozens of interview appointments, the resume screening followed by the testing occurs much faster. In business, time is money because even the employer can be more productive in other areas of the company if he can spend less time on interviews.
Disadvantage: Expense of Rating Results
While a significant amount of money is saved by crunching the interviewees down to the highest test scorers, the downside is that someone must score the tests. Even if the test is computerised, it takes time and money to create or choose the program that produces such a test. The test itself must be reviewed to determine what portions are most important to the company and available position. After applicants have completed the test, the employer must review the results to determine who to interview. An employer should carefully decide whether interviews or testing are the more costly way to evaluate potential employees, and weigh out the importance of profiling personalities via testing or face-to-face evaluations.
- Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc: Personality Testing Leads to Rebuttals
- FindLaw: Personality Testing in Employment
- Stay Free: A Brief History of Employee Personality Testing
- Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc: Types of Employment Tests
- aCareerinSales.com: Employer Recruiting Advice - Personality Testing