Personality tests in the work place

BY Lize Gilliomee
Consulting Psychometrist

Employees might be fit. But are they a fit?

Factors such as client needs, organisational plans and unique competencies largely determine who a company employs and how they are developed. We use personality assessments to get a sense of the individual’s preferences, interests, capabilities, creative abilities and emotional resilience to gauge whether there’s a fit between the employee or candidate and the organisation.

Apart from determining a fit with the organisation, a personality test also allows you to identify an individual’s strengths and limitations. When conducting a personality assessment, make sure that the individual’s context is taken into account. Once the assessment is completed, best practise would involve a feedback session with a registered psychologist or psychometrist, gaining a better understanding of the individual’s context. Personality assessments are however indicators and not prediction tools. As such, personality tests are most effective when combined with other measures that assess integrity or cognitive ability.

How do we ensure that personality tests are effective?

  • correctly classify the personality traits or key competencies required for the job in question
  • select an appropriate personality inventory to identify or measure traits, ideally only using tests accredited with HPCSA
  • ensure validity by having experienced or registered industrial psychologists or psychometrists as tests require a great deal of interpretation

Lastly, the test-taker should be as keen as the organisation that there’s a fit in relevant personality traits or attributes. Be honest and consistent when answering.