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Are Pre-Employment Personality Tests Really Effective?

Are Pre-Employment Personality Tests Really Effective?

Pre-hiring personality tests have been used for many years, but since the 1990’s, their use has steadily increased, as much as 20% annually. Hiring managers are relying more and more often on personality assessment tests to help fill vacant positions. According to the Wall Street Journal, 8 out of 10 major companies are using assessment tests during the hiring process. In recent years, the low cost and high speed of computer testing has made them more popular than ever.

But how effective are personality tests in the hiring process? From 4-Quadrant personality sorting, to the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, there many tests available to use. The 4-Quadrant test originated in the ancient world, and has been around in one form or another for millennia. The Meyers-Briggs test began its life almost a century ago. Are these tests useful in the modern workplace?

Extensive research has gone into answering that very question. Results are clear that while personality tests can predict if a worker will fit into office culture, it’s not a good indication that they will do well at a particular job. Another problem with relying on personality tests, is their inherent transparency – testers are asked to choose words that describe themselves, and can easily choose a favorable answer, whether it’s true or not. It’s clear that personality testing alone won’t help a hiring manager select the best applicant for the job.

Workplace Productivity expert Frank Schmidt revealed in a 1998 study the effectiveness of different approaches to pre-hire testing. Surprisingly, personality testing ranked low on the list, with multi-measure testing coming out decisively on top.

Though personality tests can be useful, the more effective method for hiring the best possible candidates is multi-measure aptitude testing, which evaluates not only personality, but also indicates if applicants are right for a specific position. One company to recognize this need is Talent Insight, which offers this type of testing and assessment. Talent Insight uses three tests to evaluate the contenders on their suitability for vacant positions. They also offer interview services to help hiring managers narrow down the field. Talent Insight is on the cutting edge of the latest in aptitude testing (See link below to their testing site). All indicators point to increased usage of these powerful testing tools as employees seek to gain an edge in the hiring process. Savvy companies know that employees hired through this process have a much higher chance of working out.

Standard personality tests are still valuable for hiring as part of a larger array of assessments, and are useful after hiring for evaluations and building teamwork. They will serve your company well when used in the appropriate situation. But for hiring the very best employees, use an approach that assesses more than just personality to get the best results.


Martin, Whitney. “The Problem with Using Personality Tests for Hiring.” Harvard Business Review. August 27, 2014. Web.

Webber, Lauren. “Today’s Personality Tests Raise the Bar for Job Seekers.” The Wall Street Journal.” April 14, 2015. Web.

Talent Insight website and test link:

10% discount code is TPL10OFF

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