Personality Questionnaires for Recruitment: 7 Common Tests

6 minute read

Posted by Chris Platts on 24 June 2020

Are you a recruiter or hiring manager looking to use personality tests for hiring? Read on to learn about the best tests to use, what to consider when choosing one, and how best to administer personality questionnaires in recruiting.

Why use personality tests when recruiting?

Employing the wrong person is a costly mistake. Personality tests have become increasingly common, especially for senior-level hires. When used alongside carefully-constructed interviews, personality questionnaires may give recruiters the extra insights required to make a good hire instead of a bad one.

All recruiting involves applicant screening – usually in the form of employment history, pre-hire assessments, and background checks. But, one of the most important determinants of a successful hire is whether the candidate fits in with the culture of an organisation and team. 

Recruiters are always looking for ways to better determine if a well-performing applicant has the required character and disposition to perform well in a role and company culture. Personality questionnaires are often used to help steer these decisions.

What are personality questionnaires?

Personality questionnaires are tools that allow recruitment and hiring professionals to take a deeper look into a candidate’s general outlook, attitude at work, and suitability in relation to company culture and individual motivations.

It’s difficult to predict how a candidate will perform in a job using their CV and interview behaviour alone. Candidates are rarely truly themselves in an interview environment and are often out to impress. Recruiters often turn to personality assessments in order to validate or invalidate the assumptions made in the hiring process about the type of person they are hiring.

Despite their popularity amongst recruiters and HR professionals, there are some major problems when using personality tests when hiring. In fact, if you’re thinking that personality psychometrics may improve your hiring decisions, you may want to read this article first that debunks their effectiveness. That’s why at ThriveMap we recommend companies use realistic job assessments instead of personality tests when hiring.

But despite evidence to the contrary, 91% of companies that use pre-employment testing in the recruitment process also include personality questionnaires in order to make more effective hiring decisions [1].

7 personality questionnaires to use in recruitment

It’s important to differentiate personality tests according to reliability and results; not all are of equal quality. We’ve done some of the work for you and included 7 of the best here.

1. The Caliper Profile

The Caliper Profile is an assessment that measures an individual’s personality characteristics and individual motivations in order to predict on-the-job behaviors and potential. 

Validated by nearly 6 decades of research, it measures 22 traits and provides insight into the intrinsic motivations that relate to the role.

The assessment data can be utilized throughout the employee lifecycle including selection, development, promotion, team building, and succession planning.

2. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is an introspective self-report questionnaire indicating differing preferences in how candidates perceive the world and make decisions.

This highlights in which direction an employee’s personality leans in relation to 16 personality types. It is most often used to determine if a candidate would be a good cultural fit within a company but despite its wide use we actually don’t recommend its use in candidate selection. 

3. Hogan Personality Inventory

The Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) describes normal, or bright-side personality – assessing how individuals relate to others when they are at their best.

It gives you valuable insight into how people work, how they lead, and how successful they will be.

This is a useful tool for recruiters as a predictor of job performance, providing insights into how people work and lead.

4. HEXACO Personality Inventory

HEXACO Personality Inventory is an instrument that assesses the six major dimensions of personality:

  • Honesty-Humility
  • Emotionality
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness (versus Anger)
  • Conscientiousness
  • Openness to Experience

Similar to the previous, this personality questionnaire is great for enabling recruiters to identify candidates who have the right personality disposition to fit into an organisation.

5. Berke Assessment

The Berke Assessment is a simple personality questionnaire that measures both traits and abilities in connection with personality and problem-solving.

Helping over 700 companies make hires, it’s a popular tool for recruiters –  especially many of the Fortune 500s. Although, a business of any size can use the tool.

It’s a good choice for employers who want an assessment method that can be heavily tailored to their business needs.

6. SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ)

Owned by Gartner, this is a well-established workplace personality test. It’s over 30 years old and is used routinely for hiring across the world.

This well-known personality questionnaire revolves around the idea that our routine behaviours can have a significant impact on our job performance. It seeks to identify the suitability of an applicant according to such. It’s used at all levels of hiring ladder from graduate, to management and all the way up to leadership.

This is one for recruitment professionals who lean towards the tried and tested. 

7. The Predictive Index

Utilised by some big players, such as Subway and AutoNation, the Predictive Index is a recruitment tool that digs deep into behavioural science.

It’s a short personality questionnaire, lasting only 10 minutes, so it won’t do any real damage to your application completion rates or other recruitment metrics.

Assessment takers are asked to select the words that describe the way others expect them to act, as well as words that describe them in their own opinion. It gives a fast-paced snapshot of the way they think and work.

It’s a good personality test for hiring professionals who want fast insights into a candidate’s natural motivations and drivers.

Bonus entry: Realistic Job Assessments

As mentioned earlier, evidence shows that someone’s personality type and their on-the-job performance aren’t necessarily correlated. In fact, the more realistic your assessment is of what people actually do in the job, the better chance you’ll have of being able to assess their suitability.

Realistic Job Assessments use real-life scenarios extracted from the specific company and work environment to create “day-in-the-life” style assessment narratives. They can be used to measure a combination of behaviours, hard and soft skills, and job knowledge. They tend not to include personality traits as it’s often best to have a mixture of personalities in your teams and culture to get the breadth of diverse perspectives.

Closing

Personality tests are a helpful way for HR and L&D teams to gain a little extra insight into how people may respond to managers or colleagues, however, you need to be careful when using them in recruitment. It’s critical to keep an eye on which tool is most suited to what you’re trying to achieve. Our guide to pre-hire assessments may help you with this.

So before you choose one of the providers listed above, think carefully about the requirements of the role, and what you’re wanting to achieve when setting the test, and check that there aren’t other tools you can use which are more predictive and reliable.

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About ThriveMap

ThriveMap creates customised assessments for high volume roles, which take candidates through an online “day in the life” experience of work in your company. Our assessments have been proven to reduce staff turnover, reduce time to hire, and improve quality of hire.

Not sure what type of assessment is right for your business? Read our guide.

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