The advantages of personality tests in recruitment

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Personality tests: useful or not?

But, wait, why we discuss this subject? In reality, we note that the question of their real or presumed utility is not definitively settled, on the contrary. This explains its periodic and recurring return to the front of the stage, as soon as we approach the theme of recruitment efficiency.

This is why, first of all, it is necessary to define the recruitment tests in order to be able to demonstrate their exact role in the recruitment process and thus their real impact on the final decision of the recruiter.

While some business leaders deem them essential, we can now safely say that recruitment tests – whether personality tests or skills assessment tests, even both at the same time (so-called “psycho-technical tests”) – are only recruitment techniques, that is to say, tools that the recruiter uses in order to minimize the risk of error.

Recruitment is a very important and even crucial phase for the company since a recruitment error can prove to be more costly, in terms of time and money, than the recruitment process itself.

Reduce the risk of error?

In order to optimize hiring and improve its efficiency, recruiters frequently – but not systematically, contrary to popular belief – use recruitment tests whose usefulness extends exclusively to the following areas:

  • Validate the first impression that the recruiter had when studying the candidate’s file or following an interview. In this case, the recruiter will use personality tests to better understand the profile of the applicant.
  • Check the skills presented in the CV. In this case, technical tests are used to confirm the qualifications mentioned by the candidate and his/her ability to put them into practice.

In both cases, the use of recruitment tests comes in addition to the usual or classic procedure, either to reinforce an impression or to verify information, but in no case as an independent and sufficient step in the recruitment process.

It turns out that recruitment tests are not an end in themselves, nor a recruitment method per se since they do not provide an individual interview, for example. At most, it is a question of denying or confirming information or an impression of the recruiter, hesitant or undecided. If the recruiter decides to use psycho-technical tests, it is only to help him better understand the profile of the candidate in order to judge his aptitude to occupy the desired position and if he also meets the expectations of the company (in terms of skills, of course, but also in terms of remuneration, availability, etc.).

Why are these tests effective?

As recruitment tools or as additional means, recruitment tests are, in fact, very effective insofar as they make it possible to bring out precious information about the candidate. The recruiter probably could not have deduced or guessed everything only by reading their CV. Furthermore, the main advantage of the recruitment tests is undoubtedly their objectivity in relation to the personal appreciation – necessarily, subjective – that the recruiter makes of the candidates, even if their reliability has sometimes been questioned.

This is the case, in particular, for personality tests which generally have a higher error rate than that of technical tests. This high risk is inherent in the very nature of the tests, which can only give a rough idea of ​​the candidate’s true personality. This will not be fully revealed until after hiring when the successful candidate will feel released from the stress generated by the recruitment and that he/she will be in the real situation and no longer in simulation.

This is all more true since there are several methods proposed by recruitment coaches that allow candidates to pass the hiring tests, without actually mastering them. Nevertheless, personality tests remain much more objective than the simple, necessarily subjective appraisal of the recruiter, which also takes into account – even if only unconsciously – the candidate’s appearance, his way of being, and his behavior.

However, this face-to-face to which recruiters attach paramount importance can easily distort the assessment of the candidate, provided that the latter is anxious or badly manages his stress during the interview. Some may say that this is part of the interview insofar as a candidate for a managerial position, for example, must know how to manage his stress and not let anything appear. If this is true in principle, this is not always the case, because knowing how to manage stress is not the main criterion of the evaluation, even if this faculty undeniably constitutes a major asset in favor of the candidate in question.

Getting rid of your “first impression”

On the other hand, we find that the recruiter can hardly get rid of his first impression, especially when it is bad. Hence, the need for candidates to have a little control over their emotions and to further cultivate their confidence in themselves and in particular, in their abilities.

Indeed, the subjective must not gain ground at the expense of the objective. In other words, the stress felt by the candidate should not harm him to the point of making him forget his technical skills. These constitute the first selection criteria and the basis of any recruitment. But they are not sufficient because the personal qualities of the candidate also play an important role in determining the final choice of the recruiter.

Furthermore, the absence of the personal qualities required for the position can lead to the exclusion of an application that meets, however, the criteria of technical competence. These same personal qualities can, in other cases, be used to decide between numerous and a priori equivalent applications. In short, we can consider that recruitment tests are techniques that allow recruiters to optimize their chances of successful recruitment, which remains the main objective of any business. These are only complementary means which do not exempt the recruiter from the classic and primordial stage of recruitment, namely the interview.

The form (collective or individual) of the recruitment tests, their way of taking place (in writing or orally), and their support (paper, computer) are all variants that adapt to the needs of each company and to a particularities position. Their main objective remains to restore the balance between the recruiter’s always subjective impressions of the candidates present and the objective assessment of their personality and their skills, regardless of their appearance or their emotions.

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