Personality Tests Are The Latest Technique in Recruiting

A photo of a personality test attached to a clipboard with a pen.

Personality tests have made a major resurgence as of late, particularly for their usage in high-level recruiting efforts.
Image: Shutterstock

Personality tests are nothing new. McDonalds, Taco Bell, Home Depot, and Walmart have been administering them for years. But while these tests are usually geared towards lower-level positions, what has changed is how recruiters are using them to filter out candidates for higher-level positions.

According to Forbes, the average number of people who apply for any given job is 118. That’s a ton of time spent skimming over résumés, reading cover letters, and fact-checking credentials. In other words, if there is a faster, more efficient method of sifting through candidates, recruiters are going to use it.

That’s where personality tests come into play. Personality assessments are now one of the first lines of defense in the application process. Once upon a time, it was enough to simply look up a company’s core values on their website and touch on those values in a cover letter or interview. Now, personality tests have evolved to the point of being able to gauge how good a fit a candidate would be based on a complex algorithm.

Here’s how it works. Recruiters guide applicants to a web link where they can login and take the test. There are a number of companies that administer these assessments. Let’s use Plum for example. Plum uses an untimed test to gauge strengths and weaknesses in three main areas: problem solving, personality, and social intelligence.

Depending on the position, recruiters are likely to value some traits over others. For example, a recruiter for a retail sales position is likely to value personality and social intelligence over problem solving. On the other hand, a recruiter for an air-traffic controller position is likely to value problem solving over personality and social intelligence. Based on these preferences, a candidate’s results will be sent to the recruiter with a percentage-based match. This makes it incredibly easy for recruiters to see at a glance who is well suited for the position and who isn’t.

Although it sounds rather elementary, personality tests have progressed to the point of near-perfect accuracy. Many of these tests, like Plum’s, are developed by doctors who have spent years studying workplace behavior. Recruiters are now investing in this technology not only for the time it saves, but also for the money it saves by selecting the right candidate.


About DevonJ140
I am currently an Accounting Director living in New York City. I love reading and learning more about business, finance, tech, and current events.

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