Personality Tests (Employment Testing)

Some commonly measured personality traits in work settings are extraversion, conscientiousness, openness to new experiences, optimism, agreeableness, service orientation, stress tolerance, emotional stability, and initiative or proactivity.  Personality tests typically measure traits related to behavior at work, interpersonal interactions, and satisfaction with different aspects of work.  Personality tests are often used to assess whether individuals have the potential to be successful in jobs where performance requires a great deal of interpersonal interaction or work in team settings.

Advantages of Personality Tests

  1.  Have been demonstrated to produce valid inferences for a number of organizational outcomes.
  2.  Can reduce business costs by identifying individuals for hiring, promotion or training who possess the needed skills and abilities.
  3.  Are typically less likely to differ in results by gender and race than other types of tests.
  4.  Can be administered via paper and pencil or computerized methods easily to large numbers.
  5.  Can be cost effective to administer.
  6.  Does not require skilled administrators.

Disadvantages of Personality Tests

  1.  May contain questions that do not appear job-related or seem intrusive if not well developed.
  2.  May lead to individuals responding in a way to create a positive decision outcome rather than how they really are (i.e., they may try to positively manage their impression or even fake their response).
  3.  Maybe problematic for use in employee selection if the test is one used to diagnose medical conditions (i.e., mental disorders) rather than simply to assess work-related personality traits.

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