So, your star candidate goes through an intense interview process consisting of 2 interviews, one with the Financial Director, and a presentation. The Management team love her. Then they send her an online personality assessment to complete which you assume has gone well. She’s a great fit and has the right attitude, skills and experience for the role. She’s got this!

But then you get that email from the client that says “sorry, we cannot make your candidate the offer as she did not pass the assessment.” What? Now that’s a surprise and yet another great candidate is not hired on this premise.

So how accurate are these Online Personality Assessments and why are they used as a determining factor in the interview process?

It baffles me constantly and the only way I know how to answer that is by saying that I feel they are purely subjective and are not a reflection on how a potential employee will perform in their role.

People’s personalities are far more complex that a set of predefined key traits. No one specific ‘type’ is best suited to a particular role; it all depends on that potential employee’s attitude to their own strengths and weaknesses. It shouldn’t be used as the beginning and end of assessing a candidate’s suitability for the job.

There are certain personality traits are not relevant to job performance. However, we see that if hiring managers believe that they are, they are actually missing out on the talents that may not fit the personality type, but whose skills, motivations, and other attributes, may bring a lot of value to the company. It’s almost a form of bias.

Also, these assessments often have occurrences where the candidate has given too much thought to the questions and answered what they think the employer wants to hear, not what the true reflection is and that gives a false result.

People have a combination of traits that make them successful in their roles. Someone who is outgoing and fun, may make a great analyst, but not a great sales consultant. Someone who is introvert and quiet, may possess the right negotiation and presentation skills to be a Consultant, so why do clients and HR Mangers put people in a “box” when they do these assessments? Should the weaknesses that potentially come up not rather be used as indications of where people can be developed and turn them into strengths?

My advice to my candidates is always never to over-think the questions and to just answer based on instinct and gut feel, that’s generally what is deemed the “correct” answer even if there is no hard and fast rule.

Even the most advanced assessments leave room for interpretation and they should not be used solely as a final decision-making tool. They can be used but in conjunction with the interview results, the references and background checks, not on their own as the ultimate decision. It leads to a great candidate not being afforded the opportunity to shine and present their true value to the company and prove them wrong in their final “assessment.”

The assessment is not destiny. Use it wisely.

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