Personality tests or assessments have been noted to be a strong predictor of job performance, and in some cases, they play significant roles in job interviews. Furthermore, they can exhibit limited potential for adverse effects compared to cognitive ability tests. As a result, it is noteworthy noticing that the use of personality tests by organizations for personnel selection has become increasingly popular among different organizations. Indeed, a significant percentage of surveyed organizations, according to recent research, have been confirmed to be either using or considering the use personality tests for executive selection as well as development. Suitable validated personality tests remain to be attractive tools of selection since they aid in providing a data-based and non-subjective method that is used in the identification of high-potential workers who are capable of adapting a certain work environment. However, although the term personality test is used generically, some of the personality tests are not suitable for personnel selection; the suitable personality tests for selection purposes are the ones measuring traits while measures of psychological type should not be used. Thus, this essay aims at critically analyzing the importance of personality tests in the workplace.
Importance of Personality Tests at the Workplace
Workplace personality testing has become a huge activity in the current organizations and has been observed to grow at a significant percentage. Different organizations use personality testing as a way of assessing the characteristics of both their current and future workers, with the results being used for varied purposes. In this sense, employers use personality tests in the employment selection process so as to identify individuals who do not only rely on the required skills and knowledge for being a successful employee. In several organizations, there are different people who have personalities that do not match with the positions they hold. Thus, since psychology enables one to measure personality and emotional intelligence (EQ), employers may use the provided data in the selection process (Rothstein & Goffin, 2006). Scholars and psychologists have, thus, affirmed that the use of the scientific approach in hiring by employers increases the number of successful employees in the firm. However, the correlation between personality and emotional intelligence to job performance remains to be a compelling issue. Although there is strong available evidence suggesting that cognitive measurement devices are high-quality job performance predictors, a significant reason as to why they are not perfect predictors is that personality is a significant factor in job performance. In other words, the elevating use of personality tests in organizations has ignited an increasing scrutiny of their fairness and effectiveness, with some firms scaling back, changing or eliminating their use of these personality tests.
In the early 1990s, methodological innovations in meta-analysis, facilitated by the emergence of a broadly accepted taxonomy of personality traits; the ‘Five Factor Model,’ stimulated distinct meta-analytic researches that have presented a larger view on the benefit of personality tests in job performance (Rothstein & Goffin, 2006). Remarkably, it is quite significant to note that personality tests may not be all created equal. Therefore, every personality test used in the selection process has to depict adequate reliability along with validity (Le et al. 2011). With respect to this, a test will be unreliable if the scores remain inconsistent over time; the individual’s score has to be approximately the same each time after he or she completes the test on multiple occasions. Validity sets in when the test correlates to other crucial constructs, for example, job performance (Schmidt et al. 2008). As a consequence, when using a test in personnel selection, it is advocated that there must be validity evidence supporting the accuracy alongside job relatedness on the inferences that are made on the assessment scores basis.
According to distinct scholars, psychologists and experts, there is adequate evidence demonstrating the relationship between personality and job performance. Significantly, the roles and responsibilities of any occupation require the individuals in such roles to behave in certain ways for a booming performance, demonstrating why there are differences among employees (Rothstein & Goffin, 2006). In this sense, personality is observed to influence job performance as it determines whether an employee is naturally inclined to his or her job roles, and/or enjoys the job since personality aids in determining preferences, behavior and temperaments (Bing et al. 2014). Undoubtedly, there are other individual characteristics such as experience, cognitive ability and education, which also play significant roles in influencing job performance, although personality plays a major role. As a result, researchers have confirmed that employees are mostly effective in situations whereby their personality attributes go hand in hand with the requirements of their job (Viswesvaran et al. 2005).