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Types of Personality Tests Given During an Interview

by Billie Nordmeyer

Hiring is an expensive and time-consuming process for an employer. Little wonder that businesses want to get it right. Consequently, companies rely on various tests to pinpoint a candidate’s probable contribution to an organization, whether that potential contribution is good or bad. In turn, applicants are left to wonder what new contortions they might be put through during an upcoming interview. The personality test, rather than running hurdles or participating in an adventure challenge, is the “next big thing” in job candidate evaluation.

You Can't Judge an Applicant With An Interview Alone

Many hiring managers believe that standardized personality tests are more successful than hiring interviews in predicting candidates' probable on-the-job success. One reason for this preference is that it’s not possible for a candidate to rely on body language or magnetism to achieve a passing test score. The personality test gives a business an unbiased way to compare apples to apples. Using a personality test, a company can understand an applicant’s personality, identify his values, and determine if the candidate possesses traits that frequently lead to a successful career in a particular role in a specific organizational culture.

Testing Behavioral Traits

Companies may learn about a candidate’s personality and behavior using the Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness personal assessment tool. The tool creates a DISC profile that describes unique aspects of a candidate’s behavior based on the candidate’s responses to a series of questions. The profile categorizes a candidate in terms of dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness and the category suggests the applicant’s needs, tendencies and preferred work environment. The DISC study also serves as an employee personal coaching, conflict management, team-building and career development tool. For example, DISC identifies ways an employee might change his behavior to better work with others in light of a particular behavioral characteristic. In turn, the study provides insight to an employee’s disposition and priorities that helps a leader manage the employee more effectively.

Testing Potential and Motivation

Like other personality tests used in the hiring process, the Caliper Profile and California Psychological Inventory helps a company understand who a candidate is, and determine if and how the applicant will fit in and grow with an organization. By measuring the existence and dominance of 22 personality traits, CPCPI helps a company determine a candidate’s character and the likely fit between a job applicant and an open position as well as the candidate’s potential, motivations and probable on-the-job behaviors. In turn, the personality test helps a candidate understand how others, including his boss, see him. Various industries use Caliper, such as automotive and apparel, and for numerous job families, including sales and business analysis.

Dominant Characteristics

The Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire helps a company avoid a potentially negative hire by comparing a candidate’s characteristics to the ideal employee characteristics for a particular job. By making this comparison, the company can predict the candidate’s fit for a particular job in terms of personality, ability and motivation, which suggests the candidate’s probable success on the job. The SPFQ model is based on 16 variables which represent 16 primary personality traits, or the ways in which one job applicant’s personality may vary from that of another applicant. SPFQ requires an applicant to read 164 statements that describe the applicant and rate each statement in terms of the accuracy of the statements. The applicant’s responses are then manipulated by a statistical procedure to identify the job applicant’s dominant traits, which predict that applicant’s success in a particular work role.

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