Understanding Why Employers Use Personality Tests

Personality tests aren't uncommon during the job interview process. Your potential employer may require that you take a personality test before being granted an interview or at some point during the interviewing process, before you’re offered a job.

One reason for this type of testing is for the employer to try to anticipate why you do what you do at work. Employers want to know as much about you as possible, to help ensure that you're not a bad hire.

An integrity test may or may not be part of the personality assessment. Here’s what each measures:

  • Employment personality tests measure choice, preference, values, behavior, decisions, attitudes, and job-related interests.

  • Integrity tests rate honesty, responsibility, and reliability for the job.

How many companies require job candidates to take personality tests? Estimates are all over the place, topping out at 30 percent. Despite sketchy data, the personality-discovery star does seem to be rising. Don’t be surprised if you face an employment personality test in your future.

Will the personality test be on paper or online? Paper-and-pencil tests have been filtering out unsuitable candidates for years, but Web-based personality tests have become important to the hiring process only within the past decade or so.

In the foreseeable future, the relentless push of computer power and Internet connection speeds will change the nature of work, but those advancements can’t change human nature. Personality tests open a window on human nature.

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