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Trying to understand the importance of employee personality tests? Not sure where to start? Does your organization really need a test like this? Keep reading….

Guest post by Gabe Duverge, Notre Dame College- Online

While the occasional online quiz or personality test in a magazine is enjoyable, personality tests used by employers have become a common and serious indicator of how someone thinks and interacts with others. Job aggregator website Indeed estimated that 60 to 70 percent of U.S. applicants in 2014 had taken some type of personality test.

Given their popularity, these tests have serious implications on the work force — despite objections from many. To learn more about these tests and their impact on the workforce, read our full article, “Screening for the Right Fit: Employee Personality Tests,” which overviews the subject. Below we’ll outline the major talking points.

Most Popular Personality Tests

While countless personality tests exist, the following are widely used.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

Perhaps the most popular personality test, the MBTI, measures how test takers perceive surroundings and make decisions. With this emphasis on decision-making and communication style, it can be a good option for employers to gauge a new hire’s fit into company culture.

The MBTI is based on four dichotomies:

  1. Attitudes: extraversion or introversion
  2. Perceiving functions: sensing or intuition
  3. Judging functions: thinking or feeling
  4. Lifestyle: judging or perception

For each dichotomy, the person receives a letter; once all four are combined, the individual has a full personality profile. This simple test can measure complex ideas and offer suggestions for improvements in weakness areas. While it can be effective, some can overemphasize results.

16PF Questionnaire

This questionnaire, used by employers as well as psychology professionals to help diagnose mental disorders, focuses on 16 primary traits and five secondary traits. It primarily tests on specific behavioral situations that regularly occur.

Easy to take and administer, the questionnaire also has the advantage of being easy to interpret. However, critics believe that the test over represents the traits of college graduates and under-represents high school graduates. Additionally, it may not be as accurate for cross-cultural and multiethnic demographics.

DISC Assessment

The DISC assessment is a lesser-known tool that focuses on four personality traits: dominance, inducement, submission and compliance. Unlike other aforementioned tests, the DISC has different forms and versions, which can create confusion.

The DISC can be a strong way to measure leadership. However, reliability can be lacking with the different types of DISC assessments. Results can be confusing with 384 unique scores.

Do They Work?

Several companies and groups differ on the value of employment personality tests:

  • Proponents point to the reduction of attrition and the accuracy of employee performance.
  • Critics bring up how many workers that pass these tests lack basic skills. Also, these tests can be discriminatory as some experts have found that they’re not fair to ethnic and cultural groups.
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity commission (EEOC) is currently investigating whether tests have an adverse impact on certain groups, such as those with mental illnesses and others who are qualified for jobs but turned down due to employment tests.

The Future of Employee Personality Tests

Employee personality tests will continue to evolve based on legal considerations and other findings. Staff psychologists and experts will have a hand in advancing these tests, to provide further insight into potential hires. At Notre Dame College, the online Bachelor of Science in Psychology program provides training on how the mind works, communication skills and group dynamics. Graduates can play a role in advocating the right tests, and developing better tests for companies to use.