Recruitment & Retention Articles

After you've spent resources onboarding your new employees, the true task becomes retaining them. Finding top talent and keeping them around is what makes most growing businesses competitive. New technology and the changing workforce is shifting the age-old processes HR managers have relied on.

Employee Onboarding: Should You Use a Personality Test?

14 September 2017
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Employee onboarding and hiring is a tricky thing, yet it’s necessary for any business to grow. New employees have to be the right fit and bring the right qualities, but if they do, they can push your business to the next level and foster a corporate culture that lasts and produces happy employees and big-time profits.

Some companies use personality tests to gauge whether any new employee or prospective new employee has what it takes to mesh with the other workers and be productive. Some organizations rely on personality tests more than others. To be a policeman or policewoman, for example, you have to pass a series of rigorous personality and emotional stability tests. During the employee onboarding process, there are many opportunities for personality tests to be used for many reasons.

But how do you know when it’s appropriate and cost-effective to implement a personality test for each new employee in the employee onboarding process?

The Case for Personality Tests in the Employee Onboarding Process

Personality tests allow you as a recruiter to see past the resume and the interview process into what a prospective employee will bring to the table once they actually join the firm.

Most interviews, before employee onboarding even begins, are concerned with determining if the employee can do the job they will be asked to perform. Getting the right employees requires a process of elimination. The first wave of eliminations comes from the resume, obviously. The second round comes in the interview phase. With a personality test, hiring managers can focus on which soft skills the potential new-hire can bring to the table and help to provide a blueprint for asking the right questions about behavior in the interview process.

Personality tests also help you mold your team with more care and control, improving company culture and communication in the process. Simply knowing the personality tendencies of each team member can pay dividends when you’re building your team for success. You can make sure to hire new employees that fit in well with the team. You can also form a communications plan and style that speaks directly to the team you’ve assembled based on their individual personalities, and you can see all of the parts that make up your corporate culture.

Why Personality Tests are Sometimes Inappropriate

Many new-hires or prospective hires in the employee onboarding process don’t necessarily expect to be tested for their personality, especially if you’re not running a police department. They might be resistant to what appear to them to be probing questions, causing distrust right off the bat.

The other big reason many hiring managers don’t bother with personality tests in their employee onboarding process is because of time and money. Unless you’re a psychologist, you probably won’t be able to design a personality test by yourself. You’ll have to buy one to use in employee onboarding. These tests can run anywhere between $100 to $5000 per candidate. For any thorough personality test, the administration of response to them takes time, during which a candidate could go find another job with a less strenuous onboarding process.

At the end of the day, you need employees who will work well with each other and do the job they are asked. Personality tests can help you find candidates who fit well within your company and team culture, but they’re not the end-all authority on how employees work together when the work actually starts. They only give you a composite sketch of an employee.

The best way to determine if a personality test is cost-effective is to ask yourself what you will ask of your employees. If they will be working in a busy, high-stress environment, perhaps a personality test is a good way to predict how job candidates will perform in those situations during the employee onboarding process. If teamwork matters even more than usual at your workplace, a personality test is a good way to see if candidates can fit in well.

Ben Renner

Ben Renner is an HR expert, writer, and Senior Editor of the Employee Communications Council. He has lived and managed his own business in Denver, Colorado since 2013. Connect with him on LinkedIn:

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