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Possible applications of the big five personality traits testing in human resource departments

Possible applications of the big five personality traits testing in human resource departments



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I am a multimedia artist who is interning in a human resources department of a casino resort. In the department we have daily meetings to discuss updates to both the orientation and the performance of the casino's employees.

During the discussion I had an idea on maybe using psychometric ( big 5 ) testing for either helping in filtering out unfit candidates for certain positions or/and allocation of time or resources to certain to certain people or group's of people to help them in certain ways or identify problems as to improve the effectiveness of the staff.

My questions are;

1: Can it be used in this way, or what other ways can HR use it?

2: How to go about using it?

3: Will it be effective?

4: Does there exists other companies that use psychometric testing or big 5 for there employees?


Personality testing of (potential) employees is big business, according to the BBC:

A 2014 survey of global HR professionals by CEB, one of the largest providers of online talent tests, indicated that 62% of respondents used some sort of personality test pre-hire. Thirty percent indicated that personality assessments would be used to identify high potential talent in the future. By contrast, a 2001 survey of managers from the American Management Association found that 29% of employers used a psychological measurement or assessment.

Supposedly up to 10 years ago, personality testing was mostly used to improve employee retention, rather than predict performance:

The most prevalent reason given for using personality testing was their contribution to improving employee fit and reducing turnover by rates as much as 20% (Geller, 2004), 30% (Berta, 2005), 40% (Daniel, 2005), and even 70% (Wagner, 2000). It is of considerable interest that evidence for the validity of personality tests for predicting job performance is rarely cited (see Hoel (2004) for a notable exception) by human resource professionals or recruiters.

The BBC cites some anecdotal evidence that personality testing is increasingly being used to predict performance as well.

And it does have some scientific basis. Restricting discussion to Big 5 main factors, from a 2017 review:

  • Conscientiousness is the best personality predictor of job performance and counterproductive behaviors, and it has shown validity generalization across samples, occupations, and countries. Operational validity of conscientiousness was found to be .39 when a quasi-ipsative forced-choice format was used (Salgado, Anderson, & Tauriz, 2015; Salgado & Tauriz, 2014);

  • Emotional stability [the opposite of neuroticism] was the second most relevant personality predictor of job performance and counterproductive work behaviors,

  • Conscientiousness, emotional stability, and agreeableness are the most valid predictors of overall counterproductive behaviors, interpersonally oriented counterproductive behaviors, and organizationally oriented counterproductive behaviors (Berry et al., 2007);

  • Conscientiousness, emotional stability, and agreeableness showed incremental validity over GCA [general cognitive ability = IQ] for predicting overall job performance (Salgado & De Fruyt, 2006);

  • The format of the personality inventory is an important moderator of the criterion-related validity of the Big Five dimensions, so that the validity increases dramatically when quasi-ipsative forced-choice formats are used (Salgado, Anderson, & Tauriz, 2015; Salgado & Tauriz, 2014);

[… ]

But sure there are plenty of management/HR fads out there as well in field of personality testing. A widely cited review of Hunter and Schmidt from two decades ago put the validity of personality testing (without much discrimination how it was done) to 0.22, in the context of hiring practices as predictors for job performance.


4. Discussion

The study aimed to examine whether perceived threat of COVID-19 and efficacy to prevent COVID-19 would mediate the relationships between personality traits and perceived stress. We hypothesized that higher neuroticism and extroversion (activity and sociability) would be associated with higher levels of stress during the pandemic and a greater increase in stress levels compared to levels before the pandemic. By contrast, higher conscientiousness (goal-striving) would not predict higher perceived stress. Our findings fully supported our hypotheses. Neuroticism had the strongest association with perceived stress during the pandemic and change of stress. This finding was supported in previous studies ( Ebstrup et al., 2011 Vollrath, 2001 ).

It is worth noting that a previous study has reported that higher extroversion was associated with lower perceived levels of stress ( Jackson and Schneider, 2014 Lecic-Tosevski et al., 2011 ). Extraverts are known to seek out social stimulation and opportunities to engage with others, and social connectedness mediates the well-established relationship between extraversion and perceived well-being ( De Raad, 2000 Lee et al., 2008 ). Thus, the quarantine during the pandemic may have hindered the ability of extroverts to fulfill this social stimulation and may have led to higher levels of perceived stress than individuals with lower extroversion. Alternatively, the higher stress experienced by those with higher levels of extraversion may also stem from a lack of cognitive appraisal skills necessary to regulate their emotions, and/or external regulations of stress ( Kobylińska et al., 2020 ).

The COVID-19 quarantine has been described to be a “golden age for introverts”( Brooks and Moser, 2020 ), and our results provide initial evidence for this proposal because extroverts, particularly individuals with high activity and sociability aspect of the extroversion showed higher levels of distress. However, this does not mean that introverts do not need any forms of social connection. Social connection is essential to well-being ( Small et al., 2011 ). Introverts typically have fewer social interactions than extraverts ( Lucas et al., 2008 ), and therefore physical or social distancing measures during the pandemic may have produced relatively small shifts in their regular social behavior. Future research is needed to explore the reasons why extroverts and introverts experience stress differently during the pandemic.

Our findings also revealed the mechanisms in which neurotic, conscientious (goal-striving), and extroverts (activity and sociability) may experience perceived stress and change in stress during the pandemic differed. Our findings supported our hypotheses. Specifically, individuals with a strong neurotic personality experienced higher levels of stress during the pandemic due to higher levels of perceived threat related to COVID-19 and lower levels of perceived efficacy. Perceived threat and efficacy had the strongest mediating effect for neurotic compared with the other personality traits. This finding was supported by previous research ( Ebstrup et al., 2011 Moeini et al., 2008 Vollrath, 2001 ). Our results also suggested that perceived threat did not explain the relationship between extroversion and high levels of stress. Higher levels of perceived stress from extraversion during the pandemic may stem from the inability to socialize, as mentioned earlier. The negative association between extroversion and efficacy suggests that it may be challenging for extroverts to carry out preventive COVID-19 measures. Extroverts were associated with lower engagement with social distancing behaviors during COVID-19 ( Carvalho et al., 2020 ). Finally, our results suggest that individuals with high conscientiousness (goal-striving) personality traits may perceive COVID-19 as challenges rather than threats and are more likely to engage in positive appraisals of efficacy to prevent COVID-19. This finding is well reflected in the conscientiousness personality trait as these individuals value orderliness and following directions ( Hoyle, 2006 Lecic-Tosevski et al., 2011 ). Thus, the ability to follow preventive measures for COVID-19 may lead individuals with high conscientiousness to perceive a lower level of threat. It is possible that the lower levels of perceived threat observed in individuals with high conscientiousness are a reflection of their self-regulation and emotional regulation skills ( Hoyle, 2006 ). Future research is needed to better understand the influence of these regulation skills on perceived threat between the personality traits as a result of the pandemic.

There are several important implications for applied settings as a result of our findings. First, our results contribute to the existing COVID-19 literature that personality traits should be taken into consideration when identifying individuals at risk. One potential way to identify personality traits and at-risk individuals on a large scale is through infoveillance – the use of user-generated online information to help improve public health outcomes ( Liu et al., 2019 ). Second, our findings may help inform the development of future behavior interventions to manage stress during pandemics. In order to improve stress management for individuals with higher levels of neuroticism, interventions need to address their levels of perceived threat and efficacy. Individuals with higher levels of neuroticism need help with managing their perceived threat and improving perceived efficacy to prevent COVID-19. Based on the EPPM, extreme fear messages that highlight the severity and susceptibility of COVID-19 may not necessarily be useful for individuals with higher levels of neuroticism, as this may further elevate their perceived levels of stress ( Barnett et al., 2009 ). In addition to considering personality traits, a person's age and education should be taken into consideration, as these demographic variables were positively associated with perceived threat. Extraverts, particularly individuals with high extroversion activity and sociability, are not threatened, but they are likely to experience distress from social restrictions. This could be approached with creative means to maintain social connections such as regular video chats with family and friends, or online meetups. Interventions tailored for individuals with higher levels of neuroticism and extroversion should also aim to develop efficacy. Perceived efficacy can be improved through mastery experiences (e.g., ensuring people practice physical or social distancing) or vicarious experiences (e.g., observing others that successfully carried COVID-19 preventive measures) ( Bandura, 2004 ).

A strength of this study is the large national sample and the use of validated questionnaires. However, one study limitation was that our sample included only English speakers in Canada thus, this may limit the generalizability of our findings. Second, perceived stress was measured using a single item, thus caution is required when interpreting our findings. Future studies should use multi-item stress measures for replication or may consider applying context-specific COVID-19 related measures ( Lee et al., 2008 ). Third, the influence of agreeableness and openness personality traits on perceived stress was not examined in this study. Previous studies have shown that neuroticism, conscientiousness, and extroversion have a stronger association on perceived stress than agreeableness and openness (Afshar et al., 2015 Ebstrup et al., 2011 ). Thus, based on previous research and an effort to minimize participant burden, we focused on neuroticism, conscientiousness, and extroversion. Finally, the design of our study is cross-sectional, and therefore the analyses of stress before COVID-19 are based on retrospective interpretations. Future studies using intensive longitudinal data collected by ecological momentary assessment can offer more sensitive assessments ( Dunton, 2017 ).


An Insight to Project Manager Personality Traits

Individual personality assessments tools have a strong following among Fortune 100 companies.[1] Besides being used for hiring purposes, individual personality assessment tools give project managers insight into personality and aspirations, as well as how they process and organize information, make decisions, and interact with team members and other stakeholders. The aim of this research study was to explore what personality traits project managers need to lead a project team effectively. To accomplish this, we employed the Big Five Personality® and the Myers-Briggs (MBTI®) personality assessments to identify favorable personality traits and characteristics when managing projects. A convenient sample of 202 managers engaged in an advanced project management educational program, responded to the Big Five Personality® and the Myers-Briggs (MBTI®) personality assessments. Thus, the results of this quantitative study can be used by companies when hiring, assigning project managers, and for team building to achieve business success.

Introduction

Fierce competition in the global economy has trigged companies to become more and more dependent on project management to build new products and services faster than ever before as a result, project management processes and techniques have to be improved and updated regularly.[2] [3] Additionally, project management is expected to include all trades and become more elaborate and diversified in the near future.[4] As such, project managers have been held even more accountable for achieving despite the constraints of a project: time, scope, cost, quality, resources, and risk.[5] [6] [7] To meet these demands, project managers must have a comprehensive understanding of how to apply and integrate the processes as well as how to select tools and techniques sufficient for project success.

However, it takes more than knowledge and performance it also takes interpersonal skills.[8] Therefore, project managers must possess interpersonal skills along with technical management skills to achieve the project’s time, scope, cost, and quality objectives.[9] Mapue reported that a project manager’s interpersonal skills are just as essential to a project’s success as their technical skills.[10] Such skills include the leadership and personality traits essential for influencing key stakeholders and motivating project team members.[11] For example, when a manager is assigned to a project, he or she can use the PMBOK as a guide to managing the project,[12] but when the project manager has to facilitate a possible contentious meeting with difficult stakeholders or deal with conflict, there is not a guide because meetings or conflicts will differ.[13]

Understanding personality traits will, to a great extent, assist especially with stakeholders who are domineering and authoritative with others who then may feel undermined and disrespected.[14] Therefore, the project manager should have a solid understanding of the different personalities attending the meeting or involved with the conflict to successfully lead the project to success.[15] Studies have shown a direct correlation between a project manager’s personality traits and a successfully delivered project.[16] Far too often, when project managers do not possess proper interpersonal skills, or when they take these skills for granted, they soon find themselves associated with project failure related to people issues because of inappropriate leadership style and/or personality.[17] [18] Therefore, it is essential to have project managers with the proper interpersonal skills leading projects to success and, as a result, growing the business.[19] [20] About 80 percent of Fortune 100 companies rely on personality assessments to build stronger, more effective project management teams and healthier organizations. Thus, it should not come as a surprise when these companies report a positive return on investment (ROI).[21]

In a project team context, there are several personalities and behavioral assessment tools available to help better understand the personalities of project managers and their team members.[22] One of them is the Big Five Personality ® assessment, named by Lewis Goldberg, a researcher at the Oregon Research Institute, now generally used in business and psychological research. The second is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI ® ) personality assessment.[23] The aim of this research study was to discuss the results of an empirical investigation on the Big Five Personality ® and MBTI ® assessments and find which project manager personality traits are needed to lead a project team successfully.

The Big Five Personality ® assessment is categorized in one of the five dimensions described as follows:

  • Surgency includes traits of extraversion, dominance, and high energy with determination to get the goal, or task completed
  • Openness to Experience includes flexibility, intelligence, and internal locus of control creativity, and willingness to consider new ideas
  • Agreeableness includes traits of sociability and emotional intelligence
  • Conscientiousness includes traits dependability, persistent, and integrity, goal-directed behaviors
  • Adjustment includes traits of emotional stability and self-confidence.[24]

The Myers-Briggs ® type indicator is the most widely used personality inventory in the world, with more than 3.5 million assessments administered each year.[25] It is based on the Jungian categorization of people into one of sixteen personality types in four dichotomous categories.[26] The result is a four-letter “code” that reveals how the person best processes information and interacts with others. The four categories are described as follows:

  • Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I): While extraverts derive energy from social situations and are characterized as “outward,” introverts derive energy from being alone to reflect and can be called “inward.”
  • Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N): While people characterized as sensing make decisions from empirically gathered information, intuitive individuals are more comfortable relying on impressions or hunches.
  • Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F): While people characterized as thinking prefer hard data, those labeled as feeling are typically impacted by emotion when making decisions.
  • Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P): Those who exhibit a judging preference tend to thrive when things are organized and well planned in contrast, those described as perceiving are open to spontaneity.[27]

Methodology

The present study’s three research questions are as follows:

  1. What do managers attending an advanced project management educational program report as their Big Five Personality ® and MBTI ® personality classifications?
  2. Are the managers’ Big Five Personality ® and MBTI ® classification scores in alignment?
  3. What do the Big Five Personality ® and MBTI ® classification score findings say about the personality characteristics of managers attending a program regarding their current capability to lead a project team successfully?

Data Collection

Sample Characteristics

Our research study was conducted as part of an advanced project management educational program at a large-sized university with campuses in the United States and several international locations. Based on their experience with managing projects, 204 managers responded to the Big Five Personality® and the MBTI® personality assessments, both globally recognized personality assessment tools used in educational and business settings.[28] The participants were managers working on projects in a variety of industries and organizations. Included were 137 males and 67 females.

Data Analysis Method

The data evaluated included descriptive statistics, ranking, and comparison of ranks between Big Five Personality ® and MBTI ® data.

Research Results

Table 1 displays the frequency scores of the Big Five Personality® results of the managers surveyed.

Table 1: Big Five Personality® category frequency scores

Mirrored in the Big Five Personality® dimensions, the most reported Big Five Personality ® traits from our study fell into the “Conscientiousness” dimension. These managers are dependable, persistent, self-disciplined, and have an integrity trait, which demonstrates an awareness of the impact that their behavior has on those around them. They are generally more goal-oriented in their motives, ambitious in their academic efforts and at work, and feel more comfortable when they are well prepared and organized.[29] Research has shown that managers who rate themselves high on self-discipline are more likely to set authentic goals.[30]

Table 2 displays the frequency scores of the MBTI ® results of the managers surveyed.

Table 2: MBTI® category frequency scores

Three out of four MBTI® dimensions reported most by the managers in this study include an “Introvert” dimension. Seven of the most reported MBTI® dimensions include the “Thinking” dimensions. Overall, 152 of the 204 (74.5%) of managers reported the “Thinking” dimension.

Table 3 shows the results of the managers’ Big Five Personality ® results and how they align with the managers’ MBTI ® results.

Table 3: Comparison of Big Five Personality ® ranking versus MBTI ® dimensions

One of the questions under examination in this study was to determine if the MBTI ® findings from the current study’s manager population were found to be in alignment with their Big Five Personality ® findings. Table 3 shows that they are indeed in alignment with all dimensions except for the Big Five Personality ® “Adjustment.” Note: the MBTI ® does not have a dimension that covers “Adjustment,” which is also referred to as “Neuroticism.”[31]

Given that “Conscientiousness” is associated with “Judgment” in MBTI ® terms, the ISTJ was observed to rank highly in this current study population. This is indicated in the Table 3 row, indicating the strength of the MBTI ® element that most closely relates to the associated element of the Big Five Personality ® test. For example, column 1 illustrates that the high presence of the “Judgement” dimension of MBTI ® corresponds with “Conscientiousness.” Likewise, the high ISTJ ranking aligns well with the high ranking of “Openness to Experience.” Correspondingly, “Surgency” was found to rank consistently with ESTP, and ENTJ, and “Agreeableness” corresponded with the MTBI ® “Thinking” dimension.

Discussion/Conclusion

The results of this study show a clear alignment between the Big Five Personality ® and Myers Briggs ® rankings. In particular, “Conscientiousness” with the “Judging” dimension “Openness to Experience” with the “Sensing” dimension “Surgency” with the “Extraversion” dimension and “Agreeableness” with the “Thinking” dimension. Only the Big Five Personality trait of “Adjustment” did not correlate with any of the MBTI ® dimensions.

Spark, Stansmore, and O’Connor[32] state that while introverts can lead using extroverted behaviors, they often avoid doing so because they overestimate the negative effect they will experience from acting like extroverts. A research study[3]indicated that a successful project manager would exhibit an extroverted and perceiving personality in conjunction with mastering the project management discipline. They go on to say extroverted managers carry out projects that show lower delay and lower waste time. Introverted managers often make “Over-processing” and “Defect” types of waste.

A key intellectual contribution of the current study shows that project managers can display a range of personality types to achieve project success. This range can extend from extrovert to introvert personalities. Another key intellectual contribution of the current study leveraging the MBTI ® , or Big Five Personality ® assessments is positing relationships between personally dimensions and project success. Third, an intellectual contribution is that personality self-assessments can identify basic skills and identify areas for a project manager’s personal growth. After taking a personality self-assessment, project managers may realize a need to improve on personal skills such as leadership, communication, team building, conflict resolution, motivation, emotional intelligence, and collaboration for success.[34] Moreover, since personality is central to all business interactions, a deeper understanding of it by project managers can increase profits and ROI.[35]

In conclusion, as the global industry changes rapidly, businesses that invest in project managers whose personalities match the project work are more likely to achieve project success.[36] Personality assessments such as the Big Five Personality ® and MBTI ® can be a valuable tool for project managers to reflect and to gain self-understanding, to gain an understanding of stakeholders and project team members’ personality differences for project success, and to build a stronger company culture benefiting the company’s overall business ROI.[37]

[1] Everwise, (2015). Why employers use personality tests. Retrieved from https://www.geteverwise.com/human-resources/why-employers-use-personality-tests/

[2] Neito-Rodriquez, A. & Sampietro, M. (2017, November). Why business schools keep neglecting project management competencies. PM World Journal 6(11), 1-9.

[3] PMBOK Guide. (2017).A guide to the project management body of knowledge (6th ed.). Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

[4] Naughton, E. (2018). The future of project management. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/future-project-management-ed-naughton/

[6] Aston, B. (2019). Why is project management important? Retrieved from https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/why-is-project-management-important/

[7] Green, J. & Stellman, A. (2018). Head first PMP: A brain-friendly guide (4 th ed.). Sebastopol, Canada: O’Reilly Media, Inc.

[9] Malsam (2019). Hard skills vs. soft Skills: Understanding the benefits of both. Retrieved from https://www.projectmanager.com/blog/hard-skills-vs-soft-skills

[10] Mapue. J. (2019). The fundamental project management skills you must have in 2019. Retrieved from https://www.goskills.com/Project-Management/Articles/Project-management-skills

[13] de Jager, P. (2019, June 28). The arcane art of facilitation [Video webinar]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/345018780

[14] ClientSpot. (2015). The importance of understanding personalities for project managers. Retrieved from http://www.myclientspot.com/blog/the-importance-of-understanding-personalities-for-project-managers/

[16] Ellis, C. (2016). The Project manager’s personality: The most important factor in a project’s success. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/project-managers-personality-most-important-factor-colin-ellis

[18] Petty, A. (2009). Leadership & the project manager: Developing the skills that fuel high performance. Retrieved from https://artpetty.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/ldrshipandprojmgrfinal.pdf

[21] Bajic, E. (2015, September 28). How the MBTI can help you build a stronger company. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/elenabajic/2015/09/28/how-the-mbti-can-help-you-build-a-stronger-company/#68e50ecad93c

[22] Arora, M. & Baronikian, H. (2013). Leadership in project management: Leading people and projects to success (2 nd ed.). Toronto, Canada: Leadership Publishing House.

[23] Myers & Briggs. (2014). MBTI basics. Retrieved from https://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/home.htm?bhcp=1

[24] Lussier, R. & Achua, C. (2016).Leadership: Theory, application, & skill development (6 th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

[26] Martin, C. (1997). Looking at type: The fundamentals. Gainesville, FL.:Center for Applications of Psychological Type.

[28] Sincero, S. (2012). Personality assessment tools. Retrieved from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/personality-assessment-tools

[30] Stavrova, O., Pronk, T., Kokkorist, M. (2019, November). Choosing goals that express the true self: A novel mechanism of the effect of self-control on goal attainment. European Journal of Social Psychology.

[31] Kan, J. (2019). How does Myers-Briggs Type Indicator relate to Big Five personality traits? Retrieved fromhttps://www.quora.com/What-are-the-most-common-mistakes-founders-make-when-they-start-a-company/answer/undefined/What-are-the-most-common-mistakes-founders-make-when-they-start-a-company/answer/Justin-Kan

[32] Spark, A., Stansmore, T., & O’Connor, P. (2018, January). The failure of introverts to emerge as leaders: The role of forecasted affect. Personality and Individual Differences 121, 84-88.

[33] Bevilacqua, M., Ciarapica, F, Germani, M, Mazzuto, G. & Paciarotti, C. (2013). Relation of project managers’ personality and project performance: An approach based on value stream mapping. Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management. 7(4), 857- 890.

[35] InsightDataSolutions, (2019). Personality and business increasing ROI through personality assessment. Retrieved from https://www.insightfordata.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/IDS-WP-Personality-and-Business-Increasing-ROI-Through-Personality-Assessment

[36] Cole, C. (2017). Project management evolution to improve success in infrastructure projects. Management Dynamics in the Knowledge Economy, 5(4), 619-640.


Conclusions

As regards developing country's perspectives at the policy level, intrapreneurship is easy to manage, facilitate, legislate and sustain as compared to entrepreneurship. The importance of entrepreneurial start-ups cannot be ignored, intrapreneurial engagements are more relevant and seem effective for developing countries. Human beings have habits, nature, PTs and ways of working, which matures with experience and age. Organizations have to absorb all human-related personality effects to sustain competitive advantage in a diverse environment. The deficiencies in employee training, pedagogics and within organization culture to promote intrapreneurship, can be enhanced through effective engagement of knowledge sharing.

Intrapreneurship and knowledge sharing are increasingly recognized as an important aptitude of employees in a diverse global business environment. This study has open avenues for research on PTs relationship with intrapreneurship in various other contexts. Moreover, the findings of this study can be useful for human resource departments in corporations in selecting engineers and other professionals for employments according to PTs suitable for specific employment.

This research study proposed and tested an integrated model of determinants of intrapreneurship. Intrapreneurship as an auxiliary of entrepreneurship can altogether be defined as a function of PTs. The relevance of intrapreneurship for engineering professionals is very important. Today’s high-tech organizations solely rely on aggressive innovative ideas to retain a competitive advantage in the market. This demands highly innovative professionals in organizations who can create ventures within the organization for the global community. These highly innovative professionals in organizations cannot be created from pedagogical evolutions, rather professionals of specific PTs can be carefully selected for specified roles.


What are Pre-Employment Tests?

Pre-employment tests are an objective, standardized way of gathering data on candidates during the hiring process. All professionally developed, well-validated pre-employment tests have one thing in common: they are an efficient and reliable means of gaining insights into the capabilities and traits of prospective employees. Depending on the type of test being used, pre-employment assessments can provide relevant information on a job applicant's ability to perform in the workplace.

Pre-employment tests have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to filter and manage large applicant pools. The Internet has made it easier than ever for job-seekers to apply for jobs– one study estimates that, on average, a whopping 250 resumes are submitted for every corporate job opening. Some job-seekers, known as "resume spammers," distribute their resumes across the web in blasts, with little regard to required qualifications or job fit. With applicants spending just an average of 76 seconds reading each job description, it is unsurprising that recruiters report that over 50% of job applicants do not meet the basic qualifications of the job. As a result, most hiring managers don't have the bandwidth to thoroughly review every candidate's application, with recruiters reportedly spending an average of just 6.25 seconds reading each resume.

In this environment, pre-employment tests can provide tremendous value for organizations seeking to find the right talent. By adding pre-employment assessments to the candidate selection process, companies of all sizes can get a better handle on the vast pool of candidates applying to open positions. And while technology may be responsible for the increase in applications, it also provides an answer, by making it much simpler to integrate pre-employment testing into the hiring process.

Types of Pre-Employment Tests

There are many different types of pre-employment tests. In this eBook, we will discuss five of the major types of assessments: Aptitude, Personality, Emotional Intelligence, Risk, and Skills tests.

Aptitude Tests

Aptitude tests measure critical thinking, problem solving, and the ability to learn, digest and apply new information. In essence, cognitive aptitude tests seek to assess an applicant's general intelligence or brainpower. According to one study, 70% of employers looked for candidates with problem-solving skills, and 63% looked for candidates with analytical skills. These abilities are difficult to assess based solely on resumes and interviews, and that is where aptitude tests can help. Aptitude tests can be used in almost any occupational context, but they are especially useful for mid- and higher-level jobs. Because they test the abilities that are most essential to job performance in a wide variety of fields, it's no surprise that aptitude is the single most accurate predictor of job performance.

In fact, research demonstrates that cognitive aptitude tests are far better at predicting job performance than other common hiring criteria – aptitude tests are twice as predictive as job interviews, three times as predictive as experience, and four times as predictive as education level.

Figure 1: When it comes to predicting job performance, aptitude tests are twice as predictive as job interviews, three times as predictive as job experience, and four times as predictive as education level.

Personality Tests

Personality tests are becoming increasingly popular among HR professionals, yet there are still quite a few misconceptions about what personality tests are and how they should be used.

Personality tests seek to answer the questions: Will the candidate be comfortable in this role? Does the candidate have the behavioral traits that are linked to success in this position? Unlike with aptitude tests, there are no right or wrong answers on personality tests. Instead, these tests measure the extent to which people possess relatively permanent behavioral traits. Measuring these traits can help employers predict job fit by determining if a candidate's behavioral tendencies are a good match for both the position and the company culture.

Personality tests can measure many different traits, but the most prominent personality test framework uses what is called the "Big Five" or "Five Factor Model." These are the five dimensions of personality that consistently emerge in empirical research: Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Openness (to Experience), and Stress Tolerance. The concept of personality "traits" is now fairly widely accepted, and is superseding an older paradigm of personality "types" that originated with Carl Jung and relied on a view of personality that categorized people into one of two distinct types, such as introvert or extrovert, thinker or feeler, Type A or Type B. The traits model is gaining credence in personality research because of growing evidence suggesting that a strict dichotomy between two distinct types does not sufficiently describe the nuances of human personality.

Figure 2: The traits model is gaining credence in personality research because of growing evidence suggesting that a strict dichotomy between two distinct types does not sufficiently describe the nuances of human personality.

The Big Five traits are especially applicable to the hiring process because substantial evidence links these traits to job performance for a variety of positions. Conscientiousness, which measures the extent to which an individual is reliable, organized, persistent, and responsible (those who score low in Conscientiousness may be more impulsive and at times unreliable) has been shown to be moderately predictive of success across many job types, but particularly for entry-level positions where characteristics like reliability and punctuality may be more valuable than creativity.

Research demonstrates that certain personality traits are particularly predictive of job performance for two types of positions – sales and customer service jobs. Generally, the highest performing salespeople across a wide range of industries tend to be competitive, highly motivated, outgoing, and assertive. Alternatively, successful salespeople scored lower for traits such as cooperativeness and patience.

Tests that assess traits related to customer service are also increasingly popular because customer service representative positions tend to have above average turnover rates. This leaves HR managers scrambling for tools that can help remedy this problem. Personality tests are particularly useful for minimizing voluntary turnover because they seek to uncover not whether candidates are capable of doing a job, but whether candidates will be content and comfortable performing that job based on their fixed personality traits.

Customer service personality tests are not strictly reserved for customer service representatives, however. These types of tests have been growing in popularity because many organizations place a heavy emphasis on cultivating a "culture of customer service" across an entire organization, in industries as diverse as medical care providers, banks, and non-profits. Companies may find a lot of value in administering these tests to applicants for managerial and administrative positions if their jobs will involve frequent interactions with customers or the public at large.

Emotional Intelligence Tests

Emotional intelligence tests are a newly emerging category of assessments. The concept of emotional intelligence, or EI, is relatively new, first popularized in the 1990s. Over time, the concept of emotional intelligence has become particularly important in the context of the workplace.

Research has shown that emotional intelligence is associated with important work outcomes such as interpersonal effectiveness, collaboration and teamwork, motivation, and decision-making. Strong emotional intelligence has also been associated with good leadership and strong management skills. As a result, organizations are increasingly interested in assessing EI in the hiring process.

Emotional intelligence as a construct is less well-established when compared to cognitive aptitude or even personality. However, research has suggested that emotional intelligence can be viewed as an ability akin to cognitive ability. This makes it possible to assess EI using an ability-based assessment. Emotify, for example, is an ability-based assessment of emotional intelligence that measures a person’s ability to accurately perceive and understand emotions.

In terms of when to use an emotional intelligence test in the hiring process, Criteria recommends administering it for roles that require a great deal of interpersonal interaction. Examples include management or leadership roles, sales or customer services, human resources, and more.

Risk Tests

Risk tests essentially help organizations reduce risk. Risk can take a wide variety of forms, and different assessments measure different types of risk. The main benefit of a risk assessment is that it helps organizations reduce the risk that employees may engage in unsafe or counterproductive work behaviors.

One common type of risk assessment is what is called an Integrity or Honesty test. These assessments help employers manage risk by assessing the likelihood that an applicant will be a reliable employee who will follow the rules. Most integrity tests focus on an applicant's tendencies and attitudes relating to rule adherence. These tests can be used to predict behavior with respect to a wide variety of counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs) that employers want to avoid, including tardiness, absenteeism, time-wasting, theft, fraud, drug use, and safety violations. Integrity tests are most widely used and are most effective for entry-level positions for which overall reliability and rule-following is particularly important. Integrity tests are most commonly used:

  • To reduce risk of employee theft in retail sales
  • In positions where employees will be working in customers' homes, such as home health care aides and field service technicians
  • In manufacturing settings to assess risk for rule violations

In all of these cases, integrity tests serve as a risk management measure by determining which applicants represent a higher risk of engaging in these behaviors based on their responses and personality profiles. Employers often use background checks during the hiring process to mitigate risk, but background checks can be expensive and only target people who have a past record of committing crimes. Integrity tests, on the other hand, will help reduce risk with regard to a host of unproductive behaviors that, while not necessarily as serious as felonies, are generally undesirable. By using integrity tests early in the hiring process, employers can save time and costs while still minimizing risk by screening out applicants that might exhibit workplace behaviors that can damage their organizations.

Another type of risk assessment is a safety assessment. Safety assessments measure a candidate’s attitudes towards safety and the likelihood that they will engage in risk-taking behavior. These types of assessments can help organizations reduce safety incidents and the high costs associated with them. Safety assessments also help to promote a strong “safety culture” where individuals contribute positively to a safe workplace.

Safety assessments are used across a wide range of industries, such as construction, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, and transportation and logistics. Scientifically validated assessments help organizations significantly reduce the number of workplace incidents and injuries that occur, leading to cost savings from property damage and compensation claims.

Skills Tests

Skills tests measure job-related competencies broad ones like verbal, math, and communication skills, or narrow ones like typing and computer skills. These are skills that candidates have picked up through their education and career histories – these skills do not necessarily reflect basic aptitude but instead reflect acquired knowledge – what the applicant already knows how to do based on previous experience.

General skills tests (for example, the Criteria Basic Skills Test) that measure overall job readiness skills such as literacy, numeracy, and attention to detail, can be effective predictors of job performance for a wide variety of entry-level positions. Many skills tests, however, measure more specific acquired competencies such as typing speed or knowledge of specific software applications. It is important to realize that such "micro-skills" tests are not designed to predict long-term job performance, as most aptitude and personality tests are rather, they are intended only as an indicator of a person's current skill level in key job-related competencies.

To maximize the effectiveness of pre-employment testing, one useful strategy is to use more than one type of test. For example, it's very common to test aptitude and personality, or skills and personality. Using more than one test for each candidate allows employers to assess more than one relevant aspect of an applicant, providing more objective, reliable data to streamline the hiring process and make more informed decisions.

How Widespread is Pre-Employment Testing?

The use of pre-employment testing has grown dramatically in recent years. With applicant pools on the rise due to the ease of applying online, hiring managers and recruiters are starting to rely more on data-driven talent management practices that streamline the hiring process. According to surveys done by the American Management Association (AMA), the use of pre-employment testing has been growing steadily in the past fifteen years. The AMA's data revealed that:

  • 70% of employers did some sort of job skill testing
  • 46% of employers use personality and/or psychological tests on applicants or current employees
  • 41% of employers test applicants for basic literacy and math skills

Figure 3: According to surveys conducted by the American Management Association (AMA), 70% of employers do some sort of job skill testing, 46% of employers use personality and/or psychological tests on applicants or current employees, and 41% of employers test applicants for basic literacy and math skills.

The AMA's data are based on surveys of its membership, which tends to be made up of larger organizations. Criteria Corp believes small- and medium-sized businesses should also be able to enjoy the benefits of using pre-employment tests, and our mission is to make these assessments accessible to organizations of all sizes.

What to Expect from Pre-Employment Testing

What kinds of results should companies expect from using pre-employment tests? It is important to have realistic goals and expectations for what a pre-employment testing program can achieve for an organization. By using professionally-developed, validated testing instruments, employers are adding objective, data-driven metrics to the hiring process. Using tests should drive incremental improvements in the hiring results, and minimize the risk of bad hires. It should also dramatically streamline the hiring process, and translate into demonstrable improvements in a business by reducing turnover, lowering hiring and training costs, and improving productivity. This streamlining process should result in tangible gains – using an ROI Calculator can help demonstrate the returns a company can expect after implementing testing.

However, it is equally important to be realistic and understand what not to expect from pre-employment testing. Tests are not a crystal ball, and anyone who claims otherwise is not being honest. When some testing companies advertise "99.9% accuracy" or claim that employers who use their tests will "Never make a bad hire again," they are either ignorant of how the science behind testing works, or are misrepresenting it to sell their tests. Incorporating tests into the hiring process does not mean employers will never make another bad hire, only that they will make fewer of them. No test is a perfect predictor. Some people who don't test well may be exemplary employees, and some that test well may be terrible employees. While research does indicate that tests are significantly more accurate and reliable as predictors than resumes or interviews, employers must remain aware that there is no single selection methodology that will be 100% accurate in predicting performance.

As a result, pre-employment tests should only be one element within a comprehensive set of criteria used to evaluate applicants, including resumes, interviews, job experience, education, and anything else that is relevant for a position. Pre-employment tests provide the most value when applied at the top of the hiring process to screen out candidates who aren't a good fit. Ultimately, however, organizations that use tests are making their final decisions based on many factors, of which tests should be one important component. Companies should expect tests to streamline and improve the hiring process, not replace it.


Abstract

The purpose of this study is twofold: First, it discusses and derives personality types based on Big Five traits. Second, it compares their associations with career success. After deriving both a statistical and content-wise meaningful two-type solution referring to a resilient and a distressed profile, the explanatory value for both objective (i.e., promotions and income) and subjective career success (i.e., self-reported career success and career satisfaction) is tested for both traits and types. For objective career success, only traits appeared to be relevant predictors. For subjective career success, types appeared to have explanatory value as well, next to traits. This study concludes with a short discussion of its implications and possible further research avenues.


8 Modern Personality Assessment Tools for Your HR Team

Today’s Human Resources (HR) professionals know it’s not enough to hire people based only on the skills they have these potential candidates also need personalities that align with the company culture and the nature of the work. Keeping that in mind, although there are thousands of assessments to choose from—some significantly more accurate than others and the most successful combining personality, cognitive, and integrity tests—it’s not surprising that the use of personality assessments in the workplace is growing as much as 10% per year, and more than one-fifth of companies use these tools to help predict if job candidates will fit in.

Source: docstockmedia / shutterstock

HR professionals may depend on personality assessments for training and onboarding. These tests are also useful in helping someone determine what kind of work to pursue. For example, resource pages for high school students are available for guidance in deciding what college programs they’d like to enter or what trade is the best for their personality.

Here is essential information about eight of the most commonly used personality measurements for both strategies. Knowing more about them should make it easier to decide which one is best for your company’s needs.


Cons of Personality Testing

For all their positive qualities, personality tests also have drawbacks. Criticisms include:

  • Time. Personality tests can be time-consuming, which may lead to job candidate frustration or even loss to other companies.
  • Money. Personality tests can be costly to administer. Costs can range between $100 to $5,000 per candidate, according to Helios HR (2014).
  • Accuracy. While useful for gaining behavioral insight, personality tests are not always the best indicators of how successful an individual will be in a job. This is particularly true with certain tests such as the Four Quadrant (4-Q) test and Myers-Briggs assessment. Although these tests have not been validated as strong measures of job performance, they remain popular among employers.
  • Reliability. Candidates often answer personality tests by choosing answers they believe employers want to hear. This can make test results difficult to interpret or even invalid.

For companies that want to assess candidates more substantially but conclude that personality testing is wrong for their needs, alternative testing methods are available.


Interview Test Prep: 6 Common Personality Assessments -- And How Employers Use Them

Once upon a time all you needed to land a new job was a typo-free résumé, some interview smarts, and a few good references.

But these days more and more candidates are finding that getting the gig may very well come down to … your innate personality?

According to a 2014 trends report from business advisory company CEB, 62% of human resources professionals are using personality tests to vet candidates in the hiring process. That’s compared to less than 50% in 2010, per research firm Aberdeen Group.

So if you haven’t had to take a personality assessment yet during an employment search, chances are you soon will.

The reason? Companies are increasingly looking for ways to ensure that they’ve brought on the right individual.

Specifically, they want to not only weed out someone who won’t perform—and need to be replaced, at a cost of time and money—but also avoid hiring a candidate who will flee the minute the next big thing comes along.

Enter personality tests, which “look at behavioral traits, and by analyzing them can indicate competency for a job,” says Paul Gorrell, Ph.D., founding principal of development firm

Employers use these assessments to compare potential employees’ scores against a given job’s requirements to see if there’s a match. And while there are no absolute “right” or “wrong” answers, replies can suggest whether you might have the attributes that do or don’t line up with what a company’s looking for in a candidate.

“For instance, if it’s a sales position, and results come back that a person is slow-moving, risk-averse and too accommodating, that person might not be a strong fit,” Gorrell explains. “But if there’s a service position at the same company, she may be very good for it.”

That said, not all assessments are created equal. While there are a slew out there that have substantial accuracy in selecting ideal candidates, other, less-sophisticated tests can be poor predictors of future job performance.

“All the hiring tools are good for employee development—but not all the development tools are good for hiring,” Gorrell cautions.

So we decided to assess the assessments. Our findings? Three popular personality tests pass the, well, test—and two actually fail because they say very little about your at-work worthiness.

The Caliper Profile

What it is: This assessment, which has been around for some 50 years, measures personality traits—from assertiveness to thoroughness—that relate to key skills needed on the job, such as leadership ability and time management.

Take empathy, for example. The test screens for “a combination of traits that can help you see how well a person reads a room,” Gorrell explains. “Are they flexible or rigid? That’s extremely insightful when hiring someone who has to be responsive to customers or change in an organization.”

Sample question: Candidates are asked to select one statement that best reflects the viewpoint most like theirs in a grouping, and fill in the “most” circle on an answer sheet. From the remaining choices, they then select the one statement that least reflects their viewpoint, filling in the “least” circle.

A. Sometimes it’s better to lose than to risk hurting someone.

B. I’m generally good at making “small talk.”

C. Established practices and/or standards should always be followed.

D. I sometimes lose control of my workday.

The verdict: Pass! The Caliper Profile is especially strong at discerning what really drives a person, Gorrell says. Unlike other tests, it examines both positive and negative qualities that, together, provide insight into what really motivates a person.

Gallup StrengthsFinder

What it is: This test was created a few decades ago, when research by Gallup (yep, the same folks who conduct all those polls) suggested that personality assessments focused too much on weaknesses.

Based on responses to 177 statements that speak to 34 positive traits that the test-taker might possess—from discipline to communication—the test IDs the top five strengths out of all 34 that most strongly represent the prospective employee.

So let’s say you rank highly in positivity. This might mean you’d be stellar in a position that has you dealing with rejection on a regular basis, such as at a call center or in fund-raising.

Are you an achiever? You could naturally excel at Type-A gigs, like an executive or another high-level manager role.

Sample question: Two statements are presented on each screen of the test.

For instance: “I like to help people,” and “When things get tough and I need things done perfectly, I tend to rely on the strengths of people on my team and don’t try to do it all myself.”

Respondents must pick the statement that best describes them. They can note that it “strongly describes” them, that their connection to both statements is “neutral,” or it falls somewhere in between.

The verdict: Pass! Unlike the Caliper, Gallup looks at strengths that are real indicators of success, rather than simply sussing out people’s negatives and downsides—and the results revolve around that, Gorrell says.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

What it is: Probably one of the most well-known personality assessments around, the Myers-Briggs looks at where you fall in four different dichotomies—sensing or intuition, introversion or extroversion, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving—to come up with 16 different personality types labeled by combos of initials.

Case in point: You may have heard someone describe themselves as an INTJ—an intuition/introversion/thinking/judging type.

Around 80% of new hires at Fortune 500 companies have been given the MBTI in the past decade, and countless other companies use it as part of the actual employee selection process.

Sample question: Questions are framed in an A/B format. For example: When dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options?

The output for these responses is Judging (J) or Perceiving (P), respectively.

The verdict: Fail! Essentially, this assessment is designed to suss out innate preferences. And although it's an interesting tool for self-discovery (“Me? An extrovert?”), it hasn’t been proven to be valid for job selection, Gorrell says.

HR departments who choose employees based on its results could miss out on superstars who might actually excel in a given position, or mistakenly bring on workers that don’t live up to expectations—all because they relied too much on what they thought the MBTI was telling them.

In fact, CPP—the test's exclusive publisher—is so concerned about misuse of the personality test for hiring that it has gone out of its way to warn people that it should not be employed for that purpose (both in the media and on the test website), and that companies who do could be held accountable.

The reason, Gorrell says, is partially because the nature of the responses may lead to hiring biases against women and other groups.

Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire

What it is: This test, which is also referred to as the 16PF, was devised in 1949 by psychologist Raymond Cattell, who identified 16 traits that we all posses in varying degrees, like warmth and tension.

The 170 questions on the test differ from those on most other personality assessments (including the ones we’ve covered), in that they ask how you might react to a certain situation on the job, rather than get you to describe your overall personality in some way.

Can you be counted on to finish the tasks you start? How well will you handle high-stress situations? The 16PF can give you a good idea.

Sample question: Candidates must answer “true,” “false” or “?” (meaning you don’t understand the statement or aren’t sure) to such phrases as “When I find myself in a boring situation, I usually ‘tune out’ and daydream,” or “When a bit of tact or convincing is needed to get people moving, I’m usually the one who does it.”

The verdict: Pass! It’s a “terrific instrument” for hiring and also for employee development, Gorrell says, thanks to its focus on practical situations rather than general personality traits.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

What it is: This one is a personality test—but it’s meant to be administered by a clinical expert, like a psychologist, in order to assess a patient’s needs therapeutically.

In fact, unlike the other tests, which can be taken online or administered by HR pros, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2) can only be given and interpreted by a psychologist. And the only workplace situations in which it might be used effectively is to screen employees at high risk of psychological issues, such as members of the police.

Sample question: Answers are true or false. For example: “I wake up with a headache almost every day,” and “I certainly feel worthless sometimes.”

The verdict: Fail! “The information that it asks about is not business-related,” Gorrell says. “Companies have tried to use it, been taken to court, and lost.”


Established Predictors of Educational Achievement and Successful Transitions

Previous research has identified several determinants and correlates of educational achievement and attainment, including successful transitions. Sociological research has focused mainly on the role of parental SES, gender, and migration background in predicting educational success (e.g., Blossfeld and Shavit, 1993 Duncan and Brooks-Gunn, 1997 Klein et al., 2009 Schoon, 2010 Becker and Schubert, 2011 Paat, 2015 McElvany et al., 2018). Psychological research has highlighted the crucial role of cognitive ability in shaping learning, and ultimately achievement and attainment (e.g., Kuncel et al., 2004 Deary et al., 2007 Roth et al., 2015). Research in educational science has focused additionally on the role of contextual factors such as social relationships or learning environments (e.g., Griebel and Niesel, 2004 Griebel, 2011). Among these determinants, sociodemographic characteristics and cognitive ability have typically shown the strongest links to educational success.

Although these predictors explain individual differences in educational achievement (e.g., grades) and attainment (e.g., the highest educational qualification obtained), their predictive power vis-à-vis educational transitions is limited. Thus, our understanding of transition success remains incomplete. Another important consideration is the nature of these predictors: parental SES and cognitive ability can hardly be changed. From a policy and intervention perspective, it would therefore be desirable to identify more malleable factors that contribute to successful educational transitions and that could be targeted by programs aimed at helping young people to master educational transitions. Here, we propose that socio-emotional skills – in particular the Big Five personality traits – might add to our understanding of transition success over and above the aforementioned established predictors.


Cons of Personality Testing

For all their positive qualities, personality tests also have drawbacks. Criticisms include:

  • Time. Personality tests can be time-consuming, which may lead to job candidate frustration or even loss to other companies.
  • Money. Personality tests can be costly to administer. Costs can range between $100 to $5,000 per candidate, according to Helios HR (2014).
  • Accuracy. While useful for gaining behavioral insight, personality tests are not always the best indicators of how successful an individual will be in a job. This is particularly true with certain tests such as the Four Quadrant (4-Q) test and Myers-Briggs assessment. Although these tests have not been validated as strong measures of job performance, they remain popular among employers.
  • Reliability. Candidates often answer personality tests by choosing answers they believe employers want to hear. This can make test results difficult to interpret or even invalid.

For companies that want to assess candidates more substantially but conclude that personality testing is wrong for their needs, alternative testing methods are available.


Established Predictors of Educational Achievement and Successful Transitions

Previous research has identified several determinants and correlates of educational achievement and attainment, including successful transitions. Sociological research has focused mainly on the role of parental SES, gender, and migration background in predicting educational success (e.g., Blossfeld and Shavit, 1993 Duncan and Brooks-Gunn, 1997 Klein et al., 2009 Schoon, 2010 Becker and Schubert, 2011 Paat, 2015 McElvany et al., 2018). Psychological research has highlighted the crucial role of cognitive ability in shaping learning, and ultimately achievement and attainment (e.g., Kuncel et al., 2004 Deary et al., 2007 Roth et al., 2015). Research in educational science has focused additionally on the role of contextual factors such as social relationships or learning environments (e.g., Griebel and Niesel, 2004 Griebel, 2011). Among these determinants, sociodemographic characteristics and cognitive ability have typically shown the strongest links to educational success.

Although these predictors explain individual differences in educational achievement (e.g., grades) and attainment (e.g., the highest educational qualification obtained), their predictive power vis-à-vis educational transitions is limited. Thus, our understanding of transition success remains incomplete. Another important consideration is the nature of these predictors: parental SES and cognitive ability can hardly be changed. From a policy and intervention perspective, it would therefore be desirable to identify more malleable factors that contribute to successful educational transitions and that could be targeted by programs aimed at helping young people to master educational transitions. Here, we propose that socio-emotional skills – in particular the Big Five personality traits – might add to our understanding of transition success over and above the aforementioned established predictors.


4. Discussion

The study aimed to examine whether perceived threat of COVID-19 and efficacy to prevent COVID-19 would mediate the relationships between personality traits and perceived stress. We hypothesized that higher neuroticism and extroversion (activity and sociability) would be associated with higher levels of stress during the pandemic and a greater increase in stress levels compared to levels before the pandemic. By contrast, higher conscientiousness (goal-striving) would not predict higher perceived stress. Our findings fully supported our hypotheses. Neuroticism had the strongest association with perceived stress during the pandemic and change of stress. This finding was supported in previous studies ( Ebstrup et al., 2011 Vollrath, 2001 ).

It is worth noting that a previous study has reported that higher extroversion was associated with lower perceived levels of stress ( Jackson and Schneider, 2014 Lecic-Tosevski et al., 2011 ). Extraverts are known to seek out social stimulation and opportunities to engage with others, and social connectedness mediates the well-established relationship between extraversion and perceived well-being ( De Raad, 2000 Lee et al., 2008 ). Thus, the quarantine during the pandemic may have hindered the ability of extroverts to fulfill this social stimulation and may have led to higher levels of perceived stress than individuals with lower extroversion. Alternatively, the higher stress experienced by those with higher levels of extraversion may also stem from a lack of cognitive appraisal skills necessary to regulate their emotions, and/or external regulations of stress ( Kobylińska et al., 2020 ).

The COVID-19 quarantine has been described to be a “golden age for introverts”( Brooks and Moser, 2020 ), and our results provide initial evidence for this proposal because extroverts, particularly individuals with high activity and sociability aspect of the extroversion showed higher levels of distress. However, this does not mean that introverts do not need any forms of social connection. Social connection is essential to well-being ( Small et al., 2011 ). Introverts typically have fewer social interactions than extraverts ( Lucas et al., 2008 ), and therefore physical or social distancing measures during the pandemic may have produced relatively small shifts in their regular social behavior. Future research is needed to explore the reasons why extroverts and introverts experience stress differently during the pandemic.

Our findings also revealed the mechanisms in which neurotic, conscientious (goal-striving), and extroverts (activity and sociability) may experience perceived stress and change in stress during the pandemic differed. Our findings supported our hypotheses. Specifically, individuals with a strong neurotic personality experienced higher levels of stress during the pandemic due to higher levels of perceived threat related to COVID-19 and lower levels of perceived efficacy. Perceived threat and efficacy had the strongest mediating effect for neurotic compared with the other personality traits. This finding was supported by previous research ( Ebstrup et al., 2011 Moeini et al., 2008 Vollrath, 2001 ). Our results also suggested that perceived threat did not explain the relationship between extroversion and high levels of stress. Higher levels of perceived stress from extraversion during the pandemic may stem from the inability to socialize, as mentioned earlier. The negative association between extroversion and efficacy suggests that it may be challenging for extroverts to carry out preventive COVID-19 measures. Extroverts were associated with lower engagement with social distancing behaviors during COVID-19 ( Carvalho et al., 2020 ). Finally, our results suggest that individuals with high conscientiousness (goal-striving) personality traits may perceive COVID-19 as challenges rather than threats and are more likely to engage in positive appraisals of efficacy to prevent COVID-19. This finding is well reflected in the conscientiousness personality trait as these individuals value orderliness and following directions ( Hoyle, 2006 Lecic-Tosevski et al., 2011 ). Thus, the ability to follow preventive measures for COVID-19 may lead individuals with high conscientiousness to perceive a lower level of threat. It is possible that the lower levels of perceived threat observed in individuals with high conscientiousness are a reflection of their self-regulation and emotional regulation skills ( Hoyle, 2006 ). Future research is needed to better understand the influence of these regulation skills on perceived threat between the personality traits as a result of the pandemic.

There are several important implications for applied settings as a result of our findings. First, our results contribute to the existing COVID-19 literature that personality traits should be taken into consideration when identifying individuals at risk. One potential way to identify personality traits and at-risk individuals on a large scale is through infoveillance – the use of user-generated online information to help improve public health outcomes ( Liu et al., 2019 ). Second, our findings may help inform the development of future behavior interventions to manage stress during pandemics. In order to improve stress management for individuals with higher levels of neuroticism, interventions need to address their levels of perceived threat and efficacy. Individuals with higher levels of neuroticism need help with managing their perceived threat and improving perceived efficacy to prevent COVID-19. Based on the EPPM, extreme fear messages that highlight the severity and susceptibility of COVID-19 may not necessarily be useful for individuals with higher levels of neuroticism, as this may further elevate their perceived levels of stress ( Barnett et al., 2009 ). In addition to considering personality traits, a person's age and education should be taken into consideration, as these demographic variables were positively associated with perceived threat. Extraverts, particularly individuals with high extroversion activity and sociability, are not threatened, but they are likely to experience distress from social restrictions. This could be approached with creative means to maintain social connections such as regular video chats with family and friends, or online meetups. Interventions tailored for individuals with higher levels of neuroticism and extroversion should also aim to develop efficacy. Perceived efficacy can be improved through mastery experiences (e.g., ensuring people practice physical or social distancing) or vicarious experiences (e.g., observing others that successfully carried COVID-19 preventive measures) ( Bandura, 2004 ).

A strength of this study is the large national sample and the use of validated questionnaires. However, one study limitation was that our sample included only English speakers in Canada thus, this may limit the generalizability of our findings. Second, perceived stress was measured using a single item, thus caution is required when interpreting our findings. Future studies should use multi-item stress measures for replication or may consider applying context-specific COVID-19 related measures ( Lee et al., 2008 ). Third, the influence of agreeableness and openness personality traits on perceived stress was not examined in this study. Previous studies have shown that neuroticism, conscientiousness, and extroversion have a stronger association on perceived stress than agreeableness and openness (Afshar et al., 2015 Ebstrup et al., 2011 ). Thus, based on previous research and an effort to minimize participant burden, we focused on neuroticism, conscientiousness, and extroversion. Finally, the design of our study is cross-sectional, and therefore the analyses of stress before COVID-19 are based on retrospective interpretations. Future studies using intensive longitudinal data collected by ecological momentary assessment can offer more sensitive assessments ( Dunton, 2017 ).


An Insight to Project Manager Personality Traits

Individual personality assessments tools have a strong following among Fortune 100 companies.[1] Besides being used for hiring purposes, individual personality assessment tools give project managers insight into personality and aspirations, as well as how they process and organize information, make decisions, and interact with team members and other stakeholders. The aim of this research study was to explore what personality traits project managers need to lead a project team effectively. To accomplish this, we employed the Big Five Personality® and the Myers-Briggs (MBTI®) personality assessments to identify favorable personality traits and characteristics when managing projects. A convenient sample of 202 managers engaged in an advanced project management educational program, responded to the Big Five Personality® and the Myers-Briggs (MBTI®) personality assessments. Thus, the results of this quantitative study can be used by companies when hiring, assigning project managers, and for team building to achieve business success.

Introduction

Fierce competition in the global economy has trigged companies to become more and more dependent on project management to build new products and services faster than ever before as a result, project management processes and techniques have to be improved and updated regularly.[2] [3] Additionally, project management is expected to include all trades and become more elaborate and diversified in the near future.[4] As such, project managers have been held even more accountable for achieving despite the constraints of a project: time, scope, cost, quality, resources, and risk.[5] [6] [7] To meet these demands, project managers must have a comprehensive understanding of how to apply and integrate the processes as well as how to select tools and techniques sufficient for project success.

However, it takes more than knowledge and performance it also takes interpersonal skills.[8] Therefore, project managers must possess interpersonal skills along with technical management skills to achieve the project’s time, scope, cost, and quality objectives.[9] Mapue reported that a project manager’s interpersonal skills are just as essential to a project’s success as their technical skills.[10] Such skills include the leadership and personality traits essential for influencing key stakeholders and motivating project team members.[11] For example, when a manager is assigned to a project, he or she can use the PMBOK as a guide to managing the project,[12] but when the project manager has to facilitate a possible contentious meeting with difficult stakeholders or deal with conflict, there is not a guide because meetings or conflicts will differ.[13]

Understanding personality traits will, to a great extent, assist especially with stakeholders who are domineering and authoritative with others who then may feel undermined and disrespected.[14] Therefore, the project manager should have a solid understanding of the different personalities attending the meeting or involved with the conflict to successfully lead the project to success.[15] Studies have shown a direct correlation between a project manager’s personality traits and a successfully delivered project.[16] Far too often, when project managers do not possess proper interpersonal skills, or when they take these skills for granted, they soon find themselves associated with project failure related to people issues because of inappropriate leadership style and/or personality.[17] [18] Therefore, it is essential to have project managers with the proper interpersonal skills leading projects to success and, as a result, growing the business.[19] [20] About 80 percent of Fortune 100 companies rely on personality assessments to build stronger, more effective project management teams and healthier organizations. Thus, it should not come as a surprise when these companies report a positive return on investment (ROI).[21]

In a project team context, there are several personalities and behavioral assessment tools available to help better understand the personalities of project managers and their team members.[22] One of them is the Big Five Personality ® assessment, named by Lewis Goldberg, a researcher at the Oregon Research Institute, now generally used in business and psychological research. The second is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI ® ) personality assessment.[23] The aim of this research study was to discuss the results of an empirical investigation on the Big Five Personality ® and MBTI ® assessments and find which project manager personality traits are needed to lead a project team successfully.

The Big Five Personality ® assessment is categorized in one of the five dimensions described as follows:

  • Surgency includes traits of extraversion, dominance, and high energy with determination to get the goal, or task completed
  • Openness to Experience includes flexibility, intelligence, and internal locus of control creativity, and willingness to consider new ideas
  • Agreeableness includes traits of sociability and emotional intelligence
  • Conscientiousness includes traits dependability, persistent, and integrity, goal-directed behaviors
  • Adjustment includes traits of emotional stability and self-confidence.[24]

The Myers-Briggs ® type indicator is the most widely used personality inventory in the world, with more than 3.5 million assessments administered each year.[25] It is based on the Jungian categorization of people into one of sixteen personality types in four dichotomous categories.[26] The result is a four-letter “code” that reveals how the person best processes information and interacts with others. The four categories are described as follows:

  • Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I): While extraverts derive energy from social situations and are characterized as “outward,” introverts derive energy from being alone to reflect and can be called “inward.”
  • Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N): While people characterized as sensing make decisions from empirically gathered information, intuitive individuals are more comfortable relying on impressions or hunches.
  • Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F): While people characterized as thinking prefer hard data, those labeled as feeling are typically impacted by emotion when making decisions.
  • Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P): Those who exhibit a judging preference tend to thrive when things are organized and well planned in contrast, those described as perceiving are open to spontaneity.[27]

Methodology

The present study’s three research questions are as follows:

  1. What do managers attending an advanced project management educational program report as their Big Five Personality ® and MBTI ® personality classifications?
  2. Are the managers’ Big Five Personality ® and MBTI ® classification scores in alignment?
  3. What do the Big Five Personality ® and MBTI ® classification score findings say about the personality characteristics of managers attending a program regarding their current capability to lead a project team successfully?

Data Collection

Sample Characteristics

Our research study was conducted as part of an advanced project management educational program at a large-sized university with campuses in the United States and several international locations. Based on their experience with managing projects, 204 managers responded to the Big Five Personality® and the MBTI® personality assessments, both globally recognized personality assessment tools used in educational and business settings.[28] The participants were managers working on projects in a variety of industries and organizations. Included were 137 males and 67 females.

Data Analysis Method

The data evaluated included descriptive statistics, ranking, and comparison of ranks between Big Five Personality ® and MBTI ® data.

Research Results

Table 1 displays the frequency scores of the Big Five Personality® results of the managers surveyed.

Table 1: Big Five Personality® category frequency scores

Mirrored in the Big Five Personality® dimensions, the most reported Big Five Personality ® traits from our study fell into the “Conscientiousness” dimension. These managers are dependable, persistent, self-disciplined, and have an integrity trait, which demonstrates an awareness of the impact that their behavior has on those around them. They are generally more goal-oriented in their motives, ambitious in their academic efforts and at work, and feel more comfortable when they are well prepared and organized.[29] Research has shown that managers who rate themselves high on self-discipline are more likely to set authentic goals.[30]

Table 2 displays the frequency scores of the MBTI ® results of the managers surveyed.

Table 2: MBTI® category frequency scores

Three out of four MBTI® dimensions reported most by the managers in this study include an “Introvert” dimension. Seven of the most reported MBTI® dimensions include the “Thinking” dimensions. Overall, 152 of the 204 (74.5%) of managers reported the “Thinking” dimension.

Table 3 shows the results of the managers’ Big Five Personality ® results and how they align with the managers’ MBTI ® results.

Table 3: Comparison of Big Five Personality ® ranking versus MBTI ® dimensions

One of the questions under examination in this study was to determine if the MBTI ® findings from the current study’s manager population were found to be in alignment with their Big Five Personality ® findings. Table 3 shows that they are indeed in alignment with all dimensions except for the Big Five Personality ® “Adjustment.” Note: the MBTI ® does not have a dimension that covers “Adjustment,” which is also referred to as “Neuroticism.”[31]

Given that “Conscientiousness” is associated with “Judgment” in MBTI ® terms, the ISTJ was observed to rank highly in this current study population. This is indicated in the Table 3 row, indicating the strength of the MBTI ® element that most closely relates to the associated element of the Big Five Personality ® test. For example, column 1 illustrates that the high presence of the “Judgement” dimension of MBTI ® corresponds with “Conscientiousness.” Likewise, the high ISTJ ranking aligns well with the high ranking of “Openness to Experience.” Correspondingly, “Surgency” was found to rank consistently with ESTP, and ENTJ, and “Agreeableness” corresponded with the MTBI ® “Thinking” dimension.

Discussion/Conclusion

The results of this study show a clear alignment between the Big Five Personality ® and Myers Briggs ® rankings. In particular, “Conscientiousness” with the “Judging” dimension “Openness to Experience” with the “Sensing” dimension “Surgency” with the “Extraversion” dimension and “Agreeableness” with the “Thinking” dimension. Only the Big Five Personality trait of “Adjustment” did not correlate with any of the MBTI ® dimensions.

Spark, Stansmore, and O’Connor[32] state that while introverts can lead using extroverted behaviors, they often avoid doing so because they overestimate the negative effect they will experience from acting like extroverts. A research study[3]indicated that a successful project manager would exhibit an extroverted and perceiving personality in conjunction with mastering the project management discipline. They go on to say extroverted managers carry out projects that show lower delay and lower waste time. Introverted managers often make “Over-processing” and “Defect” types of waste.

A key intellectual contribution of the current study shows that project managers can display a range of personality types to achieve project success. This range can extend from extrovert to introvert personalities. Another key intellectual contribution of the current study leveraging the MBTI ® , or Big Five Personality ® assessments is positing relationships between personally dimensions and project success. Third, an intellectual contribution is that personality self-assessments can identify basic skills and identify areas for a project manager’s personal growth. After taking a personality self-assessment, project managers may realize a need to improve on personal skills such as leadership, communication, team building, conflict resolution, motivation, emotional intelligence, and collaboration for success.[34] Moreover, since personality is central to all business interactions, a deeper understanding of it by project managers can increase profits and ROI.[35]

In conclusion, as the global industry changes rapidly, businesses that invest in project managers whose personalities match the project work are more likely to achieve project success.[36] Personality assessments such as the Big Five Personality ® and MBTI ® can be a valuable tool for project managers to reflect and to gain self-understanding, to gain an understanding of stakeholders and project team members’ personality differences for project success, and to build a stronger company culture benefiting the company’s overall business ROI.[37]

[1] Everwise, (2015). Why employers use personality tests. Retrieved from https://www.geteverwise.com/human-resources/why-employers-use-personality-tests/

[2] Neito-Rodriquez, A. & Sampietro, M. (2017, November). Why business schools keep neglecting project management competencies. PM World Journal 6(11), 1-9.

[3] PMBOK Guide. (2017).A guide to the project management body of knowledge (6th ed.). Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

[4] Naughton, E. (2018). The future of project management. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/future-project-management-ed-naughton/

[6] Aston, B. (2019). Why is project management important? Retrieved from https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/why-is-project-management-important/

[7] Green, J. & Stellman, A. (2018). Head first PMP: A brain-friendly guide (4 th ed.). Sebastopol, Canada: O’Reilly Media, Inc.

[9] Malsam (2019). Hard skills vs. soft Skills: Understanding the benefits of both. Retrieved from https://www.projectmanager.com/blog/hard-skills-vs-soft-skills

[10] Mapue. J. (2019). The fundamental project management skills you must have in 2019. Retrieved from https://www.goskills.com/Project-Management/Articles/Project-management-skills

[13] de Jager, P. (2019, June 28). The arcane art of facilitation [Video webinar]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/345018780

[14] ClientSpot. (2015). The importance of understanding personalities for project managers. Retrieved from http://www.myclientspot.com/blog/the-importance-of-understanding-personalities-for-project-managers/

[16] Ellis, C. (2016). The Project manager’s personality: The most important factor in a project’s success. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/project-managers-personality-most-important-factor-colin-ellis

[18] Petty, A. (2009). Leadership & the project manager: Developing the skills that fuel high performance. Retrieved from https://artpetty.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/ldrshipandprojmgrfinal.pdf

[21] Bajic, E. (2015, September 28). How the MBTI can help you build a stronger company. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/elenabajic/2015/09/28/how-the-mbti-can-help-you-build-a-stronger-company/#68e50ecad93c

[22] Arora, M. & Baronikian, H. (2013). Leadership in project management: Leading people and projects to success (2 nd ed.). Toronto, Canada: Leadership Publishing House.

[23] Myers & Briggs. (2014). MBTI basics. Retrieved from https://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/home.htm?bhcp=1

[24] Lussier, R. & Achua, C. (2016).Leadership: Theory, application, & skill development (6 th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

[26] Martin, C. (1997). Looking at type: The fundamentals. Gainesville, FL.:Center for Applications of Psychological Type.

[28] Sincero, S. (2012). Personality assessment tools. Retrieved from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/personality-assessment-tools

[30] Stavrova, O., Pronk, T., Kokkorist, M. (2019, November). Choosing goals that express the true self: A novel mechanism of the effect of self-control on goal attainment. European Journal of Social Psychology.

[31] Kan, J. (2019). How does Myers-Briggs Type Indicator relate to Big Five personality traits? Retrieved fromhttps://www.quora.com/What-are-the-most-common-mistakes-founders-make-when-they-start-a-company/answer/undefined/What-are-the-most-common-mistakes-founders-make-when-they-start-a-company/answer/Justin-Kan

[32] Spark, A., Stansmore, T., & O’Connor, P. (2018, January). The failure of introverts to emerge as leaders: The role of forecasted affect. Personality and Individual Differences 121, 84-88.

[33] Bevilacqua, M., Ciarapica, F, Germani, M, Mazzuto, G. & Paciarotti, C. (2013). Relation of project managers’ personality and project performance: An approach based on value stream mapping. Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management. 7(4), 857- 890.

[35] InsightDataSolutions, (2019). Personality and business increasing ROI through personality assessment. Retrieved from https://www.insightfordata.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/IDS-WP-Personality-and-Business-Increasing-ROI-Through-Personality-Assessment

[36] Cole, C. (2017). Project management evolution to improve success in infrastructure projects. Management Dynamics in the Knowledge Economy, 5(4), 619-640.


Conclusions

As regards developing country's perspectives at the policy level, intrapreneurship is easy to manage, facilitate, legislate and sustain as compared to entrepreneurship. The importance of entrepreneurial start-ups cannot be ignored, intrapreneurial engagements are more relevant and seem effective for developing countries. Human beings have habits, nature, PTs and ways of working, which matures with experience and age. Organizations have to absorb all human-related personality effects to sustain competitive advantage in a diverse environment. The deficiencies in employee training, pedagogics and within organization culture to promote intrapreneurship, can be enhanced through effective engagement of knowledge sharing.

Intrapreneurship and knowledge sharing are increasingly recognized as an important aptitude of employees in a diverse global business environment. This study has open avenues for research on PTs relationship with intrapreneurship in various other contexts. Moreover, the findings of this study can be useful for human resource departments in corporations in selecting engineers and other professionals for employments according to PTs suitable for specific employment.

This research study proposed and tested an integrated model of determinants of intrapreneurship. Intrapreneurship as an auxiliary of entrepreneurship can altogether be defined as a function of PTs. The relevance of intrapreneurship for engineering professionals is very important. Today’s high-tech organizations solely rely on aggressive innovative ideas to retain a competitive advantage in the market. This demands highly innovative professionals in organizations who can create ventures within the organization for the global community. These highly innovative professionals in organizations cannot be created from pedagogical evolutions, rather professionals of specific PTs can be carefully selected for specified roles.


What are Pre-Employment Tests?

Pre-employment tests are an objective, standardized way of gathering data on candidates during the hiring process. All professionally developed, well-validated pre-employment tests have one thing in common: they are an efficient and reliable means of gaining insights into the capabilities and traits of prospective employees. Depending on the type of test being used, pre-employment assessments can provide relevant information on a job applicant's ability to perform in the workplace.

Pre-employment tests have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to filter and manage large applicant pools. The Internet has made it easier than ever for job-seekers to apply for jobs– one study estimates that, on average, a whopping 250 resumes are submitted for every corporate job opening. Some job-seekers, known as "resume spammers," distribute their resumes across the web in blasts, with little regard to required qualifications or job fit. With applicants spending just an average of 76 seconds reading each job description, it is unsurprising that recruiters report that over 50% of job applicants do not meet the basic qualifications of the job. As a result, most hiring managers don't have the bandwidth to thoroughly review every candidate's application, with recruiters reportedly spending an average of just 6.25 seconds reading each resume.

In this environment, pre-employment tests can provide tremendous value for organizations seeking to find the right talent. By adding pre-employment assessments to the candidate selection process, companies of all sizes can get a better handle on the vast pool of candidates applying to open positions. And while technology may be responsible for the increase in applications, it also provides an answer, by making it much simpler to integrate pre-employment testing into the hiring process.

Types of Pre-Employment Tests

There are many different types of pre-employment tests. In this eBook, we will discuss five of the major types of assessments: Aptitude, Personality, Emotional Intelligence, Risk, and Skills tests.

Aptitude Tests

Aptitude tests measure critical thinking, problem solving, and the ability to learn, digest and apply new information. In essence, cognitive aptitude tests seek to assess an applicant's general intelligence or brainpower. According to one study, 70% of employers looked for candidates with problem-solving skills, and 63% looked for candidates with analytical skills. These abilities are difficult to assess based solely on resumes and interviews, and that is where aptitude tests can help. Aptitude tests can be used in almost any occupational context, but they are especially useful for mid- and higher-level jobs. Because they test the abilities that are most essential to job performance in a wide variety of fields, it's no surprise that aptitude is the single most accurate predictor of job performance.

In fact, research demonstrates that cognitive aptitude tests are far better at predicting job performance than other common hiring criteria – aptitude tests are twice as predictive as job interviews, three times as predictive as experience, and four times as predictive as education level.

Figure 1: When it comes to predicting job performance, aptitude tests are twice as predictive as job interviews, three times as predictive as job experience, and four times as predictive as education level.

Personality Tests

Personality tests are becoming increasingly popular among HR professionals, yet there are still quite a few misconceptions about what personality tests are and how they should be used.

Personality tests seek to answer the questions: Will the candidate be comfortable in this role? Does the candidate have the behavioral traits that are linked to success in this position? Unlike with aptitude tests, there are no right or wrong answers on personality tests. Instead, these tests measure the extent to which people possess relatively permanent behavioral traits. Measuring these traits can help employers predict job fit by determining if a candidate's behavioral tendencies are a good match for both the position and the company culture.

Personality tests can measure many different traits, but the most prominent personality test framework uses what is called the "Big Five" or "Five Factor Model." These are the five dimensions of personality that consistently emerge in empirical research: Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Openness (to Experience), and Stress Tolerance. The concept of personality "traits" is now fairly widely accepted, and is superseding an older paradigm of personality "types" that originated with Carl Jung and relied on a view of personality that categorized people into one of two distinct types, such as introvert or extrovert, thinker or feeler, Type A or Type B. The traits model is gaining credence in personality research because of growing evidence suggesting that a strict dichotomy between two distinct types does not sufficiently describe the nuances of human personality.

Figure 2: The traits model is gaining credence in personality research because of growing evidence suggesting that a strict dichotomy between two distinct types does not sufficiently describe the nuances of human personality.

The Big Five traits are especially applicable to the hiring process because substantial evidence links these traits to job performance for a variety of positions. Conscientiousness, which measures the extent to which an individual is reliable, organized, persistent, and responsible (those who score low in Conscientiousness may be more impulsive and at times unreliable) has been shown to be moderately predictive of success across many job types, but particularly for entry-level positions where characteristics like reliability and punctuality may be more valuable than creativity.

Research demonstrates that certain personality traits are particularly predictive of job performance for two types of positions – sales and customer service jobs. Generally, the highest performing salespeople across a wide range of industries tend to be competitive, highly motivated, outgoing, and assertive. Alternatively, successful salespeople scored lower for traits such as cooperativeness and patience.

Tests that assess traits related to customer service are also increasingly popular because customer service representative positions tend to have above average turnover rates. This leaves HR managers scrambling for tools that can help remedy this problem. Personality tests are particularly useful for minimizing voluntary turnover because they seek to uncover not whether candidates are capable of doing a job, but whether candidates will be content and comfortable performing that job based on their fixed personality traits.

Customer service personality tests are not strictly reserved for customer service representatives, however. These types of tests have been growing in popularity because many organizations place a heavy emphasis on cultivating a "culture of customer service" across an entire organization, in industries as diverse as medical care providers, banks, and non-profits. Companies may find a lot of value in administering these tests to applicants for managerial and administrative positions if their jobs will involve frequent interactions with customers or the public at large.

Emotional Intelligence Tests

Emotional intelligence tests are a newly emerging category of assessments. The concept of emotional intelligence, or EI, is relatively new, first popularized in the 1990s. Over time, the concept of emotional intelligence has become particularly important in the context of the workplace.

Research has shown that emotional intelligence is associated with important work outcomes such as interpersonal effectiveness, collaboration and teamwork, motivation, and decision-making. Strong emotional intelligence has also been associated with good leadership and strong management skills. As a result, organizations are increasingly interested in assessing EI in the hiring process.

Emotional intelligence as a construct is less well-established when compared to cognitive aptitude or even personality. However, research has suggested that emotional intelligence can be viewed as an ability akin to cognitive ability. This makes it possible to assess EI using an ability-based assessment. Emotify, for example, is an ability-based assessment of emotional intelligence that measures a person’s ability to accurately perceive and understand emotions.

In terms of when to use an emotional intelligence test in the hiring process, Criteria recommends administering it for roles that require a great deal of interpersonal interaction. Examples include management or leadership roles, sales or customer services, human resources, and more.

Risk Tests

Risk tests essentially help organizations reduce risk. Risk can take a wide variety of forms, and different assessments measure different types of risk. The main benefit of a risk assessment is that it helps organizations reduce the risk that employees may engage in unsafe or counterproductive work behaviors.

One common type of risk assessment is what is called an Integrity or Honesty test. These assessments help employers manage risk by assessing the likelihood that an applicant will be a reliable employee who will follow the rules. Most integrity tests focus on an applicant's tendencies and attitudes relating to rule adherence. These tests can be used to predict behavior with respect to a wide variety of counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs) that employers want to avoid, including tardiness, absenteeism, time-wasting, theft, fraud, drug use, and safety violations. Integrity tests are most widely used and are most effective for entry-level positions for which overall reliability and rule-following is particularly important. Integrity tests are most commonly used:

  • To reduce risk of employee theft in retail sales
  • In positions where employees will be working in customers' homes, such as home health care aides and field service technicians
  • In manufacturing settings to assess risk for rule violations

In all of these cases, integrity tests serve as a risk management measure by determining which applicants represent a higher risk of engaging in these behaviors based on their responses and personality profiles. Employers often use background checks during the hiring process to mitigate risk, but background checks can be expensive and only target people who have a past record of committing crimes. Integrity tests, on the other hand, will help reduce risk with regard to a host of unproductive behaviors that, while not necessarily as serious as felonies, are generally undesirable. By using integrity tests early in the hiring process, employers can save time and costs while still minimizing risk by screening out applicants that might exhibit workplace behaviors that can damage their organizations.

Another type of risk assessment is a safety assessment. Safety assessments measure a candidate’s attitudes towards safety and the likelihood that they will engage in risk-taking behavior. These types of assessments can help organizations reduce safety incidents and the high costs associated with them. Safety assessments also help to promote a strong “safety culture” where individuals contribute positively to a safe workplace.

Safety assessments are used across a wide range of industries, such as construction, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, and transportation and logistics. Scientifically validated assessments help organizations significantly reduce the number of workplace incidents and injuries that occur, leading to cost savings from property damage and compensation claims.

Skills Tests

Skills tests measure job-related competencies broad ones like verbal, math, and communication skills, or narrow ones like typing and computer skills. These are skills that candidates have picked up through their education and career histories – these skills do not necessarily reflect basic aptitude but instead reflect acquired knowledge – what the applicant already knows how to do based on previous experience.

General skills tests (for example, the Criteria Basic Skills Test) that measure overall job readiness skills such as literacy, numeracy, and attention to detail, can be effective predictors of job performance for a wide variety of entry-level positions. Many skills tests, however, measure more specific acquired competencies such as typing speed or knowledge of specific software applications. It is important to realize that such "micro-skills" tests are not designed to predict long-term job performance, as most aptitude and personality tests are rather, they are intended only as an indicator of a person's current skill level in key job-related competencies.

To maximize the effectiveness of pre-employment testing, one useful strategy is to use more than one type of test. For example, it's very common to test aptitude and personality, or skills and personality. Using more than one test for each candidate allows employers to assess more than one relevant aspect of an applicant, providing more objective, reliable data to streamline the hiring process and make more informed decisions.

How Widespread is Pre-Employment Testing?

The use of pre-employment testing has grown dramatically in recent years. With applicant pools on the rise due to the ease of applying online, hiring managers and recruiters are starting to rely more on data-driven talent management practices that streamline the hiring process. According to surveys done by the American Management Association (AMA), the use of pre-employment testing has been growing steadily in the past fifteen years. The AMA's data revealed that:

  • 70% of employers did some sort of job skill testing
  • 46% of employers use personality and/or psychological tests on applicants or current employees
  • 41% of employers test applicants for basic literacy and math skills

Figure 3: According to surveys conducted by the American Management Association (AMA), 70% of employers do some sort of job skill testing, 46% of employers use personality and/or psychological tests on applicants or current employees, and 41% of employers test applicants for basic literacy and math skills.

The AMA's data are based on surveys of its membership, which tends to be made up of larger organizations. Criteria Corp believes small- and medium-sized businesses should also be able to enjoy the benefits of using pre-employment tests, and our mission is to make these assessments accessible to organizations of all sizes.

What to Expect from Pre-Employment Testing

What kinds of results should companies expect from using pre-employment tests? It is important to have realistic goals and expectations for what a pre-employment testing program can achieve for an organization. By using professionally-developed, validated testing instruments, employers are adding objective, data-driven metrics to the hiring process. Using tests should drive incremental improvements in the hiring results, and minimize the risk of bad hires. It should also dramatically streamline the hiring process, and translate into demonstrable improvements in a business by reducing turnover, lowering hiring and training costs, and improving productivity. This streamlining process should result in tangible gains – using an ROI Calculator can help demonstrate the returns a company can expect after implementing testing.

However, it is equally important to be realistic and understand what not to expect from pre-employment testing. Tests are not a crystal ball, and anyone who claims otherwise is not being honest. When some testing companies advertise "99.9% accuracy" or claim that employers who use their tests will "Never make a bad hire again," they are either ignorant of how the science behind testing works, or are misrepresenting it to sell their tests. Incorporating tests into the hiring process does not mean employers will never make another bad hire, only that they will make fewer of them. No test is a perfect predictor. Some people who don't test well may be exemplary employees, and some that test well may be terrible employees. While research does indicate that tests are significantly more accurate and reliable as predictors than resumes or interviews, employers must remain aware that there is no single selection methodology that will be 100% accurate in predicting performance.

As a result, pre-employment tests should only be one element within a comprehensive set of criteria used to evaluate applicants, including resumes, interviews, job experience, education, and anything else that is relevant for a position. Pre-employment tests provide the most value when applied at the top of the hiring process to screen out candidates who aren't a good fit. Ultimately, however, organizations that use tests are making their final decisions based on many factors, of which tests should be one important component. Companies should expect tests to streamline and improve the hiring process, not replace it.


Interview Test Prep: 6 Common Personality Assessments -- And How Employers Use Them

Once upon a time all you needed to land a new job was a typo-free résumé, some interview smarts, and a few good references.

But these days more and more candidates are finding that getting the gig may very well come down to … your innate personality?

According to a 2014 trends report from business advisory company CEB, 62% of human resources professionals are using personality tests to vet candidates in the hiring process. That’s compared to less than 50% in 2010, per research firm Aberdeen Group.

So if you haven’t had to take a personality assessment yet during an employment search, chances are you soon will.

The reason? Companies are increasingly looking for ways to ensure that they’ve brought on the right individual.

Specifically, they want to not only weed out someone who won’t perform—and need to be replaced, at a cost of time and money—but also avoid hiring a candidate who will flee the minute the next big thing comes along.

Enter personality tests, which “look at behavioral traits, and by analyzing them can indicate competency for a job,” says Paul Gorrell, Ph.D., founding principal of development firm

Employers use these assessments to compare potential employees’ scores against a given job’s requirements to see if there’s a match. And while there are no absolute “right” or “wrong” answers, replies can suggest whether you might have the attributes that do or don’t line up with what a company’s looking for in a candidate.

“For instance, if it’s a sales position, and results come back that a person is slow-moving, risk-averse and too accommodating, that person might not be a strong fit,” Gorrell explains. “But if there’s a service position at the same company, she may be very good for it.”

That said, not all assessments are created equal. While there are a slew out there that have substantial accuracy in selecting ideal candidates, other, less-sophisticated tests can be poor predictors of future job performance.

“All the hiring tools are good for employee development—but not all the development tools are good for hiring,” Gorrell cautions.

So we decided to assess the assessments. Our findings? Three popular personality tests pass the, well, test—and two actually fail because they say very little about your at-work worthiness.

The Caliper Profile

What it is: This assessment, which has been around for some 50 years, measures personality traits—from assertiveness to thoroughness—that relate to key skills needed on the job, such as leadership ability and time management.

Take empathy, for example. The test screens for “a combination of traits that can help you see how well a person reads a room,” Gorrell explains. “Are they flexible or rigid? That’s extremely insightful when hiring someone who has to be responsive to customers or change in an organization.”

Sample question: Candidates are asked to select one statement that best reflects the viewpoint most like theirs in a grouping, and fill in the “most” circle on an answer sheet. From the remaining choices, they then select the one statement that least reflects their viewpoint, filling in the “least” circle.

A. Sometimes it’s better to lose than to risk hurting someone.

B. I’m generally good at making “small talk.”

C. Established practices and/or standards should always be followed.

D. I sometimes lose control of my workday.

The verdict: Pass! The Caliper Profile is especially strong at discerning what really drives a person, Gorrell says. Unlike other tests, it examines both positive and negative qualities that, together, provide insight into what really motivates a person.

Gallup StrengthsFinder

What it is: This test was created a few decades ago, when research by Gallup (yep, the same folks who conduct all those polls) suggested that personality assessments focused too much on weaknesses.

Based on responses to 177 statements that speak to 34 positive traits that the test-taker might possess—from discipline to communication—the test IDs the top five strengths out of all 34 that most strongly represent the prospective employee.

So let’s say you rank highly in positivity. This might mean you’d be stellar in a position that has you dealing with rejection on a regular basis, such as at a call center or in fund-raising.

Are you an achiever? You could naturally excel at Type-A gigs, like an executive or another high-level manager role.

Sample question: Two statements are presented on each screen of the test.

For instance: “I like to help people,” and “When things get tough and I need things done perfectly, I tend to rely on the strengths of people on my team and don’t try to do it all myself.”

Respondents must pick the statement that best describes them. They can note that it “strongly describes” them, that their connection to both statements is “neutral,” or it falls somewhere in between.

The verdict: Pass! Unlike the Caliper, Gallup looks at strengths that are real indicators of success, rather than simply sussing out people’s negatives and downsides—and the results revolve around that, Gorrell says.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

What it is: Probably one of the most well-known personality assessments around, the Myers-Briggs looks at where you fall in four different dichotomies—sensing or intuition, introversion or extroversion, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving—to come up with 16 different personality types labeled by combos of initials.

Case in point: You may have heard someone describe themselves as an INTJ—an intuition/introversion/thinking/judging type.

Around 80% of new hires at Fortune 500 companies have been given the MBTI in the past decade, and countless other companies use it as part of the actual employee selection process.

Sample question: Questions are framed in an A/B format. For example: When dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options?

The output for these responses is Judging (J) or Perceiving (P), respectively.

The verdict: Fail! Essentially, this assessment is designed to suss out innate preferences. And although it's an interesting tool for self-discovery (“Me? An extrovert?”), it hasn’t been proven to be valid for job selection, Gorrell says.

HR departments who choose employees based on its results could miss out on superstars who might actually excel in a given position, or mistakenly bring on workers that don’t live up to expectations—all because they relied too much on what they thought the MBTI was telling them.

In fact, CPP—the test's exclusive publisher—is so concerned about misuse of the personality test for hiring that it has gone out of its way to warn people that it should not be employed for that purpose (both in the media and on the test website), and that companies who do could be held accountable.

The reason, Gorrell says, is partially because the nature of the responses may lead to hiring biases against women and other groups.

Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire

What it is: This test, which is also referred to as the 16PF, was devised in 1949 by psychologist Raymond Cattell, who identified 16 traits that we all posses in varying degrees, like warmth and tension.

The 170 questions on the test differ from those on most other personality assessments (including the ones we’ve covered), in that they ask how you might react to a certain situation on the job, rather than get you to describe your overall personality in some way.

Can you be counted on to finish the tasks you start? How well will you handle high-stress situations? The 16PF can give you a good idea.

Sample question: Candidates must answer “true,” “false” or “?” (meaning you don’t understand the statement or aren’t sure) to such phrases as “When I find myself in a boring situation, I usually ‘tune out’ and daydream,” or “When a bit of tact or convincing is needed to get people moving, I’m usually the one who does it.”

The verdict: Pass! It’s a “terrific instrument” for hiring and also for employee development, Gorrell says, thanks to its focus on practical situations rather than general personality traits.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

What it is: This one is a personality test—but it’s meant to be administered by a clinical expert, like a psychologist, in order to assess a patient’s needs therapeutically.

In fact, unlike the other tests, which can be taken online or administered by HR pros, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2) can only be given and interpreted by a psychologist. And the only workplace situations in which it might be used effectively is to screen employees at high risk of psychological issues, such as members of the police.

Sample question: Answers are true or false. For example: “I wake up with a headache almost every day,” and “I certainly feel worthless sometimes.”

The verdict: Fail! “The information that it asks about is not business-related,” Gorrell says. “Companies have tried to use it, been taken to court, and lost.”


8 Modern Personality Assessment Tools for Your HR Team

Today’s Human Resources (HR) professionals know it’s not enough to hire people based only on the skills they have these potential candidates also need personalities that align with the company culture and the nature of the work. Keeping that in mind, although there are thousands of assessments to choose from—some significantly more accurate than others and the most successful combining personality, cognitive, and integrity tests—it’s not surprising that the use of personality assessments in the workplace is growing as much as 10% per year, and more than one-fifth of companies use these tools to help predict if job candidates will fit in.

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HR professionals may depend on personality assessments for training and onboarding. These tests are also useful in helping someone determine what kind of work to pursue. For example, resource pages for high school students are available for guidance in deciding what college programs they’d like to enter or what trade is the best for their personality.

Here is essential information about eight of the most commonly used personality measurements for both strategies. Knowing more about them should make it easier to decide which one is best for your company’s needs.


Abstract

The purpose of this study is twofold: First, it discusses and derives personality types based on Big Five traits. Second, it compares their associations with career success. After deriving both a statistical and content-wise meaningful two-type solution referring to a resilient and a distressed profile, the explanatory value for both objective (i.e., promotions and income) and subjective career success (i.e., self-reported career success and career satisfaction) is tested for both traits and types. For objective career success, only traits appeared to be relevant predictors. For subjective career success, types appeared to have explanatory value as well, next to traits. This study concludes with a short discussion of its implications and possible further research avenues.


Watch the video: You Think You Are Smart? There Are 9 Types of Intelligence! (August 2022).