What are Personality Assessments

Employment based personality assessments are questionnaires designed by occupational psychologists to measure the extent to which an individual exhibits particular trait or set of traits. In practice they are not tests but rather assessments in the sense that there are no right or wrong answers. For example, it cannot be asserted that high score on personality factor such as extraversion is better than a low score. Nevertheless, high and low scores on certain factors might have meaning for recruiters as they hold that specific people fit certain job criteria.


For instance, some job descriptions don't want creative, bubbly person in a job that requires adaptability to routine, high degree of accuracy and speed. Other job descriptions might want creative and persuasive candidate with the ability to inspire and motivate co-workers. Hence, one may state that such assessments might have meaning for assessor based on the profile they are looking for but there is no correct or incorrect human type or trait.


Format and task

There is a great variety of instrument tools available in today’s market ranging from evaluation of single dimension to evaluating multiple dimensions. Usually, these assessments come in the form of questionnaires where you will be presented with number of statements or questions and it will be your task to evaluate each statement on scale say, from 1 to 5. According to weight you assign for each answer your personality will be profiled. These days majority of assessments come in software programmes and are administered online. Computerised collection of information facilitates data collection, coding, and quantitative manipulation and scale score management.


What occupational personality assessments profile

As indicated above, personality questionnaires seek to measure how humans behave, act and respond to specific situation. Carefully designed questions gather and organize information about an individual in the expectation that information provided will lead to better understanding of the person. Typically, understanding of an individual may involve making specific predictions of the future behaviour. For example, possible predictions may include probability of demonstrating certain socially desirable behaviours or probability of career success in defined job. The below figure shows profile of writer and business executive based on Cattell’s 16 PF. Note that writers seem to be more reserved abstract thinkers whereas business executives show greater outgoing behaviour and tend to be more releaxed.


What applications they have

Occupational assessments can be used in number of different applications for example; they can form a part of recruitment and selection, training and development or employee promotion. As a part of recruitment and selection occupational personality instrument tools are frequently applied at the early stages of recruitment process to screen-out candidates who are likely to be unsuitable for the job. There is growing evidence indicating that the use of personality tests for selection purposes has increased in recent years.


Why they are used

In recruitment and selection the mayor use has been in the first place the assessment of individual. The aim is to come to decision about behaviour of individual to see how they would react in certain situations. A number of employers claim that one of the main reasons to integrate assessments into its employee selection is to make predictions about the future performance of the candidates. Further, they argue that incorporating personality assessments into its recruitment process avoids bias which may be present when initially assessing CVs or application forms.