Why Personality Tests Aren’t Effective In Building A Diverse Workforce

In recent years, personality tests have become a popular tool for employers to assess job candidates. These tests are designed to assess a candidate’s personality, work style, and values, and are often used to identify the best fit for a job or company culture. In fact, they’re so popular that over 80 per cent of Fortune 500 companies admit to using personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to assess potential employees for upper-level positions. What’s more, is that 75% of organisations with more than 100 employees rely on assessment tools such as aptitude and personality tests for external hiring.

However, despite their popularity, personality tests have been criticised for their lack of effectiveness in building a diverse workforce.

Discrimination

One major concern is that personality tests can be used to discriminate against certain groups of people. For example, some argue that these tests may be biased against people with certain personality disorders. Additionally, it has been suggested that personality tests may perpetuate existing stereotypes, such as the idea that women are less assertive than men or that certain cultures or races are less agreeable. This can lead to a lack of diversity in the workforce as certain groups may be unfairly excluded from job opportunities. This can be especially detrimental to underrepresented groups in the job market such as people of colour, women, and people with disabilities.

Personality tests in recruitment. Are they fair for diversity?

Inaccurate indicators

Another concern is that personality tests may not be reliable or valid indicators of job performance. Studies have found that these tests have low predictive validity, meaning that they may not accurately predict how well a candidate will perform on the job. Additionally, it’s been suggested that personality tests can be easily manipulated, allowing candidates to present themselves in a more favourable light. This can lead to a lack of accuracy in identifying the right candidates for the job.

Potential to overlook great candidates

Furthermore, relying on personality tests as a sole determining factor for hiring can overlook valuable candidates who may not conform to the specific personality traits that the test is assessing for, but may have the necessary skills, qualifications and experiences for the job. They may be able to adapt to the company’s culture and may be able to bring new perspectives and ideas to the table.

What should you do instead?

In order to build a diverse workforce, employers should consider a more holistic approach to recruitment and hiring. This can include factors such as skills, qualifications, experience, and cultural fit. Additionally, employers should also be aware of potential biases and limitations of personality tests, and consider alternative methods to assess candidates such as behavioural interviews, work sample tests, and reference checks. It’s also important for companies to have a diverse hiring team, as people from different backgrounds and perspectives are more likely to identify and remove bias from the hiring process.

Employers should also have a clear diversity, equity and inclusion strategy in place that is well-communicated to the entire organization. This strategy should include a commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable workplace, as well as specific goals and actions to achieve this goal. This can include actions such as implementing training and education programs on unconscious bias and diversity, setting up employee resource groups, and regularly assessing and analyzing the diversity of the workforce.

Personality tests aren’t always effective in recruitment and hiring

In conclusion, while personality tests can provide valuable insight into a candidate’s personality, work style, and values, they are not effective in building a diverse workforce. Employers should be mindful of the potential biases and limitations of these tests and consider alternative methods to assess candidates in order to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Building a diverse workforce not only benefits the company in terms of creativity, innovation and problem-solving, but it’s also the right thing to do.

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