How personality assessment can help companies recruit top talent in 2021

personality assessments

By Nicolas Speeckaert

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the jobs market with employers halting or significantly reducing recruitment, as well as some being forced to make people redundant. However, with the vaccine roll out across Europe underway, there are indications things will improve this year.

As the world starts to recover, employers will need to find people with the right skills for their business – skills that may have changed since before the pandemic. For example, digital skills are likely to be more in demand, as Covid-19 has increased the pace of digital transformation with the rise in remote working.

Recruiting people with the right skills as well as the right cultural fit for the organisation is not as straightforward as some may think and can be a challenge.

Recruitment website[i] recently highlighted that the top hurdle hiring managers expect to face in 2021 remains the skills gap and its impact on finding qualified candidates, with 40% naming it as an anticipated challenge.

They highlighted that a third of U.S. employers say the skills gap has increased compared to last year, and 80% of employers have difficulty filling vacancies compared with a year ago. also highlighted that the top challenges for 2021 involved recruitment – including assessing candidates during the interview, identifying quality candidates and effectively screening candidates before they are interviewed. 

Unfortunately, having a well-written CV and seeming confident in a face-to-face interview is not enough for employers to determine if a candidate will succeed in a position or not. There is more to any candidate than their education, experience, skills, and past experiences. This is where the need for an assessment solution provider comes in.

Despite this many employers still focus on CVs and interviews when making hiring decisions and this can lead to costly hiring mistakes. It is estimated that up to 75% of all hiring decisions result in a mis-hire[ii]. This is both time consuming and expensive – cost a company roughly 3.5 x the employee’s annual salary[iii].

What can employers do to ensure they recruit the right people this year to help them recover from the pandemic and avoid hiring mistakes?

The importance of personality in recruitment

The key to predicting future success and making the right hiring decisions is assessing a candidate’s personality traits. Conducting career personality test is a proven method to  evaluate candidates’ behavioral tendencies in a work environment that enables recruiters to understand if they will become top performers and thrive, as well as fit into the culture of the company.

A personality assessment beats traditional methods of gathering information and provides recruiters with objective insights that can significantly improve candidate selection. A 2016 study[iv] which explores selection methods in personnel psychology, found that job experience alone only allows predicting job performance with 16% accuracy, whereas the combination of cognitive ability and personality allows 78% accuracy in future performance prediction.

One way for employers to start using personality assessments is to incorporate predictive hiring technology into their recruitment processes. This technology uses personality assessments which can help employers identify which traits will predict someone’s performance and engagement in the job, and they can match each candidate against these criteria.

Candidates that are a good match are more likely to be productive and satisfied on the job. Research[v] has produced some generalisations that can help to evaluate a candidate.

For example, people who are very open tend to be motivated in creative, varied environments. Conscientious employees are self-motivated and organised and require little supervision. Extroverted employees will perform well in social, stimulating tasks and emotionally stable and agreeable employees work best with team support, and are motivated by approval, social support, and external incentives. Using a big five personality test in the hiring process helps employers understand the strengths and weaknesses of candidates better. 

Assessing personality traits can help employers recruit the best people, first time. Here are five key reasons for using personality assessments:

1. Data-driven recruitment makes better hiring decisions 

Personality assessments provide employers with standardised and valuable insights into how candidates will behave at work and can predict job performance and company fit.  Companies can use this data to identify and hire the right candidate, but also to improve overall productivity and effectiveness of their teams.

Unlike CV analysis or face to face interviews, a personality assessment allows companies to accurately assess important personality traits such as openness, conscientiousness, and stability, as well as characteristics such as sociability, leadership orientation, self-confidence, and creative thinking. 

2. Improves candidate screening at the top of the funnel 

When combined with other types of assessments, such as motivation and cognitive ability, and structured interviews, the personality assessment provides powerful insights to improve the selection process. Using this at the start helps to screen out candidates that are not a good fit and makes it easier to focus only on the most promising profiles, and to identify and hire the best talent at the end.

3. Assess if a candidate has the ideal personality for a wide range of job categories 

A personality assessment can successfully predict employee performance across a wide range of job categories. When hiring senior level executives for example companies will probably want to assess overall personality traits, but if they are hiring a waiter, they may be specifically interested in personality traits like sociability or conscientiousness. 

4. Increases employee quality and retention 

Companies can screen candidates more efficiently for aptitude and personality and assess whether a candidate is likely to stay in the role. Many factors are assessed such as passion for learning, ambition, initiative, empathy, communication skills, critical thinking skills, honesty, motivation, and curiosity etc. Screening for these skills during a standard face-to-face interview can be extremely difficult. 

Employees that are not the right fit for a job will eventually underperform in terms of engagement with the role and productivity and will be more likely to leave which is costly and time consuming. A personality assessment can reduce hiring and training costs by providing data that will help hire the right people for a position the first time round. 

5. Driving an evidence-based recruitment process increases legal defensibility 

Using a personality assessment can increase the legal defensibility of the recruitment process as it provides employers with objective, scientifically validated predictors of success in a job, in opposition to other more subjective hiring methods. This gives companies a better chance of defending their hiring procedures if someone questions their hiring process legality.  

To conclude 

Employers are increasingly focused on recovery and preparing their business for beyond the pandemic. It has been suggested that a post-Covid spending boom[vi] could fast track recovery as many households have saved money with the lockdown restrictions. Whatever happens employers need to be prepared and this means ensuring they have the right people in the right roles. Assessing personality, alongside the more traditional recruitment methods, could mean recruitment mis-hires become a thing of the past.

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About the Author

Nicolas Speeckaert

Nicolas Speeckaert, Co-Founder and Managing Director, skeeled. is a job-applicant screening software, supporting recruiters in their selection process. It allows companies to monitor and evaluate candidates based on standardised CVs, personality traits and pre-recorded interviews. We operate a match and shortlist the most promising candidates for your company’s recruitment necessities.


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