Recruiting-Using Personality and Skills Tests Effectively

How large a role should testing play in the hiring process? The short answer is, it depends. The question is not only whether to test, but also what to evaluate, when to administer the tests, and how to apply the results to your business. In today’s blog, let’s take a look at two of the main types of tests (personality and skills), as well as certifications versus certificates.

Personality Tests

Job Applicant Testing

Job Applicant Testing

Many Silicon Valley companies, particularly start-ups, are characterized by rapid change and time-sensitive projects and tasks. In these environments, personality plays a large role in an individual’s success. How does a worker navigate the maze of competing demands, multiple stakeholders, and ad hoc collaboration with people he or she doesn’t know well? Personality tests can be a valuable indicator of whether a person will fit in your organization and in the given role.

Tests such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the DiSC profile and others can provide useful information about a person’s natural tendencies when it comes to communication style, decision-making, and empathy. In a people-facing role such as sales, management, or customer service, these tools can be extremely helpful.

Skills Tests

Alternatively, some positions are focused in their scope and require consistent performance at clearly-defined tasks. For example, software developers and accounting/finance professionals must be highly proficient at their core competencies, and skills-based tests can measure that effectively. Most organizations will benefit from partnering with a testing company that offers up-to-date, scientifically validated tests that are proven not to be biased against any demographic and which are relevant to the needs of your position.

When Should You Test?

Administering tests requires a time investment from both you and the applicant, as well as possible cost. Menlo Partners recommends using testing toward the end of the interviewing process. Instead of requiring all applicants to take tests, narrow the field to your top two or three candidates and then introduce testing. This approach ensures that you have already demonstrated a level of commitment to your best prospects, and increases the likelihood that they will respond to your testing request in a positive and enthusiastic manner.

A Word about Certifications and Certificates

Employers are sometimes confused about the difference between certifications and certificates. Professional certifications, such as the PMP (Project Management Professional) and SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) certifications, have strict, standardized testing requirements and require significant study and preparation in order to earn them. Additionally, professional certifications often require continuing education (CE) credits in order to be maintained. In contrast, professional certificate programs such as those offered San Francisco Bay Area university extension programs typically award certificates upon completion of coursework and exams. Program content usually varies from institution to institution, and certificate holders are not typically required to update their knowledge and skills. In certain fields, the lack of certification may be a red flag for an employer. In other fields, where no certification is required or expected, a professional certificate may indicate a candidate’s lifelong commitment to education and growth.

Menlo Partners is Here to Help

For more information about skills and personality testing as tools in the hiring process, contact the talent acquisition experts and Menlo Partners Staffing today! If you need help with recruiting top talent or with expanding your workforce, give us a call.


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