Personality testing is a standardized element of recruitment for most organizations. With 80% of all Fortune 500 companies adopting assessments like Meyers Briggs personality tests, it’s also consistently used by some of the world’s most successful companies. It makes sense for many organizations to adopt personality testing and skills assessment as part of the recruitment process – both to narrow the pool of potentials and to reduce churn after hiring.
At the same time, many organizations are shifting work to remote environments. That tracks to changing work norms and increases in flex work, remote work, and outsourcing. It also tracks to safety measures, which are further pushing work norms. Remote interviewing is already normalized. You likely already use video calls and email or a portal to exchange data.
Remote personality testing can further add value to this process, helping recruiters to fill in the blanks around skills, personality traits, competencies, and how well that person will fit into a team they may never meet in person.
Can You Run HR Assessment Tests Remotely?
Most personality assessments are delivered over a computer. Yet, many are traditionally taken in office settings, where recruiters can monitor responses and monitor attempts to cheat by looking up answers, can gauge the individual’s personality and match it with answers, and otherwise use tools to determine if the individual is being honest.
Optimizing personality and competency testing for remote environments means delivering testing without expectations. Users cannot know what you might want or expect to get as answers or results. And, in many cases, you have to tweak assessments to require pressure testing and therefore to avoid intuitive thinking – where users are able to simply guess which answer you might “want”.
Digital testing is easiest to support through online portals, hosted on your own or the developer’s site. Developing your own portal allows you to reduce cheating by implementing time-pressure, integrating testing into larger projects, and using tactics like forcing full-screen to reduce simultaneous look-up.
Testing for the Right Traits
It’s impossible to test for a full panel of personality traits and competencies without any sort of face-to-face interaction. However, you can easily test for specific traits to determine if the individual is a good fit for the role. Here, core competencies, big 5 personality, and team mapping work quite well in remote settings.
Personality testing means trying to map an individual to personality traits or a personality type so you can fit them into a team or role. This type of testing is intended to show general traits, how this person will interact with other team members, and what their strengths and weaknesses might be. It does not show whether they are qualified for or suited for one role or not. Communicate this. It’s also a good idea to map what success has looked like in this role in the past. Map incoming personality traits to others in your organization holding the same role and assess whether personality factors play any part in success in the role.
Competency mapping allows you to build a framework around competencies mapped to individual roles. Testing for these competencies in remote situations means delivering tests as skills or project tests and as personality tests. For example, if you can map out the 6 core competencies required for a role, you can create a personality assessment around them and then a follow-up skills assessment. How can you see soft skills in an assessment? If you need someone who’s good under pressure, simply putting time pressure on the assignment will give you a good idea of how the individual performs and reacts under pressure. For example, deliver the assignment alongside the message that you need it several days sooner than communicated because of someone going on vacation.
Assignments don’t work with every type of role, but for many they do. Here, even small assignments of 20-60 minutes can help you map competencies from a test to real work. Assignments also show hard skills, which can be useful especially in creative roles. These are traditionally handed out remotely, so there’s a very high chance you’re already accustomed to doing so. The difference here is putting in processes to map assignment results to skills and personality tests.
Of course, you can still involve teams. Zoom, Discord, and Microsoft Teams allow you to conduct “meet the team” exercises to validate how well people get along (in a first meeting), to see how people interact, and to track responses. While everyone will be in their own environment, you still get discussion, see how that individual fits into the team, and potentially introduce them to the “work floor” to gauge reactions. That can add a lot of value, in that you’ll have opportunities to map reactions to assessment results to attempt to validate them. For example, following the team meetup, you can discuss the individual with team leads, share personality traits and results, and decide how and if the candidate is a good fit.
How to Minimize “Cheating”
Cheating will always happen. It’s a very measured and measurable phenomenon in any type of job testing. Applicants will lie on personality and competency tests as much or more as they lie on resumes. Your goal should be to collect the data you need anyway.
- Don’t make outcomes obvious in any question. If there’s a clear “best answer” for work, you probably need a different question
- Conduct personality testing during live video calls to increase pressure and reduce intuition. Performing in high-pressure environments also means individuals are more likely to quickly choose an answer, much like they would under pressure at work.
- Share explicit messages regarding the fact that testing is used to match candidates to roles and teams – there is no best answer
- Validate tests by using double tests, asking the same questions in multiple ways, and validating through assignments
DISC assessments and Myers-Briggs indicators work for both personality and competency assessments, but it’s important to incorporate them with skills assessments and projects. If you can’t validate the data from more than one source, you have no way of ensuring you’re getting the right answers, instead of the answers the candidate thinks you want to see.
Personality testing can offer a lot of value in helping you to choose talent from pools, match candidates to teams, and choose candidates based on competencies shown to contribute to long-term success. Doing so can help you to improve the quality of hires, to reduce churn, and to improve communication in teams once the new hire settles in. Remotely, you primarily have to consider validating and verifying results, because it’s significantly easier to change input and much harder to tell what someone is actually like. Therefore, supplementing pre-hiring assessments with calls, live reviews, and work assignments will help a great deal.