People management. Human resources. Recruiters. Three groups of professionals who have a significant need to make the best possible hires and personnel decisions… but how?

Talent assessments are just one of a myriad of tools available to professionals who are in the business of people for their business. These assessments can include cognitive, personality, motivation and interest, aptitude, and more. Talent assessments can be used to make hiring decisions, build teams, and even to inform cultural and work environment shifts within workplaces.

Read on to learn more about talent assessments and to understand how, when, and why you should consider assessments like personality or aptitude tests for your business.

The science behind assessments

A quick search on the Internet will bring you dozens (if not hundreds) of so-called personality or aptitude tests you can take in minutes and receive practically instant results. While some of these tests are based in legitimate research, there’s a big difference between your standard Buzzfeed personality test and a scientifically calculated testing protocol.

Aptitude tests are standardized instruments to assess specific cognitive, perceptual, or physical skills. These tests are used to help inform hiring, placement, and advancement decisions by organizations and can even be used by individuals in selection procedures for college, professional programs, and career planning.

Although they derived from subcomponents of intelligence tests, aptitude tests differ both in purpose and in scope from a traditional intelligence test. Aptitude tests are a great way to gauge a candidate’s suitability to a particular role.

Aptitude tests often address areas of aptitude including verbal reasoning, perceptual speed and accuracy, and language usage. The general purpose of an aptitude test is to determine whether or not an individual is suited to various roles within the organization, especially when it relates to a leadership position.

Personality tests differ from intelligence and aptitude tests. Personality tests aim to determine whether or not an individual is a good “cultural fit” within an organization by measuring personality traits.

Personality assessments are often based on the Five Factor Model which measures openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Among the best-known personality tests used in research and career planning are the Big Five personality test, DISC assessments, and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

It is important to note that not all personality assessments or tests are suitable for hiring, but rather should be used to help teams better understand one another and learn how best to work with others. For example, MBTI shouldn’t be used as a deciding factor in hiring, but can serve as a supporting assessment when putting together harmonious teams.

People with different personalities might do well in the same role, but it’s also true that people with the same personality traits may have vastly different aptitudes. With this in mind, it’s important to understand what your goals are when using any assessments and also to identify the best tests for your specific organizational needs.

Why should I use personality and/or aptitude tests for interviewing and building teams?

Assessments or tests can be used both in the hiring process and as part of your ongoing employee development and cultural management. Not surprisingly, the reasons for using assessments differ depending on when and how you use them.

During the hiring process, you might use assessments to ascertain whether or not an employee has the skills required for a role. When building teams or focusing on your culture, you might be looking to see which employees have certain personality traits so you can build teams who are most likely to bring out the best in one another.

When it comes to hiring, assessments can be an incredibly useful tool for recruiters and hiring managers. Research shows that as many as 78% of job seekers lie during the hiring process. Assessments can weed out candidates who have misrepresented their skills.

In hiring, assessments allow potential candidates to show off their skills and can be particularly useful in situations where a candidate didn’t exactly “shine” during an interview. Further, assessments or testing provides you with unbiased (or less biased) feedback on an employee’s cultural fit and skills that may have been overlooked or open to interpretation during the interview process.

In team building and ongoing employee development, assessments can be used as a tool to gather information from employees about cultural issues as well as to identify employees who are best-suited to moving up the ladder into more senior roles.

Here are some of the most common reasons HR teams and recruiters use assessments and testing:

To put people in positions where they will shine

If you want to build a successful team, it’s important that you make that individuals are in roles where they can be successful. Smart companies believe in committing to the right person, right seat to ensure their teams are built of people who are in the roles they’re best suited for.

Let’s say you poll your employees today and ask them if they would like to be in a managerial or leadership position. Chances are, many employees do aspire to this but not all of your employees are well-suited or ready for this type of role. By using an assessment, you can identify those who are best suited to moving into leadership roles and then nurture their skills and mentor them accordingly.

Similarly, you may have sales professionals who are customer-facing but have a passion for implementation or customer service representatives looking to make a shift to marketing or business development.

Assessments can help you both during the hiring process, in making sure that the person you’re considering is going to thrive in the role they’re applying to, as well as in your long-term employee development strategy.

To assess cultural fit and hire employees who will remain long-term

Much can be – and has been – said about hiring for cultural fit. Some say hiring for culture fit is perpetuating bias and this can be true if you’re allowing individuals to bring their personal bias into the consideration.

Remember, assessments can provide a less-biased or unbiased view of a candidate’s personality traits and motivations! This removes any personal bias from clouding judgment and allows hiring managers to make decisions based on the assessment results.

Cultural fit is an important factor in the selection process for recruiters. A cultural fit assessment is a combination of different methodologies designed to determine whether or not a candidate is a good cultural fit to your organization during the recruitment and selection process. To do this, you collect and analyze a series of data using an assessment tool.

Cultural fit typically refers to how well aligned an employee is with the culture of an organization, meaning that the employee’s goals, values, and belief system connect with the company’s.

To understand what motivates people

Determining what drives people can be a helpful tool in finding the right people to join your organization. It can also help you identify internal candidates for promotion and allow you to create a more positive work environment for your employees.

Motivational or interest inventories can be incredibly useful when hiring or promoting team members to more senior roles. If a candidate for a senior leadership position is most motivated by power, for example, that person may not be well-suited to a role where they are in a position of power over others. Contrarily, a person who is motivated by helping others succeed would be a fit for a more senior leadership opportunity.

Further, when you better understand the motivations and interests of your teams, you’re better able to bring them work that is meaningful and helps them feel successful. This yields more positive work environments and creates a more productive workplace culture.

Different types of tests

There are many different types of tests that HR or recruitment teams can choose to employ during the hiring process as well as those better suited for post-hire assessment by managers.

Narrowing down which assessments to use during the hiring process is critical YOUR success. If you throw too many assessments at candidates, it can be overwhelming and draw the process out unnecessarily. But, if you’re choosing the wrong assessments, you’re wasting everyone’s time.

Profiles Asia Pacific can help you determine which assessments to use and when to give you the best measurements for your organization. We have a unique library of assessments that can be leveraged to support your organization’s needs.

Emotional Intelligence Assessments

One of the most popular emotional intelligence assessments out there is the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i. The EQ-i is the world’s leading measure of emotional intelligence! Emotional intelligence skills are critical for building relationships and teams, leading effectively, and building resilience – making them incredibly important in the workplace.

An important thing to measure here is resilience. Resilience is critical to employee success as it is one of the key markers in learning, building skills, and effective leadership.

Of course, the EQ-i 2.0 is not the only emotional intelligence test out there. Every emotional intelligence assessment will ideally walk users through a series of questions and generate a report that identifies their strengths, weaknesses, and highlights emotional intelligence skills critical to workplace success.

Personality Assessments (DISC, Myers Briggs, FIRO)

Personality assessments have become a popular tool for people managers to use with their teams to help individuals better understand their own personalities as well as how their unique personality traits are perceived by others and how to work with different personalities.

DISC Theory & Personality Traits

DISC is an acronym for the four personality styles that make up the DISC model of behavior: Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S) and Conscientiousness (C). The DISC model is a powerful and remarkably simple tool for understanding people and what drives them.

DISC assessments yield reports that uncover a person’s primary, secondary, tertiary and even absent personality traits. The unique blend of DISC personality types affects how individuals go about their day-to-day

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is often used by organizations to help individuals develop and build self-awareness to help teams work better together. MBTI should not be used in the hiring process. The design of MBTI is for development.

The MBTI identifies a person’s personality type, strengths, and preferences and is claimed to be the most widely-used personality assessment in the world. The MBTI measures the assignment of individuals into one of 16 personality types from the combination of four dichotomous attitudes or functioning styles:

  • Extraversion – Introversion
  • Thinking – Feeling
  • Judgment – Perception
  • Sensing – Intuition

Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavior

The FIRO-B (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavior) is a useful assessment for team building. This insturment helps individuals understand their own behavior as well as the behavior of others to strengthen teams, repair relationships, and take good or functional relationships to a higher level.

The FIRO-B assessment provides a score that is used to estimate how comfortable an individual is with a particular behavior. The test includes three main areas:

  • Inclusion (relationships with others)
  • Control (preference for having influence over others)
  • Affection (need for 1:1 relationships)

Profiles Asia Pacific assessments and profiling

Our unique library of assessments and profiling tools can be used throughout the employee journey – from recruitment and hiring to employee development and feedback. These assessments include:

  • ProfileXT: a multi-purpose, total person assessment
  • eSkill: customizable online tests for specific job requirements
  • Profiles Managerial Fit™: a manager assessment tool
  • Checkpoint 360* Feedback System™: leadership assessment tool

To learn more about these assessments, get in touch today.

Benefits of using assessments

Just as there are countless assessments available for HR teams to choose from, the benefits of these assessments are almost too many to number. Personality, aptitude, and emotional intelligence assessments are excellent tools that can help you determine which candidates will best integrate with your company culture, who is suited for leadership roles, and to support teams looking to grow in strength.

Better hires

Using assessments can help you hire better by identifying the candidates who truly have the skills and personality traits necessary to be successful both in their individual role and within your overall company culture. Talent assessments can weed out candidates who have misrepresented their skills, education, or experience as well as those whose values and motivations are not aligned with your organization.

Improved retention

When you hire right, you’re more likely to retain those employees. But the use of assessments throughout the employee lifecycle can help you retain employees long-term by helping you understand what motivates your people and identify those well-suited to new positions within your organization. This includes those employees who would do well as managers.

Nurturing talent

As mentioned above, assessments can be used to nurture your own talent. An assessment can identify those team members who are well-suited to managerial promotions or senior leadership roles and provide your team with the opportunity to nurture their skills and interests as part of an overall employee development strategy.

Happier customers

Happier teams yield happier customers. It’s really that simple!

You can – and should – use assessments specific to customer-facing roles, such as the Customer Service Profile™ which can help you measure how well a person fits a specific customer service position within your organization. You may also choose to use sales-focused assessments for your sales teams to ensure your team members are “right person, right seat”.

Increased revenues

When your team is set up for success, you will be more successful. By putting the right people in the right roles, you can increase your revenues. Use assessments during the hiring process and throughout the employee lifecycle as part of your overall employee development to ensure that your team members are sitting in the right seats to propel your business forward.

Healthier workplace cultures

Every employer should aspire to have the best workplace culture possible. One way to move towards this goal is through the use of assessments to:

  • ensure a cultural fit when hiring
  • understand the motivations of employees
  • support employee development, including self-awareness and personal growth
  • help employees understand how they work with their peers (or improve their working relationships)

Wrapping up – Build the best teams with personality and aptitude assessments

Talent assessments and personality indicators can be a great tool for identifying, hiring, and developing talent in your organization. It’s important to make sure you are using the right test at the appropriate time but it’s even more important to ensure that you always look at the full picture. Assessments are, of course, just one of many tools you can use to improve your HR activities and practices.

About the Author: Jocelyn Pick