Category Archives: HR Assessments

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Screening for Distributed Workforces: Traits to Look for in Distance Employees

Organizations are more and more often supporting flex and remote work, with employees who come into office a few days a week or not at all. Globally, some 50% of professionals work out of the office at least two and a half days a week.

These shifts allow for greater flexibility, personal time, and reduces costs for the employee and the company, as well as greater opportunity for safety in light of a global pandemic.

At the same time, allowing or asking employees to work from home means asking them to work in a completely different environment, necessitating different soft skills and different competencies.

If you’re hiring new people in this environment, hiring for remote work should be part of screening. That means looking for traits and competencies that allow people to succeed and thrive in a changing environment.

Importantly, if you’re eventually planning to switch back to full time in-office work, it’s important to screen for that as well.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Emotional intelligence is often recognized as the number one soft skill for leaders. But, it’s also incredibly important for distributed workforces. Emotional intelligence or EQ is a trait best described as awareness and perception of your emotions and those around you, and the ability to regulate your own emotions.

While emotional intelligence is a hugely positive trait in any employee, it becomes more so when employees interact with each other at a distance. Collaboration often requires individuals to empathize with and understand the other. Communicating, sharing, and engaging in a functional way requires that same empathy. And, empathy is harder to establish when you don’t see your colleagues in the office every day.

People with emotional intelligence can gauge coworker’s reactions to a statement, offer useful criticism, and act in ways that benefit their team. Someone who is emotionally intelligent can review their colleague’s emotional states, respond to people in ways that elicit the hoped for responses, and be conscientious of how requests, comments, and actions make others feel.

Self-Driven and Self-Motivating Traits

Self-motivation is a critical trait when employees work in their own spaces, without top down management. Remote work often relies on employees taking initiative, performing work, and doing so without someone constantly checking or managing what and how they are doing it. Self-driven and motivated employees are more likely to get up in the morning, do work, and have free time and a healthy work-life balance, whether or not they have to work traditional hours.

Persons without that motivation are more likely to have uneven schedules, to spend long periods procrastinating starting work, and to only pick up items when they are specifically assigned. Because it’s cheaper and more effective to hand remote employees a goal and to allow them to work on that goal with as little oversight as possible, the former is significantly better.

While it can be difficult to assess for self-driven and self-motivation traits in pre-employment screening, there are many ways to look for those traits. They include screening for elective education and self-improvement, personal hobbies, and similar. They can also include electives added on to the assessment, which employees can choose to take.

Communication Skills

Communication is a quality skill in any environment. It’s more so when people can’t check in with others to quickly see what they are doing, what they are working on, or if they need help. Remote workers need to seamlessly communicate progress, issues, bottlenecks, and offer assistance to their team to make things worse.

This means the candidate:

  • Easily and naturally offers progress updates and is willing to check in
  • Documents their work as a matter of course
  • Is fluent with different communication tools including video chat, chat apps, etc.
  • Can manage and maintain multiple lines of communication
  • Can voice their needs and feedback in ways that are understandable to others

Communication skills are a must-have for most offices. And, as a soft skill, they are difficult to train in. For many, they improve as individuals adjust to work routines and to colleagues. However, anyone in remote work needs a strong foundation in these skills to succeed.

Task and Time Management

Task and time management include a range of skills like prioritization, managing how long they spend on tasks, and appropriately scheduling tasks so that they can be completed on deadline, without stress. This is especially important when people are likely to be either home, in an environment that is likely to have distractions (chores, pets, children, partners), or in public spaces. Without company policy and bosses around to motivate people to finish up and clock out, people need to be able to manage their time and tasks.

  • How well does the candidate prioritize tasks?
  • How well does the candidate manage time, e.g., time per section on an assessment that’s too long to be completed in the available time
  • Is the candidate familiar with using digital planning tools for project management and task management? Are they familiar with the option your team uses?
  • Is the candidate able to sit down and focus on a task to complete it within a reasonable amount of time, without being held accountable?

Time management is difficult to gauge as a skill but you will quickly see large differences between individuals with and without a strong ability to manage their time.

Adaptability

Digital work environments are constantly changing. Employees might be asked to work in-office, in the home, and in changing digital environments. You need people who can quickly move back and forth between different work environments.

You also need people who can function with different levels of autonomy. If people move to an office and are largely autonomous in how and when they work but then are required to move into strict 8-hour days with a team lead guiding their work, they have to be flexible enough to make that shift.

  • Are there differences between face-to-face performance in interviews and virtual interviews?
  • How does the candidate perform in virtual tasks versus in-office ones?
  • Does the candidate exhibit a preference for strict routines and processes?
  • Can the candidate switch between different assessment methods or between different styles of communication fluently?

Many people can be relatively inflexible and still be good at remote jobs. At the same time, they’re less likely to be able to move back and forth between different work environments until both become a routine.

Tech Savvy

Digital work is performed in digital spaces. Remote workers must navigate project management tooling, collaboration tooling, and the tooling where they perform their work. Depending on the role, this might be as simple as Microsoft Office and a suite of project management tools.

Whatever those tools are, your candidate must be able to quickly adapt to and succeed in changing digital environments, even if you change tooling. This means it’s more important to look for candidates who can adapt to new technologies quickly rather than people who are fluent in the specific tools you already use.

Digital and distributed workforces are becoming more common. Many organizations are forced into them as employees demand more flexible working conditions, cheaper labor is available elsewhere, and safety concerns push for remote work opportunities. Whatever the reason, it’s important that you take the needs of a distributed workforce into account when screening for and hiring for those roles.


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5 Ways to utilize a DISC assessment of your employees

Using personality tests during the hiring process has become common practice for many organizations around the world. They’re a great way to assess job candidates, making sure you choose the best fitting candidate for the job. In fact, it’s reported that over 88% of Fortune 500 companies use the MBTI personality assessment in their recruitment process.

But the usage of personality tests shouldn’t stop at the hiring stage. Keeping your employees happy and engaged should be a top priority for your company. By understanding your employees personality traits you can find out what motivates them and learn how to retain top talent.

There are many different ways you can use employee personality tests within your workplace. The DISC personality assessment is a versatile tool for analyzing an employees personality traits, making it an ideal solution for use within your business.

What is the DISC personality assessment?

The DISC personality assessment is the leading personal assessment tool used by over 1 million people every year to improve work productivity, teamwork and communication. Due to it’s easy-to-use and widely applicable format, the DISC personality test is a popular choice for employee assessments.

The DISC personality profile measures an individual’s behavior patterns by assessing their tendencies and preferences. The results from the DISC profile can then be used to determine how that individual may behave in various situations.

The DISC personality assessment measures four key personality facets: dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness. By understanding these different personality facets and how each of your employees fit into the DISC personality profile, you can unlock the full potential of your employees.

5 Ways to use DISC assessments of your employees

1) Use DISC for employee hiring and promotion processes

The DISC assessment is all about people and relationships: how they interact with one another, work together, lead people and sell to customers. Although the DISC profile is not recommended for use during pre-employment screening, it can be used to optimize your hiring and onboarding processes.

The hiring process can be unfair and biased. When hiring for a job vacancy, hiring managers will often suffer from unconscious biases, including biases that make them more drawn to candidates that are similar to themselves. You can overcome this personal bias by understanding your own DISC style.

If, as the hiring manager, you know your own DISC personality style then you will be able to identify when you might have a bias towards someone of the same style or a bias against someone of the opposing style.

By using DISC to understand your existing team, you can also ask questions that will determine how the job applicant would fit into the existing team structure, or to determine how they may interact with others on the team.

2) Use DISC personality profiles to tailor communication

Within your organization, you can also use the DISC personality assessment to tailor your communication with different employees. By developing an understanding of your DISC style and your team members DISC style, you can adapt your communication method to improve communications within your team. As a result, your team will feel valued. Employees who feel valued at work have been reported to perform better in their roles.

If one of your team members has a high Dominance personality type according to their DISC profile, being direct and concise may be the most effective communication style. Meanwhile, an employee with a high Influence score may prefer personable and conversational communication.

Different communication styles work for different people. If you understand your and your team’s personality type, you can improve communication within your company team by informing your team what communication style works best for you and adapting your communication style to suit what works best for them.

3) Improve team productivity and efficiency with DISC

Team productivity and efficiency is imperative for the success of your workplace teams. By understanding the DISC profiles of each individual team member, you can help your team to achieve better results for your business.

Grouping people with different temperaments together could cause issues in your team dynamic, which in turn could impact the work produced by that team. Using the DISC personality assessment will enable you to prevent misunderstandings, miscommunication and personality clashes within your team.

As you understand each team member’s personality and working style, you will be able to determine how well they will work with other team members.

The DISC assessment will also enable you to identify team members that may have clashing personality styles. You will then be able to advise these employees on the best method for working together as a team.

The DISC profile can also be useful when implementing a team structure. Although DISC cannot be used to select leaders, you could use it to find the most effective leadership development and training for your team leaders. The Everything DISC profile for leaders is an effective tool for helping leaders to understand their own leadership behaviors and how they impact the success of their department or team.

4) Use the DISC personality test for employee development

Employees value personal development in the workplace. According to the LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning.

You can use the DISC personality assessment to further your employees’ personal and professional development. The DISC personality test can be used to help employees’ understand themselves and their own personality profile. Once they understand their personality style, you can then help them learn strategies to improve their workplace interactions and performance.

5) Motivate employees based on their DISC profile

Employee engagement should be a priority for your organization. Companies whose employees are truly motivated and engaged in their role are the most likely to succeed. There are more ways to motivate employees than simply through monetary rewards. By understanding each of your employee’s DISC styles, you can customize your motivation processes to help increase employee engagement and job satisfaction levels.

You can use the DISC personality profile to learn the dominant personality traits of your employees. Once you know their dominant trait, you will be able to customize your motivation processes to tap into their specific strengths.

For instance, employees with a dominant Conscientious personality style will be eager to maintain quality and accuracy in their work. Therefore, it may be beneficial to set them goals that they want to achieve based on their personality type.

Employees with a high Influence score may be more likely to be motivated by social recognition, group activities and relationships. These employees, therefore, may react positively to receiving recognition and praise, or being chosen to organize a social event for other team members.

No one motivation campaign will work for all of your employees. That’s why it can be beneficial to develop a deeper understanding of your employees and run motivation campaigns that suit each of the different personality styles identified by the DISC personality profile.

To summarize, the DISC personality assessment can help you nurture your employees and workplace teams, further their development and increase their performance levels. By developing an understanding of your employees personality styles, you will be able to optimize your workplace in numerous ways.


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5 Most Valuable HR Assessments in 2021

HR assessments are designed to automate and optimize skills, competency, performance, and leadership reviews against existing frameworks and databases. HR is increasingly taking on roles including hiring, employee management, leadership training, employee development, talent retention, talent training, and organizational behavior.

Providing human resources teams with assessments gives those teams the tools they need to perform those roles well, highlighting and choosing the best candidates, making decisions based on a wider pool of available data, and using information to guide decision-making. 

Human resources is the pivotal point between your organization and its people, capable of guiding your organization to a better, brighter future. Good assessments aid in that decision-making, providing insight, answers to questions, and automatic type matches that would be difficult to achieve through human intuition alone.

Today, the HR assessment market is mature enough that you can typically find multiple choices for the same types of assessments, with options to custom-build a solution for your organization. The best also offer customization, with talent and assessment firms delivering personalization based on your organization’s employees and specific needs. This allows nearly any HR assessment to fit your business and provide value. At the same time, it’s important to review options, highlight which have the most added value in your organization, and move forward from there. The following include 5 of the most valuable HR assessments for 2021.

360 Feedback 

Checkpoint and other providers deliver thorough employee assessment, not just from people in charge, but also from peers and employees. 360-Feedback or 360-Degree Feedback assessments typically incorporate self-assessment as well as feedback from everyone who works with an individual to deliver a complete picture of the person’s work environment to HR.

360-Degree assessments are most valuable for organizations with a large number of employees who have worked in a company for 1-5 years. Statistically, accuracy drops when individuals are very new or when other employees might have a bias and be motivated to rate their colleagues very well because they know them very well.

How does it deliver value? 360-Degree feedback scores give HR insight into how someone is doing from every perspective. This can aid in personal and development opportunities, team-matching, and in aligning scoring with competencies such as emotional intelligence and self-awareness. The largest benefit is that it helps you to understand what an employee needs to do more in their team, whether that’s new skills, better communication, or nothing at all.

DiSC

DiSC Profiles assess personality and behavior, aligning individuals with 4 major types (D, I, S, or C). These personalities include:

Dominant – People who emphasize results and tend to achieve them in a confident way 

Influence – Individuals who are communicative and good at relationships and influencing or persuading others 

Steadiness – Dependable individuals who value cooperation and sincerity 

Conscientiousness – Those who value quality, accuracy, expertise, and competency over other goals 

DiSC delivers a range of profile assessments inside this framework, helping HR to match employees to roles, to positions inside a team, and to each other. For example, DiSC personalities allow HR to build teams that are able to get others on board, are able to work in a dependable way, value quality and accuracy, and who still have a leader. DiSC is an essential assessment for good teambuilding. 

Many organizations also see value in improving conflict management by helping individuals to better understand their colleagues, in training and personal development (by delivering goals and training the person’s values), and delivering insight to leadership. This can greatly improve how teams function together by helping you streamline communication and team makeup.

EQ-i 2.0

EQ-i 2.0 is an assessment designed to gauge emotional intelligence and how that person’s emotional intelligence interacts in the workplace. Assessing emotional intelligence can be critical to improving it, which in turn adds value to leadership, communication, teamwork, and learning.

Helping individuals to understand how well they control and understand their own emotions can also motivate them to work on and improve that control. Similarly, helping someone see that they aren’t acting or behaving in an emotionally intelligent way is often strong motivation to boost people into improving.

Emotional intelligence is often considered to be one of the most valuable workplace skills. It contributes to communication, interpersonal relationships, and collaboration. Understanding how people score, where they can improve and what they can improve will only help.

Profile XT

Profile XT assessments integrate into nearly every aspect of hiring, pre-screening, work management, role management, and leadership management. XT assessments essentially function as a minimal compliance framework, gauging behavior, skills, thinking, aptitude, and reasoning with over 20 performance indicators. This assessment eventually allows HR to align hiring, to assess individuals for specific roles, and to match candidates to roles and teams. 

This comes into play long-term for teambuilding, as part of performance management, for personal development, and for leadership and succession planning. Essentially, it’s an easy way to integrate a complete compliance assessment into the organization, providing much of the value of looking at competencies, while remaining very accessible.

ESkill

ESkill is one of the largest pre-employment screening and assessment companies in the world. The organization delivers hundreds of role and subject-based assessments, with modular programs designed to adjust to match the needs of multifaceted roles. ESkill also integrates video and computer assessments, so prospective candidates can take assessments in formats that suit the needs of the provider. 

Skills assessments are a hugely important part of hiring, of long-term development, and in role-matching. They ensure that individuals, even in remote and external roles, can immediately step in and take on roles, can perform to the requirements of the role, and can perform despite or to the qualifications listed on resumes. 

HR assessments offer value for hiring managers, to recruiters, and to teams looking to match ideal candidates. They play a role in team building, conflict resolution, communication, and collaboration. And, they integrate into personal development and succession planning, giving HR insight into their people, what they need, and how to deliver those changes. Hopefully these assessment options give you some idea of where to start when selecting your solutions. 


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Why schools need career guidance and assessments

Today’s world offers an array of possible career options for students, and the choices seem more plentiful than ever. However, it also doubles the responsibility of career counselors and schools, as students have to choose wisely in order to start preparing for their future careers as early as possible.

The initiative of having career assessment services in schools brings numerous benefits to students and should ideally be standardized in every country and educational establishment.

Even though there is still a long way to go, schools and universities can already start introducing minor changes in order to facilitate smart career choices for their students.

The benchmarks of efficient career guidance by Gatsby

The Gatsby Charitable Foundation set in 1967 covers multiple areas of interest, including education. Thus, it is interesting to know that Gatsby came up with eight career guidance benchmarks that are recommended for any organization and establishment that aims to provide career guidance services:

  1. A stable careers program
  2. Learning the latest information from the labor market
  3. Addressing the needs and interests of every student
  4. Linking school program to careers
  5. Meetings with potential employers (and employees)
  6. Real working experience
  7. Meetings with representatives from universities
  8. Personal guidance for the students

As can be seen from these benchmarks, Gatsby formed a clear vision of a solid and efficient career guidance program that can be implemented by any educational establishment. But is it really needed? Let’s have a closer look at the benefits that career guidance brings.

The link between school programs and real-life careers

The biggest problem of almost any school program is the gap between provided material and real life. For example, many former students can confidently tell you they never really needed in-depth knowledge of the plant-cell components in their life. And this is just one example.

While more and more schools have been adjusting their programs, the issue of irrelevance is still a concern. With this in mind, schools that wish to provide valuable career guidance should start linking the programs to real-life careers.

An example would be teaching about writing business correspondence in English classes or learning useful calculations related to accounting in math. The main point here is that the students should understand the importance of the classes and realize that the school material will be useful in their further work.

Assistance in understanding goals and interests

As mentioned above, the large number of possible career options may confuse a student, especially if he or she does not yet know what they’d like to do in life. Thus, career guidance can assist in understanding their interests and goals for the future.

During the meeting with the counselor, a student can learn about their own strengths and weaknesses through assessment tests, discover all the future possibilities, and gradually form a vision of what he or she would like to do.

Career guidance can become a great starting point and help a student understand what kind of subjects and knowledge will be needed in the future. As well, a student will get an evaluation of their personal traits and skillsets to see whether they match a desired career.

Insight into the labor market

The labor market changes at an incredible speed, and students need to be aware of these changes in order to choose relevant occupations. This is one of the benefits that career guidance brings – the insight into the labor market and its requirements.

Career guidance provides students with information on in-demand skills and knowledge that different industries require. The better the students are prepared for the industry demands, the earlier they can start getting ready and planning their future steps (i.e. the choice of extra subjects or activities).

To provide students with real-time information on the industry, schools and universities can invite industry representatives such as employers and employees so students can meet them and ask questions in order to learn first-hand experience and get valuable advice.

Guidance through the possible options

When students think about the future, some may only have vague ideas about their possible options. Career counseling services are aimed at helping students understand all the possible options and choose the most suitable one.

For students, it is important to understand that there can always be a “plan B” and there is more than one option. Career counselors can also remind students about the possibility for internships in order to obtain practical experience in the industry and see whether it fits their interests.

Assistance with career-related activities

While a school program may have accounting and business English classes, it usually does not teach students what to say during an interview, what to include in a resume, how to dress for an interview, and how to watch body language. So career guidance is aimed to close this gap and assist students with real-life career-related activities.

A career counselor should invest time and effort into helping students understand some of the core business processes, assist with writing resumes, and conduct interview simulations. In this way, a student will be prepared in advance and will have much higher chances to succeed during a future interview.

Final word

Career assessment serves both as a source of valuable information for a student (i.e. unveils one’s interests and strengths) and as an assistant that helps prepare for the future work by learning the insights from the industry, meeting the industry representatives and linking the knowledge obtained in school with the labor market demands.

Thus, every educational establishment should consider implementing and standardizing career guidance services. However, it is not enough to just launch a program – counselors themselves should be genuinely interested in helping young people finding their perfect career and in guiding students towards their goals.


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4 Essential Personality Tests for Strategic Recruitment

It’s likely your company will already have screening measures in place when hiring new candidates.

Screening for factors such as work history, educational background, drug use and criminal background are routine recruitment practice across many organizations.

But what about personality? How does your company ensure the candidate your hiring is the best fit the role, your business and the wider company team? By using personality tests during recruitment, you can strategically ensure that you are hiring the best possible candidate for the role.

Benefits of using personality tests for recruitment

There can be many advantages to using personality tests during your hiring process. In today’s competitive market, personality tests can help you narrow down the candidate pool before they even reach the in-person interview stage.

At the interview stage, personality tests can help the interviewer ask questions that delve deeper into the skills and behaviors demonstrated in the personality assessment results. This allows the interview to gauge a deeper understanding of the applicant and whether they would be a suitable fit for the team, role and organization.

When interviewing candidates, it’s important to ensure you don’t get blindsided by their charm or the initial impression they’ve made. Although a candidate may make a great first impression in the interview, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right person for the job. Using personality tests alongside your existing recruitment strategy offers a more rounded and accurate representation of the candidates personality, competencies and working style. All of which will help eliminate any biases created by those first impressions upon meeting the candidate.

Personality tests you need to use in recruitment

There’s an array of personality tests available to choose from. So many in fact that it can be hard knowing which personality test is the right one to use in your recruitment process. To help you get the most out of personality tests for hiring, we’ve evaluated the most popular personality tests for recruitment and devised this list of the four essential personality tests for strategic recruitment. Measuring a variety of candidate metrics, these personality tests can be used together or in isolation to ensure you choose the most suitable candidate. By using these tests to understand the personality and emotional intelligence of your chosen candidate you can help set them up for success in their new career.

Myers Briggs

One of the most widely known and used personality tests is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment. This personality assessment has helped millions of people worldwide gain insights about themselves and how they interact with others. Used by over 88% of Fortune 500 companies, the MBTI assessment can be described as the go-to framework for people development across the world.

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator assessment comprises 16 different personality types based upon Carl Jung’s theory of psychological type. The MBTI assessment is a great indicator of cultural fit. Understandings from this personality test can help HR employees to manage personal development, support team and leadership training, diffuse workplace conflicts and evaluate career change, and transitions.

It’s important to note that the Myers Briggs personality test shouldn’t be used as an indicator of performance. Instead, it should be used to inform decisions about whether or not the applicant would be a good cultural fit for the company and the team.

DISC profile

The DISC profile has far fewer personality traits that the Myers Briggs personality test; four to be precise. These 4 personality traits are reflected in the name of the personality test which is an acronym for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. The Everything DISC profile is a shorter and more user friendly version of the DISC personality assessment making it great for use during the interview stage of the hiring process.

The DISC personality test is great for measuring a job applicant’s temperament. However, DISC is ipsative which means it isn’t possible to compare candidate results to one-another. Without the ability to compare test takers’ scores, the test can’t be used to predict future behavior. Instead, DISC should be used to review the potential strengths and weaknesses of each candidate.

Profile XT®

If you’re looking for a pre-employment screening test that is multi-purpose, the Profile XT assessment is exactly what you need. Covering pre-employment screening, selection, development, training, managing, and succession planning, this personality test is an all-encompassing assessment for evaluating the suitability of job candidates.

This employee assessment measures how well an individual fits specific jobs in your organization, and the results can be used during the training or succession planning stages. The Profile XT is customizable allowing you to alter the test to suit your company requirements.

Thanks to its extensive nature, including 20 performance indicators, behavioural traits, interests, aptitude, thinking and reasoning, the Profile XT assessment can be used for candidate matching. As a result, you are able to compare candidates, deduce how well suited each of them are to the role, and find the best-matched candidate for that specific job.

California Psychological Inventory

During the hiring process, it can be difficult to determine how a candidate will handle workplace challenges, relationships and tasks. Understanding a candidate’s competencies and, in particular, how they may react under certain circumstances is crucial for confidently evaluating whether they’ll be successful in the role they’re applying for.

The California Psychological Inventory (CPI) can help remove the guesswork around candidate competencies. This personality assessment offers feedback on work-related characteristics such as sociability, conceptual understanding, and independence. By assessing these characteristics, the CPI can forecast how candidates may react under specific circumstances.

Role-specific personality tests

When hiring for a specific role, you may find that there are role-specific personality tests that you can use to determine candidate suitability.

The Profiles Sales Assessment can be used to measure how well an applicant fits a Sales role so that you can optimize your company sales performance. For customer service roles, you can use the Customer Service Profile to see whether an applicant has the right behavioral characteristics to provide outstanding customer service. Moreover, when hiring for a managerial role it’s important that they will fit the company and team dynamic. By using the Profiles Managerial Fit assessment you can evaluate whether an applicant has the correct managerial style to suit the required supervisor-subordinate relationship.

Personality assessments for improving future performance

It’s important to continue with personality assessments after the hiring process. By testing employees frequently throughout their career, you can evaluate performance and help candidates further themselves with their career.

Personality tests can be advantageous for your organization. By integrating personality assessments into your candidate screening process and employee training program, you can leverage employee happiness and productivity and, in turn, boost the success of your organization.


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How to improve dysfunctional team performance with behavioral assessments

A dysfunctional team is one that consistently loses performance by failing to work and collaborate together in a professional or desirable way. Problems arising in teams and between team members are one of the major problems contributing to loss of performance but solving them can be difficult.

This is especially true because team dysfunction can stem from direct leadership (managers, Scrum leaders, etc.), leaders (business direction, business policy), and from individuals.

Stepping back to assess problems and recognize where things are going wrong is one of the first steps to solving those issues, and in many teams, it will often reveal issues with communication, emotional intelligence, and ego. This may be cultural or local to the team, but should be corrected, and quickly.

One study showed that negative behavior in teams is effective for most dysfunction, although negative behavior may stem from poor soft skills, lack of motivation from leadership, poor leadership, or other issues.

Understanding Teams and Their Leaders

Dysfunctional teams are reflections of a whole. It’s difficult to have healthy leaders or team members if either is unhealthy. But it’s critical to review both independently to look for the source of dysfunction. Chances are, you will find issues with both, but they might both be different and unrelated.

Personality Mapping

Understanding individual personalities that make up a team is important for ensuring teams align in terms of communication style, emotional intelligence, work ethic, work method, and social needs. MBTI shows there are 16 basic personality types and not all of them get along. Team conflicts may stem from simple issues relating to different methods of communication.

For example, a team lead might be communicating in strict, pragmatic instructions to a team made up of mostly creative people who need freedom to do things in their own way, resulting in stifled creativity and dropping morale. In some cases, direct personality clashes can also result in constant or regular conflict, sparking issues throughout the team.

In addition, understanding the personalities of the people on your teams can help with improving performance across the organization. Team composition based on personality is increasingly regarded as important to performance and individual happiness, because a mix of personalities functions better, is more creative, and can collaborate in ways that a silo of similar personalities will not.

Most team frameworks are based on personality assessments like MBTI or The Big 5 but will help you to see where different people complement or clash with each other.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence, emotional quotient or EQ is increasingly seen as crucial to how people function together. Emotional intelligence can be defined as a measure of how people recognize their own emotions and those of others, use that information to guide behavior and thoughts, and manage or adjust emotions and thoughts to other people and to achieve goals. EQ dates back to the 1960s, but was popularized by David Goleman, who argues that 67% of leadership and team goals can be met with EQ rather than IQ.

Measuring EQ with assessments like EQ-I 2.0 can help you to understand how well people are communicating. This can be important, especially in instances where some people are emotionally intelligent and others are not.

People who are not emotionally intelligent can come off as rude, impolite, and hurtful. Leaders lacking emotional intelligence can deeply damage morale. Like other soft skills, EQ is a learnable skill and there are workshops, courses, and books on the market to help teams develop those behaviors.

Asking Questions

Sometimes, dysfunctional behavior builds up over time, typically in relation to a few incidents that slowly get worse. What started out as a single toxic person can result in an incredibly dysfunctional team, despite the team otherwise being functional. This type of behavior is difficult to assess without actually going in, asking questions, and seeing how the team works first-hand. Swapping leaders, implementing behavior coaches, and implementing workshops can be a good way to assess this behavior.

Solving Dysfunctional Behavior

It’s difficult to assess a team and immediately recognize where problems are from and why. In some cases, problems stem from processes and bureaucracy. In others, it’s simply teams not working together. And, in others, it’s poor leadership. It’s important to be open minded and unbiased, which potentially means having assessments completed by a third-party.

Problem: Disagreements are not addressed but are problematic

Team members frequently disagree but feel unable to discuss problems or resolve them. This can lead to unhealthy interpersonal conflict and dropping morale. This lack of trust will result in lack of team collaboration because individuals won’t ask for help or feedback, won’t utilize the skills or strengths of others, and, in short, won’t be part of a team.

Solution – Review why teams fail to discuss problems and implement solutions to fix those issues. For example, if teams feel they aren’t listened to, implementing EQ workshops may be a good solution.

Healthy debates should be encouraged, even if encouragement involves creating team-building exercises and working to solve negative behavior such as others calling out individuals in unhealthy ways. Getting over this type of issue may require acknowledging and working on specific instances in personal history.

Problem – People talk about each other behind their backs

This can lead to silos, “cliques” and “us versus them” behavior, and often ripples out from leadership.

Solution – Assess root problems, implement workplace ethics workshops, and stage workshops on having healthy upfront discussions where people feel free to share criticism to each other.

This may also stem from leaders feeling unable to offer criticism to someone who is “emotional”, which likely means the leader needs communication or emotional intelligence training. Feedback should always be given directly to the person, not to anyone else on the team.

Problem – Not everyone contributes

Healthy teams discuss things together. Dysfunctional teams typically rely on one or two people who take up all the time, space, and air. This can stem from people not being listened to, from the leader feeling like they have the only voice, and people simply not feeling as though they can speak up. In a worst-case scenario, people will either pretend to be on board with ideas they don’t agree with or will remain silent, but will end up working on solutions they don’t agree with or like.

Solution – Implement team-building exercises such as role-swapping, create mandatory speaking roles for everyone in the team, and have leaders specifically call out individuals to ensure everyone contributes. Discussion and debate lead to productive creativity and collaboration. Teams have to acknowledge that a certain amount of conflict is productive.

Problem – Teams work aimlessly

Often, this means that communication style doesn’t line up between how projects are communicated and how teams prefer to work. This can result in teams over analyzing and wasting energy or lacking confidence or feeling stifled by too much structure.

Solution – Assess how people communicate and work to match leadership, project, and team styles up as much as possible. Most organizations have space for every type of leader, assessing team types and matching leadership to that team is the best way to solve this issue.

Dysfunctional teams are everywhere, but the causes of dysfunction are often multifaceted. It’s important to assess the full culture including leadership, individual interaction, individuals, and company culture to determine what might be wrong and why. Only then can you implement the right solutions to create teams that stay healthy for the long-term.


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Choosing the Right Assessment for Your HR Needs

Personality and behavior assessments help organizations streamline screening and selection processes using validated and predictive data. This can give insight into not only what makes individuals successful in the organization and in their roles, but also into how people fit together, communicate, complement each other, and contradict each other. Highly effective assessments afford near-seamless options for HR to get a deeper look at candidates, driving better decisions and reducing turnover.

But, with dozens of assessment options on the market, choosing one can be difficult. HR and recruitment professionals are left with the task of narrowing options with the need to show immediate results and return on value to finance. Doing so can be difficult. It can also be a mistake.

Good assessments are made up of multiple assessment tools, typically using frameworks built on multiple assessment types and combining personality, behavioral, competency, and other assessments. In many cases, the same assessments are not valuable across every role or for every individual. So, HR professionals are recommended to create selection criteria and use that to choose a range of tools that will create a better picture of the individual.

Set Goals for Recruitment

Recruitment goals should align with long-term business goals, short-term business changes, and meeting team and culture needs. Chances are, these goals are already defined inside your organization and you can simply adopt them.

Most recruitment professionals also have secondary goals such as:

  • Creating a better recruitment experience for candidates
  • Reducing the cost versus quality of hiring
  • Reducing turnover
  • Improving employee happiness and therefore reducing churn
  • Making unbiased but quality hires

Each of these goals can help you target which assessments you might need depending on selection criteria.

Set Goals for Assessments

What should your assessment do? In most cases, a good assessment will fulfill at least the following goals:

  • Deliver objective and legally defensible information into the hiring process
  • Create a cost-effective and efficient interview process by integrating behavioral and personality testing to highlight desirable or undesirable traits
  • Reduce the need to use hunches and impressions in the hiring process
  • Increase understanding of the candidate’s skills, behavior, preferences, and personality
  • Equip HR with the tools to develop employees and teams and make selections based on that goal

Most assessments fall into a few categories including:

  • Technical skills test (e.g., Excel test)
  • Cognitive ability test (OPM or Harver)
  • Situational judgment test
  • Communication skills test
  • Job simulation test
  • Competency assessment (typically soft skills rather than hard)
  • Behavioral assessment (may overlap with competency)
  • Personality assessment (MBTI)

You can then choose which of these are most relevant to your organization. Here, many organizations can drop technical skills tests (technical skills are easy to train, except where advancement in those skills is crucial to success), to focus on factors such as behavior that influence actual performance. For example, it’s a lot easier to teach a candidate Excel than it is to teach an affinity for numbers and pattern recognition, or a high sense of personal motivation.

Reliability and Validity

Reliability and validity are two incredibly important factors to consider when choosing HR assessments. Here, most are scored based on data on how often individuals score the same on a test.

However, most assessments are scored by their manufacturers or by companies selling those services, so you may want to invest in personal research if you doubt results.

For example, the MBTI foundation publishes that test-takers receive the same results on assessments 75-90% of the time.

Validity is also incredibly crucial. Validity refers to whether an assessment can be validated or not. Most HR assessments will have validity data published online. Most organizations should also continue to collect data to validate the assessment and its results inside their own organization.

This can be difficult and expensive but is necessary to ensure continued budget and the long-term use of an assessment, based on an understanding that it works. You cannot say, “Candidates who score high on X show higher performance, so we will prioritize these candidates in the hiring process”, without validating that data.

Reliable Results

It’s crucial that any test have anti-faking measures and have measures with which to measure that candidates are lying, giving the answers they think you want to hear, and quite simply, panicking. Any test that relies on questions like “I am a hard worker” without using alternative measures to test those results in more subtle ways to validate those answers probably won’t function very well.

Once you have a test, it’s important that any HR or recruitment professionals using it actually take the assessment themselves, and hopefully multiple times. Understanding the assessment, what answering it is like, and what candidates are likely to see in relation to their role is critical to assessing whether results are reliable or not.

Customization

Many HR assessments cannot be implemented off-the-shelf. While some out-of-the-box solutions exist, most behavioral and competency assessments will have to be tweaked and updated to meet individual organization’s and should align with a behavioral or competency framework, if one is in place.

For larger organizations, this may mean adjusting assessments, assessment type, and assessment questions based on role, development tract, and whether the intended candidate is intended for eventual leadership development or not. Therefore, it may be crucial that any HR assessment framework you adopt be customizable, or that the provider offers internal analysis and setup to ensure implemented solutions meet your organization’s needs.

No matter what your organization is intending to measure, it’s critical that your assessments be up for the job. This often means choosing assessments that are scientifically validated, reliable, resistant to gaming (cheating), customizable, and able to provide diverse needs based on the candidate, the role, and the hiring manager in question.

For many organizations, this does mean choosing multiple assessments, optimizing each for their own hiring process, and creating a process to improve and further optimize those assessment over time as you begin to collect your own data.


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When to Use Personality Tests in Hiring

Pre-Employment personality tests or assessments are used by some 13% of all organizations, including 89% of Fortune 100 companies. These assessments include MBTI, Caliper Profile, OPQ32, Hogan Personality Inventory, DiSC, and others, but all work to assess and define a candidate’s personality traits based on predetermined profiles.

While pre-employment personality testing is rampant, it’s also come under heavy criticism in recent years, with organizations using personality testing for very specific and sometimes unethical hiring goals (like looking for a specific MBTI type to fill a role). Unfortunately, most personality tests and assessments don’t actually fill those hyper-specific hiring profiles.

At the same time, personality testing can provide valuable insight into the pre-employment screening process. It can guide recruitment and HR professionals as they search for specific people to fill roles, can help to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of a candidate based on existing teams and company culture, and can make it easier for those professionals to create success tracts for those individuals after hire. The following guide outlines some of the occasions when personality testing aids hiring.

When Assessing Culture Fit

Culture-fit, or lack of it, is a key factor behind employee loyalty, employee happiness, and turnover. The high cost of replacing employees is one of the key reasons behind the high adoption of pre-employment personality tests, because it can help to reduce poor culture-fit issues. Personality tests can help you to determine how and where an individual fits into your current culture, where they came from, and whether they could add something or will simply clash with existing culture.

Here, there are several things to keep in mind:

  • Culture clashes may be a good thing if you want to “Shake things up”. But, the culture-clash employee needs to have enough power to drive change or they will simply be ostracized
  • Complementary does not mean the same. If personality testing shows compatible but different styles, this is likely an ideal candidate for the culture
  • Assessing personality aspects such as adaptability, learning style, etc., which can help when determining culture fit and when planning to integrate someone into a culture

To Better Understand the Candidate (And Their Answers)

Personality tests have historically been used in ways that are unsuitable to the personality test. For example, retail stores have long used personality and integrity tests to attempt to gauge the integrity of candidates.

But, data increasingly shows that employees with no integrity are very likely to simply lie on the test. In addition, many employees will simply fill out whatever they think the employer wants to hear, which can be intensely problematic for collecting the right data. Others can give wrong answers because they are panicking, which can also skew data.

What’s the best answer? Retesting, asking employees to take tests multiple times, and ensuring that a portion of any testing includes questions designed to assess the mental state (nervousness, anxiety) and honesty of the candidate. This often involves asking personalized questions which can be verified using other means, re-testing, and slipping the same questions in in multiple formats to assess continuity and intent behind answers.

Candidate answers can help you determine what the employee needs to fit into the organization, their potential development tract, what their onboarding should include, how they should be motivated (fiscally, with development opportunities, with perks, etc.) and much more.

Ensuring Team Fit

Team fit is as if not more important than culture fit. This pertains to how an individual’s personality fits into their team, how they communicate with that team, and what they bring to that team. Here, diversity and complementary personalities are often the best fit. More types of people result in more creativity, more options and solutions, and a broader perspective on problem solving. But, it can result in clashes when personality types don’t get along.

  • Where is your current team weak? What are their flaws? Can other personality traits compensate?
  • What personality types get along with but aren’t the same as existing personality types?
  • Will the individual get along with their new team without fitting into a silo or echo chamber?

In most cases, you get more value from personality tests when you use them to compare the candidate with the team they will fit into, because it allows you to look at long-term potential. It can also help you avoid adding someone who completely does not fit into a team simply because they have a “desirable” personality.

Of course, you always want to follow up with having the candidate actually meet the team, because personality tests can be faulty, but testing can be a good way to narrow candidates down based on potential fit.

Complementing Communication Styles

People communicate in different ways. The more you understand the communication styles of your managers and leaders, the easier it is to choose individuals who fit into those communication styles. Here, you don’t have to choose exact matches. MBTI suggests there are two major types of communicators, NF and SP.

NF communicators use abstraction and mostly want people under them to create their own solutions inside that. SP communicators share exacts and typically want to give or follow instructions. There is a place for both in most organizations, because both fill very valuable roles.

Understanding that upfront will help you to determine placement, so you don’t, for example, put a highly creative and independent person on a maintenance team, or someone who likes to complete tasks on an innovation team.

Assessing Behavior

Behavior is the number one cause of turnover, faulty C-suite hires and promotions, and poor team fit. Personality tests can be excellent assessors of behavior in the pre-hiring phase, because they allow you to assess not only what the individual is answering, but also how they behave in a high-stress environment, how they respond to questioning, and how answers might change across repeat testing. This can give you a significantly better picture of what the candidates real behavior is over simply assessing their prepared answers to questions.

Personality testing isn’t always valuable in hiring. For example, you should never use it to make hiring decisions. It can help you to make smarter decisions regarding placement, onboarding, development, and much more. And, you can use it to follow up on employees after the hire to ensure you continue to understand and support them in the workplace.


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Behavioral approaches to improving net promoter score

Net Promoter Score or NPS has become the gold standard by which companies judge their interactions with customers. NPS was first designed by Fred Reichheld in 2003 and published in an article in the Harvard Business Review. It uses a single question, “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague” with a 1-10 scale. Most importantly, that number gives organizations a simple way to track customer loyalty and behavior.

While the NPS system has come under criticism, it remains true that customers who are willing to recommend your organization to others will grow your business. An NPS score increase of 7% typically tracks to a business growth of 1%. At the same time, initiatives to improve NPS only work if you actually understand what impacts NPS.

In most cases, a high NPS score tracks to high customer satisfaction, quality customer service, accessibility of information, and ease of service or product use. A surprisingly large number of these factors are impacted by internal company culture, or employee behavior. Why? Behavior impacts how people treat employees, how the product or service is created and delivered, and how the organization presents itself.

Encouraging Empathy (EQ)

Emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quota, is important in changing how people react and respond to each other. A highly emotionally intelligent person is able to recognize their own and the emotions of others, respond to those emotions, and keep those emotions in mind when making decisions that relate to other people. Encouraging EQ normally means testing for it and then implementing workshops and training to develop EQ where it’s lacking.

For most teams, customer service and customer assistance are the most important for this behavior. However, emotional intelligence improves productivity and collaboration across the organization, which will eventually improve performance and results, which also impact customer satisfaction and NPS.

How much does emotional intelligence impact NPS? Cowry Consulting worked with Aegon B.V. to improve NPS through customer contact center interactions. Cowry identified issues relating to lack of human depth, lack of advisor understanding of how and why customers make decisions.

Cowry implemented training to help assistants understand why people make decisions, rewrote scripts to make them more human, and redesigned how information was presented to ensure it appealed on an emotional level.

Aegon also shifted internal policy to assigning a lifetime contact to a customer, so they always connected with the same person when calling. The result was an over 36-point increase in NPS, with a 68.5% increase in sales conversions.

Build Teams that Work Together

Your teams ultimately impact everything the customer is able to get out of your organization. Building smoothly functional, productive, and collaborative teams is essential to providing a good experience and a good product.

Healthy teams communicate, work together, aren’t afraid of disagreement, let each other be heard, and consistently work to improve. Achieving this can involve a set of behavioral training, matching personalities, and changing policies to allow people to work in efficient and healthy ways. Let’s look at some examples:

Marketing and Sales

Are teams setting the right expectations during lead generation or are they simply generating as many leads as possible? Is marketing following up with sales? Is sales closing with information connected to development? Are customers pushed through the sales process as quickly as possible to raise sales numbers? Most of these problems relate to expectations set around maximum sales and maximum lead generation. They don’t result in happy customers. It’s often a result of:

  • Poor performance and compensation systems (linked to quotas, not behavior and score)
  • Competition
  • Lack of empathy or concern for the customer

Product and Design

Are people focused on how the product or service offers value? Or simply on putting out new features? Is UX a concern? Are problems checked for and removed before they reach the customer? Is quality assurance involved in every stage of the process>

  • Assess how teams are connected to customers
  • Assess how teams are put together and how communication, management, and interpersonal styles line up

Customer Service and Support

Does customer service put the customer first? Are they looking at how and why customers are making decisions? Are hold times long? How does customer service treat customers? Does support make customers happy or just fix issues and move on? What are responses when there’s no clear solution?

  • Create policies that ensure teams have room to make empathetic decisions
  • Train support professionals in communication styles, EQ, and recognizing different types of personalities
  • Implement customer personas to help support professionals learn to recognize different communication styles and needs

You also want to look at how personalities link together in each team, ensure that teams actually collaborate, and that communication styles line up.

Building Internal Motivation and Buy-In

It’s difficult or even impossible to improve Net Promoter Score without encouraging employee buy-in. This broad term encapsulates motivating employees to engage with their work as well as with the customer, because, eventually, they mean the same thing. Teams have to fully engage with their work and believe in what they are doing. While many issues here are operational (management, work processes, lack of communication relating to short and long-term goals), many also relate to behavior.

Here, it’s important to understand employees. Using personality tests, EQ assessments, and behavioral frameworks can help you to map how individuals communicate, how leadership communicates, and how you can best fit that together or improve what you have through training and communication. Healthy teams engage with work, communicate better, and eventually produce better work – resulting in happier customers and a higher Net Promoter Score.

While there are many aspects to improving NPS, behavior and behavior management is important. The more you understand how people work and work together, the more you can ensure internal and external teams behave and collaborate in ways that add value for the customer.


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How Personality Types Contribute to High Performance Teams

Good team design is critical to ensuring the productivity and collaborative creativity of those teams. “High performance” in a team is often tracked to output in numbers, but often it links to how well people get along, communicate, and collaborate. Factors encouraging this include good leadership, policies and work processes, and emotional intelligence, but personality type is always a consideration.

People must fit into a team in such a way as to complement without copying the rest, so that they can work in a fast, efficient, and creative way. Most importantly, teams should be balanced mixes of different personality types and cultures, allowing for diverse opinions, different points of view, and a range of solutions, or a truly “high performance” team.

While eventually only team leads will have true insight into how individuals work together, high performance teams rely on having structure that purposely fits people together. Eventually, this kind of structure must be implemented into the hiring process, into team design, and into HR, so that everyone has the tools to hire and place people in ways that make sense.

Understanding Personality Types

Different organizations utilize different ways to categorize and define how people fit together. In some cases, you may want to use several. For example, Belbin Team Roles maps personalities and then asks 3-5 people to fill out roles that make up a high-performance team.

The most popular personality type indicator is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which uses 16 personalities loosely mapped to Carl Jung’s Big 5 Personality Framework. MBTI uses four dichotomies, or 8 personality factors to split people into 16 personality types based on how they interact, communicate, and handle themselves and situations. This method is the most common in that 89% of Fortune 500 companies utilize it during the hiring process.

Most organizations eventually utilize a personality indicator alongside a core competency or behavioral model for teams. This allows you to map skills and personality traits to what is already in the team, enabling better decisions and better team matches.

One of the easiest examples is creativity. If you were to take a single 5-person team and form it entirely out of people who excel at creating new things, you’d have a very creative team on your hand. They could collaborate to innovate processes, work, and tools across your organization.

If you make that same team out of people who excel at improving existing work, you have a team that would excel at maintenance, overhead, and day-to-day work. But, if you were to go half and half, you’d have a divided team that would be disadvantageous to itself.

Major Types of Communication

Communication is one of the most important factors of teamwork, and there are many types of communicators. MBTI groups people into four types, which can be further condensed into two types (SP and NF). The four types are:

Thinking – Thinking persons are decisive, systematic, and logical. They are critical, analytical, and judgmental, but communicate in straightforward, and clear-cut fashions. While this makes communication easy and can be very valuable on a team that wants to communicate and move forward quickly, it can be perceived as arrogant, condescending, and aggressive to more emotional thinkers.

Feeling – This group is sympathetic, warm, sociable, and supportive. Feeling types are warm, will go out of their way to be diplomatic and tactful, and will consider the emotions of most people in a room. On the flip side, they can be dramatic, emotional, sentimental, and fussy. Balancing these types with more decisive types is important.

Sensing – Sensing types are realistic and practical with a focus on concise and efficient communication, often at the expense of emotions. This can cause clashes with feeling types, because they can appear to be cold, demanding, and harsh.

Intuitive – Intuitive types often bridge Thinking and Sensing types with Feeling types, but bring their own adaptable and versatile approach. They communicate perceptively but with emotion, make changes based on facts and emotions, and are resourceful. They may also be impulsive, be easily bored, and may have unrealistic expectations.

Other frameworks utilize different types of communication, but it’s important that your communication types complement and get along. In most cases, you want to pay the most attention to abstract versus concrete thinkers, Feeling and Intuitive people tend to prefer to communicate in abstracts and guidelines, Sensing and Thinking people tend to prefer to communicate in precise words and exacts.

Creating a Balance of Personalities

Any team dynamic should be composed of balance, cognitive diversity, and variety. Individuals should be able to challenge each other to drive creativity and to build new things. If you simply fit like-minded people with like-minded people, you create silos, echo chambers where everyone simply agrees with a few louder thought leaders. The team becomes static and rarely creative.

HR should introduce and manage cognitive diversity as part of team structure. This means looking for different types of complementary personalities. It also means looking at culture, information processing styles, education, and work experience, but personality will play a huge role. Importantly, if you do introduce diverse personalities into a team, it’s critical to follow up, ensure that everyone is communicating well and with empathy, and that leaders are able to recognize and work with the different communication and personality styles present in the team.

It’s also important to look for balance. Diversity for the sake of diversity can be a mistake if it creates clashes or communication styles that are completely opposite.

There’s No Wrong Personality Type

While personality types can be valuable for helping you to build a diverse team, it’s important to keep in mind that no personality type makes someone uniquely suited for something. There’s no wrong personality type. Consider using your personality framework as a loose matrix of what is wanted or required rather than a die-hard rule. People can and will sometimes fit all the requirements and more, while not showing those requirements on a test, especially if that test is taken under pressure.

Your best option is always to ensure that your recruiter is cognizant, aware of how people work, and able to make judgement calls using perception as well as direct test results.

Personality frameworks are an extremely useful way to improve team design and team structure, simply because they give you factors to look for that help teams communicate and collaborate more efficiently.


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