Are Personality Tests Necessary For Hiring Interviews – 4 Critical Factors

The question often comes up from my clients about whether or not they should be using personality assessment tools to assist in their interviewing and hiring processes. My answer is always a resounding; ‘Maybe’!!

A 2014 Forbes article quotes a whopping 62% of surveyed employers as using some form of personality assessment tool to help with their hiring. The Forbes article goes on to site the main reasons employers use these assessments is to understand whether the candidate will perform well in the role, as well as get a good idea about whether the candidate will stick around after they’re hired. Both these reasons point to employers wanting more certainty around bottom line business outcomes when it comes to hiring and avoiding the costs and hassle of either needing to fire and/or re-hire employees due to failure in the role. 

There are a number of points to consider when you’re deciding whether personality assessments will work for you. Let’s review some now:

1- What is your purpose/goal in doing the assessment? Do you want to know more about how well the candidate will perform in the role from a technical or hard skill perspective? If so, an actual technical test of competency may be more appropriate than a personality assessment.

2- If you’re trying to understand whether a candidate will have certain personality attributes that fit with the role, it’s important to know exactly WHAT characteristics you’re looking for. The best way to do this is a thorough review of the role description and then to develop a list of those traits you know are a ‘MUST HAVE’. Once you know this you can pick the right assessment tool for identifying these qualities. For example, if the role is a Customer Service position that calls for measures of positive attitude when working with people, then you can find an assessment tool geared towards people and communication personality types.

3- If you’re going to use assessments, make sure you know any potential legal implications of using personality assessments in your hiring process. Depending on your local, regional or national laws, there may be guidelines or even restrictions around how you administer these assessments and more importantly, how you make final hiring decisions based on your use of assessments in these decisions. On the other hand, using a solid assessment tool in your hiring project can also help defend against potential legal challenges of your hiring decisions. Bottom line: KNOW the law!

4- Probably the most obvious question here is, ‘If I’m going to do this, what assessment tool should I be using’? The answer to this is almost as complex and varied as the instruments available. In a recent Linkedin article, 12 popular assessments are given the once-over with some great critique and insightful analysis.

For now, my overall thoughts are mostly positive on using personality assessments as part of the interview process. The final decision on this of course, is up to you and will depend a lot on your own unique hiring needs and situation. 

Take care!


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Then leave a comment below on your experience, thoughts or advise on the above ideas.

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Lee Hodgins, CPHR works with entrepreneurs, business owners & hiring managers to leverage the power of hiring interviews to dramatically boost their effectiveness and accuracy in finding the most qualified job candidates. More information is awaiting you online at

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