Personality Assessments

By Kristin Dewey, Executive Search Consultant, QTI Executive & Professional Search, Inc.

Personality Test. Leadership Assessment. Behavior Assessment. There is no shortage of these buzz phrases in the workplace today. Earlier this summer, TIME Magazine ran a cover story exploring the $2 billion testing industry. That’s right, $2 BILLION. We are asked all the time as HR professionals what the benefit is of doing personality assessments in the workplace. Truthfully, the answer is wide-ranging. If well-constructed, an assessment should be predictive, relevant, nondiscriminatory, and have a bottom line impact. Assessments can be used at any time throughout an employee’s career for numerous reasons:

  • Recruitment and Hiring – Selecting the best people for the right jobs
  • On-Boarding – Getting employees up to speed and productive quickly
  • Employee & Leadership Development – Improving the performance of employees
  • High Potential Programs – Identifying and managing high potentials
  • Succession Planning – Determining who can move into different roles within the organization 
  • Executives – Selection, assessment, coaching, mentoring
  • Team – Team awareness, team building

At a minimum, the result will be increased self-awareness, the ability to recognize and understand ones moods, emotions, and drivers, as well as their effect on others. Self-aware individuals speak with candor, admit their mistakes, seek out constructive criticism, and exude a quiet confidence. Sounds like someone we would all like to work with, right? Utilizing assessments also aids in leadership development, team building, conflict resolution, personnel selection, executive coaching, greater employee engagement, reduced turnover, fewer accidents, and improved productivity.

Six years ago, we started partnering with Hogan Assessments to administer their assessment tools to our clients. Why did we choose Hogan? With nearly 30 years of experience, Hogan is the global leader in providing comprehensive, research-based personality assessment and consulting. Grounded in decades of science, Hogan helps businesses dramatically reduce turnover and increase productivity by hiring the right people, developing key talent and evaluating leadership potential. Hogan assessments are available worldwide, and more than half of all Fortune 500 companies have used Hogan products. The Hogan Assessment is broken out into three main categories/core elements of one’s personality – the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI); Hogan Development Survey (HDS); and Motives, Values, and Preferences Inventory (MVPI).

  • The HPI measures an individual’s “bright side” personality or someone’s normal personality and was the first measure of normal personality designed specifically for the business community.
  • The HDS measures one’s “dark side” personality or how you behave when under stress or pressure and to date is the only valid assessment of an individual’s derailer behavior.
  • The MVPI measures an individual’s “inside” personality or your values, motives, and preferences related to organization fit and leadership environment. 

Initially, we utilized Hogan exclusively during the recruitment process, however, throughout the last four years, the use of personality assessments within organizations looking to identify high potential employees, enhance team effectiveness, or simply to use as a leadership development technique has grown tremendously.

Look at succession planning. Many employers currently rely on managers judgment or performance reviews to determine “high potential” employees. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, managers said they accurately predicted employee potential just over half the time which suggests that a sizable portion of the $75 billion US companies spend on training is misspent. When managers are in charge of choosing high-potential people, they tend to pick people who are like themselves.

Beyond individual assessments, team assessments are quickly making their mark in the workplace. Most employees report spending a significant amount of time working in a team setting but statistics show that teams are only effective about half of the time. Too many leaders choose team members purely on the basis of functional skill. Research shows that the dynamics of interpersonal relationships depend on individuals’ personalities, not on hard skills or expertise. You can put the smartest, most talented team together, and they still may fail to perform as a cohesive unit. There is an enormous upside when team members share values, cover a variety of psychological roles, and most importantly, surround themselves with team members who complement their strengths and make up for areas of weakness.

So, why use assessments? What’s the value? The reality is smart people sometimes make not so smart decisions. Statistics show that the cost of an unsuccessful hire can range from 1-3 times the annual salary of that individual and as much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. With these effective assessment tools at our fingertips, we are able to be more effective HR consultants and truly affect the bottom line.

Learn more about our Candidate Assessment offerings.